Monday, March 30, 2020

Projects for April

  For April I have a number of projects on the table.  Too much free time is giving me planning ideas and also time to finish a number of tasks I wanted done.  What am I working on?

  As anyone who visits here knows I am fascinated with the American Revolution period.  Especially the events of  1775 and 1776.  During my time with the National Park Service I was able to do considerable research and some writing.  Most of these papers did not see the light of day as management was not interested in them.  So I will be sharing them here.  These include a couple first person accounts that few have used, a research paper on the British dead buried at Concord Bridge and a visit to sections of the April 19 Battlefield. How about two individuals during the fight who are describing the same incident from both of their points of views.   Little about wargaming but I hope interesting reading.

   Painting figures will see a return to the  1776 Continental Line regiments.  The new Brigade Games figures I got include individuals wearing the 1775 New England Bounty Coat.  I bought a number of these to be mixed with figures in regimental uniforms and a few in civilian clothing to create a better interpretation of a 1776 regiment.  I think these will be fun to do.

   In preparation I have written up my research notes on 1776 uniforms. Possibly more details them you need!  I hope these notes will be of help to other gamers.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Pennsylvania State Battalion 1776

   The Pennsylvania Battalion of Rifles and the Pennsylvania Battalion of Musketry, were raised in February 1776.  In the next few months nearly one thousand men enlisted.  They were organized into two battalions of riflemen commanded by Colonel Samuel  Atlee and one battalion of musket men commanded by Colonel Samuel Miles.

   Sent to New York city to join the main American army under General Washington they arrived On 11August and were assigned to the brigade commanded by Brigadier Lord Stirling.  During the Battle of Long Island (27August 1776) the battalions were decimated. Colonels Atlee and Miles were captured and the three battalions were consolidated into a single battalion under Colonel Daniel Brodhead and now revered to As the Pennsylvania State Battalion.  As such they campaigned with Washington's army and fought at Trenton and Princeton.

  I have depicted this unusual unit as the consolidated State battalion.  To create this  I have used a mixture of different figures from Old Glory,  Fife and Drum and RSM.  I hope this gives it the right look.  Uniform details are also very mixed.  The Rifle battalion had blue faced white coats, white waistcoat edged red. They wore black caps marked "PR" or hats.  Lead colored hunting shirts are also mentioned.  My guess (opinion only ) could have been officers in uniform and riflemen in hunting shirts.  But this is only a guess on my part.   The musketeers battalion had blue regimental coats faced red, white waistcoat and buckskin breeches, hats bound yellow.  returns from the State Battalion suggested blue regimental coats faced red with white small clothes.

  Figured are from a wide variety of manufacturers.  Old Glory second edition, RSM miniatures and Fife And Drum miniatures.  They all look good together.  See if you can pick them out in the pictures! 

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

3rd Pennsylvania Battalion 1776

  The 3rd Pennsylvania Battalion was raised December 1775 in Philadelphia.  Commanded by Colonel John Shee the battalion was assigned to the main army under General Washington during the summer of 1776.  As part of the garrison of Fort Washington the battalion surrendered after a gallant fight in November 1776.  The survivors were reorganized into the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment  in 1777.

   The original uniform consisted of a Brown regimental cost faced and lined white, buckskin breeches and white vest.

For figures I am using Old Glory miniatures second edition.  Rather then cocked hats I put them in round hats as they were a very common field modification done by both sides during the war.  As they were cast in gaitered overalls I went with that rather then repaint them.  Regimental colors were found in the internet .

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Uniform of the Delaware Battalion 1776

Charles Lefferts illustration.

Company of Military Historian plate.

  What was the uniform worn by the Delaware Battalion in 1776?  Traditionally, our view of it is based on the illustration by Charles Lefferts in his book "Uniforms of the American Revolution."  A regimental coat faced and lined red, white waistcoat and buck skin breeches with shoes and gaiters.  Lastly, a leather cap with the seal of the Colony of Delaware and the words "Delaware Regiment" crown the uniform.  Later, the Company of Military Historians issued a uniform plate based on his work.  This has been our traditional view and one that is time honoured.  But is it correct?  What documentation do we have? 

   On 13 January 1776 the Delaware Committee of Safety suggested recruits  " allowed instead of a bounty, a felt hat, a pair of yarn stockings and a pair of shoes." Much later there was another suggestion by the same body that recruits receive " 1 regimental coat, 1 jacket without sleeves, 1pair of buck skin breeches or 2 pair woolen or linen ditto, 1 hat or leather cap, 2 shirts, 1 hunting shirt, 2 pair overalls, 2 pair stockings, 2 pairs shoes and 1 blanket." There is no indication of these were followed or actually issued to the men.

  What was issued to the battalion?  We know Colonel John Haslet, the first commander of the battalion recorded in his account book that the government be charged  for "688 hats for soldiers as bounty at 8/274.4".  In addition the colors and drums of the battalion were made by Plunket and Fleeson  of Philadelphia.  They also made the drums and colors for Captain Thomas Rodney's Dover Light Infantry company in 1775.  While no illustrations of the colors or drums are in existence we know the flag carried by the Dover Light Infantry was green with a white field and red strips.

  There was one deserter from the regiment in 1776 that gave us a written description of the uniform.  Corporal John Eashom deserted  in May 1776.  He is described as wearing a  "blue regimental coat turned up red, with yellow buttons and a white broadcloth jacket and breeches." Another deserter in early 1777 appears to be wearing a similar uniform. A deserter from Captain Samuel Smith's company on 18 February 1777 is described  as wearing the old uniform " old felt hat, deep blue coat with metal buttons marked "DB" and a old pair of buck skin breeches. ".   Finaly, a  Hessian officer described the regiment as wearing a "blue and red coat."

  An unusual but interesting suggestion for the uniform comes from the Delaware currency .  A four pence note, printed in May 1776 had a soldier wearing a regimental coat, breeches and spatterdashes.  The waistcoat is cut straight across with a cloth belt.  The headgear is a round felt hat cocked up on the left side.  Could this be a illustration of a soldier of the Delaware Battalion?

  Based on this information we can come up with a good view of how the battalion looked in 1776.  They wore a blue regimental coat lined and faced red.  A white waistcoat with either buck skin breeches or wool or linen breeches or overalls.  But what of the head gear?

Reenactor wearing reconstruction of possible cap.

  Documentation for the cap shown in so many illustrations is scarce.  The modern recreated unit wears this cap.  Modern interpretation of the cap seem to come from Charles Lefferts illustrations.  But these were published after Lefferts death so we do not know where he got his information about the cap.  There is a cap in existence that was offered to the Delaware State Museum.  This cap was examined by  State authorities.  They found a name of a late 19th/ early 20th century Philadelphia manufacturer imprinted inside the cap.  The cap was made of "Fabricoid" a synthetic fabric invented in the 20th century that resembles leather.  Since it was obviously a modern reconstruction it was rejected from the Museum.

  Various individuals writing about the cap place great store in the painted seal on the front of the cap, both individuals  for and against the cap.  I do not understand why this is important.  Both sides cited positives and negatives about what is depicted.  To my mind the most curious part of the seal is the name Delaware Regiment on it.  All period writing use the name Delaware Battalion.  The buttons of the battalion are marked "DB" in 1776.  Later, the new unit in 1777 was called the Delaware Regiment and buttons were changed to "DR".

Modern painting showing the battalion in felt, round hats and color based on Dover Light Infantry flag

  I think the evidence for the cap is very thin.  The suggestion of a hat or cap for recruits leaves the door open for the possibility there might have been caps issued, possibly to a light infantry company.  But I could not see in the organization of the battalion if a light company was authorized.  On the other hand felt hats are most definitely mentioned as worn and we know they were purchased for the battalion.  The money printed for the colony that show a soldier in a round hat is interesting.  These were very common during the period.  The later 1777 regiment wore hats with yellow edging rather then the usual white.  I have found nothing mentioning this in 1776.

  For my collection I will field the Delaware Battalion in felt hats for 1776, either cocked or round depending on the figure.  I feel based on the available evidence this is the most correct interpretation.  But I will not fault any gamer who fields them in caps.  In this hobby one looks at the evidence and draw your own conclusions

For additional information and reading I highly recommend the following books and articles.

Philip Katcher.  Uniforms of the Continental Army.  December 1981.

 Donald Londahl-Smith. "Notes Concerning the Uniform of the Delaware Battalion in 1776" 
Company of Military Historians Spring 1967

Mark Zlatich.  General Washington 's Army (1): 1775 - 78

Sunday, March 15, 2020

‘Come on my brave Fusiliers!’ 15 March 1781

Guilford Courthouse 15 March 1781
Along the first line:

  " As at Camden, the British went forward as soon as they were in line. Captain Peter led the 23rd on as acting commanding officer, with the regiment effectively in two wings under captains Saumarez and Champagne. As they went forward, one of them noticed the ‘field lately ploughed, which was wet and muddy from the rains which had recently fallen’.

On they trudged towards the fence that marked the end of Hoskins’ cornfield and the beginning of the woods to the fore, observing as they grew closer that the rails were lined with men. MacLeod’s cannon opened fire, sending their ball whooshing into the American lines. Colonel Webster, on horseback, trotted to the front of his brigade and called out so that all could hear, ‘Charge!’ The men began jogging forward, bayonets fixed and muskets levelled towards the enemy. A crackling fire from their left, Kirkwood’s riflemen, began knocking down a redcoat here or there, but did nothing to check their impetus.

When the British line was little more than 50 yards from the North Carolina militia everything seemed to stop for Serjeant Lamb: … it was perceived the whole of their force had their arms presented, and resting on a rail fence … they were taking aim with the nicest precision. At this awful period a general pause took place; both parties surveyed each other for the moment with the most anxious suspense … Colonel Webster spurred his horse to the head of the 23rd and bellowed out, ‘Come on my brave Fusiliers!’ Some of the Americans started to run, but most held on for a moment; there was a rippling crash of American musketry when the redcoats were at optimum range, 40 to 50 yards away. Dozens of Webster’s men went down as the musket balls cut legs from under them or smashed into their chests. Lieutenant Calvert worried for an instant how his men might react to such a heavy fire: ‘They instantly returned it and did not give the enemy time to repeat their fire but rushed on them with bayonets.’ Captain Saumarez noted with pride, ‘No troops could behave better than the regiment … they never returned the enemy’s fire but by word of command and marched on with the most undaunted courage.’..."

Quote from;
Fusiliers:  The saga of a British Redcoat Regiment in the American Revolution  by Mark Urban

Friday, March 13, 2020

The German Battalion 1776

  All too often when we research the history of our miniature regiments they are tales of heroic endeavors.    I am happy to state that this time, for this regiment that is not true.  The German Regiment was one of the worse regiments of the Continental army.  Described as "weak and imperfect" the battalion had disgraced itself in battle and  mutinied twice before being disbanded in 1780.  These were not the fault of its rank and file soldiers, but of its officer corp.

  When the British army, due to man power shortages hired German mercenaries the American colonies were outraged.  In retaliation a regiment of native born Germans was raised.  Recruited in Maryland and Pennsylvania the German Regiment was authorized in May 1776 as an additional Continental regiment.  Nicholas Haussegger was appointed as its first colonel and George Stricker it's Lt. Colonel.  Both men were at the center of the regiments first problems.

 While in barracks in Philadelphia in September 1776 lt. Col. Stricker ordered half rations for the men of the regiment who were not assigned to work details.  When men on the parade ground voiced displeasure Stricker called out armed soldiers and threatened to have the fire on the so called mutineers.  This did not change the situation and tempers simmered.

  Along with the 1st Continental line regiment (rifles) the German regiment was part of General Matthias Alexis Roche de Fermoy's brigade in late 1776.  They took part in the first Battle of Trenton.  Near the end of the battle the men of the regiment were heard to call out to the Hessians to surrender in german. 

  On New Years day Fermoy was sent to delay the advancing British.  His command was made up of his brigade ( German regiment and 1st Continental), Scott's Virginia brigade and two six pound guns.  After stopping the advance guard,  Cornwallis brought up heavy reinforcements the next day.  Fermoy, possibly under the influence of alcohol deserted his command.  In addition Haussegger and a number of his men contrived to get himself captured.  The regiment was said to have "disgraced itself." While a prisoner of the British Haussegger turned traitor and went over to the British side.

  During 1777 and 1778 the German regiment fought with the 1st Virginia brigade.  They served at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth.  In 1779 they saw service under John Sullivan in his expedition against the Iroquois.  During that year the regiment mutinied again.  This time about what it considered unfair enlistments.  Transferred out of the expedition, the regiment was disbanded in January 1780.

  For additional information I would recommend this outstanding article by Jack Weaver;

"Weak and Imperfect:” The German Regiment of the Continental Army

  Uniform wise there is very little documentation.  Nothing for 1776 is known.  Because of this I have  fielded them in hunting shirts.  A common and inexpensive uniform option. Besides, The new Old Glory miniatures Figured in hunting shirt looks very nice. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

1st Pennsylvania battalion 1776

  Sometimes you paint certain regiments for historical reasons.  They fit a historical order of battle or were for a particular battle.  But no, not this time.  I painted this regiment only because I really like the uniform.  Back when I first found a copy of Charles Lefferts Uniforms of the American Revolution his watercolor of the 1st Pennsylvania Battalion 1776 jumped out.

   Only later did I find out he made a error.  While he thought the uniform was a brown coat faced buff, it most certainly was brown faced green.  A very unusual combination but one that is very attractive.  So I just had to paint this regiment.

   The 1st Pennsylvania Battalion raised in November 1775 and commanded by Colonel John Bull.  In 1776 Colonel John Philip Dr Haas assumed command.  Under this officer the battalion saw service with the main army under Washington including fighting 1st Trenton and Princeton.  On October 25, 1776 the regiment was redesigned the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment.

  The figures are all Old Glory miniatures, second edition.  These are a great improvement in the original figures.  The regimental colors were photocopied off the internet.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

More Continental line Infantry

  Next up on the painting table....more Continental Line Infantry!

  These will be for Stirling's and Fermoy's brigades during the e meme and winter of 1776.  I have changed the 1st Pennsylvania for the 3rd as I wanted the brown faced green uniform.   Otherwise here are the units with the brigades;  Delaware Regiment (Blue faced red with round hats), 1st and 5th Pennsylvania battalions (Brown coats faced green and faced red, mixed hats), the Pennsylvania Rifle/Musket battalion (Hunting shirts and coats Blue faced white),  the German battalion (Hunting shirts) and the 1st Continental Regiment (green hunting shirts).

  Figures are second edition Old Glory miniatures.  They come in regimental packs of 30+ figures.  And with a Old Glory Army card are very cost effective.  These are all second edition miniatures and a great improvement in the original miniatures.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

"Men who are Determined to be Free": The American Assault on Stony Point, 15 July 1779

The Battle of Stony Point was a  exciting but forgotten battle of the American Rev War.  A  little midnight July 16, 1779, the American Corps of Light Infantry overran the British position at Stony Point on the Hudson River. In twenty-five minutes American forces captured over 500 British troops, fifteen artillery pieces, and over 100,000 continental dollars’ worth of goods. It was a victory celebrated at the time and made General Anthony Wayne's reputation.  But today few but enthusiastic buffs know about it.  Sadley, fewer have taken the time to write about.  But those that have have done outstanding works and include Don Loprieno’s The Enterprise in Contemplation: The Midnight Assault on Stony Point, and Henry P. Johnston’s The Storming of Stony Point on the Hudson. Because these are difficult to find books the reading public has had a difficult time finding good material to learn about this fascinating battle.  "Men Who Are Determined to be Free" corrects this and provides the reader with a handy reference to this battle.  

      The author begins his coverage of the by describing the strategic situation in 1778. While this may feel somewhat unnecessary to some. I think it relates  the battle to the time and explains why both sides operated  as they did.  It explains the creation and development of the American Corp of Light Infantry.  It also tells the tale of how Anthony Wayne was picked for the assignment, and why he may have been the most experienced man for the job.  Lastly it explains the strategic and operational constraints that Sir Henry Clinton and the British were under.  Already the French alliance with America was hovering a effect.  British troops were being striped away for operations elsewhere and Clinton just did not have the manpower sir William Howe once had.  Not did he have Howe's operational freedom.

   The book contains a good amount of pictures, including many of the modern  battlefield. Throughout the book the reader can follow operations by the numerous maps.  Unlike many military history books this one does contain many useful ones.  Both the author and the publisher should be transistor this.

   Lastly, the book is a very good read and full of ideas for a miniature battle.  The details of night fighting and the confusion it causes is discussed.  How to translate this to the table top is another matter and one I have been working on for Refighting Lundy's Lane.  

Monday, March 2, 2020

Stone Walls

  It is the little things you add to your table top that brings it alive.  It is also terrain features which add tactical nuances to a scenario.  Fences, both wood and stone are common terrain items for my Rev War and War of 1812 battles.  I have plenty of split rail fences I picked up at Cold Wars many years ago.  Now I needed some stone walls for my terrain.  This is especially true as I want to fight Pell's Point later in the year and they play a prominent role their.

  I picked up a bunch of stone walls on Amazon recently.  Three pieces with gates and thirty straight wall pieces.  At about six inches per wall, that is a bunch of walls!  But, like books, beer and ammunition you can never have too many walls.  These were paid for by a gift card I got from work as a reward for a job well done.  Or at least customers who wrote to the company thought I had done a good job.

  These come unpainted so first thing I did was prime them in a flat black.  A quick dry brushing  of grays and Light tan and presto!  Ready for the table top.

  In New England stone walls are everywhere.  It's a very rocky geologic area.  Farmers will tell you there are two harvests each year. In the spring you get rocks.  In the fall you get more rocks and sometimes a few vegetables.  What do you do with all those rocks?  Build walls!  You line the road in front of your house with them.  Otherwise in wet weather horses and wagons looking for good traction come up on your property. Soon your front yard is now part of the riad!   You build walls to mark your land boundaries. France make good neighbors.   You wall in your crops to protect them from the wondering animals.  Walls are everywhere and super useful both in real life and on the table top.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

St. David's Day

   1st March 1775;  This being St. David's Day the officers of the 23rd Regiment, or Royal Welch Fusiliers, dinned together according to the custom.  All the General & Staff Officers, the Admiral, and several other person's were invited to dine with the Regiment...."
From the diary of Lieutenant Frederick MacKenzie.

   The "custom" was on each Saint David's Day following dinner the regimental goat with the drummers and fifers are led around the mess table.  The drum major has a silver plate with raw leeks and the mess sergeant carries a loving cup filled with champagne. They halt by the newest joined officer who then stands on his chair with his left foot and places his right foot on the table and eats a leek while the drummers play a continuous roll.  Once he has consumed the leek he is handed the loving cup and before drinking toasts "And Saint David!"  All present who have not eaten a leek, including guests are expected to do so. Similar ceremonies occurs in the sergeants and the other ranks mess.  This custom, described as "ancient" in 1775  is still observed in peace and during war time up to the present time.