The Preston family legacy of service to country started from my point of view, with that of Old Isaac Preston. He served five years in the 23rd Light Dragoons, 1797 – 1802, under the famous Major, that story that passed down through generations. That also left his descendants with the expectation of serving one’s country in the military, in government and in community.
The Preston family stories had Isaac serving in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, as a cavalryman. His rank unsure. In commissioning a search of British Military Records from Kew London, in 2013, all Isaac’s pay records were photographed and emailed back to me. Isaac was a private for all five years. However the name that jumped off the page was Edward Pakenham. In researching him, I discovered: he was 1 year younger than Isaac, went to school 5 miles from Isaac, rose to become general, was a hero in the Peninsular Wars, (1807-1814), lead the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans against Andrew Jackson (died there) and was the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law. As capable as a leader, he was also as Jane Austen would put it, “very dashing.” He was well respected by his troop as being courageous, fair, honest and of good spirits. Attached is the pay register of the 23rd’s from September 1798, when they fought a number of significant battles against a French army and Irish rebels. This is the troop in the opening scene of my book “Loyalty”. Pakenham’s name and signature is at the top. (Check the pay levels – Isaac is #38). Also is a painting of Pakenham himself, as general.
I wish my grandfather had this information to add to his knowledge of the story.
FYI – Isaac’s monthly pay was 1 pound, 15 shillings and 6 pence. Pakenham’s – 28 pounds, 17 shillings, 6 pence.