Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Colonel of the 84th Foot

Since my former colonel of the 84th Regiment of Foot had been tranfered to the 71st (where he, being a jackdaw figure, originally belonged) I had to have a new mounted officer for my Royal Highland Emigrants. Here he is:




As I am planning to have my 42nd in gaiter trousers, he might just as well switch to that regiment - the only difference being the green dots on his cap ribbon (the 42nd's were blue). But I'm sure nobody will notice on the table.
By the way, he is a King's Mountain figure.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The 71st Regiment of Foot

Fraser’s Highlanders, as the regiment was unofficially known, were raised by Colonel Simon Fraser of Lovat in 1775 for service in North America. Colonel Fraser, a veteran of the French and Indian War, did, however, not accompany his regiment to America, but a large number of combat-proven officers from the  former 78th Fraser’s Highlanders did.

In contrast to typical British regiments of the time which consisted of 1080 men in 10 companies, the 71st numbered 2340 soldiers organized in two battalions. Upon their arrival in America in the summer of 1776, the two battalions were split up into three smaller provisional battalions of about 500 men each during the New York campaign of 1776. The two Grenadier Companies joined the Grenadier Company of the Black Watch to form the 4th Grenadier Battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Stewart. The other battalions were commanded by several officers in the course of time.

The unit served in both the Northern and Southern Campaigns, and participated in many major battles including the Battle of Long Island (1776), the Battle of Brandywine (1777), the Capture of Savannah (1778), the Battle of Briar Creek (1779), the Siege of Savannah (1779), and Charleston (1780), the Battles of Camden (1780), Guilford Courthouse (1781), and Yorktown (1781). The regiment was disbanded at the end of the war in 1783.

Don Troiani illustration of a soldier in 1776
The Frasers were originally outfitted in proper Highland military garb, surviving records indicating "no breeches" when the regiment was formed. Kilts (and plaids) were probably of standard military tartan, commonly called "Black Watch" today. Pipers may have worn another tartan since they were not officially on the Army's rolls.

Enlisted men wore brick-red coats and officers and non-commissioned officers wore scarlet ones. Uniform coats had white facings and the white metal buttons were numbered 71. The lace for the button holes was white with a red worm for enlisted and corporals; sergeants wore white tape while officers had silver.

As headgear the soldiers wore a blue bonnet with a diced band and red tuft. The bonnet was adorned with a regimental button, black silk cockade and ostrich feathers.

The American climate and lack of re-supply may have led to trousers being issued to these troops. These were already a common sight at the start of the Southern Campaign in late 1778; they may have even been worn during the first year in America, as there is no mention of the kilt in historical records after that.
 
When I decided to have this unit among my AWI troops, I had just bought a number of Highlanders of the extinct Jackdaw Miniatures range. They are old fashioned sculpts for the Seven Years War period I admit. But they are picturesque types that caught my fancy. So I decided to alter them slightly and not to have too close a look at details of their uniforms. I did want to have a traditional Scottish regiment just arrived in the North American theatre of war. So here they are. I hope you acknowledge my pains in painting their plaids and hoses:
The 1st battalion
Command figures
Flying colours
Highland officer with his hound and piper
Rank and file (singly based and companywise fixed on magnetic sheet)
Back view of the battalion
Musicians (mind the clan tartan of the piper)
Painting tartans
Fighting in open order
Scottish furor
The grenadier company
 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Jäger Corps von Creuzbourg

Beside an infantry regiment and an artillery company, and later a Freibattalion, the hereditary Prince Wilhelm von Hessen-Cassel and Count of Hessen Hanau sent a Jaeger Corps to North-America. A small unit of it took part in the Saratoga campaign, but evaded captivity. Later the full strength corps was stationed in Canada. The jaegers seem to have enjoyed the free life in the forests there, as about half of them stayed in North-America after the war, and did not return to Germany.
The uniform of the corps was similar to other German jaeger units, wearing green coats with red facings. But there were significant differences in many details. First of all their turn-backs were green like the Brunswick jaegers'. Furthermore they wore buff breeches and leather gaitors. And all their leather was of natural light brown colour. Minor details were brass buttons and green cockades. Officers' rank was signified by a silver sash shot through with red and blue thread, a silver hat-band, and a silver shoulder strap on the right shoulder. NCOs had silver hat-bands with a red centre, and silver lace on the upper end of their cuffs. Privates had red hat-bands.
The jaegers were armed with short-barreled jaeger rifles of Hesse-Hanau production. These had walnut stocks and brass fittings, an eight sided barrel, and iron rammers with brass ends. The rifle slings were of red-brown leather.
a jaeger rifle of Hesse-Hanau production (over-all length 1.11 m)
As side arms the jaegers carried "Hirschfänger", long hunting knives. Jagers had no bayonets, and were therefore usually accompanied by light infantry or grenadiers. Officers carried swords.
Musicians were buglers. They wore the normal jaeger uniforms,  adorned with silver/red/blue lace on the shoulders, so-called "swallows nests", and around the cuffs.
Unfortunately the Perry figures I used, do not show the right type of horn. It ought to be the "Sauerländer Halbmond" (Sauerland Half-moon), instead of a horn used in par force hunting which the illustrations of Hessen-Cassel jaegers of 1786 and 1789 show.
Sauerländer Halbmond
But altering the figures seemed too complicated for my tinklering abilities. So my Hessen-Hanau buglers must have borrowed their horns from their Hessen-Cassel colleagues.
Another problem could easily be solved (at least to my taste): The Hessen-Hanau Jaegers wore leather gaiters which lasted throughout the war. There was no need to change legwear to overalls, which the existing Perry figures show. I just painted a dark line above the knees and added metal buttons to the gaiters.
The Colonel
The Jaegers
Advancing

On picket duty


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Grenadier Bataillon von Minnigerode

One of the four grenadier battalions Hessen-Kassel sent to America in 1776, was the von Minnigerode battalion. It was named after its commander, Oberst (colonel) Christoph von Minnigerode. He was wounded during the attack on Fort Redbank, and died in  New York on October 10, 1778. His successor was Oberst Wilhelm von Loewenstein.
The battalion was formed of the grenadier companies of the Erbprinz, von Ditfurth, von Lossberg, and von Knyphausen regiments. So there are four different uniforms to be found in the battalion. All wore the typical Hesse-Cassel blue coats, but their facings and mitre caps were different, and the von Knyphausen soldiers had buff and not white small clothes.

There is no contemporary pictorial evidence what their mitre caps looked like, the earliest source, the Darmstadt Manuscript (lost in WW II), dating from 1786. And there are no surviving specimens either in the United States nor in Germany. However, there is the "Buchsweiler Inventar" (inventory), a list of equipment of all Hesse-Cassel troups. The remarks there read as follows (in my translation of the vital bits of information):

Number
Regiment
Description
794
Erbprinz
Grenadier cap: Front plate and headband completely silvered. […] Backing peach-coloured [a pinkish colour], white braids, pompom peach-coloured.
796
von Ditfurth
Grenadier cap: Front plate and headband completely silvered. […] The backing is yellow with white braids, the pompom yellow.
798
von Lossberg
Grenadier cap: Front plate and headband of brass. […] Backing and Pompom orange with white braids. […]
800
von Knyphausen
Grenadier cap: Brass front plate and headband, […]. Backing straw-coloured [“paille”] with white braids, pompom white.

The figures I used are again Black Hussar products, only the colonel on foot and the carpenters are from Minden Miniatures. They are clean and well sculped and paint easily.
Grenadier Bataillon von Minnigerode
(on the right are four extra figures, in case I would need them)
Officer and grenadiers of the von Ditfurth regiment
Officer of the Regiment Erbprinz
NCO and drummer
(they usually stay at the rear of the advancing regiment)

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

2nd Partisan Corps

 
The 2nd Partisan Corps or Lee's Legion was a crack mixed cavalry and light infantry unit of the Continental army. It was commanded by Henry Lee, nicknamed Light Horse Harry for his abilities as a light cavalry leader.
The biggest problem with the unit are their uniforms. This term must be put into the plural form as the unit obviously changed its attire several times.
For example the infantry wore purple trousers and jackets when in the north (cf. Don Troiani's Soldiers of the American Revolution, p.158).
Don Troiani's version of Lee's infantry in the northern campaign
The dragoons were on several occasions mistaken for Simcoe's Queen's Rangers and Tarleton's British Legion who both wore green uniforms.
Lee's Legion cavalry officer by Don Troiani, wearing the green "coatee"
This does not necessarily mean that Lee's horsemen wore green jackets. However, Lee himself, in his Memoirs speaks of his dragoons wearing "green coatees [i.e. short jackets] and leather [buff] breeches".
A painting by Charles Willson Peale shows Henry Lee in 1782 in a buff coat with green facings, gold buttons and epaulette, and black sword belt.
Portrait by Charles Willson Peale, 1782
Seen from a distance, the green facings and the Tarleton helmets could well cause a misunderstanding.
Supply records suggest  that at least some of the unit were clothed in blue coats with red trim and white linen. A picture of an infantryman in "Uniforms of the American War of Independence" by Digby Smith and Kevin F. Kiley shows a short green jacket and buff gaiter trousers for 1780-81.
Smith and Kiley infantryman of 1780-81
Keeping all this in mind I decided to have my dragoons in buff faced green, and my infantry of the corps in green "coatees" with black facings and buff trousers. One of the officer figures by Perry is wearing a long coat with turn-backs. So he got the blue faced red outfit that an officer is reported to have had made for himself. He could well be the courageous lieutenant Manning.

Lieutenant Laurence Manning of the legion's light infantry.
Portrait by John Trumbull
(Yale University Art Gallery)
Dragoon by Don Troiani in the uniform I chose for my horsemen
Supposed guidon of Lee's dragoons
  
Still the whole unit kept some kind of uniformity. I paid tribute to this. Only the infantry officer is wearing a blue coat faced red.
Legion cavalry
Officer, trumpeter, ensign
Horsemen
And the infantry arm:
Legion light infantry
Officer in blue and red
NCO
Rank and file




Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau

It is rather intriguing that there were two Hessian regiments with the name "Erbprinz" (hereditary prince). One regiment is from the landgraviate of Hessen-Cassel. The ruler of that state was Landgraf Friedrich II. The other regiment was from Hessen-Hanau which was ruled by his son Graf Wilhelm who succeeded him as Wilhelm IX of Hessen-Cassel in 1785. Both rulers supplied troops for the British Crown, Hessen-Hanau only one regiment of infantry, a company of artillery, a corps of jaegers and - a bit later - a "Freicorps". The infantry regiment was named "Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau". This is my regiment. It consisted of five companies of musketiers, and one flank company of grenadiers. The artillery company manned the regimental guns.
We know quite well what the musketiers looked like. A captain of the regiment, Hauptmann Friedrich Konstantin von Germann painted a number of watercolours when in captivity, leaving us also a portrait of a musketier of his own regiment. He should have known what they looked like, shouldn't he?
Musketier of Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau
Like the uniforms of the soldiers of his father Frederick, the uniforms of William's little army followed the Prussian model, as can be seen. The main difference is that his men wore halfgaiters reaching up to the knee, not full gaiters.
On the Perry website you can find a substantial article on "German Troops in the Saratoga Campaign" by Brendan Morrissey. There the uniform is described in detail.
One problem remains to be solved though, and that is the question of the grenadier caps. Let's begin with the terms used to describe them:
Hesse-Cassel grenadiers - though following the Prussian example - had metal headbands of the same colour as the front plate. The Prussian caps had textile headbands. This can be studied at the website of the Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin (http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php?seite=6&fld_3=Grenadierm%C3%BCtze&exakt_fld_6=3&suchen=Suchen)
Hesse-Hanau grenadiers caps followed the Prussian pattern more closely, so their headbands were of textile material, probably of the same colour as as the backing.
It is not easy to find correct representations of the regimental colours. Morrissey gives a correct description, after which I produced my models.

Leibfahne of the regiment
 
Regimentsfahne of the regiment
The grenadier company consists of 6 figures because this company was a bit stronger than those of the musketiers. The splendid uniforms offered some intriguing painting.
The whole Infanterie Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau

The drummers
Regimental Artillery
 

Artillerie-Kompanie von Pausch