Sunday, October 16, 2016
Maryland-Delaware Light Infantry battalion
The most famous of Greene's units during his southern campaign, the Maryland-Delaware Light battalion saw service during the Battle of The Cowpens and later the retreat to the Dan. After crossing the Dan river the battalion was disbanded and the various companies returned to their parent regiments. A second version of the Light battalion was then formed and it too was disbanded just prior to Guilford Courthouse battle. The service of these battalions at The Cowpens , covering the armies retreat to the Dan river and at the battle at Weitzels Mill are the stuff of legend.
The Light battalion comprised the best and most veteran soldiers and served as the elite of that small army. They were one of the few continental battalions who could stand toe to toe with British regulars. At The Cowpens they captured one of the colors of the 7th Royal Fusiliers; a unique honour.
The make up of the battalion is open to debate. Equally honest historians using similar materials arrive at different conclusions. My proposed organization is my best guess. For the battle of the Cowpens the battalion was made up of one Maryland light infantry company, two Maryland line companies, one Delaware Light company (Kirkwood's) and one Virginian light company.
Reorganized when Greene returned to North Carolina this new battalion was slightly smaller. It was made up of four companies and could be one Virginian company, two Maryland companies and Kirkwood's Delaware company.
The figures for my battalion come from that outstanding line of figures from Fife and Drum. They are wearing regulation 1779 uniforms although they are all wearing overalls. Clothing returns for the period support this view. Since a portion of both battalions were made up of Kirkwood's Delaware company I have painted those figures with that regiment's yellow hat braid. I have found no period evidence the Delaware regiment wore leather caps during this time, but found strong evidence for the yellow hat braid still being issued.
This gives me a second units to play with as I can detach the Delaware figures to operate with William Washington's dragons during skirmishes and raids. When fielding the entire unit I usually brigade them with a veteran militia battalion and a rifled armed militia battalion. Similar to the force Morgan commanded in early January 1781.