Major Moses Corbet
|Died||1814 (aged 85–86)|
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Commands held||Garrison of Jersey|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War
Battle of Jersey
Corbet joined the British Army c.1745. In 1748 he was an Ensign in the 7th Regiment of Foot and by the start of the Seven Years' War he had been promoted to Captain, sailing with his regiment from Ireland to help relieve the Siege of Fort St Philip (1756) in Minorca. The relief failed and his regiment moved to Gibraltar where he served until ill health forced his return to England.
Whilst in England he married and became Aide-de-camp to Lieutenant Colonel Lord Robert Bertie the commander of the 7th Regiment of Foot He rejoined the regiment in Gibraltar and received promotion to Major on 14 December 1761 within the 7th Regiment of Foot. Returning with the regiment to England, he left the army because of ill health and settled back in Jersey Channel Islands.
In 1779 the Franco-Dutch Invasion of Jersey was attempted at St Ouen's Bay. The defenders, led by Moses Corbet, were able to prevent the landing, suffering only a few men wounded when a cannon burst.
Battle of Jersey
On 6 January 1781 a French invading force led by Philippe de Rullecourt secured the town of Saint Helier and surprised Corbet in bed in Government House (then situated at Le Manoir de La Motte). De Rullecourt convinced Corbet that thousands of French troops had already overwhelmed Jersey. He threatened to burn the town and slaughter the inhabitants if the garrison did not capitulate and Corbet, unable to ascertain the true situation, surrendered. Major Francis Peirson, suspecting that De Rullecourt only had a small force, took command of the British troops in Corbet's absence and counter-attacked leading to a decisive engagement in which the British forces were victorious.
The charges were
- Allowing himself to be surprised by the enemy
- Signing articles of capitulation when a prisoner
- Attempting to induce other officers in command to concur
The French General had written the capitulation letter in his own hand and to get Corbet to sign threatened to destroy the town and shipping in the harbour, disclosing in great detail the defences of the Island, leading Corbet to believe many units had been captured and wishing to save the town from destruction by fire, and believing his powers of command had already been removed as he was a prisoner, agreed to sign. Corbet received good references from Lord Robert Bertie and others. The outcome of the Court Martial was inconclusive; he was dismissed as Lieutenant-Governor, but granted a pension of £250 p.a. for life.
A formal full length portrait of Major Moses Corbet's portrait was created by noted artist Philippe Jean (1755–1802). Philippe Jean was made famous for his miniature portrait of Guernsey born Sir Isaac Brock as well as his commissioned portrait of King George III.
- "Trial of Lt Gov Corbet". The Scots Magazine. July 1781. p. 327.
- "1781 - The Battle of Jersey Heroes and Villains" (PDF). line feed character in
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- Corbett Name Study Gentleman's Magazine
- The London Gazette: . 6 April 1771. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
- The London Gazette: . 4 May 1779.
- The Channel Islands by C. J. Metcalfe
- Tate Gallery
- American Revolution: Battle of Jersey
- That was Jersey
- The proceedings at large on the trial of Moses Corbet, Esq; lieutenant governor of Jersey. Tried by a Court Martial, held at the Horse Guards, May 1, 1781 National Library of Australia
- Jersey Heritage collection
|Lieutenant Governor of Jersey