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"Loyalist units' light cos and pioneers and bearkins, Oh My!" Topic

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18th Century

570 hits since 15 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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MiniPigs15 Jan 2019 3:01 p.m. PST

If many Loyalist regiments raised both grenadier and light companies were most of those companies wearing light infantry caps or bearskins? So, there were units in green jackets with British bearskins!?

Also, were there pioneers for loyalist units?

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 4:22 p.m. PST

So not likely. While all Loyalists regiments generally followed the regular establishment of 10 companies, including one of Lights and one of Grens, most were not raised till 1778 or later. By that time, the British regular units largely put their bearskins into storage. Remember, the Colonel owned those caps, unlike the cocked hat which was owned by the soldier (deducted from their pay).

It is also unlikely that the colonels of the Loyalists regiments would have put out the extra money for bearskins since they likely knew few, if any, of the regiments would be permanent. I'll double check with Todd Braidsted when I get a chance.

Also, the use of green coats was short-lived for most Loyalist units. By the later years of the war, some were put into red coats with blue facings regardless of whether they were royal or not. Or, so I am told by those that man some of the recreated units.

Winston Smith15 Jan 2019 6:13 p.m. PST

Light Infantry caps would be the same situation as bearskins.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 6:15 p.m. PST

They could have been re-purposed cocked hats.

MiniPigs15 Jan 2019 6:32 p.m. PST

Did they put wings on their shoulders?

From the first ever Osprey Men At Arms book, there is both a loyalist grenadier in bearskin AND a light co. soldier in a cap.

Scroll down the page for those plates:


historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 7:01 p.m. PST

Likely their coats came over that way -with wings. I'll look at the link.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 7:07 p.m. PST

My opinion. I think those prints are pretty suspect. I'm being nice. That one of Butlers is laughable. Okay, not being nice on that one. I did not see a grenadier Loyalist.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 7:08 p.m. PST

Oh wait, I just saw it. White hair? Really? :-)

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 7:18 p.m. PST

How old was that book and who was the author?

Winston Smith15 Jan 2019 7:31 p.m. PST

My copy is from 1973.
So, yeah. grin

Author Philip Katcher, artist Michael Youens.

MiniPigs15 Jan 2019 7:31 p.m. PST

Philip Katcher

copyright 1973

Winston Smith15 Jan 2019 7:35 p.m. PST

I can see your point about cutting down the cocked hat.
They were shipped, stacked with flat brims. They weren't cocked until given out. It would be much easier to trim and modify before they were cocked.
Much like the "Saratoga" hats.

MiniPigs15 Jan 2019 7:36 p.m. PST

Why is the age of the book important? Is anyone suggesting that as the years go by we discover things such as the Loyalists didnt use grenadier bearskins?

Maybe the author himself has an opinion now?

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 9:02 p.m. PST

I have great respect for Katcher, but that research has likely been overtaken by now. I wondered about some of the plates, especially the Butler hat, which has been discredited for quite sometime now.

The stuff that is coming out now is just amazing as more stuff moves on line. Todd Braisted is "the" expert on Loyalists info, bar none. I'll ask him.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 11:34 p.m. PST

As the years go by new research often comes to light. Best to use more than one source. Especially if it is from as far back as 1973.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2019 4:35 a.m. PST

According to Todd, the Royal Highland Emigrants (84th) wore bearskins in 1776 and Queen's Rangers wore them in 1781. The King's American Regiment had cocked hats and feathers in 1783, as possibly the 3rd Battalion of DeLancey's did in 1782. He surmises that other Loyalists units had the feathered hats as well instead of the bearskins. Not all Loyalists units had grenadiers. T

Me again. Note that most Loyalist regiments wore red withing a year or two of being formed, not green coats.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

Wow, that really looks like a hurried morning post before heading out the door for work. :-(

nevinsrip16 Jan 2019 7:56 p.m. PST

Words of wisdom:

I would agree with everything that <<historygamer>> has said; it is worth noting that there were a few occasions when the light companies of Loyalist units took part in campaigns in the South, and one famous occasion when they were converged with Regular light companies (16th Foot, IIRC).

It is quite likely that there would have been pioneers, as they would have been essential and there would have been plenty of artisans/craftsmen who could have fulfilled the role. Possibly they were not as prominent as the Regular versions as Loyalist units were rarely in the vanguard of an army on the march, which would have primarily involved the Light Battalions and any cavalry.

Virginia Tory18 Jan 2019 9:43 p.m. PST

My opinion. I think those prints are pretty suspect.

Those are quite old. Youens' work isn't my favorite--his Napoleonic ones aren't that great, either.

There's a much newer Osprey on the Loyalists.


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