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"AWI question" Topic

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Snowydog17 Apr 2020 3:06 a.m. PST

Did loyalist units (e.g. de Lancy's) carry flags? If so, what design did they have?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2020 5:34 a.m. PST

Here is a thread from before.

TMP link

historygamer17 Apr 2020 3:29 p.m. PST

Yep, that discussion says it all pretty much.

Did you have a particular unit in mind?

AICUSV17 Apr 2020 5:28 p.m. PST

It has been many years since I read about this and I'm no expert on the AWI, but I do recall reading an inventory of property held by the provost in Philadelphia, during the British occupation of the city. Included in that were stands of colors for issue to the locally raised units. What units and were they issued? It is not noted. Also listed were uniforms for the same troops. I know that not all local loyalist were uniformed. As to design, I would think that they followed the same guide lines as for those of the militia back in Britain.

In the 1920's the root cellar of the Provost's HQ was excavated . In side was discovered arms, uniforms and flags the items were given to the University of Pennsylvania Museum (from an article in the Philadelphia Inquire). They have long gone missing. I had made a few request about this stuff and no one knew anything about them. :-(

historygamer17 Apr 2020 5:51 p.m. PST

Why would the Provost (military police) have all that? Wouldn't the Quater Master make more sens Sounds more like that might have been Civil War, not Rev War. Have you found the article on line?

IIRC, most Loyalist units weren't raised till 1778 or later, and most were put together in NYC.

Colonels were commissioned to raise regiments and all colours belonged to the colonel as his personal property. Any colours would likely be lodged with the colonel, or Senior officer commanding.

Snowydog18 Apr 2020 2:38 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the comments, particularly the link to the previous posts. I think I will field my loyalist units without colours; a Union flag would look 'too' British, as would a Regimental-style flag. I was curious about whether loyalist units had a more flexible design mirroring that found in rebel militia and minutemen units.

Major Bloodnok18 Apr 2020 6:37 a.m. PST

Hang on, they did look "British". In May (I think) of 1779 the Provincial Corps were ordered out of their green coats and into red coats. Some units, like the 1st American Reg't (Queen's Rangers), were able to keep their green uniforms. Some were in red right at the getgo. If they are carrying colours it will the the King's colour (Union flag), and a regimental colour. You do find field signs being used early on, things like white armbands, white cockades for loyalist units in Boston during the siege. Peter's Corps seemed to have worn pieces of white paper ("pay slips"?) in their hats during the Saratoga campaign, since some of them were uniformed and some weren't.

historygamer18 Apr 2020 9:45 a.m. PST

There is no equivalency between Loyalist Regiments and American militia. There was Loyalist militia though, especially down south. Loyalist regiments generally followed British regimental establishments.

Steamingdave218 Apr 2020 12:54 p.m. PST

In Scotland the Provost was a civil official, roughly like a mayor. Could it be that Scottish immigrants brought the title to the colonies? So nothing to fo with military police at all?

historygamer18 Apr 2020 2:29 p.m. PST

Nope. :-)

There was an officer appointed as the Provost Marshall. Different troops likely served as the MPs. Clothing and colours were owned by the regiment. There were two large Scottish regiments in the army then, the 42nd and 71st. Most materials in Philly were kept in warehouses down by the river. Howe used the Marines to guard the warehouses and their contents against theft. The black market was rampant in occupied Philly.

historygamer18 Apr 2020 2:34 p.m. PST

The Quarter Master General would inventory all delivered goods, and the issue of new clothing would be handled by the owning regiments, including the Loyalist regiments. Colours were the personal property of the colonel, so likely they were kept somewhere safe till needed.

I don't think many Loyalist units were formed and equipped during the short stay in Philly.

Virginia Tory20 Apr 2020 10:04 a.m. PST

When the British left Philadelphia, they had Loyalist recruits--PA, NJ and Marylanders. The extent to which they had been organized I'm not sure.

HG nailed it--Provincial troops were not "militia" in the sense the Rebel militia was, though there were Loyalist militias in various locations, like in the south.

Some Provincials were taken into the regular line at the end of the war.

Virginia Tory20 Apr 2020 10:08 a.m. PST

One thought--if it was an "inventory held by the Provost," perhaps it they were captured Rebel items?

How many years was that PA Flag misidentified as "LtCol Monkton's flag" captured at Monmouth when the Grenadiers had no flags. Officers certainly didn't have "personal flags."

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