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1,108 hits since 18 Apr 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Apr 2018 1:14 a.m. PST

Two pix of both finished bases.


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Frederick Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2018 5:21 a.m. PST

Very nice!

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2018 1:20 p.m. PST

"Hey, mum! Look what I just found up my nose!"

Bill N18 Apr 2018 4:45 p.m. PST

I do like that Highland sergeant figure. Really nice job.

historygamer19 Apr 2018 6:26 a.m. PST

"Hey, big hands, I know you're the one…."

Couldn't remember that song for the life of me till now. In the "Gross Point Blank" soundtrack.

Perhaps it's just me, but I'm not seeing a sergeant. The man on foot on the left wears an officer's sash, but does not appear to have any epaulets. Sergeant's have a red sash with the facing color of the unit in the center.

All officers should be wearing gorgets. Just what they wore while on duty, according to NPS Park historian at Saratoga battlefield.

historygamer19 Apr 2018 6:33 a.m. PST

link

I'm also thinking that perhaps Highland and fusilier officers (and marines) wore two epaulets, but I'd have to look that up.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2018 9:19 a.m. PST

Did you have a good birthday, Jim?

historygamer19 Apr 2018 12:13 p.m. PST

I did, thank you for the kind thoughts. :-)

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Apr 2018 2:29 p.m. PST

Happy B'day, HG. Perhaps it's time to have your eyes checked.

The Sgt has epaulets on both shoulders, as do the mounted officers. I know, as I have the original greens right in front of me. I used Mr. Troiani, as a source for the uniforms of these figures, so I'm guessing he's correct.


The sash you can take up with the painter. Giles is trying. Give him a break. Maybe some day he'll be good at it.

I forget, how many Highlanders were at Saratoga?

In 1777 British officers wore Gorgets.

By 1781, British line officers knew better. If they wanted to stay alive, they didn't. Maybe the High Command wore them, but not the average line officer.
Patriot marksmen were well aware that a Gorget was a prime target.

Have we seen your versions of mounted Highland officers or NCO's yet?
Can't wait to see them.


And I'll speak to Giles about the missing stripe on the sash. I really loathe to correct him, as he shows great promise at figure painting. I've no wish to discourage him.

GiloUK20 Apr 2018 1:23 a.m. PST

On the sash, I painted this figure a while ago now, but if memory serves I assumed it was a sergeant but I found that painting the dark blue stripe didn't work from an artistic perspective. I know that's a cop-out and I hope Bill will forgive the error. Alternatively, I suppose you could treat the figure as an officer who has removed other evidence of rank? I could be mis-remembering – Bill do you have another one with a stripe on the sash?

PS Further to Brendan's suggestion elsewhere, I have a spare mounted officer for you, to which I could add a couple of pipers.

Giles

historygamer20 Apr 2018 4:37 a.m. PST

Please provide your evidence that officers removed their gorgets, as the park historian at Saratoga National Battlefield Park would strongly disagree with your conclusions. He had evidence to back up his point of view, so I'd be interested to hear yours.

My eyes are fine. None if those figures are sporting officer epaulets

historygamer20 Apr 2018 4:39 a.m. PST

By the way, I never said his presentation was just on Burgoyne's army. It wasn't.

historygamer20 Apr 2018 4:42 a.m. PST

If that's a sergeant then why isn't he shown in just plain white lace?

historygamer20 Apr 2018 4:45 a.m. PST

Since the men on horses are sporting blue facing's, what unit are they? If 42nd, their lace should be gold. It's hard to tell from the photos.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 10:37 a.m. PST

Giles Don't be ridiculous. These are the pride of my collection. Don't worry about what some nitpicker thinks.

Bill N20 Apr 2018 12:08 p.m. PST

I did not intend to start a firestorm. The figure is called a sergeant in Bill's website, and that is how I have painted him. I still say he is a great figure, and I intend to add another when I place my next order. If it turns out he would be better suited to be an officer I suspect I can scrounge up the necessary bits to make him an officer.

Giles your painting is top notch. It is far better than I can do.

42flanker21 Apr 2018 10:34 a.m. PST

Is there not a distinction to be made between epaulettes and shoulder straps?

historygamer23 Apr 2018 4:11 a.m. PST

I'm only seeing shoulder straps (sometimes referred to as epaulets as well) on these figures.

Officers' epaulets came in a variety of designs but all had fringe.

I am looking forward to further info about officers not wearing their gorgets in the field. Do you have anything on that or not?

Think of this another way – the officers' positions in line of battle were well known. They still continued to wear the brighter (scarlet) red coats, as did the sergeants. Some officers were on horseback at times. So I'm not really sure what removing the gorget is going to get you, especially considering that, a.) it was unlikely to encounter a rebel rifle unit, b.) not all riflemen were expert marksmen, and c.) the Crown usually fielded more rifles on a given battlefield than the Americans.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 2:28 p.m. PST

Some good points there, Jim, but as the war progressed, I think more and more officers had privates' coats made up for them to wear in the field to prevent wear-and-tear on their expensive dress uniforms. As you say, officers – and especially company commanders and above – would be fairly obvious from their actions/facing on the battlefield.

historygamer23 Apr 2018 2:59 p.m. PST

I'm waiting for some info on that from someone. :-)

historygamer23 Apr 2018 3:00 p.m. PST

Eric says no but I'm anxious to see what anyone has on officers dressing down.

I'd also think any modifications to kit would have to be sanctioned by the colonel.

historygamer23 Apr 2018 3:04 p.m. PST

Period portraits seem to reflect a modified kit but not drastically so.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 6:47 p.m. PST

"Whilst a lot is made of officers removing their epaulettes, gorget, metallic lace, and other symbols of office at the start of the war, it was increasingly the physical damage of campaigning to the expensive uniforms that led them to wear a converted private's coat, leaving the plain crimson sash as their sole badge of rank in the field."

Who said it?


TMP link

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Apr 2018 7:00 p.m. PST

HG I've read dozen and dozens of volumes on the War in the South. I've even produced my own line of figures just for that theater.
I do not recall where I first read about British Officers removing their identifying badge of rank, but it was several sources. Not just one.
May have been "Road to Guildford Courthouse" or "The Day It Rained Militia" or in either of Babits works. I just know that I've read it more than once. I also discussed it with several expert prior to having the figures designed.


Anyone in a military or para military organization will tell you that what's in a manual and what's commonplace in the field, are two different animals.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 6:31 a.m. PST

I am looking for anyone to post a primary source, not what an author "thinks" they did. Primary.

I would love to see it. Not saying it doesn't exist, I'm just not aware of any myself.

SM is likely digging now. :-)

Who were the experts you consulted with? I'm pretty familiar with those in the field myself, given my position in the hobby of re-enacting.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 11:29 a.m. PST

I'm pretty familiar with those in the field myself, given my position in the hobby of re-enacting.

Reenacting is not the same as the real thing. I don't know if you've ever served in a Military or Para-Military organization, but I have. 22 years worth.

And I know what the regs says. I also know that as Commandig Officer, I allowed those regs to go by the wayside in the field.

My point is, that you can't go by manuals and guidelines as an absolute. It's not reality.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

I meant that I know or know of many of the leading uniform authorities on the period.

I'm not saying it doesn't make a certain amount of sense, but I am asking for a primary source and given the discussion, I don't think that is unreasonable. In fact, I'd welcome one.

Do you have any primary (not what some author thinks) source to support your theory?

The theory being that British officers:

1. did not wear gorgets
2. did not wear officer epaulets
3. did not wear their bright scarlet coats (well, okay that is SM's, but you did cite it).

42flanker24 Apr 2018 12:07 p.m. PST

The evidence for amended clothing in Howe's army seems mainly to be for the Light Infantry and the Grenadiers as well as the Guards; mostly for the period 1776-78; also, if we go by della Gatta's painting of Germantown, we see the 40th Regiment wearing cut down coats, too. Others will know more about officers in Burgoyne's army.

For what it is worth, here are some references from Lt William Hale, Grenadier coy, 45th Foot, to his campaign dress and the difficulty in acquiring materials for replacement clothing:

Philadelphia, 20 January 1777-

"six shirts were my Campaign stock, and by unavoidable bad usage they are now barely serviceable for lint. My jacket (an old coat turned) cannot now be resembled to any earthly clothing …"

New York, 14th July, 1778-

"… the arrival of our Army having increased the
price of everything to the most exorbitant rate. I paid yesterday for two yards and a quarter of Casimer and two pairs of waistcoats and trousers of brown linen, without making, lining or trimming, upwards of six guineas."

"Exeter, December 2, 1778-

"…I must beg the favour of you to send the enclosed measures to Ireland the Taylor for a suit of full Regimentals, the embroidery he will see at Plumer's, lined with silk, two epaulets which must not be sewed on,
and the facings of a deep green. To say the truth I have but one coat and an old campaign jacket."

historygamer24 Apr 2018 2:23 p.m. PST

More tantalizing than instructive. Clearly clothes wore out while on campaign. Officers faced a more difficult process of getting replacement clothing as theirs was custom made, unlike the mass produced coats for the enlisted men.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 2:43 p.m. PST

I can't find the actual quote any more, but back in 2004, Christian Cameron directed me to a document in which St Leger berated the officers of the 34th for having plain frock coats made for themselves in (shock, horror!)……blue.

I think Urban's book "Fusiliers" has a reference to at least one officer (I think it was Megan, who was CO in the field for a brief time) in the South having a private's coat made up for him.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

I'll contact Christian and ask him about that. As you know, Burgoyne's army broke a lot of rules. I'll look at the Fusilier book too.

I believe it was noted that some of the Guards officers wore blue coats during the SYW.

Again, I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I am looking for primary sources to document it.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 4:10 p.m. PST

I actually thought that it was common knowledge. Didn't Washington say something about Hunting Shirts being more widely used, because the British were deathly afraid of Patriot marksmen and the British thought anyone in a HS was a marksman.
One would assume Washington was referring to the Officers Corps, rather than line infantry grunts.

It was in that context that I read about British Line officers concealing their rank in order to stay alive.

Morgan at Saratoga had his riflemen targeting officers, so perhaps it started there.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 4:41 p.m. PST

Mythology.

I was wondering when you'd work the riflemen into this. :-)

Funny how he wasn't as crazy about them.

Did you read the new Saratoga book and the section on riflemen?

historygamer24 Apr 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

Funny how common knowledge seems to be lacking any primary sources.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 4:46 p.m. PST

Found this one:
Good enough for you?


To combat the rebel tactic of picking them off in action, British officers commonly toned down their appearance. In the case of the Guards, this process started even before the troops departed for service. Hence one English journalist noted how "[t]he [Guards] officers who are ordered for America are to wear the same uniform as the common soldiers, and their hair to be dressed in the like manner, so that they may not be distinguished from them by the riflemen, who aim particularly at the officers." In America Howe issued a similar instruction to the British and Hessian officers in his army days before he opened the New York campaign. Although British regimental officers would have retained their scarlet (rather than brick-red) coats and their epaulettes and swords, they appear to have stripped the metallic lace from their button holes and hats, laid aside gorgets (and possibly also their crimson sashes), and (like the sergeants) taken up fusils. These sensible measures probably enjoyed some success. After the battle of Long Island, Captain William Dansey reported with relief that the threat the rebel sharpshooters posed was "not so dreadful as I expected," though (as he added later) "such a bugbear were they at first [that] our good friends thought we were all to be killed with rifles." Interestingly, when Simcoe was wounded and captured in October 1779 during the Queen's Rangers' raid into New Jersey, he heard one rebel regret that he had not shot him through the head, "which he would have done had he known him to be a colonel, but he thought ‘all colonels wore lace.'"

Nevertheless, whatever their appearance, British officers would have marked themselves out in action by issuing commands to and encouraging their men. Such was the case with the aforementioned mounted officer with the grenadiers at the battle of Monmouth, one rebel officer having recorded: "I ordered my men to level at him and the cluster of men near him. . . . He dropped [and] his men slackened their pace." An even more striking instance occurred during the storming of Chatterton's Hill, as related by Corporal Thomas Sullivan of the 49th Regiment:

Captain [Lieutenant William] Gore, who commanded the right wing of our battalion, seeing the rebels which we engaged on the right wing were dressed in blue, took them to be Colonel Rall's brigade of Hessians, and immediately ordered us to cease firing; for, says he, "you are firing at your own men." We ceased for about two minutes. The rebels, hearing him, made answer that they were no Hessians, and that we should soon know the difference. . . . The aforesaid captain was killed upon the spot: the enemy in his front took as good aim as possible at him, and directed the most of their fire towards the place [where] he stood, for they took him for the officer that commanded the regiment.

Clearly the rebels singled out and peppered the unfortunate Gore precisely because he drew attention to himself in such spectacular fashion.

Zeal and Bayonets Only by Matthew H. Spring

And that's the name of that tune…LOL

historygamer24 Apr 2018 7:02 p.m. PST

SM – Christian says he is too long out of it to remember. He thought maybe the Haldimand Papers, but wasn't sure.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 7:29 p.m. PST

Nevinsrip:

The quotes provided don't help much as they don't support the discussion, other than perhaps riflemen were overrated by the British initially.

Spring went on to say that most officer casualties seemed to occur when bayonet charges failed to quickly dislodge the enemy and the fight developed into a sustained exchange of fire. Makes sense, especially given the close ranges at that point. Removing a gorget would hardly matter at that range as the officers would be obvious.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 7:37 p.m. PST

Spring's quote is supported by some footnotes but they don't go anywhere as they offer no specifics. Ordering officers to modify their kit (does not say how) shortly before the NY campaign began doesn't provide enough details, especially if and how it was carried out. I would also point out that Clinton didn't own the regiments and their prescribed uniforms, the colonel's did. As later cited in the grenadier battalions, the commanding officers could not order changes to the converged companies' uniforms serving under their command.

Another foot note references Clinton's papers, but I can't find the info on the page cited, though there was an interesting passage on an officer firing a fusil instead of commanding his battalion.

So LOL and sing all you want, the discussion is still lacking evidence of a primary nature. It should be noted too that Spring says the modification he talks about – "How long this practice persisted after 1776 is unclear." (Footnote 17, page 323)

I'm not saying they didn't modify their kits, but I am asking for primary source proof.

As a former soldier yourself, you know that HQ orders stuff all the time, only to be ignored by the men in the field.

Also, Clinton, how commander far longer than Howe, did not seem as keen on the uniform modifications.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 7:38 p.m. PST

It's not about Riflemen. It's about altering the British Officers uniform appearance, which Spring goes to great lengths to describe.

No gorgets. No metallic lace.

You asked for a source and I gave you two. Brendan and Spring.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 7:40 p.m. PST

Primary source. I believe you understand the difference between a primary source and an author's opinion.

I greatly respect SM, but I asked him about this very topic some time ago and he hasn't been able to find anything yet. If this happened on a large scale, one would think it wouldn't be that hard to find.

On the reverse, I would point out that while they generally didn't wear lace, American officers wore officer epaulets, sashes, gorgets, and often carried spontoons. The British forces fielded more rifle units than the Americans, yet apparently there weren't too worried about blending in with the rank and file. Seems counter intuitive to your position.

Still, I am open to any primary source detailing how an officer or officers might have modified their kits. My dog in the fight is for facts – based on primary sources.

historygamer24 Apr 2018 7:47 p.m. PST

SM:

Forgot. Looked up Major Mecan in Fusiliers. Did not find anything. :-(

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 7:53 p.m. PST

I assume Spring has sources for his comments, as he seems sure that the Guards changed uniforms BEFORE they left for America.

Unless you think that he just made that up?

42flanker25 Apr 2018 2:59 a.m. PST

A detailed study of the amendments ordered for the Foot Guards companies being sent out to America was made here:

link

FWIW, John Peebles of the 42nd records the CO of 3rd Grenadier Bn (IRRC) ordering breeches and winter leggings for the whole battalion, so the primacy of the Colonel was not supreme – although I think there may have been a distinction made between upper and nether garments- and the regiment remained a source for materials such as 'Donation cloth' for winter trousers.

As I write, Burgoyne's general orders amending clothing for the New York campaign come to mind.

"As a former soldier yourself, you know that HQ orders stuff all the time, only to be ignored by the men in the field"-

British regiments have always been notorious for ploughing their own furrow as far as they could in relation to regimental distinctions in dress, and officers seem to have delighted in straying from the regulation dress on campaign. However, if a sensible order came down from the General regarding more comfortable and convenient clothing on campaign, why ignore it? Just sayin.'

historygamer25 Apr 2018 6:56 a.m. PST

The Guards description is well known, but not all that clear either.

But here is rather striking proof of what a Guards officer looked like:

link

Note he wears a sash, gorget, and carries a fusil, cartridge box and bayonet belt (his bayonet is mounted on his fusil). He also wears a bright red coat, and has silver twisted cord/braid lining his coat edges. I have seen this painting in person, up close, as it used to hang in a meeting room at Mount Vernon, but is currently on loan to the Rev War museum in Philly.

Point being, this does not exactly (key word there) track with the well known description of the Guards, or the thoughts by some that the offices were wearing EM coats. Likely the reference means they took their lace off, but that perhaps did not last throughout the war either.

Uniforms were issued every year. Likely the officers had to get new clothes that often as well. Where and how often they got them is another matter.

The shift from kilt/breeches to overalls was approved by the government and likely paid for out of the colonel's allowance for clothing. Nothing was free.

Burgoyne's men were suffering from a lack of their annual clothing issuance and were forced to modify based on that. We have no idea how the officers modified their kits.

We know Howe ordered something, but so far I have not seen exact details. I'd certainly welcome that. Clinton, who commanded longer, was not as keen on many of these changes. New troops arrived during the war, along with annual clothing, and did what?

historygamer25 Apr 2018 7:10 a.m. PST

The Guards description is well known, but not all that clear either.

But here is rather striking proof of what a Guards officer looked like:

link

Note he wears a sash, gorget, and carries a fusil, cartridge box and bayonet belt (his bayonet is mounted on his fusil). He also wears a bright red coat, and has silver braid lining his coat. I have seen this painting n person, up close, as it used to hang in a meeting room at Mount Vernon, but is currently on loan to the Rev War museum in Philly.

Point being, this does not exactly (key word there) track with the well known description of the Guards.

Uniforms were issued every year. Likely the officers had to get new clothes that often as well. Where and how often they got them is another matter.

The shift from kilt/breeches to overalls was approved by the government and likely paid for out of the colonel's allowance for clothing.

Burgoyne's men were suffering from a lack of their annual clothing issuance and were forced to modify first based on that. We have no idea how the officers modified their kits.

We know Howe ordered something, but so far I have not seen what. I'd certainly welcome that. Clinton, who commanded longer, was not as keen on many of these changes. New troops arrived during the war, along with annual clothing, and did what?

historygamer25 Apr 2018 7:46 a.m. PST

I would also point out that the Dowdswell painting torpedo's a couple of the assumptions floated in this thread:

1. He wears a scarlet officer's coat
2. He wears a gorget
3. He wears a sash
4. He has lace/braid on his coat (oddly enough, it appears sliver in person, not gold, and is a twisted braid cord, and seem to be on all the raw edgings of his coat.)

Now Dowdswell was not a Lt. Col at the time of the war – I believe he was a Captain. The portrait may be mistitled, refer to a later rank he obtained, or be an acknowledgement of the higher rank Guards officers were afforded compared to regular commissions.

His lack of officer epaulets may reflect he commanded a flank company instead. I'd have to find out about his service record.

historygamer25 Apr 2018 7:50 a.m. PST

Here is a portrait of a Light Infantry officer:

link

Not sure if this will show, but the famous portrait of the 4th officer, with fusil, officer epaulets, gorget, sash, and perhaps lace removed from his coat

link

historygamer25 Apr 2018 8:48 a.m. PST

There are dozens more portraits I could post links to, but you get the idea.

Perhaps someone can post a link to a portrait of what they think is correct, especially since they can't find a period document so far. It would be interesting to be able to read Howe's orders. Perhaps someone can come up with that.

42flanker25 Apr 2018 9:55 a.m. PST

All we can really be sure about from a portrait is what the officer was wearing when he sat for the artist. While certain campaign details might be included; round hat; frock; unpowdered hair, it won't necessarily present a precise image of what the officer wore on campaign, far less adaptations he might have made once on campaign. For instance, the sash or the gorget might (for the purposes of speculation) have been worn for the portrait but not worn later.

I mentioned Peeble's diary entry refs to indicate that the CO of a flank battalion did not necessarily defer to the parent regiments but could make stipulations. Whether there was consultation I couldn't say.

In the case of the brown 'Donation cloth' for winter trousers, I believe that was paid for out of a charitable fund of which Queen Charlotte was patron and shared out among the regiments.

historygamer25 Apr 2018 10:56 a.m. PST

I have provided credible proof of what some officers likely wore in the field. You can question it all you want, but there are some nationally known experts who would disagree with that position.

I'm open either way on the topic, but I'm not seeing any good evidence to support a lot of suppositions on stripped down officers uniforms. At least not yet.

Eric's thoughts are that officers wore epaulets, gorgets and sashes, – which he said go together when on duty – scarlet coat, breeches or pantaloons, fusil (which I kind of question how universal that was).

What is lacking is specific evidence of officers not wearing some or all of these things.

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