Thursday, 12 December 2013

Hanover Associators

Another well documented flag of a militia unit from the Revolutionary War is that of the Hanover Associators in Pennsylvania. The flag itself has gone, but there is an ancient engraving in the Pennsylvania State Archives and a description in a letter of Col. Timothy Green, commanding officer of the Hanover battalion. 
PA Archives (the fastening to the staff and the fringes are wrong)
According to him the flag was of crimson watered silk, six feet long by five and one-half feet wide. It contained a figure in the clothes of a frontier rifleman, with gun ready, underneath being a scroll with the motto  LIBERTY OR DEATH.
The colors are listed as "Red field and trim on cap; yellow fringe and scroll; black lettering and cap; green ground and uniform with cream legs, trim, feather and powder horn; brown belt and light blue rifle barrel."
The whole unit (which could be filled up with other militia figures)

As figures I took 12 soldiers of Redoubt's "American Line Infantry in Hunting Shirts" and three figures of their command which had an extra drummer and ensign. The NCO had his halberd removed, he received a pistol instead which he is holding at ready. And he was promoted to officer. With green stuff I added a pouch and powder horn. (Where else should he keep his ammunition?)
The command: officer, ensign, drummer
The officer (finished version)

1st Pennsylvania Regiment


There has been some confusion over the numbering of the first and second Pennsylvania regiments. The 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, raised as the second troop from Pennsylvania, is also known as the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment, Thomson's Rifle Battalion, or 1st Continental Regiment. As two of their names tell us, they were armed with rifles. And with these they played a decisive part in breaking the morale of the Hessian regiments at Trenton, probably also killing Colonel Rall.
The colours of this troop are preserved until today - at least in some shreds. So we know what the figures in the central field looked like, and what the inscription was. The contemporary description, however, is not what you would call precise:

"Our Standard is to be a deep green ground, the Device a Tyger partly enclosed by toils attempting the pass defended by a hunter armed with a spear in white, on crimson field the motto 'Domari nolo'”.
At least we know from it that the bunting was green, and the central field crimson. The flag was made of silk. The inscription above the figures reads "P.M.I.st Rt." (= Pennsylvania Militia, 1st Regiment). The Latin motto "DOMARI NOLO" on a banner below the central group means "I refuse to be dominated".
Part of the central field of the original flag

One of the surviving shreds shows the central group, the hunter with his spear and the tiger trying to escape from the net in which it is caught. It is much more detailed than most reconstructions show, being painted onto the silk.
Reconstruction of the regimental colours

Doctor James Thacher from Barnstable who knew the troop from many encounters, provides the following description of the soldiers:
 
"They are remarkably stout and hardy men; many of them exceeding six feet in height. They are dressed in white frocks or rifle shirts and round hats. There men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim; striking a mark with great certainty at two hundred yards distance. At a review, a company of them, while in a quick advance, fired their balls into objects of seven inches diameter at the distance of 250 yards [...] their shot have frequently proved fatal to British officers and soldiers who expose themselves to view at more than double the distance of common musket shot."
(James Thacher, "Military Journal during the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783".)


As figures I chose the Perry riflemen. One of them wears a coat. Following the deserter description of 24th July 1776, I painted it as "an old coat of winestone color". The others wear white hunting shirts. Officer, drummer and ensign were borrowed from Redoubt's Line Infantry in hunting shirts. The officer was given a Jäger rifle, of course, instead of his pole weapon. Not a bad change, I think.

The regiment
Ensign and officer (Redoubt)
In case my regiment is regarded too small by my fellow players, I can easily fill it up with men of the Hanover Associators which I painted accordingly.




Stockbridge Indians

For quite some time I had planned to get the group of Stockbridge Indians from the Perries. Ever since I had read the diary of Johann Ewald and seen his watercolour of one of the killed members of this militia of native Americans who fought for the cause of freedom.
Johann Ewald, "An Indian of the Stockbridge tribe", watercolour 1778
Johann Ewald, captain of the Hessian Jäger contingent, describes the members of this semi-civilized tribe who lived in the small town of Stockbridge as follows:

Their costume was a shirt of coarse linen down to the knees, long trousers also of linen down to the feet, on which they wore shoes of deerskin, and the head was covered with a hat made of bast. Their weapons were a rifle or musket, a quiver with some twenty arrows, and a short battle-axe, which they know how to throw very skillfully. Through the nose and in the ears they wore rings, and on their heads only the hair of the crown remained standing in a circle the size of a dollar-piece, the remainder being shaved off bare. They pull out with pincers all the hairs of the beard, as well as those on all other parts of the body.
A company of the Indian troops had been ambushed on August 31st, 1778 in the Bronx by British and Hessian troops, and fifteen of them had been killed. Captain Ewald observed the dead Indians on the ground and painted his picture of them. Furthermore he gives this description:

"After the affair I examined the dead Indians. I was struck with astonishment over their sinewy and muscular bodies. Their strong, well-built, and healthy bodies were strikingly distinguished among the Europeans with whom they lay mingled on the ground, and one could see by their faces that they had perished with resolution.  I compared these Indians with my ancestors under Arminius [Teuton chief who defeated the Roman legions in 9 A.D.], against whom they looked like pygmies to me." 
The gun the Indian carries obviously is a rifle and not a musket. So this may be the portrait of the Indian commander Abraham Nimham or his farther Daniel Nimham who were both killed in the ambush, later known as the Bronx Massacre.
In painting the figures I followed Ewald's description. Here they are: 
The 6 types of Stockbridge Indians by Perry




Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Draft Oxen

Trying to get some cattle (oxen) for my troops I got two draft oxen from Redoubt Enterprises. They have got fixed yokes. So I decided to use them as draft animals and not as victuals. Here they are, pulling a heavy log: