Cornwallis' Field force is something of a wargamers dream. You get all the bells and whistles and the really neat stuff with little or no fluff. It is built for that gamer who loves to have the elite regiments. Only the best is good enough! There are Guard regiments, elite line regiments, light infantry, cavalry , artillety, Jagers and Hessian. Due to the small numbers involved you can build this army at a 1:10 ratio without breaking the bank.
Most British regiments will be dressed similar. Red coats with regimental facings on the lapels, collar and cuffs were often cut short. Winter overalls of brown wool were worn in place of breeches. The westkit or vest was of white wool or linen material. The cocked hat or tricon was usually cut down into a round or slouch hat. Belting was whiten buff leather for most regiments except the Highlander. On the right hip was a black cartridge box, sometimes with a brass regimental badge and a bayonet on the left hip. Water bottles or canteens were usualy tin although the Guards had their unusual tubs. A linen haversack held rations and there were a variety of knapsack. Exceptions to this will be listed with each regiment.
17th Light Dragoons
Brigade of Guards:
Arrived in December 1780 and served throughout the campaign. The Brigade was drawn from all three Guard's regiments and their uniform was very heavily modified for service in America. After arriving in South Carolina in January 1781 the Guards were reorganized into six oversized companies of about 140 rank and file each. The first battalion was made up of two battalion companies and the Grenadier company. The second battalion had two battalion companies and the Light Infantry company. The light company was often detached and saw service with Tarleton's British Legion cavalry during the campaign.
Regimental coats were shortened, shoulder straps replaced with blue cloth. The distinctive regimental lace was removed in 1776 but may have been replaced by 1780. Trousers and short gaiters were issued to replace breeches. The cocked hat was uncocked, lace removed, brim cut short and recocked on one side only. The waistbelt was placed in storage and the bayonet standard attached to the cartridge box belt. Haversacks and a water tub issued.
The Grenadiers and Light Infantry were issued a curious hat-cap. This appears to be a visor cap with a bearskin crest. A possible drawing of this was done by Major John Andre on his map of Brandywine. To distinguish the two battalions the first were to leave strips of lace on their shoulder straps.
As the War progressed it appears that the regimental lace was placed back on the coats, and bayonets placed on separate belts. The Guards were also in 1780 issued brown overalls like the rest of Cornwallis' army for the winter.
Light Infantry battalion:
The Light battalion fought at Camden and was destroyed at Cowpens. It often was attached to the British Region and flight with them in many of their actions. It was composed of 2 companies of the 71st Highland Regiment (35+34 ), 1 company of the 16th Regiment of Foot (41), & 1 company of the Prince of Wales’ American Volunteers (40).
Uniforms are a bit of a mystery and since there is little documentation they are a best guess. Presently I field them as British light infantry in short coats, overalls and round hats with black equipment. The 71st had white facings, the 16th yellow and the Prince of Wales possibly blue. If you want more variety you could field them in their regimental uniforms.
7th Regiment of Foot:
The eight battalion companies of about 200 men served until captured at Cowpens in January 1781. By 1780 the regiment was a veteran battalion of long service and were not recruits. The regiment wore red coats faced blue. Although it was very common for most British regiments to wear their hats cut down the 7th may not have done this according to the present reenactment group. If so it would be one way to make the regiment look different from the 23rd. Colors captured at Cowpens.
23rd Regiment of Foot:
This famous regiment numbered about 250 to 300 men and served together with the 33rd throughout Cornwallis' campaign. They took part in most important actions
The regimental coat with blue facings was shortened and brown winter overalls issued. By 1779 the Regiment had placed the expensive Fusiliers cap in storage and wore a cocked, probably cut down like the Brigade of Guards hat. The cartridge box had a badge in brass of the three feathers of the Prince of Wales. The regimental and Kings colors were carried in the south.
33rd Regiment of Foot:
Served throughout the campaign with about 240 to 300 men.The regimental coat with red facings were shortened and a hat similar to the Guards worn. Otherwise same uniform information as for the 23rd who they served together with in most actions throughout the campaign.
71st Highland Regiment:
By 1781 this hard fighting regiment had been campaigning in the south since 1779. The regiment was made up of two battalions. The light infantry company served with the compbined ad hoc light battalion. Both the light company and first battalion captured at Cowpens.
The regiment wore a shortened red coat with white facings. The belting was black and probably A cartridge box rather then a belly box. Overalls were brown wool for winter. The highland bonnet was worn.
Served throughout the campaign with three and six pound guns. Wire a blue coat faced and lined red and yellow lace. Gun carriages were gray with metal parts painted black. May have worn cocked hats trimmed yellow or cut down caps.
A oversized company of about 90 men. Green coats faced and lined red. Probably overalls.
Musketeer Regiment von Bose:
Arrived in December 1780. A large regiment of over 300 men. Dressed in blue coats faced white and lined red. Issued The British brown winter overalls. Cocked hat had white lace and a Red pompom.
British Legion Dragoons:
The most famous of loyalist regiments. Tarleton's dragoons served throughout the campaign and acquired a reputation for ruthlessness. Organized into three troops they numbered between 120 and 240 men. Before Cowpens they took in very large numbers of Continentals captured at Camden. This could account for their poor performance at that battle as many took the opportunity to desert back afterwards. Dressed in short green jackets with black collar and cuffs, buff breeches and the famous Tarleton cap. In summer may gave been dressed in white socks.
British Legion Infantry:
The poor step child if the British legion. Served until captured at Cowpens in 1781. In addition a light three pounder usually operated with the Legion.
Wore a green coat with black cuffs and collar. Waistcoat was also green and possibly laced and overalls. Possible leather helmet or cap or campaign modified cocked hat. Documentation is lacking.
Royal North Carolina Regiment:
Although they marched with Cornwallis' they were usually assigned to guard the baggage. Possible wore red coat faced blue with no lace. There is no documentation for white hats. Although if you want them who am I to say no!