Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Rall Brigade 1776

  Prior to their arrival in American the regiments of the brigade were not impressive to many observers.  While the steadness and discipline of Fusilier Regiment Knyphausen was praised, Lossberg's and Rall's  drew unfavorable comments.  Fusilier Regiment Lossberg had the highest number of deserters of any regiment on its march from the capital to the ships;  fifteen men.  This was due to the regiment recruiting an great number of deserters from other countries into its ranks.  This was because of the garrison town it was quartered in which was on the outskirts of the country in a isolated area.

  William Fawcett, who was sent to muster the German troops being sent to American was less then impressed with Grenadier Regiment Rall.  He reported the battalion was inferior to the others he had seen.  The number of recruits were higher then the other battalions because its peacetime establishment was lower.  But he did add, "They are however in surprising forwardness; which is owing to the activity and cleverness of their colonel, who is one of the best officers of his rank, in the Landgrave's army."  While today we remember Johann Rall for the disaster at Trenton few remember him as a outstanding battalion commander.  But how did he get promoted  from battalion commander to brigade commnder?

  Originally  the three regiments were commanded by  Major General Werner von Mirbach.  But after the battle of Long Island a series of unfortunate events fell their commanding officers.  Mirbach suffered a stroke and was sent back  to Germany.  Colonel Carl von Bose who succeeded him also fell ill and left the command.  Next in seniority was Colonel Heringen from Regiment Lossberg who then died of dysentery.  His replacement,  Colonel Borce from Regiment Knyphausen was recovering from wounds.  So Johann Rall, a very junior colonel but excellent battalion commander found himself in command of a brigade. 

  British General Howe, who liked Rall and wanted to reward him for his fine service at White Plains and Fort Washington approved his independent command at Trenton.  Over the very strong objections from Rall's commander von Donop. This led to friction and a lack of cooperation between the two Hessian officers.   And the rest is history

Friday, November 23, 2018

Hamilton: The Musical


  For our thirty third anniversary Janine got us tickets to see the musical Hamilton in Boston.    I have long enjoyed the musical and have listened countless times to the sound track.  It has also caused me to read about this forgotten man.  Rather then a review of the musical (what can I say that has not already been said) I have included a number of lines from the musical.  I hope you enjoy them.

When Lin optioned his book, Ron was relieved that the Founding Father who had the most dramatic and least appreciated life story would finally get his due—even though a rap musical was the last way that Ron had anticipated Hamilton getting it.” 
― Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: The Revolution

“His enemies destroyed his rep, America forgot him.”

"There would have been nothin’ left to do for someone less astute. He would’ve been dead or destitute without a cent of restitution. Started workin’, clerkin’ for his late mother’s landlord, tradin’ sugarcane and rum and all the things he can’t afford. Scammin’ for every book he can get his hands on, plannin’ for the future. See him now as he stands on the bow of a ship headed for a new land. In New York you can be a new man."

"Dying is easy, young man, living is harder"

"I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original."

"There’s a million things I haven’t done, just you wait"

"Most disputes die and no one shoots….."

"The ten-dollar Founding Father without a father,
Got a lot farther by working a lot harder,
By being a lot smarter,
By being a self-starter."

"Death doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes, and we keep living anyway....”

"Love doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints."

“Why do you write like you're running out of time?”

"I am the one thing in life. I can control. I am inimitable. I am an original"

"But my God, she looks so helpless, and her body’s saying, “hell, yes”."

"I may not live to see our glory, but I will gladly join the fight. And when our children tell our story, they’ll tell the story of tonight."

"No one really knows how the game is played, the art of the trade, how the sausage gets made. We just assume that it happens but no one else is in the room where it happens."

"God help and forgive me, I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me. What do you want Burr?"

"How does Hamilton the short tempered Protean creator of the Coast Guard, Founder of the New York post ardently abuse his cabinet post and destroy his reputation? Welcome folks to the Adams Administration!"

"Tens of thousands of people flood the streets,
There are screams and church bells ringing
And as our fallen foes retreat,
We hear the drinking song they’re singing.
The world turned upside down."

"Teach me how to say goodbye."

"America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me. You let me make a difference. A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up."

"I’m just like my country—I’m young, scrappy, and hungry, and I am not throwing away my shot."

"In New York, you can be a new man."

"We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable."

"Your debts are paid cuz you don’t pay for labor, “We plant seeds in the South. We create.” Yeah, keep ranting. We know who’s really doing the planting."

"And another thing, Mr. Age of Enlightenment—don’t lecture me about the war, you didn’t fight in it. You think I’m frightened of you man? We almost died in the trench while you were off gettin’ high with the French!"

“Legacy. What is a Legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see”

“I am the one thing in life I can control.
I am inimitable.
I am an original” “

"Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against or what you're for.”

“I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

“I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love.”

"You're on your own.  Awesome! Wow!  Do you have a clue what happens now?"

"Congratulations. You have invented a new kind of stupid. A 'damage you can never undo' kind of stupid. An 'open all the cages in the zoo' kind of stupid. 'Truly, you didn't think this through?' kind of stupid.”

“No one has more resilience or matches my practical, tactical brilliance!”

"I have never agreed with Jefferson once. We have fought on like seventy-five different fronts. But when all is said and all is done, Jefferson has beliefs. Burr has none."

"Hercules Mulligan I need no introduction. When you knock me down I get the F**K back up again."

"I wrote my way out of hell. I wrote my way to revolution. I was louder than the crack in the bell. I wrote Eliza love letters until she fell. I wrote about The Constitution and defended it well. And in the face of ignorance and resistance, I wrote financial systems into existence. And when my prayers to God were met with indifference, I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance."

"We’re finally on the field, we’ve had quite a run. Immigrants: we get the job done."

"But when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame?"

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Grenadier Regiment Rall 1776

 The Grenadier Regiment Rall had it origins in 1703 when the best men from the various landmiliz (militia) regiments were drawn together into a single battalion.  It was referred to as a Landgrenadier Regiment.  It was  thus not a elite grenadier battalion but a garrison or militia type battalion.  Nor were it's men the tall giants popular mythos thinks of as grenadier.  Callow farm lad made up the battalion rather then veterans. One observer remarked it's rank and file were the smallest of the regiments he had seen. Possibly the average soldier could have been private  Johannes Reiner who  was 17 years old and stood 5 feet 1 inches tall!

  But once in America the regiment saw much active service and distinguished itself.  At both White Plains and Fort Washington the regiment was in the forefront of the fighting.  After its surrender at Trenton the survivors were placed in a composite battalion with members of the Knyphausen and Lossberg regiments and took part in the Philadelphia campaign.  It was later reorganized as a full battalion and took part in the fighting in the South at Savanna and Stono Ferry.  The regiment returned to Germany in 1783.

  Researching the Rall regiment has been quite interesting.  There are no illustration of the Uniform before the American Revolution.  Both watercolors of the regiment date from the 1784 and 1786, after the war.  The 1786 watercolor is most frequently reproduced so that is the Uniform many show.  The earlier 1784 watercolor has many differences but because it was earlier I have gone with that one.

  The uniform was a blue Regimental coat with red cuff and collar and no lapel.  small clothes were buff.  The Grenadier cap had a brass front, red base and blue bag with white lace.  Belts were white but musket slings reddish brown.  Cartridge box black with brass badge and small grenade in each corner.  Officers lace and gorget were gold.

  Figures are from Fife and Drum miniatures.  Regimental colors are from GMB.

  I could not have finished this project without the help of others who happily answered my questions and gave me excellent advice as  well as sharing their research.  On The Miniatures Pages I thank you Fridericus for  sharing your research and setting me straight on the Thalmann and Darmstadt drawings.  And thank you Winston for the good advice.  and two4slashing diverge picture of the reproduction uniform.   On the Fife and Drum miniatures forum Winterfelt have me excellent information and books to hunt down. William19 shared a wonderful print.  I especially wish to thank Ed who stayed with me in this answering my questions and inspire me to look for the right answer. I owe you a beer sir!   Thank you all!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11, 1918

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War.

My grandfather, Edward McNamara from Lexington Massachusetts served with the 101st Regiment (Medical company), 26th Yankee Division in the first world war.  He seldom talked about it, and when he did it was a terrible memory which haunted him.  But  I will always remember his smile when he told me how at 11:00 A.M. on 11th November the guns stopped and he and his friends knew they would live, knew they had survived.  

And as this date is now called Veterans Day I say thank you to my father in law, Aldrich Stevens  who served in the  3rd Ranger Battalion (Darby's Rangers) in the Second World War.  He joined the Rangers in North Africa, and took part in the invasion of both Sicily and Italy.  He could not take part in the Anzio  landing because of his wounds so missed the Battle of Cisterna.  Like my grandfather he too was haunted by the memories of what he saw, experienced and especialy those he lost.   

I remember their sacrifices and hope both have found peace.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Fusilier Regiment von Lossburg 1776

   Arrived at New York city in August 1776 with first wave of Hesse Cassel regiments.  took part as part of Brigade Mirbach at Long Island. Fought at White Plains and Fort Washington.  Took part in the march across New Jersey chasing the Continental army.   As part of the garrison of Trenton on the early morning of  December 26, 1776 the regiment surrendered to American Forces after being surprised and defeated.  Survivors of the three regiments placed in Combined Regiment von Loos  for the 1777 campaign in Pennsylvania.  Fought at Brandywine and occupied Philadelphia.   Returned to New York in 1778 where they reverted to original regimental status of Fusilier Regiment von Lossburg.  The regiment was sent to Quebec to garrison the city but suffered heavy losses at seas in storm and returned to New York 1779.  In 1780 returned to Quebec until returned to Germany in 1783.

Reproduction Fusilier cap.

Regimental uniform was a blue coat with orange collar, cuffs and lappels.  White small clothes.  Fusilier caps with brass front and black bag.  Officers lace was gold.  Figures are from Minden Miniatures and flags from GMB.  Fusilier cap picture is of a reproduction cap.

  In addition I would like to thank Ed from the Fife and Drum miniatures forum.  He was kind enough to share his research  and suggestions with me over the confusing subject of Hesse Kassel uniforms.  Thank you sir!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Towson's battery and U.S. Artillery in the War of 1812

 I have updated and corrected a number of errors in this posting which was previously posted.  Thank you fir bringing these to my attention.

  Nathaniel Towson was appointed a Captain in the U.S. artillery on March 15, 1812. Prior to the war he had served in militia artillery units in Louisiana and Maryland. His first action during the war involved his capture of the brig HMS Caledonia  He quickly gained a reputation for his effective command of artillery.  During the war Towson commanded artillery at the battles of Queenstown Heights, Fort George, Stoney Creek, Chippewa, Lundy's Lane and the Siege of Fort Erie.  His batteries fire during the Siege of Fort Erie was so constant it became known as " Towson's Lighthouse."  His handling of the American artillery at Chippewa heavily contributed the the American victory.

  American  field artillery during the War of 1812 was organized into "divisions"  which is similar to the modern term of "battery” which I will use here.  American batteries consisted of six guns;  either four guns of the same calibre and two howitzers or six guns of not more than two calibres. It should be remembered that the theoretical and actual organization of American field ar­tillery were two very different things. These could and did change from campaign to campaign and battle to battle.

   Gun crews consisted of two types of soldiers: trained gunners and less-qualified men called matrosses. The gunners aimed, loaded and fired the guns while the matrosses assisted by bringing up ammunition or helping to move the gun (i.e. knuckle daggers). Gun detachment commanders were usually N.C.O.'s who supervised the work of the detachment, personally laid the gun, observed the fall of shot and made the necessary corrections. Artillery officers commanded batteries of six to eight pieces or sub-units of two or three weapons. The gun crew for a U.S. 6-pdr. field gun comprised the gun commander, two trained gunners and six matrosses. Howitzers had a similar complement but with four more matrosses.  When additional muscle power was required, it was the practice to take unskilled men from the nearest infantry unit. Visually there was a difference in British and American cannon.  While British and most European guns tended to be cast from brass, American guns tended to be cast from iron.  Iron while heavier then brass lasted much longer and stood up to campaigning better (Birkheimer, William E., Historical Sketch of the Organization, Administration, Materiel and Tactics of the U.S. Artillery.  New York, 1884, pages 260 - 261 for this).  Wooden gun carriages were painted a medium blue.  Iron fittings were painted black to prevent rust.

Rifle men

  Pretty much a must have for your American Rev War army.  The dreaded frontier rifle men in their hunting shirt.

  Although the rifle's accuracy is legendary, it's slow rate of fire and no bayonet for defense posed a number of serious issues.  These are not soldiers who can stand in line.  You have to put them in a protected area (up in trees, in woods) or in a skirmish line.  They are best for causing mischief and snipping away at the enemy.  If you are fighting battles down south they are a important staple and you must have them in your collection.  Also have some regulars with muskets and bayonets close by.  Concerning their role at Saratoga, General Daniel Morgan later write that "My riflemen would have been of little service if they had not always had a line of Musquet and Bayonette men to support us"

Miniatures are from Perry, and very nice fugures, full of action they are.

13th Continental Regiment, part 2

After rushing and posting my pictures of the 13th on line I received a email from an friend.  He pointed out that there was a reference to the 13th wearing brown faced buff coats.  In addition I found a reference in Richardson's Standards and Colors of the American Revolution that the 13th had a regimental color.

   So, what to do!  Naturally this is the type of thing which would only bother myself.  So I have very carefully repainted the coats with buff facings.  A pain in the neck job but one I am very satisfied with.

   Now, as to the regimental colors.  Washington's advice for how colors should be for 1776 regiments suggested a regimental color in the facing color of the regiment paired with a Grand Union flag.   I have two different companies who make flags  kind enough to assist me with this So I will follow Washington's suggestion.  Once I get the correct flag I will post it.

So, here is my reconstruction of the 13th incorporating the better reference materials supplied.  In this hobby of ours we need only please ourselves. But I do like to try and get things right.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fusilier Regiment von Knyphausen 1776

   Fusilier Regiment Knyphausen arrived in New York city in August 1776.  They took part in the fighting at  Long Island, White Plains and Fort Washington.  As part of the garrison at Trenton they surrendered after that battle.  For  1777  the survivors of the Trenton debacle were amalgamated into the  Combined battalion Loos.   This battalion took part in Howe's  Philadelphia campaign, fought at Brandywine and took part in the occupation of Philadelphia.  In 1778 the battalion was restored to their original name.  September 1779 they were sent to garrison Quebec but suffered very heavy loses in a storm at sea which forced them to return to New York.  Again sent to Quebec in May 1780 they stayed there until October when they were returned to New York city.  From there they returned to Germany in 1783.   This ended the service of this hard luck regiment in the American war.

  Uniforms of the Hessian and Brunswick regiments during the American Revolution are a confusing topic.  There is much misinformation and contradictory materials out there.  The contemporary watercolors of the regiments often published are from a slightly later time after the war and may include changes done after the war.  So those of us who paint these fine fellows must do our research and make our best guess.   During the course of painting these fine fellows i have had to repaint numerous details over when new information became available.    If I have made a error in the uniforms I beg your pardon.

  The regiment had blue coats with black lapels, collar and cuffs.  Officers lace was gold.   The Fusilier caps  are based on original caps worn by the regiment.  Drummers are based on information from the end of the Seven Years War.  Drums at that time for this regiment were brass with white cords and Drum rims were black and white diagonal strips.  Regimental colors are from GMB and beautiful little works of art they are. Miniatures are from Minden Miniatures who also do the Fife and Drum range.

  I would like to thank Ed from the Fife and Drum miniatures forum.  He was kind enough to share his research  and suggestions with me over the confusing subject of Hesse Kassel uniforms.  Thank you sir!