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"Queen’s Rangers Highlanders: “The tartan is McNabb”" Topic

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926 hits since 12 Jun 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Winston Smith12 Jun 2018 3:38 p.m. PST

From one of my first and favorite uniform books, the Company of Military Historisns.


This may end up just a link.
This shows the Highland Company of the Queen's Rangers wearing a red plaid. The comment in the note says "The tartan is McNabb."
Where did they get that information? Every source I've read after that gives them the Government sett.

I bought a few bags of Old Glory Queen's Rangers to do some nasty raids down South. I will have at least 12 of them. I would really like to do the red plaid. Just because. I just want a tiny sliver of justification.

Is it also possible they could have worn no kilt, but trousers like the Kings Mountain lads?

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2018 5:31 p.m. PST

Was there even a McNabb tartan at this point in time? As you pointed out in another thread, tartans were associated with regions or districts – not individual clans – until the mid-nineteenth Century.

Winston Smith12 Jun 2018 6:56 p.m. PST

That's a very good point!

Redblack12 Jun 2018 8:49 p.m. PST

The Topic was discussed earlier on TMP

TMP link

TMP link

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2018 10:08 p.m. PST

That's a rabbit hole that goes deep. Mine are Government sett and that's that for me. I have that book and I just assume they were wrong and there was footnote.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2018 2:40 a.m. PST

I think those two earlier threads pretty well cover it. The factual points made there aside, as Extrabio points out, a so-called 'McNabb' tartan in the AWI period is improbable.

There is a Raeburn portrait from 1802 of The MacNab (Francis MacNab, 16th Chief of Clan MacNab).

His plaid of bright russet-red sett may simply have been the extravagant laird's personal choice, and is no evidence of a 'clan tartan.' (In relation to the claim for the Queen's Rangers, it may not be a coincidence that he wears a green doublet).

Producing quantities of that colour plaid from local dyes would have been a task and better quality dye would have been expensive. It seems even less likely that any amount of that cloth would have available in the colonies in the 1770s- let alone be chosen for wear by a ranging company!

spontoon19 Jun 2018 10:14 a.m. PST

Read my post in the above listed earlier thread. The Queen's Ranger's Highland company probably received tartan cloth intended for the 3rd. batt'n. 71st. which was interned. The same source for kilts for the North Carolina Highlanders. Government Tartan.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2018 2:32 p.m. PST

Spontoon, it seems the 71st were temporarily re-arranged into 3 smaller battalions after their arrival in New York, but it was formed as a regiment of two battalions.

About 200 men and offrs of each bn. had fallen foul of American privateers en route from Scotland or came to grief on arrival in Boston harbour; about 400 out of a regiment that mustered about 2000 in Glasgow.

However, the regiment was also reduced by sickness after arriving in New York. This together with the fact that the new recruits in the regiment had received next to no training meant that, after Long Island, the 71st Bn coys did not see much 'front line' service until they went southwards in 1778.

As for The Queens' Rangers question, Captain Smyth's successful recruiting of loyalists on the march from Head of Elk in August/September 1777 allowed the corps to make up losses after Brandywine Creek and led to the formation of what became the Highland company of the Queen's Rangers under Captain Mckay, made up from Scots already serving and from newcomers. Simcoe says it was "furnished with the Highland dress, and a national piper," but doesnt say when.
Perhaps it was at a later point in the war.

Given the fact that the 71st were sent back to New York soon after the occupation of Philadelphia, not to mention the stripped down nature of Howe's army and problems of supply that endured unto the following spring, I wonder how easy it would have been seem to find a company's worth of issue plaid cloth going spare any time soon in the autumn of 1777.

Winston Smith19 Jun 2018 3:10 p.m. PST

The "safe" thing to do would be to get Kings Mountain Highlanders, give them a green coat and overalls. I suppose. The bonnet is certainly Highland dress. Possibly the jacket from the QR too.

The red kilt and green jacket looks cool.

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2018 7:35 p.m. PST

Sometimes, a guy just has to go with the ‘cool' and be happy about it. You are painting for you.

Winston Smith19 Jun 2018 8:41 p.m. PST

A piper, eh?
Yup. I can handle that too. evil grin

I just hate diced hose. We hates that, Precious!

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2018 11:01 p.m. PST

They weren't much fun to march in, either. Why do you think they went into trousers so readily!

spontoon23 Jun 2018 10:47 a.m. PST


Keeps the mosquitos off!

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