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"Some questions about 1794 armies" Topic

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Ruchel23 Aug 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

I need some information about some units and uniforms (Flanders campaign):

1. Did Hanoverian infantry drummers wear tricorn hats or bearskin caps?

2. Did the 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) serve in the British contingent commanded by the Duke of York? If they did, did they wear bearskin caps or bicorn hats?

3. Regarding British light companies, what kind of hats or caps did they wear (bicorn hats, round hats, soft hats, Tarleton helmets, old AWI helmets,…)? What miniatures can I use in 15/18mm (No Minifigs)?


von Winterfeldt23 Aug 2019 12:22 p.m. PST

headdress of drummers would reflect if they were grenadiers or musketeers.

I would recommend two books on that subject

Paul Demet : We are acccustomed to do our duty, includes very nice section with plates in colour also about the Hanoverian


Niemeyer, Ortenburg : Die Hannoversche Armee 1780 – 1803, according to the Gmundener Prachtwerk part 2

You could get this second hand, numerous plates in colour

Ruchel23 Aug 2019 12:33 p.m. PST

von Winterfeldt,

Many thanks for you answer. Last week I ordered Paul Demet's book, but I have not received it yet. I thought that the book was devoted to other German contingents (Hesse Kassel, Hesse Darmstadt, and so on) but not to Hanoverians.

And I am going to look for the other book (Niemeyer, Ortenburg).

Chad4723 Aug 2019 12:37 p.m. PST

I would second the Demet book. Also try Thehistorybookman, the website name for W J Rawkins. They have an ebook on the Hanoverian army at an extremely reasonable price.

Nafziger has a pdf of the British continent in a downloadable pdf.

Ruchel23 Aug 2019 2:22 p.m. PST


Thank you. I will look at that ebook on the Hanoverian army.

I have found a pdf from Nafziger, but it is related to the Helder campaign in 1799.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2019 2:30 p.m. PST

I am not sure that the British army had 'light companies' for line battalions with separate distinctions in 1794.

All I read about are separate 'light infantry battalions' and 'flankers' or flank companies culled from the line.

Does anyone know about that?

Paul Demet Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2019 4:44 p.m. PST

First of all, thanks for the comments on my book, which has a large section on Hanoverian organisation, uniforms and flags. I would also strongly recommend Niemeyer/Ortenburg.

The 7th foot were not with the Duke of York's army.

Re light companies – are you referring to the line or foot guards? Line battalions in 1794 had 10 companies, including a grenadier company and a light company. The grenadier and light companies sometimes served as combined flank battalions. Some of the regiments sent to the Duke did not have their flank companies, which were sent to the West Indies. Light companies for the foot guards were also raised in 1793 and 4 companies joined the Duke's army in July 1793 (2 1st Regt, 1 Coldstream and 1 3rd Regt)

Ruchel24 Aug 2019 12:58 a.m. PST


Thanks for your response. I will receive your book in a few days and I will look into the section devoted to Hanoverians. I will order Niemeyer/Ortenburg too.

I am referring to the light companies belonging to the line battalions, not to the foot guards.

Chad4724 Aug 2019 1:21 a.m. PST

As a general observation, the first three regiments of the line that joined the army in Flanders appear to be badly regarded and of poor quality.

Chad4724 Aug 2019 1:24 a.m. PST


I think I have a copy of the relevant Nafziger pdf.
Email me on and If I have I will send you a copy

42flanker24 Aug 2019 2:32 a.m. PST

Regarding British light companies, what kind of hats or caps did they wear (bicorn hats, round hats, soft hats, Tarleton helmets, old AWI helmets,…)? What miniatures can I use in 15/18mm (No Minifigs)?

I thought I would add that following the AWI, for general duties and service in the field, flank companies of British infantry had begun to wear the regulation cocked hat with a distinctive feather (most often green).

However there is, for example, an ambiguous reference in Army General Orders from March 1794 to "three British soldiers dressed in great coats, and with leather caps on, similar to those worn by the light infantry, went yesterday into a house, in the village of Warlem which they plundered."

Whether that signifed that light infantry companies were wearing distinguishing caps on campaign in the Low Countries is not clear It may simply have been a convenient descriptor.

The Foot Guards light companies formed in 1793 are regularly depicted in modern illustrations wearing a tall round hat with a fore-and-aft bearskin crest similar to the Tarleton. De Loutherbourg, in his canvas 'The Grand Atack on Valenciennes,' depicts a couple of officers attending the Duke of York's suite who are wearing hats of this sort. These hats also appear in caricatures and later depictions of Volunteer corps. Whether they were actually worn by Foot Guards rank and file in the field, rather than the cocked hat, is not clear.

The Bryan Fosten illustration shown in the following blog (you need to scroll down) suggests the state of most troops by the end of 1794 together with examples of Foot Guards light coy uniforms as conventionally depicted.


von Winterfeldt24 Aug 2019 4:52 a.m. PST

this is not a primary source it is from Wymer, British Guards light infantry company in about 1792

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Paul Demet Supporting Member of TMP24 Aug 2019 4:55 a.m. PST

As 42flanker says, the form of headdress worn by light companies is not clear. The ASK Brown collection has a couple of illustrations from the 1790s:

1 8th foot (which was with the Duke's army) in a leather cap – link

2 Fore's New Manual and Platoon exercises, showing the round hat – link

A note by W.Y. Carman in JSAHR Vol LVII No 232 pp. 244-5 refers to the black leather caps worn by light companies in 1784, but 'unfortunately the precise design is not known', although he notes the 12th 39th, 56th and 58th Regiments (of these, only the 12th was with the Duke) were granted permission on 12 April 1784 to place the battle honour 'Gibraltar' on their light infantry caps.

He also quotes a inspection return for the 3rd foot (which served with the Duke) dated 6 May 1791 that the light infantry caps were small 'although not to the same excess as in some other regiments'. They did not have a shade over the eyes and were tied on with strings.

He notes that the 12th foot had hats covered with 'the finest black ostrich feathers' and that some regiments used the light dragoon type up to around 1801.

Clearly there was some variety!

von Winterfeldt24 Aug 2019 4:56 a.m. PST

Gregorious did a set of plates of the armies of 1792 / 93 – he also shows a Coldstream light infantry guardsman, he also has a green feather on the hat – style similar to the above plate.

von Winterfeldt24 Aug 2019 4:59 a.m. PST

yes of course the plate about the platoon exercises shows it, thanks for reminding me Paul – I was under the impression that all Foot Guards did wear this headdress, but seemingly light companies only.

Ruchel24 Aug 2019 10:24 a.m. PST


Many thanks for your response. Yes, Foot Guards light companies wore that type of round hat with a bearskin crest. I have that Osprey book with the illustrations by Brian Fosten. The author mentions that light companies belonging to line regiments wore different and varied headgear.


Thanks again for the information. In conclusion, as you have written, there was a lot of variety. Perhaps each regiment had its own choice and its own design.

von Winterfeldt,

That painting is beautiful and very interesting. Grenadiers and centre companies troops are skirmishing along with the light company.

42flanker24 Aug 2019 10:47 a.m. PST

I think the key point to remember is that Light companies evidently still wore distinctive caps on formal parades up until the introduction of the new infantry cap in 1800, but the question remains whether they wore them in the field.

I was not sure when I posted last whether there was a Gregorius painting of a Foot Guards light coy man, but wondered about the possibility given that the Fosten illustration of the rank and file guardsman does resemble the typical posture of a Gregorius image. If he made those images from life, we might assume that the Foot Guards light coys did wear the crested hat on campaign. What state they were in after two seasons in the field is another matter.

von Winterfeldt24 Aug 2019 11:32 a.m. PST

so far I leaved through Hugh Strachan's book, but couldn't find anything specific about the light infantry head wear otherwise seemingly there was a big discussion about them.

Prince of Essling24 Aug 2019 1:37 p.m. PST

Cecil C. P. Lawson Volume 5 "A history of the uniforms of the British Army" suggest that William Loftie might well be a good reference. He entered as an ensign in the 16th Foot in 1793. He sketched the officers of British officers and some Dutch emigres from 1796-1814.

42flanker24 Aug 2019 1:40 p.m. PST

As Paul deMet has pointed out, Strachan's collection simply reveals a considerable variety since at that date there was no regulation of LI heagear and frequent deviation from regulation uniform in general.

Paul Demet Supporting Member of TMP24 Aug 2019 10:10 p.m. PST

Here is a link to the Loftie drawings from Gallica: link

Paul Demet Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2019 12:02 a.m. PST

There is indeed a Gregorius painting of a light company private of the Coldstream (Codstream!) Guards – here is a link to a copy by Lawson from ASKB: link

42flanker25 Aug 2019 7:18 a.m. PST

'Infanterie Legere dite Codstream guards au service de S. M le Roi d'engleterre entree a Bruges le 16 avril 1793 '

The Fosten illustration is very definitely based on that image.

Paul Demet Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2019 8:07 a.m. PST

The new guards light companies only arrived on the Continent in July, so Gregorius must have depicted one of the light company, formed at the end of March by taking officers, NCOs and 27 privates from each of the three battalions of the guards brigade. It was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel James Perryn of the 1st Foot Guards and attached to the grenadier battalion (made up of the grenadier companies from the 3 battalions sent on active service under the Duke), which was now known as the flank battalion – provided the date of 16 April is correct

There is also an engraving published by Fores in August 1793 showing the uniform worn by the newly raised light companies. The uniform is similar to the Gregorius painting with a round hat with a fur crest and plume. The coat appears to be shortened and has the normal lace/buttons for the 1st Regiment. White gaiter-trousers are also worn.

von Winterfeldt25 Aug 2019 9:30 a.m. PST

great discussion, so we may ask Sho Boki to sculpt some, he did already British infantry of about 1792, quite nicely

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Chad4725 Aug 2019 9:39 a.m. PST


I have seen the light company you referenced described as a ‘service company' . The 16 April date I have seen as the date when 4 full Light companies of the Guards were raised, each of 100 men plus officers.

Chad4725 Aug 2019 10:08 a.m. PST

Also have a note that a further 4 Guards Light companies were sent out in July 1794. Each had 100 men plus officers and NCOs

Paul Demet Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2019 12:30 p.m. PST

Hi Chad 47

Yes, I forgot to mention the other 4 companies (2 1st Regt, I Coldstream and 1 3rd Regt) sent in July 1794

The reference to the light company formed at the end of March is in the orderly book in the papers of Maj. Gen Charles Barnett, 3rd Foot Guards (NAM 1985-12-15):

Dordt 30th March

A Light Infantry Company consisting of one Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 4 Sergeants, 5 Corporals and 81 Privates formed from the three first battalions of the Brigade of Guards and to be attached to the Grenadiers.

Brown also describes it as a light company

42flanker25 Aug 2019 1:00 p.m. PST

Notes from Strachan- inspection returns & standing orders:

14th Jan 1786 70th (or Surrey) Regt
Standing Orders Light infantry officer to wear caps with green feathers.. in long cloaths a plain cocked hat with a green feather

1786 40th Regt
Light company ‘appeared in felt caps the Regimental ones being in store at Carlisle'

7th May, 1787 55th Westmorland Regt
Drums and Fifes- clothing very showy. The capes made higher than usual; Men have red feathers in their hats. The C.O. has made good foraging-caps out of the old pouches

5th May 1788 22nd Regt
The battalion wears white feathers as well as the flank companies… A saving of a hat in a former clothing has furnished the regiment with a set of caps like the light infantry, which they wear always off duty.

21st May 1788 [Ireland] 46th Regt
Light Coy: Caps made of felt instead of leather [no mention of red feathers]
1789 [Ireland] 46th Regt
Light Coy: Leather caps [no mention of red feathers]

7th May 1791 30th Regt
Light infantry caps too small, and [complaint] of want of shade for the eyes. Battalion furnished with feathers at 1s each.

14th May 1791 34th Regt
Light Infantry caps have defect of wanting flaps and are too small… Hats too small. Men have feathers at 7d each.

18th May 1791 33rd Regt
Hats and light infantry caps so small as not to cover the head…

27th May 1791 Windsor 29th Regt
Grenadier and Light Infantry caps have useful flaps to shade the eyes and are at the same time ornamental. Regiment wears worsted tufts in imitation of feathers, but they were given by the Colonel.

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