Thursday, 2 December 2010

Pennsylvania Militia

For my American militia unit I chose John Proctor's Independent Battalion, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania - simply for the reason that their flag has been preserved (and can be found at The State Museum of Pennsylvania). Some think that the flag was carried at the battles of Trenton (26 Dec, 1776) and Princeton (3 Jan, 1777), but some doubt that it was ever present in a battle.
Never mind, I though, it is a beautiful flag!
It was converted from an old British standard at Hanna's Town in 1775 by adding the rattlesnake hissing at the Union Jack, with golden decorations and the warning motto "DON'T TREAD UPON ME". It clearly shows that many Pennsylvanian settlers still considered themselves loyal subjects to King George, but were ready to resist tyrannical acts.

For figures I chose a mixture of Dixon, Foundry, and Redoubt miniatures, some of them in uniform coats, others in civilian clothes, and the young lieutenant even in grandfather's British red coat!
My intention was to give the impression of a scratched together unit, and the various brands of figures just helped to create this picture.
Furthermore I based them individually so I could use them in loose order, signifying that their military value was probably low.
At Princeton the militia were sent to support Brigadier General Hugh Mercer's fleeing troops, but started to give way on seeing the flight of  Mercer's men. When Washington rode up with reinforcements he succeeded in rallying the fleeing militia. He then led the attack on the British troops, driving them into retreat.
I imagine my little men doing this job. Just look at the farmer with the rifle and the broad-brimmed straw-hat taking aim at an epaulette, or the advancing man with the old-fashioned blunderbuss! What a devastating effect a shot from this old weapon will have at short range, being charged with hacked lead!


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