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"28th North Gloucesters - caps and packs" Topic

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42flanker05 Oct 2019 11:09 p.m. PST

Greetings all.

In the course of a current discussion on Napoleon Series re.the 28th's wearing old-model caps and their use of 'liberated' French packs, and prompted by a search of discussions on TMP, I thought I would briefly summarise the most useful information that has come to light.

Key to the cap question is an illustration by Captain George Jones from his 1817 compilation "The battle of Waterloo, with those of Ligny at Quatre Bras" which shows Colonel Belson and the 28th regiment holding off the French cavalry. They are unequivocally wearing pre-1812 caps. Jines was not at Waterloo but was with the Army of Occupation in Paris.
Here is an online link to that illustration:

Helpful background information comes from Lt Col Charles Cadells memoir – 'Narrative of the campaigns of the twenty-eighth regiment, since their return from Egypt in 1802.' (1835).

Cadell gives repeated accounts of the regiment's caps being shot through during actions in Spain (along with many other regiments, not doubt) and there is this interesting detail from April 1814, following the cessation of hostilties:

"We received orders to prepare to embark for America. Fortunately for us, our clothing had been lost in the Bay of Biscay, on the way out, and being in rags, we were ordered home, destined to reap more honourable laurels." p.226

Following the allied victory in 1815:
"The allied armies having now joined, Paris was soon in our possession; and on the 24th July the whole of the British army was formed in contiguous close columns on the great road from Paris to Neuilly. At 12 o'clock the allied sovereigns arrived, and rode down the front;

We then moved from the right, and in quarter distance columns marched down the Champ Elysees, where we had the honour of marching past them, they having taken up their posts in the Place Louis Quinze. When the 28th passed, the Duke was seen to point them out. The men were still in their ragged clothes; the colour-staffs were shot to pieces; one of them was two yards long, the other only one. I had afterwards the satisfaction of marching the regiment through the capital of France, and returned to the camp. We could only then muster four companies.

By the beginning of August the quartermaster, who had been sent to Deal for the new clothing, returned, when the "Slashers" very soon resumed their usual appearance." '(p240-41)

Regulations stated 'The Felt Cap and the Tuft is to be supplied annually. The Leather Part, Brass Plate & Leather Cockade once in every two years.' (SEE: Carman, W. Y. (1940), ‘Infantry Clothing Regulations, 1802', Journal of the Society of Army Historical Research,
vol. XIX, pp. 200– 235)

Yet it appears that the 28th took the field the following year wearing the old model of cap, three years after it was superseded. Were they using caps from store following the disbandment of the 2nd Battalion in 1814?

Finally, with regard to the unusual knapsacks worn by the 28th, from that same review in Paris, Cadell gives this vignette-
"The Emperor Alexander paid particular attention to the 28th, and admired much the grenadier company. He was much pleased with our brown calf-skin packs, and after minutely examining one, asked their origin. He laughed much when I told him that they were found in a French store we took in Egypt."

Cadell had been a grenadier but was then acting C.O. of the 28th. Whether the packs were worn only by the grenadier coy or the whole battalion, is not clear.

With thanks to the contributors on TMP and NSDF who provided the information on which this summary is based. I am now somewhat the wiser.

For those who don't know it,the Cadell memoir is a good read: It can be found here onine:

I hope this is of interest.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2019 5:59 a.m. PST

This most useful. Many thanks for your effort.

4th Cuirassier06 Oct 2019 6:16 a.m. PST

A close reading of the point about the backpacks suggests to me the whole battalion.

Green Tiger07 Oct 2019 3:48 a.m. PST

It is a very interesting discussion – thanks for posting- I would not imagine that the contemporary illustration is from an eye witness though?

arthur181507 Oct 2019 5:45 a.m. PST

George Jones was commissioned a captain in the Royal Montgomeryshire Militia in February 1812. He was certainly with the British Army of Occupation in Paris after Waterloo, so he may well have seen the 28th caps himself.

42flanker07 Oct 2019 7:20 a.m. PST

The reasoning goes that in other illustrations Jones shows the 1812 cap, and that although he was not at Waterloo he was, as noted, in Paris with the Army of Occupation. Moreover, as Cadell recounts, the ragged uniforms of the 28th were not replaced until August 1815.

22ndFoot07 Oct 2019 7:59 a.m. PST

For all its faults, I'm very fond of Lady Buttler's painting The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras. She painted some wonderfully evocative pictures.

Does anyone know whether the sphynx back badge was worn on either pattern of shako?

42flanker07 Oct 2019 10:13 a.m. PST

An earlier version of the 'Soldiers of Gloucester' website (no longer available) referred to a surviving example of the earliest known pattern of 'Back Number' dated to ca. 1805- A large, square plate on its point bearing the "Sphinx, superscribed 'Egypt'" over the number '28'

"This early pattern was at first issued in silver to all ranks, but its monetary value ensured that it was a popular means among the rank and file of gaining some extra cash, and replacements were issued in silver plate instead. Worn on the stovepipe shako, the 1812 pattern "Belgic" shako and the 1816 pattern "Regency" shako, it was replaced by a simpler design in brass around 1830."

The page also made reference to an oil painting "depicting three privates and a sergeant of the 28th (Gloucestershire) Regiment outside a country inn. By T. Hand, dated 1803."

dibble07 Oct 2019 2:18 p.m. PST

When I get home tomorrow I will have a look and see if I have any info on the 28th. I think I may have an example of the back-badge somewhere.

42flanker07 Oct 2019 4:00 p.m. PST

Paul- the link above has a replica of the original right and centre.

dibble07 Oct 2019 6:28 p.m. PST

Yes I know, I deal with Dix Noonan on a regular basis and remember seeing that lot. What I 'may' have is some contemporary pictorial information. I have so much stuff it's hard for me to remember what I have

42flanker07 Oct 2019 10:23 p.m. PST

Looking forward to seeing what the hoard reveals.


dibble07 Oct 2019 11:57 p.m. PST

In my 2003 reprint of C.Marcuard's Post-Napoleonic wars, Horse Guards commissioned, Uniform Schematics for 1816-1822, We have what looks like a round rear cap badge but there is also a 'not very clear' photo (E) of the same helmet but with the distinctive lozenge shape.

And here is the Dix Noonan Copy alongside the original.

I may have more but it will take time to search :)

42flanker08 Oct 2019 11:48 a.m. PST

The silver square on its point would certainly have stood out on the rear of the infantry cap, whereas the later ovoid badges of brass would tend to have merged somewhat with other fittings on the more ornate shakos of the middle years of the C19th.

That effect would of course have been mitigated by the wider knowledge of the tradition of the 'double front'- " Brass before and brass behind…"

42flanker21 Oct 2019 9:11 p.m. PST

Greetings all. A return to this subject. I should be grateful for guidance to sources regarding the metalware on the front of the 28th caps during 1800-15.

I have seen modern illustrations, from cigrrette cards to Fostens showing that the 28th wore scrolls bearing 'Barrosa' and 'Peninsula' above and below the crown and regimental number. What do we know about these badges- given the narrow time frame and that what we seem to known about the caps themselves at this date is so sketchy?

Much obliged.

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