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