Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Over-the-Mountain-Men and the Battle of King’s Mountain, October 7, 1780

The 26 figures I used for my Over-Mountain-Men are by Conquest Miniatures, a mixture of their “American Colonial Rangers A – D” and “Frontiersmen A & B”. They are beautiful ans detailed skulpts, each an individual character, depicting the men from the backwoods. I really enjoyed painting them! I am aware, though, that they really are French and Indian War figures. Never mind.
The Over-Mountain-Men lived in the Backcountry of Carolina and the Appalachian Mountains. They were strong and tough men in doeskins and hunting shirts, approximately nine hundred of them. They had knives in their belts and long huntsmen’s rifles across their saddle horns. They came from beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, at that time the western edge of civilization, far beyond the King’s authority, whose subjects they were by name. They loved their homes and their families, and were ready to defend them. Being used to lives on a savage frontier, they were willing to face risks and hardships in order to fight off an oncoming and tangible threat by the King’s army in the South under Cornwallis.
The left flank of his army consisted of 900 Loyalist Carolina militia and roughly 100 red-uniformed Provincials from New York under the command of British Major Patrick Ferguson. Ferguson had challenged the rebel militia to lay down their arms, or to bear the consequences. This aroused the anger of the militias from South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia and the over mountain men”, who came from the frontier settlements to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. Their communities had a long history of conflict with the British authorities, who attempted to restrict colonist settlement in the areas beyond the mountains occupied by the Cherokee Indians.  Once the American Revolutionary War broke out the ‘over the mountain men’ were natural revolutionaries.
Most of these men were skilled hunters, woodsmen and above all, "riflemen" who routinely killed fast moving animals to feed themselves. They used their small bore rifles made by the German gunsmiths of Pennsylvania with devastating effect on the Tories. Most were veterans of many years of frontier wars with the Indians and were experts on "tree to tree" combat without rules.
The loosely connected groups of Revolutionaries, commanded by Benjamin Cleveland, James Johnston, William Campbell, John Sevier, Joseph McDowell, and Isaac Shelby, rallied for an attack on Ferguson’s party.
When Ferguson received intelligence of the imminent attack, he thought it better to retreat to the safety of Lord Cornwallis’ army. But the Loyalists were not fast enough. Nine hundred Rebels on horseback caught up with them at Kings Mountain, a rocky hill near the border of South Carolina. The Loyalists who had put up camp on the hill top were surrouded and attacked from all sides by the independently operating Rebel units, creeping up the hill and firing from behind rocks and trees.
Ferguson ordered a bayonet-charge against Campbell and Sevier. The riflemen disappeared into the woods, only shortly after to resume their attack with devastating rifle fire. This pattern was repeated several times. The Loyalists suffered heavy losses. While trying to break the rebel line by a counter attack, Ferguson, who was on horseback, was fatally wounded by a rifle shot and died. His troops tried to surrender, but some Patriots gave no quarter until the rebel officers managed to re-establish control over their men. The Rebels are said to have been seeking revenge for British excesses in the Carolinas. Later they put nine Loyalist prisoners to trial and executed them.
The Tories suffered 290 killed, 163 wounded, and 698 captured. The Patriot militia suffered 28 killed and 60 wounded.
The battle which lasted less than one hour, was a turning point in the Southern campaign. The crushing victory of the American patriot militia over the Loyalists raised the Patriots' morale. And with his left wing destroyed, Cornwallis was forced to abandon the invasion of North Carolina and to retreat to the south. It was the "beginning of the end" of British rule in its former colonies.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Frei-Corps von Janecke

After the Bourgoyne desaster of Saratoga in 1777, where the Hesse-Hanau troops with the exception of the Jaegers had been taken prisoners, Prince William of Hesse-Hanau sent new soldiers to America to fulfil his subsidiary treaty with the English Crown. They were “un Corps Franc d'Infanterie legere” (“a Free Corps of light Infantry”) as the French term used in the agreement calls them.
In the second half of the 18th century a Frei Corps (literally “free corps”) was a separate military unit, operating on its own as light infantry beside the regular troops fighting in close order. Es­sentially a frei-corps was a temporary wartime formation and it was not seldom composed of soldiers of fortune, deserters, and convicted criminals.
Obristleutnant Michael von Janecke from Pomerania
The Hesse-Hanau Free Corps was commanded by Major Michael von Janecke, who had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (Obristleutnant) for his function as commander of this unit. The soldiers and officers were not citizens of Hesse-Hanau but came from all over Europe.
Lt.-Col. Michael von Janecke came from Pomerania, he was about 59 in 1781 when he entered the service of Prince William of Hesse-Hanau. According to the testimony of General Major William Fawcett, von Janecke had served in the Prussian army. This is probably correct, since southern Pomerania had been a Prussian province since 1720. The other officers came from other German states and one from France.
The Frei-Corps von Janecke (1:20)
The majority of the men came from other German states, but there were also 40 Frenchmen, 21 Austrians, 18 Swiss, 14 Bohemians. Danes, Poles, Belgians, Dutch and so on. So they were true mercenaries.
Major Johann Karl August Scheel from Neuhanau in Hesse-Cassel
(The names used are all those of real persons of the Frei-Corps.)
Stabs-Capitaine Tilo von Westerhagen fron Berlingerode
The Free Corps consisted of 22 offi­cers and 808 other ranks, organized in five companies, four of which were designated as “fantassins” (companies of foot), one was referred to as “Grenadiers Arquebusiers”. The latter were riflemen, and received the higher pay of Jaegers.
A full strength company of Musketiers (1:20)
Each of the light infantry companies had an ensign. But we do not know what the colours of the Frei-Corps were like. Surprisingly there are detailed contemporary descriptions of the uniform of the corps.
  • Their Clothing is green, with a red Cape and Cuff upon the Coat: the Breeches reaching down to the Ancles, and there entering into half Boots which they wear instead of Shoes: Their Arms and Accoutrements were compleat and good. One Company out of the Five, of which the Corps consists wear Leather Caps and carry Rifle Barrel Guns, with Bayonets to them, the other four have Hats, and are arm'd with the common Firelock." (General Fawcett, in a letter to Lord Vicount Stormont, Bremerlehe, 4 May 1781)
  • “One Company is armed with a Rifle, with a bayonet on it. The others with Short Musquets and bayonets, and pouches with white belts. The whole in Green with Red cuffs & Collar, and half boots, which lace before. The Rifle Company have leather Caps with their Prince's Cypher in front; the others hats. The Rifle company is a very fine one, and well appointed.” (15 August 1781, shortly after the arrival at New York).
  • A manuscript color chart, also from 1783, states that this corps wore green coats with red facings and had white metal accessories.
Uniform of the Frei-Corps jaegers (corrected drawing)
Uniform of a Frei-Corps musketeer (with corrected half boots)

In an essay on the Frei-Corps by Haarmann and Holst (Military Collector & Historian, Albert W. Haarmann and Donald W. Holst "The Hesse Hanau Free Corps of Light Infantry, 1781-1783," Vol. XV, pp. 40-42) you can find reconstruction drawings of the uniforms. These illustrations are very nice. But in my opinion the “half Boots” are open to debate. I think that the “Breeches reaching down to the Ancles, and there entering into half Boots which they wear instead of Shoes” “which lace before” (i.e. in front) are similar to the breeches and boots worn by Austrian Grenzer infantry. The half boots are called “Schnürstiefel” (“laced boots”) in German . So I corrected the drawings accordingly.
Austrian Grenzer of the Napoleonic period
Premierleutnant Bernhard Zipf from Schlüchtem/Hesse-Cassel
Capitaine Christian Ludwig Graf zu Leiningen from Westerburg

Capitaine Christian von Schelm from Bergen/Hesse-Cassel
As figures I chose SYW Prussian Frei-Corps musketiers and jaegers by Wargames Foundry. The miniatures show characteristic features of Frei-Corps soldiers, I think. Of course I had to do some scratching and cutting to procure them with trousers “reaching down to the ancles”. The half boots I achieved by painting. The Prince’s cypher on the jaeger caps was done on my computer printer and glued on.
The group with the colours: captain, ensign, fifer. and drummer
The company colours (just one example in my corps instead of four) is completely hypothetic, though. I copied the regimental colours of the Erbprinz regiment, and gave it a green colour. I thought this design would fit a light infantry corps.
The company colours with the ducal coat of arms
In full strength this is a rather large corps, each company represented by 8 figures, corresponding with their historic numbers of about 160 soldiers each.
The Foundry figures used are:
SYWP022 - Prussian Frei Korps Musketeers Firing,
SYWP023 - Prussian Frei Korps Musketeers Running,
SYWP028 - Prussian Frei Korps Le Noble Jaegers,
SYWP072 - Prussian Mounted Frei Korps Officers,
SYWP073 - Prussian Frei Korps Ncos And Officers,
SYWP075 - Prussian Frei Korps Command.
The Free Corps was raised in January 1781. It was reviewed at Bremerlehe on 4 May, and arrived in New York, on 11 August, 1781. At that time the war had practically come to a standstill. So the Free Corps saw little, if any, real active service. In New York the duties of the Corps were that of any unit in this garrison — guard duty, patrols, and foraging.
The Grenadiers Arquebusiers or Jägers, here commanded by Capitaine von Schelm
General Major William Fawcett had had a favourable impression of the Frei-Corps when he reviewed it at Bremerlehe. He wrote to his superior:
“The Front Rank, is a fine well-siz’d Body of Men throughout: the Center and Rear Ranks are chiefly composed of young Lads short in stature but healthy and well made – there are also some old Men amongst Them, but upon the whole, they are much better Corps, than I expected to see, and surprizingly set up, and dressed, considering the short time they have been raised.” […] “All the Captains, First Lieutenants and the greatest part of the Second Lieutenants and Ensigns have also been employed upon real Service, and shew’d much steadiness and Attention while under Arms: - upon the whole I was very well satisfied with their Appearance as they discovered a great deal of good Will, and have not lost a single Man by desertion since they left Hanau.”
In reality, however, it was a poorly dis­ciplined corps.
The Hessian Adjutant General noted that almost a third of the men were lost through illness, many were absent from muster, and a number had de­serted. The cause of the high percentage of illness was that “it was due to the filth in which the men lived”, as a physician from the Hessian General Hos­pital found out.
a company of 160 Musketiers (1:20)
Furthermore it was a veritable Frei-Corps concerning the character of the unit: The men were just a bunch of rascals who stole everything they could lay their hands on:
“A battalion of Hessians, commanded by Col. Von Janecke, robbed right and left in defiance of their officers and murdered in cold blood many citizens opposed their designs. It was related that in one instance when Jacobus Montford wounded a Hessian who was robbing his yard and was arrested, the officer dismissed him, saying if Montford had shot the Hessian he would have given him a guinea, but as a general rule the citizens did not escape so easily when they attempted to defend their property from the blackguards who were arrayed on the side of King George and disgraced the cause they were enlisted to support.” (Peter Ross, A history of Long Island: from its earliest settlement to the present time. New York: Lewis Pub. Co., 1902)
Would you like to meet them at night in a lonely place?
After almost two years of uneventful duty in the vicinity of New York, this corps emba
rked in mid-July 1783 and returned to Germany where it was disbanded. Thus ended the ignominious history of this military unit.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The 10th (Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot

Eight companies of hat men of the 10th
The Tenth Regiment played an important role in the American War on Independence, from the beginning up to 1778
The right wing

The centre with flying colours

The left wing

In 1775, the Light Infantry and Grenadier companies were part of the expeditionary force sent by General Gage to capture the arms being stockpiled by the militia in Concord, MA. On that day, the Light Infantry Company was present at both Lexington Green and Concord North Bridge.  Both companies were engaged in the skirmishes, and the desperate retreat back to Boston.
At the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, the Grenadier Company took part in the fateful charges up Breed's Hill towards Prescott's fortified line, while the Light Infantry Company participated in the ill-fated attack along the beach against Stark's men guarding the rebel's left flank. The Tenth also fought in the Battle of Long Island, the Invasion of Manhattan Island, the Battle of Germantown, the Battle at Monmouth Courthouse, and the defence of Newport and Quaker Hill. Its officers and NCOs were eventually sent back to England in September 1778, and its men dispersed to fill up the ranks of different other regiments.
Colonel of the regiment was Lt-Gen. Edward Sandford (from 1763 to 1781).
Let-Gen. Edward Sandford
The figures are from the Perry plastic set American War of Independence British Infantry 1775-1783 (AW 200). They were assembled as advancing at trail arms, as this position was more practical in wooded terrain. I chose a regiment with yellow facings, so they could represent the 9th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 28th, or 29th regiment. The 10th is identified by the number on the buttons and their special lace, too small on the miniatures to be seen. But the drummer’s cap bears the “X” on the back. But as long as you don’t have too close a look, it could be any of the afore mentioned regiments. I also used the colours from the Perry box because they are deliberately left vague in the numbers on the colours, “so they can be used for various regiments” (as the Perry leaflet proposes).
The captain

The lieutenants with the colours
The red coats I painted in different shades of red: scarlet for the officers I achieved with Cadmium Red, madder for the sergeants with Cadmium Red and a tint of English Red, and a brick red for the rank and file with Pozzeoli Earth. The scarves were painted with Carmine.
The drummer was clad in reversed coat colours. I didn't bother to paint the drummer's lace correctly, they are just white.
Rear viewof the whole

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The 42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot at Monmouth

The 42nd Regiment of Foot in 1778
The 42nd Regiment was one of the first three Highland Regiments to fight in North America.
It fought at many battles, among them also at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28th, 1778. They were part of the 3rd Brigade under General Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey.
Storming forwards
When Clinton and Cornwallis, emboldened by the earlier American retreat, decided to press the attack, the 42nd Foot, the famed Black Watch, would lead the way against Lord Stirling on the American left. But a Yankee battery of 12 big guns under the command of Edward Carrington, extending from those on Comb’s Hill, opened on the attacking British infantry, among them the  Highlanders of the 42nd regiment, with such fury that they were forced to fall back. The heavy artillery fire with canister shot and 2 ounce iron grapeshot forced the Scotsmen to take protection in the apple orchard of Sutfin’s Farm. Battlefield archaeologists were able to precisely locate this orchard by the mass of shot concentrated in this spot.
The NCOs
In 1778 the Highlanders were no longer wearing their Highland garb. They looked almost like ordinary British infantry, but for their bonnets, and their officers and NCOs wearing the scarves over the shoulder and not around the waist.
The Regimental Colours
The figures I used are King’s Mountain Miniatures I obtained from Galloping Major. They are nicely sculpted and paint well. The lowered colours, kneeling men, and the types of falling soldiers and the casualty figure fit quite well for the situation at the Battle of Monmouth.
Colonel and Captain
Drummer, Piper and Captain

Monday, 5 June 2017

1st Regiment Ansbach-Bayreuth

From 1769 to 1791 the Franconian principalities of Ansbach and Bayreuth were ruled by Christian Friedrich Karl Alexander Markgraf von Ansbach-Bayreuth of the house of Hohenzollern. The population in the territories amounted to about four hundred thousand people. The Markgraf von Ansbach-Bayreuth was deeply in dept, because of mismanagement, and jumped at the English king's offer to commit 1160 of his troops, receiving £ 100,000 sterling in recompense. In 1791, not long after the war, he sold both Ansbach and Bayreuth to Prussia and lived the rest of his life in England on a Prussian pension.
The regiment (ratio: 1:20)
In 1777 the small army from Ansbach-Bayreuth was shipped to North-America. It consisted of two infantry regiments, a Jägercorps of four companies, a detachment of artillery with four battalion guns, and staff and medical personnel. The first infantry regiment was from Ansbach, and the second from Bayreuth.
Part of the regiment
Officer and NCO assembling the line
The infantry regiments were one battalion strong, each composed of one grenadier and four musketeer companies. The Ansbach regiment consisted of 432 men, the Bayreuth regiment had 412 men. They were always brigaded together. The Ansbach-Bayreuth troops were incorporated into Howe's army in New York, and were part of the Philadelphia campaign. The Ansbach-Bayreuth infantry regiments were also with General Cornwallis at the Siege of Yorktown. Many of the infantry were captured when Lafayette's Light Infantry Division took Redoubt No.10 by night assault on  October 14. The remainder of the Franconian troops surrendered with the rest of the British forces five days later, on October 19, 1781.

back view
The uniforms of the Ansbach-Bayreuth infantry closely followed the Prussian pattern. They wore blue coats with red turn-backs, white small clothes and black gaiters. Their black hats were bound with white worsted lace. The two regiments had different facings; those of the Ansbach regiment were red, those of the Bayreuth regiment black. The hats and grenadier caps of the Ansbach regiment had red pompoms, those of the Bayreuth regiment probably white.
The grenadier caps had a white-metal front. Those of the Ansbach regiment had red backings and a blue headband, and those of the Bayreuth regiment white backings and black headband. The headbands were decorated with grenades following the Prussian fashion.
There is no evidence that Anspach-Bayreuth musicians wore elaborate lace on their coats.
Obverse side of the clours
(Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History)

The colours were made of white damask silk. Their obverse side showed a wreath of a green palm and a laurel branch tied with pink ribbon. They surrounded a crown and the entwined letters “SETCA”. This monogram spells Sincere et Constanter, Alexander, or truthfully and steadfastly, Alexander, which was the motto of the Prussian order of the Red Eagle and the Markgrafen von Brandenburg-Ansbach-Bayreuth. Beneath this appeared the letters “M.Z.B.” which stood for Markgraf zu Brandenburg. Below the wreath we read the date “1775”.
Reverse side of the colours
(Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History)
The reverse side of the unit colours showed the Red Eagle of Markgraf C. F. C. Alexander of Brandenburg and above it a scroll bearing the motto, pro principe & patria, for prince and fatherland.
The regimental colours

I made the blades of the colours with the help of my Micrografx Picture Publisher and the printer.
The result
The cords consist of thin intertwined wire, pained black and white.

I decided to have the first or Ansbach regiment because their red facings looked more impressive than the black ones of the second regiment. For figures to represent my Ansbach regiment I bought a box of plastic miniatures from Warlord Games (Black Powder, American War of Independence 1775-1783, WGR-AWI-03, Hessian Infantry Regiment). The sculpt is precise and fine, the canteens could be more protruding, and cartridge boxes should be larger. But this is a mistake to be found with most “Hessian” figures.
The parts generally fit well, but assemblage is a bit tricky sometimes if the parts are too tiny or flimsy. But if you manage to glue them in their appropriate places the figures look quite well. Their postures are a bit stiff, though – but this becomes a unit trained in the Prussian style. Their size is 33 mm from crown to toe, so the men are a bit taller than the rest of my units which are 28mm miniatures. This doesn’t matter really, as I won’t mix them with other units.
Timothy J. Reese (Uniforms of the American Revolution, 2006) writes that the Ansbach regiment “was in part formed from a Leib (bodyguard) battalion, explaining the officer wearing yellow small clothes until worn out.” I made use of this information and painted my colonel and captain accordingly.