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"71st Highland Regiment in the 1777 Campaign" Topic

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Michael Westman25 Mar 2020 7:18 a.m. PST

Did the grenadier companies accompany the regiment in the Philadelphia Campaign? They were returned to the regiment in 1776 after many of them got sick. The 71st was also formed into 3 battalions until after the battle of Brandywine. Does anyone know what companies the battalions were composed of?

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Mar 2020 8:37 a.m. PST

The Grenadiers of the 42nd and 71st regiments were converted into the 4rh Grenadier Battalion and their light companies were converged into the 4th Lighr Battalion. Both battalions consisted solely of the Highland regiments.

I see no mention of either battalion participating in the Philadelphia campaign so I would assume that they were part of Clinton's New York City Garrison.

This info comes from Greg Novak's book "We Have Always Governed Ourselves". A Guide to the AWI In the North.

Michael Westman25 Mar 2020 12:07 p.m. PST

Here's what I have on the flank companies:

About six weeks after its formation, a significant number of the men of the 4th Grenadier Battalion had become sick and on September 19 Major Stuart issued a battalion order to address the situation, "… By the Number of Sick men that have lately been sent to the Hospital & those that daily complain, the Commanding Officer has great reason to fear that the Battalion in a few weeks will be incapable of doing duty, to prevent which disgrace falling upon a Corps of Grenadrs. It is the Major's orders that a Non Commissioned Officer per Company see that the Men bath or wash their feet thrice a Week. The Commanding Officers of Compys. to be answerable that this order is comply'd with An Officer of a Compy. to visit the Messes of their respective Compys. daily & to Specify in a Written Report if the Messes are properly regulated & provisions Cook'd." Based on a later order it appears that most of the sick were from the two 71st Grenadier companies. By early October, Maj. Stuart's prediction on the state of the battalion came true and General Orders were issued on Oct. 8, 1776 that "… The two 71st. Grenadier Company's of the 4th. Battn. Grenadrs. being very Sickly are to join their Regt. The 42d. Grenadr. Company of said Battn. will join the 3d. Battn. of Grenadrs. under the Command of Major [Francis] Marsh (46th Regiment) and Major [Hon. Charles] Stewart (43rd Regiment)."


General Order, New York, March 23, 1777:
The 3d Battn Of Grenadrs and 3d Battn Lt Infantry are to be incorporated into the 1st and 2nd Battns as follows:
15th, 28th, 33d and 37th Companies to the 1st Battn Grenadiers.
46th, 57th and 42nd to the Second Battn Grenadiers.
15th, 28th and 33d Lt Infy Companies to the 1st Battn of Lt Infantry.
37th, 46th and 57th Companies to the 2nd Battn of Lt Infantry.

So the 42nd's light and grenadier companies and the 71st's two light companies were moved to the 1st and 2nd Light and Grenadier battalions, but I don't see any movement of the 71st's two grenadier companies. I didn't know if they were left in New York, if they didn't "exist" or if they stayed with the 71st. When the 71st was sent south at the end of 1778 their grenadier companies remained behind:

At the end of 1778, the 71st Regiment of Foot departed New York for Savannah but their Grenadiers (158 men commanded by Capt. Laurence Campbell), which had fought apart from the rest of the regiment since arriving in America, were left behind. When the regiment departed, the Grenadiers remained in the Northern Theater, where they were eventually stationed at Stony Point, New York.

42flanker25 Mar 2020 12:08 p.m. PST

The 4th Grenadier battalion was broken up during the New York campaign owing to sickness in the ranks of the 71st contingent.

'Headquarters New York Island 8th October 1776

The Two Grenadier Companies [from the 71st] of the 4th Battalion Grenadiers being very sickly, are to join their Regiment; The 42d Gren Compy of said Battn will join the 3d Battalion Grenadiers under the commd of Major Marsh and Major Stewart.'

The 2nd Bn. 71st had already lost their grenadier company, capture at sea en route from Scotland. Evidently this loss had been made up from the Battalion companies to send to the 4th Gren. Battalion- (unless they weren't aware of the loss when the 6th August order forming 4th Grenadier Battalion was issued).

As I write I am not sure whether the 71st retained their their healthy grenadiers as the core of new grenadier companies attached to the battalions during the winter of 1776-77. By that stage, sickness in the regiment meant that the division into three provisional battalions had probably been dispensed with.

The light coy of 1st Bn 71st had also been captured at sea in 1776 but at least one light coy from the 71st Regt, under Sir James Baird, remained on detached service with 2nd LI Battalion for the whole of 1777 and most of 1778. By the time the regiment sailed southward in November of 1778, the 71st had two grenadier coys once again, and these were left in New York.

42flanker26 Mar 2020 12:27 p.m. PST

Sorry. Simultaneous posting.

So, the three-battalion arrangement lasted until the Philadelphia expedition. I wasn't aware of that.

Michael Westman26 Mar 2020 2:16 p.m. PST


is some of the orderly book of the 40th Foot through the website. You'll see references to three battalions to the August 26 order of march from Elk Ferry. I think it was McGuire's book on the Philadelphia Campaign that mentions it reverted to 2 battalions after the battle of Brandywine. I've seen it on other sources also.

42flanker27 Mar 2020 5:57 a.m. PST

@ Michael Westman. Thanks

Head Qrs.. Near Elk Ferry 26th: Augt. 77
The following Corps to be in Readiness to march from the Right by half Compys. without Beat of Drum to morrow morning at 3 OClock in the following order Vizt.

Infantry Yaugers with an offr: and 12 Moun[ted men,]
Two Battalions British Light Infantry with the Qns: Rangers and Fergusons Corps

British Granadiers
1st: Brigade of Artillary
Hession Granrs:
Foot Guards

First and 2d: Brigades of British

Baggage of the Genl: and staff Offrs:

Hospital Waggons and a Waggon with Engineers Tools
Three Troops of 16th: Dragoons with all their Dismounted [men]

Mounted & Dismou[nt]d: Yaugers

Three Battalions of 71st: Regimt:

An Offr: from each of these Battalions is to attend the Qr:Mr: General for orders to Morrow Morning at Three

Michael Westman27 Mar 2020 7:22 a.m. PST

You're welcome. On that page there are references in previous days where the three battalions are individually specifically mentioned.

42flanker27 Mar 2020 10:27 a.m. PST

I have a note that says on 16th December 1777, 1st and 2nd Bns 71st sailed for New York, which indicates that the arrangement had been ended by then.

Michael Westman27 Mar 2020 2:49 p.m. PST

I think it was Thomas McGuire's Philadelphia Campaign book where I first saw that the 3rd Battalion was dissolved on September 13, two days after the battle of Brandywine. I was curious if the grenadier companies had been reconstituted for 1777 and were just kept with the regiment. I'm believing that they weren't reconstituted until the regiment got back to New York and received replacements. I'm wondering how sick those soldiers were.

42flanker28 Mar 2020 7:07 a.m. PST

Michael, trolling through some ancient notes when I first started invesitgating my forbears service in the 71st.

WO 12/7847 file kept at [UK] National Archives,Kew, consists of a number of unmarked buff folders containing fragile MSS Muster Rolls, each mounted on card. Each folder contains separate Company Muster Rolls for 1st & 2nd Bns 71st pertaining to either 1776-77 or 1782-83.

It includes this "This muster is taken for 244 days commencing the 25th day of April 1776 and ending the 24th December following.

Bonhamtown 29th April 1777"

We know that the 2nd Bn. 71st Grenadier company was reconstituted under Capt. Robert Campbell & joined with Capt. Francis Skelly's company from the 1st Bn. 71st. So in theory it should at least be possible to assess the state of each company of the 71st at year's end 1776.

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