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"Capt Lullum Batwell, 46th Regt. LI coy," Topic


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336 hits since 9 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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42flanker Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 5:21 a.m. PST

I thought members of the message board might be interested to see this portrait 'provisionally identified' as of Captain Lullum Batwell of the 46th Regiment of Foot which was painted after his return from service in the American War of Independence in 1780. I had my attention drawn to the image earlier today.

The campaign frock, red LI coy waistcoat, breeches and stockings, and what can be made of the cap are interesting; as is the narrow buff strap supporting his bayonet together with the powder horn and some sort of wallet on the ground).

His outfit is interesting in the light of the 46th having served in the West Indies from late 1778. There is a letter in the Vaughan papers (William Clements Library), dated 18th February 1780 in which Brumwell requests leave from Vaughan who was British commander of the Leeward Islands (November of 1779 to March 1781) as well as Colonel of the 46th

I am not sure whether the background was intended to suggest a Caribbean setting or not.


picture

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 5:28 a.m. PST

Brilliant sir!

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 9:11 p.m. PST

From Prof Greg Urwin and others as noted:

Historian Don N. Hagist offered this concise comment: "It is interesting that the silhouette of Lullum Batwell does not resemble the portrait purported to be him – and the silhouette is positively identified. In particular, the noses don't seem to be at all the same shape."

Stephen Gilbert tapped his extensive research files to provide additional information on Lullum Batwell and some other officers who served in the 46th Regiment of Foot's light infantry company during the American War:


I concur in the judgement that the portrait of Batwell was most likely painted in late 1775 or early 1776 before his service in America. Lt Batwell's uniform details closely match those in the primitive oil of an anonymous officer of the 46th Light Company (Redcoat Images No. 2,465). From my studies of P.R.O. W.O.12 Company Pay Rolls, I can limit the probable identity of this unknown officer to five choices between 1775 to 1778. All the officers below served with the 46th Light Infantry Company between 1776 and 1778, and the company recorded no officer deaths in that time period. I have no muster rolls beyond June 1778; it is possible that No. 2,465 served before 1775:

1. Captain Matthew Johnson (transferred out of company to battalion 18 December 1776) According to Loftus Cliffe, he maneuvered his company with sounds from a whistle in autumn 1776.

Lieutenant Lullum Batwell (facial likeness isn't him anyway; transferred out of company 19 August 1776)

2. Lieutenant Peter Daly transferred out of company 22 September 1775

3. Lieutenant Henry Harding (replaced Daly before 46th was sent to America)

4. Lieutenant Marcus (Mark) Antony Morgan (replaced Batwell 19 August 1776)

5. Captain John Lloyd (replaced Johnson 19 November 1776)

Captain-Lieutenant Lullum Batwell (replaced Lloyd @ August 1777. Promoted captain 18 August 1778)


Lullum Batwell was the senior lieutenant commanding General John Vaughn's (ie. Colonel's) company in early June 1777. However, the W.O.12 Company Pay Rolls indicate the 46th's Light Infantry Captain John Lloyd was not active (and in fact by 13 April 1778 Lloyd was already in England with the King's leave). I suspect Lloyd might have been wounded at Short Hills, taken sick, or detached for some staff chore. At some point, perhaps aboard ship on the voyage to the Chesapeake, Captain-Lieutenant Batwell rejoined his old Light Company as its acting commander. Batwell had seen previous (peacetime and the June 1776 Charleston attack) Light Infantry service and he was already on hand with Howe's ship-borne army in Pennsylvania, so moving him into Captain Lloyd's L.I. vacancy was a natural choice. This is borne out by two entries in the captured 64th Light Infantry Orderly Book in the George Washington Papers, where Batwell is warned for 2nd L.I. Battalion rotational duty on 21 September and on 2 October 1777. Upon rare occasions, Light Infantry companies carried both Ensigns and Captain-Lieutenants on their roll of officers; this appears to be just such an instance.


Readers might notice in the @1776 color portrait that Batwell's brushed-back hair stands high above his scalp. Close inspection of the 1778 Andre silhouette shows the same hair at the foretop of head is now cut quite low and flat. This dovetails nicely with evidence of the Great British Hair-Cutting Experiment of Summer 1776, when Howe's army adopted a craze to drastically trim the locks of enlisteds and officers alike. The back hair on the head of Howe's British soldiers by the spring/summer of 1778 would have been long enough to form a short tie whist hair on the top of the head remained short. See my article "The Long and Short of It: Military Hairstyles during the American Revolution Part 1 (of 3): British Army Hairstyles" in The Brigade Dispatch, Volume 35, No. 1, edited by our redoubtable Don Hagist.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 9:37 p.m. PST

My quick observations. Interesting to note, as always, that Light infantry wore small buttons on their coats as well as their waistcoats. The wearing of spatter-dashes instead of overalls/pantaloons likely makes this painted prior to deployment, as it was common to have such pre-deployment paintings done.

The collar is quite interesting and uncommon, at least in my experience, for infantry.

The belt holding the bayonet scabbard is likely non- regulation, as is the scabbard for the fusil.

It's also unlikely that the cap was worn in combat as the Lights seemed to wear round hats instead.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 8:41 a.m. PST

I am not sure I would agree about the match, or not of this portrait and the Philadephia silhouette. The weight around the chin certainly matches.

picture

The suggestion that the portrait is more likely to have been painted before service in America rather than after return, does makes sense, given reports on the ragged state in which officers found themselves. Certainly, it seems unlikely the Keppel-style LI cap would still have been in the subject's possession after his return- (although I supposes a pristine item might have been procured as a model for the artist).

However, there are portraits showing Light company officers in breeches and stockings, that must either have been executed in Americaor after their return, most notably the well-known portrait of Lieut. James Stewart, who transferred to the Light Coy, 42nd RHR from the Fifth Regt after the occupation of Philadelphia in autumn 1777.

(Not a great image but the best I could find on line):

picture

FWIW – I believe only one officer per regiment would be appointed Captain-Lieutenant with the duty of administering the Colonel's company. The Light Coy under normal circumstances would be staffed by more junior subalterns and a Captain.

An interesting choice of words by Stephen Gilbert- the 'craze' to cut hair short in the army; surely, a practical and welcome instruction to the troops by a forward-looking commander (whatever his other failings) Appropriate emoticon.

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