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"Lt. Shaw's Provisional Rifle Company, 1777" Topic


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Comments or corrections?

Stalkey and Co06 Jan 2021 7:13 a.m. PST

Osprey says that this company was created after the Battle of Brandywine, and included rifle-armed Soldiers from the Light company of the 37th Foot, and Ferguson's Riflemen with his patented breech-loading rifle.

I can't find any other references to such a company, altho Ferguson's company is listed in the OOB independantly throughout the 1777 Campaign.

Anyone have additional info on it? Or was Shaw just a LT in Ferguson's company?

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2021 8:18 a.m. PST

Is it possible it could be the Queens Rangers while formed in September 1776 were reorganized in March of 1777?

For Brandywine – I believe the Rangers and Ferguson's Rifles were together on the Right Wing

There are notes that when Simcoe took over the Rangers he asked Mackay to head up the highland group – and believe that Capt MacKay was at Brandywine

Looking at Muster Roles for the Queens Rangers for 1779

Queen's American Rangers
Mackay's Highland Company
Muster Roll of Capt. John MACKAY's Highland Company Queens Rangers Jno. Greaves SIMCOE Esqr. Lieut. Colonel Commandant from the 25th December 1779, to the 23rd February 1780, Inclusive—

Captain John MACKAY
Lieutenant Æneas SHAW
link

PDF link

Not sure if this gives you a piece of the puzzle

Stalkey and Co06 Jan 2021 8:52 a.m. PST

That certainly sounds like a possibility. How many Lt Shaw's can there be? So perhaps the Light Company from the 37th was attached to Ferguson's Rifles or the Rangers.

OTOH I could see that the 2nd/Lt Battalion – which had the company from the 37th – might have retained them as a rifle armed asset to enhance their operations.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2021 9:14 a.m. PST

Actually there was at least 1 other Lt Shaw with the Continental Artillery

Not sure about a detachment of men from the 37th – If I am not mistaken Ferguson had permission to recruit from other units – so could have been that as well

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2021 10:01 a.m. PST

I'd bet on several Lt Shaws in the AWI. There's an Alexander Shaw, Adjutant of the Royal Americans, just off-hand. But Aeneas Shaw has no connection with the 37th that I can find. Born in Scotland, emigrated to Long Island in 1770 and his first military experience seems to be in the Queen's Rangers--part of the crowd brought in after the dismissal of almost all of Roger's officers in March of 1777. But he's the son of a clan chief, and a serious up and comer. (Ends the AWI a captain and will ultimately make Major General in the Canadian militia.) Remember Ferguson is seriously wounded at Brandywine. My guess would be Shaw was given command of Ferguson's Provisional Rifle Co, which presumably included men from the 37th. As William of Occam might have said, provisional rifle companies ought not to be multiplied unnecessarily.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2021 10:06 a.m. PST

Officers of the name of Shaw or Shawe in America
Army Lists 1777 & 1778

David Shaw Lieut 35th Regt America
Meyrick Shawe Lieut 10th Regt America

Robert Shaw Capt 64th Regt America < Capt_Lieut 40th Regt
Charles Shawe Lieut 64th Regt America < 23rd (RWF) Regt

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2021 5:12 p.m. PST

Weren't these the musket and bayonet armed troops backing up Ferguson's rifles?

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2021 11:06 a.m. PST

If Ferguson's rifles were attached to 2nd Light Infantry battalion in the night action near Paoli Tavern, as I believe was the case, would a dedicated company have been necessary?

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 4:49 a.m. PST

Sorry, didn't read the first part of the post closely enough. My bad. I believe that prior to Brandywine there were musket armed Lights attached to Ferguson. I'd have to look up which company that they were drawn from. In regards to the orginal question, what Osprey book are you referring to?

I believe that each Light Infantry company had rifles (15?) integrated into their unit, but at least to date, there is no accounting of how these men were used or deployed. That said, this raises a number of possibilities, including that the author is getting some information confused. I'll await the answer as to which Orprey book this comes from.

Stalkey and Co08 Jan 2021 10:09 a.m. PST

It was Osprey's "1777 – Taking the capital"

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2021 5:08 p.m. PST

So I'm kind of stumped on this one too. Got a lifeline call out to SM. Let's see if he has anything further.

AICUSV17 Jan 2021 10:41 p.m. PST

While in Philadelphia didn't the Queen Rangers re-organize and raise a couple additional companies? Could one of these Philadelphia companies be a rifle? I'm pretty sure some of the local Loyalist militias had some rifle men. This rifle company could one of the local companies raised in Chester or Delaware Counties.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2021 4:27 a.m. PST

Lieutenant Æneas Shaw.

From Military Loyalists of the American Revolution: Officers and Regiments, 1775-1783 by Walter Dornfest, 307.

I don't know if this is the officer or not.

Aeneas Shaw was a lieutenant in the New Hampshire Volunteers in 1776. He was in the Queen's Rangers as of Nov 1777 and was a captain in January 1779. Wounded at Springfield on 23 June 1780 and was captured at Yorktown in October 1781. He was still a captain in the 1st American Regiment/Queen's Rangers in December 1782. A half-pay captain 1783 and an ensign in the 39th Foot 1784. Captain-Lieutenant Sept 1791 in the Queen's Rangers. Half-pay lieutenant colonel 1802 and a Major of Brigade 1803. Adjutant General and colonel in 1807 and a Major General in 1811. Died in Toronto in 1814. Born in Scotland.

From The Queen's American Rangers by Donald Gara:

'A new ranger company was created from among the new rank and file, and four of [William] Stark's officers were accepted into the rangers. Three of them were assigned to the new company: Captain Donald McAlpine; Lieutenant Abraham Close, an American-boen Loyalist from Salem, New York; and Ensign Aeneas Shaw, formerly an ensign in the 39th Regiment.'-55.

William Stark was the brother of John Stark, both of whom had been captains in Rogers' Rangers in the French and Indian War. He formed a Loyalist unit, but as it was small it was absorbed into the Queen's Rangers.

Shaw was assigned to Captain John McKay's Highland company at Monmouth Court House.-151.

Detached to serve in the Georgia expedition under Campbell.-172.

Returned to the Queen's Rangers in May 1779.-183.

Given command by Simcoe of a 'squad' of twelve sharpshooters, armed with 'swords and rifles' in August 1779.-191.

'The light company under Captain Francis Stephenson, plus the detachment of riflemen under Lieutenant Aeneas Shaw, led the advance.'-227-228 Actions at Connecticut Farms/Sprinfield, New Jersey, June 1780. Shaw was wounded in the action.

Shaw was promoted to captain in the Rangers to replace an officer assigned to the newly-authorized troops of Ranger dragoons.-235.

-Served at Gloucester during the Yorktown campaign, notably ambushing American militia attempting to surprise his outpost in September.

It appears that this might be the Shaw mentioned in the Osprey. It also appears that he was a skilled light infantryman and ranger. Not all of the best officers get the promotions that they deserve.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2021 6:54 a.m. PST

But the citation on the book said 37th Regt. Not saying it's right, though it is very specific. You may be right, but it's still a bit of a head scratcher.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2021 8:54 a.m. PST

Yes it is.

I don't have that Osprey, but did order it this morning. And Aeneas Shaw was in the 39th Foot later. Maybe that was the confusion?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 3:08 p.m. PST

The Osprey arrived today and I found the caption regarding LT Shaw and his 'rifle company.' The caption does say 37th Foot, but the Shaw we found belonged to the 39th Foot. It certainly can be an error in the Osprey.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2021 10:18 a.m. PST

Between 1769 and 1783 the 39th Regiment were in Gibraltar,

The Army Lists for 1775-78 show no officer named Shaw commissioned Ensign in the 39th.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2021 12:26 p.m. PST

Sorry, my bad. I thought this was one of SM's books. It is not. Dead end. Move along. LoL

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2021 3:30 p.m. PST

Between 1769 and 1783 the 39th Regiment were in Gibraltar,

The Army Lists for 1775-78 show no officer named Shaw commissioned Ensign in the 39th.

I guess you missed this from an earlier posting:

From Military Loyalists of the American Revolution: Officers and Regiments, 1775-1783 by Walter Dornfest, 307.

I don't know if this is the officer or not.

Aeneas Shaw was a lieutenant in the New Hampshire Volunteers in 1776. He was in the Queen's Rangers as of Nov 1777 and was a captain in January 1779. Wounded at Springfield on 23 June 1780 and was captured at Yorktown in October 1781. He was still a captain in the 1st American Regiment/Queen's Rangers in December 1782. A half-pay captain 1783 and an ensign in the 39th Foot 1784. Captain-Lieutenant Sept 1791 in the Queen's Rangers. Half-pay lieutenant colonel 1802 and a Major of Brigade 1803. Adjutant General and colonel in 1807 and a Major General in 1811. Died in Toronto in 1814. Born in Scotland.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2021 2:44 a.m. PST

No. That was clear enough, thanks.

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