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G.T.C. Burgum and the 82nd Regiment of Foot

George Thomas Carpenter Burgum was born 15th August 1825 at Feckenham, in Worcestershire. His father Joseph Burgum had also been born at Feckenham, as had his mother Maria Carpenter. It was his grandparents who had come from Linton, in Herefordshire and marrying at Aston Ingham, Herefordshire.

George appears to have joined 82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales Volunteers) by 1 October 1841, when he was issued his first sewing kit. (picture, right) The 82nd Regiment had been based in Athlone, in Ireland, at the time before they moved to Boyle in December 1841. In 1843 they moved to Jamaica and then on to Quebec, arriving on 25th May. They remained there for 4 years before travelling via Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada to Plymouth, Devon, in England They arrived back on 6th June 1847 but were not permitted to disembark at the Victualling Yard until 2 days later. From there they marched to Devonport where they joined up with the depot companies who had already arrived from Brecon, in Wales. We do not know whether George had been with the Regiment in Canada, or had been with the depot companies in Ireland and then in Brecon, Wales.
On 5th August 1848 George married Sarah Ann Marklew at Stoke Demerel, just a mile from the barracks at Devonport. In July 1849 cholera broke out and several non-commissioned officers and men of the 82nd died. In an attempt to contain the outbreak a wing of the Regiment was immediately to Exeter by train to occupy a vacant barracks there. Then, in April 1850, the Regiment was moved from Exeter and Devonport to Portsmouth, in Hampshire, en route to Wales.

We must assume George had either received leave or was working at the Brecon Barracks because on 19th March 1851 George married his second wife, Elizabeth Moore (1834-1898). They were married at Brecknock, in Wales. Clearly his first wife Sarah had died between 1848 and 1851. However, on the night of 30th March 1851, when the 1851 census was recorded, George Burgum was back staying at the Cambridge Barracks, in Portsmouth, in Hampshire, in the south of England, perhaps to help supervise the impending transfer of the Regiment. The census confirmed he was a Colour Sergeant in the 82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales Volunteers).
(left - two brass 82nd Regiment tunic buttons, both missing their reverse lugs. They have the makers details "Hebbert & Co, 8 Pall Mall")
Between 14th and 22nd April 1851 the headquarters and the two divisions were moved from Portsmouth to Wales; some to Brecon and some to Pembroke. Other smaller detachments were also sent to Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthen and Cardigan. It would seem the Regiment was never in one place for long and in April 1852 they moved from Wales to Salford Barracks, in Manchester.

On 9th November 1852 the Regiment proceeded by rail to Glasgow and at once sent a detachment to Dumbarton Castle. George’s wife Elizabeth must have also travelled to Scotland, as their first child Elizabeth was born at Paisley, in Scotland, in 1853. On 20th April 1853 the headquarters moved to Stirling, while detachments were sent to Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Fort William.
Picture, right - A red strip of old cloth - sown up at either end and originally housing his medals - possibly part of his Serjeant Major's tunic sash.

Further plans to move the Regiment, possibly to India, were put on hold while the world watched as Russia and Turkey began a conflict in the Black Sea. On the 7th April 1854 the 82nd took up quarters in Edinburgh Castle, relieving the 4th Regiment who were sent to Malta for special dispatch to the war zone.
Initially volunteers were called for, who might temporarily transfer to other Regiments, and it was not until 18th January 1855 that the Regiment proper departed Liverpool for Corfu. While waiting on Corfu Sergeant Major George Burgum was presented with a small booklet titled 'Acquitance With God' by Rev. A.J. Scott, M.A. It was printed by J. Groom, of Birmingham; and Bazaar, of Soho Square, London, with no date of publication.

(Picture left) Inside the opening page was a handwritten note in pencil which read: 'Serjt Major Burgum from Col Robertson, Corfu, 11th Feby 1855'.
While they waited, Elizabeth was again with child and their son George Thomas Burgum was born at Brecknock, in Wales, April 1855. The 82nd waited again at Cephalonia before finally the 82nd landed at Balaclava on 4th September 1855 and camping on Balaclava Heights as part of the siege of Sebastapol. Four days later Sebastapol fell and the peace was assured. The 82nd left the peninsula on 10th July 1856, saved from the terrible battles and blunders of the Crimean war, such as the Charge of the Light Brigade.

In 1856 George was presented with another book. It was a small prayer book titled 'Prayers & Promises' printed for the Religious Tract Society in London. It had gilded edges, with the binding intact, and contained relevant prayers for each month of the year. A handwritten note, in ink, on the inside opening page, read- 'From J.A. Robertson Lt Col 82nd Rgt to Serjeant Major Burgum 82nd Rgt Crimea, 1st June 1856'. An additional note on the inside cover read- 'Romans 5 Chap: 12'.
The Regiment landed back at Portsmouth and was sent to Aldershot to await orders. Another political hotspot was brewing in China, with the Chinese Government mal-treating British Merchants and violating Agreements and Treaties. Britain and the France both dispatched troops. The 82nd Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Robertson, left Portsmouth aboard the troop ship “Assistance” on 20th May 1857. Anther ship, the Adventure was also laden with men and equipment.

Meanwhile, Maria Burgum, the third child of George and Elizabeth, was born at Brecknock in 1857.

Picture left - Medals with edging inscribed "Sergt - Mjr GTC BURGAM 82nd Regt" and Sergt-Majr GTC BURGUM 82nd Regt"
The two troop ships had both stopped at the Cape of Good Hope for supplies, the “Assistance” on the 25th July 1857, the Adventure four days earlier. Having taken on food and water for the hundreds of men the ships sailed, again 4 or 5 days apart. Both were now on their way to Singapore.

Picture right - A wire bullion numeral '7'. Probably a badge from his uniform.
Picture below - Soldiers sewing repair kit belonging to George Burgum - this being of white cloth, and designed for holding all materials required to men his kit in the field, it is issue stamped at one end with a circle and some script is visible inside - possibly an 'Indian script'.
However, news had reached England (overland) about the Indian mutinies, the terrible massacre at Cawnpore (see below), the siege of Delhi and the drastic situation at Lucknow. Messages were sent to the Cape with order to go to India, but the messages came too late. Only when they arrived in Singapore did the “Assistance” receive the dire news from India. They refuelled as soon as possible and made straight to Calcutta. The 82nd Regiment arrived at Calcutta on 12th October 1857. The recovery of Delhi took the lives of 61 British officers and 1,178 men!

On 5th November 1857 five companies of men had reached Allahabad where the River Ganges meets the Jumna River. By the 13th November and another 130 miles of marching the 82nd Regiment had reached close to Cawnpore. However, the attack on Cawnpawn was already part of the infamous history of India, having occurred 6 months earlier.
Skirmishing and battling continued day after day when, on the 30th November, the 82nd Regiment crossed the River Ganges. The “bridge of boats” here had been critical in case a retreat was necessary from Lucknow. 500 British troops had been expected to defend against perhaps 25,000 men. The 82nd Regiment continued its duties, operating at Mohumdee and Shahjehanpore (130 miles north of Cawnpore) in order to suppress further rebellion through 1858 and 1859. A wing was also detached to Moradabad (100 miles east of Delhi).
And what of George Thomas Carpenter Burgum? He died and was buried in November 1859 at Cawnpore, in India. I do not yet know what caused his death age 34 years old. By then the skirmishes and battles were over. Was he wounded in an earlier battle or, perhaps, he was overcome by cholera or some other disease? He left a wife and three children in Wales.

More about the Cawnpore Massacre

G. T. C. Burgumis part of the FF Family Tree