Madras European Foot Artillery

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The Madras European Foot Artillery were a division of the Madras Artillery.

History of the Madras European Foot Artillery

From the earliest days of the Company, its Court of Directors sanctioned expenditure on a small number of European soldiers for the defence of its factories and establishments in India & South Asia. Land based military activity was limited to reasonable defence against local marauders and military adventures would have been suppressed by the local rulers who reported to the Mughal.

Before the onset of the War of Austrian Succession in 1744, the Company sent out Major Charles Knipe to re-organize and command its forces in all India. He was based in Madras which was the major factory in India at that time. Unfortunately, he died shortly after arrival and the vacuum that this caused left the embryonic Madras Army with no proper control. It is claimed that Fort St George possessed some 200 pieces of cannon in the early 1740s but with no one trained to fire them. It was thus of little surprise that the French army captured the fort after a short siege in September 1746.

Upon his arrival at the Company’s second fortification, Fort St David, in January 1748, the new commander, Major Stringer Lawrence, set about fortifying the place and training such artillery men that he found there to resist the attacks of the besieging French. Fortunately, a relieving ‘Task Force’ from England, commanded by Admiral Boscawen, arrived at Fort St. David in July 1748 and included a full company of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

Following an inglorious siege of the nearby French stronghold of Pondicherry, news arrived that the war in Europe had ended. The soldiers of the Royal Artillery, facing discharge and an uncertain future back in England, were offered employment as Artillerymen with the now fledgling Madras Army. This is taken as the foundation of the Madras Artillery.

A number of individual Artillerymen who transferred to the Madras Artillery are identified in this FIBIS Search dataset.

They were well-trained professional artillerymen and able to train both other soldiers volunteering from the Task Force and further recruits trickling in from England. Until the demise of the Company’s Army in 1861, the Madras Artillery always had European Officers and European soldiers, except for the ‘Golundauze’ Battalion which employed Indian soldiers.


  • 1748 Building of Corps into a discrete unit
  • 1753 Establishment fixed by Court of Directors
  • 1755 First recognized by the East India Company as a distinct body
  • 1765 EIC agrees to an increase to 3 companies
  • 1768 4th Company authorized by EIC
  • 1774 Headquarters moved to Thomas' Mount
  • 1796 Formation into two battalions of five companies each.
  • 1800 Expansion to two battalions of seven companies each.
  • 1805 Addition of a European officered Native battalion (called ‘Golundauze’)
  • 1824 Increase to three battalions of five companies each plus a Golundauze battalion of seven companies
  • 1844 Increase to four battalions of five companies each plus a Golundauze battalion of seven companies
  • 1857 Increase of Golundauze battalion by two ‘supplementary companies.
  • 1861 Transfer of soldiers to Royal Artillery. The Madras Artillery was absorbed into the Royal Artillery as the 17th, 20th and 23rd Brigades[1]

Research sources

  • FIBIS Guide No. 1 Researching Ancestors who Served in the East India Company Armies (further details)
  • "In Memoriam" - Officers of the Late Regiment of Madras Artillery from 1758 to 14th October, 1861, the Date of its Ceasing to Exist by Conductor EP Evans, Asylum Press, Madras 1867.
  • A List of Officers who have Served in the Madras Artillery by Major J.H. Leslie, Leicester, 1900 (see FIBIS resources, below).

Records at the British library

  • Muster Lists for soldiers of the Madras Artillery exist in IOR/L/MIL/11- series exist from 1762 to 1861.
  • The British Library's catalogue includes
    • The History of the Royal and Indian Artillery in the Mutiny of 1857 by Julian R J Jocelyn (1915). Available online on the Ancestry owned pay website fold3, for details see Royal Artillery.

FIBIS resources

Extracts from "The Private Letters of William Porter, Gunner, 3rd Batt., Madras Artillery (1826-1857) (Mss Eur. G128, British Library)", including time spent in Burma

Also see

External links

  • 111 (Dragon) Battery RA. Dragon Battery was founded as G Company, the Madras Foot Artillery in 1806 and eventually disbanded 1984.
  • "The Dress Regulations of the Madras Artillery, 1842" by P. E. Abbott. Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research Volume 53,1975, pages 27-47. A detailed description of the uniforms of all ranks. Read online for free on the website, subject to registration with, and restrictions apply. For more details about Jstor, and the restrictions, see the page Miscellaneous tips. Alternatively you may be able to log in with a Library card.

Historical books online


  1. "The New Artillery Amalgamation", pages 606-607 (December 1861) from Colburn’s United Service Magazine, Volume 97, 1861 Part 3 Google Books