Tent Encampment

When the British army arrived on the Heights, they made use of Beasley’s available buildings for living quarters. Even after barrack buildings capable of housing hundreds of soldiers were constructed, many hundreds more were required to live in canvas tents in all seasons of the year. The tents were set up in lines by regimental companies. While a British battalion might, in theory, have 1,000 men allocated to it, in practice, battalions seldom had more than 600 men broken up into 10 companies of approximately 60 men each.

A standard infantryman’s tent was about seven feet tall and seven feet long and six feet wide. Within the tent it was expected that the maximum capacity would be six men sleeping head to foot. Sleeping equipment consisted of a grey wool blanket and canvas mattress (called a palliasse from the French word for straw: Paille).  Each soldier received a straw ration which was used as stuffing for the palliasse. In the case of the soldiers on the Heights it seems that they were either short of straw or sought to supplement what they saw as a shortfall by using Richard Beasley’s stored cereal grass.