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tv   British Army the Revolutionary War 1775-1783  CSPAN  January 1, 2020 3:30pm-4:36pm EST

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♪s as you party with president reagan and hollywood this weekend on "american history tv." next on "american history tv," muilitary historian talks about the challenges the arm faced in adapting to terrain during the revolutionary war. the museum of the american revolution, and richard von hesz foundation co-hosted this event as part of a three-day conference.
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>> it's my pleasure to welcome today a professor gregory irwin of the revolution through world war ii. it's one of the great advantages of being in philadelphia that we can be close neighbors to professor irwin, whose work on the british army ands the american revolution is extensive and nuanced and always inspiring of our exhibits and publications. in the development of our core exhibition, professor irwin
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played a crucial role in the display of the story of enslaved runaways weighing the promise of the proclamation announced by general clinton in 17 which offered somewhat vaguely protection and freedom of run aways who made their way to the british lines through consultation with a number of historians particularly of american history in this period. it became a really imperative that we do two very challenging, often seemingly contradictory things with showing and people facing this question of whether to trust the british on this promise. one was to demonstrate their
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agency to capture the sense that they had some impact and choice in what they were doing and the other was to not shy away from horrors of slavery that d dominated their lives and kept the maujty still in bondage. so r the way we imagine doing this is we would put a a uniformed soldier of african dissent across a fence rail in conversation with a person still enslave enslaved by the challenge was from what we could tell, most of the the formerly enslaved people
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would probably never have received a red coat. so we went to professor urwin, who among husband other accomplishments, which include nine books, either authored or edited and 150 articles has also produced 2800 issues of an e-mail blast called "red coat images" as of this morning it's 2817. and these are studies of portraits and other period images of red coat officers and other ranks. and that number is actually smaller than the reality because he's often sending addendums and updates, which are 2800, number 4 and we all hang on these
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magnificent pieces of scholarship. they, in fact, were partly inspiring of our choice to do a red coat story for this exhibition. but in the case of these virginia run aways, we put it to the expert of red coat images who among these enslaved people might have had a red coat is and there is a book that professor urwin has been working closely with a a manuscript, which was compiled to list the form rer enslaved people who were under the protection of the british army in 1783. based on his mindings, he suggested a young 15-year-old
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man who joined benedict arnold's region in virginia and served as a trupt r trumter. so we were able to capture the immediate image in the gallies who is made a choice. by presenting our version of london pleasants and we are thankful to professor urwin for that. it was influential. originally what became cost of revolution, the life and death of an irish soldier, was to be a r portrait display based on professor urwin's red coat imag images. and we went down this deep rabbit hole with richard sabt
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george. today he will be talking about his topic from the ground battlefield, how the british army adapted to north america in 1785. and it captures one of the fwraet messages of his work on that army, which is that the public imagery of red coats a as these often often a a dandy. it's woefully inaccurate. so it instructs me you're to forget everything you learn from the patriot and mel gibson and these are are not figments of
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the image nation he will present. >> your colleagues here for the bad judgment have asked me to speak today. the military library and museum. it's channel surfing, cnn, msnbc and fox news. i'd like to say i'm glad to spend today holed up in the 18th century. whenever a friend outside asked
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me about my job, they make the live i living by reading dead people's mail. like other historians, those who focus on the 20th and 21st or before the 20th and 21st century, apply by examining written records. that's where we find the information that tells us what the people of the past experien experience, what it meant to them and why it should matter to us. in other words, historians use words to create pictures in their reader's minds and to interpret when those pictures mean. standing here in the museum of the american revolution i i feel obliged to mention that historians can also learn from the artwork and artifacts from the eras they study. as a boy my growing obsession with history from american heritage magazine, who has
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illustrated format inspired me as much as the written article. i think people preserved in visual form and how they portrayed their times can tell us about they experienced and how they felt about that. the special exhibition that the conference compliments provides with a golden opportunity to gauge how much the visual record can enhance what we gleaned from the written record. the paintings, drawings and other objects from the talented staff opened windows object to various facets of the were of independence. the tragic story of the officer who risked his all for the british capture in 1777. how the revolution and atlantic world touched arrest left-hand a ireland and many others. what tells us about the british
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army in which richard saint george soldier at how it respond ed to the challenges of fighting a difficult war than a foreign and hostile environment thousands of miles from home. students of war in military culture. the strenlts and weaknesses of the weapons systems that opposing armies employ determine tactical options. in addition, what soldiers wear reflects the values of the societies they serve both stylistic as well as the norms and traditions of the organizations to which they belong. it's also important to realize that what an army wears and carries, what it goes to war changes in the course of a conflict. the experience teaches officers and men what works and what does not. what should be retained or jet sans. i must acknowledged my fascination with military culture reflects one of my guilty pleasures.
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i pursued my undergraduate studies in the 1970s and youthful enthuse yampl led to my being seduced. while that confession, i'm unapologetic. i found living history a useful teaching tool and a supplement to conventional research. it's one thing to read an 18th century drill manual or action report, but it's something else to perform the evolutions described therein. especially on the same sort of ground where revolutionary war armies fought each other. sampling a common red coat knowing where clothing shaved and shoes blistered as equipment belts bit increases empathy for the people you study. as does familiarity with weapons or trying to live your day and execute battlefield movements by
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commands transmitted by drums and bugle horns. this lecture will take the form of an illustrated survey of how the british army adapted to conditions as it strove to suppress what erupted in 1775. adaptation is not a word that most americans associate with their country's opposition in that contest. the red coats of the revolution are normally depicted as unthinking, kmeetly unsuited for the challenges they encountered. and according to to the long cheri cherished stereotype, they campaigned in uniforms designed for the parade ground and practiced rigid tactics suited for the clear exb pants pants. a british historian demolished these myths in 2008 when he published with zeal and with bayonets only the british army
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on campaign in north america 1775 to 1783. spring completely revolutionized our view of combat in the war of independence. the britsish army was what today's american military calls a thinking enemy. british officers such as sir william howe realized they had to adapt to american conditions from the outset. and they trained all their foot soldiers to function like infantry. after bunker hill, they led their red coats into battle in open order, not tightly packed lines. lack account large amounts of call value ri and facing too few number to necessitate tight formations. british officers train ed ed toe quickly to overtake and strike a swift foe. the red coats saw equipped decision. they preferred within 75 yards of the enemy and then charge
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with the bayonet. these tactics brought them victory with daunting regularity. hence the regulars constituted a much more formidable force. due to the expense involved in transporting calgary across the atlantic and maintaining them in a combat ready state. they composed most of those troops who struggled to restore the authority. this lecture will accordingly focus on the british army's largest and most important combat branch. the regiment and his rank and position within that regiment. at the rev hugs nar war the british army consisted of 70 regiments afoot. 68 of those units were single
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battalion. the two exceptions were the first afoot or the royals as they were then cool kal led and one of the irish establishment was supposed to total 474. with the outbreak of war, foot regiments underwent augmentation. privates increased from 38 to 56 and every regiment received two additional companies to remain in the brisht aisles to collect and train recruits. these were found other excuses to not accompany their units in the field. that meant that command routinely fell to a lieutenant kernel assisted by a majorage tant and mate.
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and second lieutenant. two sergeants, increase ed d to three and three corporals assisted with company management. once a regiment left home, attrition due to disease, combat, accident and discertification kept numbers well below authorized levels. this garment became the branch's trademark inspire iing the nicke red coat and such derogatory nam names. each received its own face in color, which members displayed on the coats collar, lapels and cuffs.
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with only the seven primary colors identified by sir isaac newton in the early 1670s, it was impossible to avoid duplication with 70 regiments to clothe. not to mention the ores began. it was wearing the same face and color. each received its lace that they displayed loops around the buttonholes on the regiments. in addition, it exhibited its number on etc. buttons.
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the surer you became of his unit affiliation. sergeants and officers were wore coats made of scarlet cloth. and instead of regiment the lace it was all white. officers displayed metallic lace, silver or gold depending on their regiment and matches buttons. this insignia with the crumb son sash worn on duty made a regiment's leadership easy to single out, even at arm's range. while meant to emphasize a status and authority. these facilitated the habit of taking deliberate aim at enemy officers. in addition to a red coat's regiment, company placement also affected when he wore. most british served in a regiment's company battalion
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companies. they were known as hat men because they were issued a standard hat made with stiffen black felt and edged with white lace. silver lace edged hats and officer hs officers hats sported either silver or gold lace, or black edging. in addition to the battalion companies, each regiment possessed two elite companies composed of personnel with special qualifications. the tallest, strongest, and bravest men in each regiment went into the grenadier company that formed the battalion company's right flank, the traditional place of honor. then dysfunction and shock troops leading assaults on positions. it added an additional 12 inches to his stature. red wings trimmed with regimental lace on the coat also advertised his elite status.
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grenadiers began the war with brass match cases attached to the cartridge box belt, a reminder of the days when they threw small bombs. called grenades. there were also equipped with short brass hilton cutlasses. these weapons were soon put in to storage. although grenadiers comprise only 10% of the redcoats sent to crush the american independence, they made an indelible impression on their opponents. they figured prominently in depictions of the war produced by john trumbull and lesser talents he influenced. a regiment's other elite company, the light infantry, filled its ranks with smaller, quicker fellows to function as skirmishers and flankers. batallian companies and grenadiers trained to fight in three ranks deep, with each file set off six inches from the other.
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the long, red line popularly associated with the 18th century british army. light infantry, on the other hand, operated in two ranks, with the men set apart of intervals at four feet open order or ten feet, extended word, which made them more difficult targets. the light bobs as they were called excess sanitily practiced skirmishing and how to advance small bodies. their training also stress speed, habituating light troops to move either at the quickstep or a run. light infantryman wore a uniform that reflected their specialized role. light infantry coats had wings, but their tails were cut short to perform on the march or in combat. instead of the tall bearskin cap or
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a widebrimmed cocked hat that can hamper movement, the leather caps with distinctive or decorative front peaks. this headgear was sometimes adorned by feathers and hair crests. in addition to the standard muskets and bayonets, light infantryman often carried a hatchet in emulation of the american indian's tomahawk. an anonymous poet captured the lighten image in a song published by a loyalist newspaper in december, 1778. and it went ♪ the battle prepared and their countries just caused ♪ ♪ their king to avenge and support all his laws ♪ ♪ as fierce as a tiger, as swift as a role ♪ ♪ brightish light infantry dash on their foe ♪ ♪ the rebels are numbered oppose their career ♪ ♪ daunting the straightest of fear ♪ ♪ no obstacles hinder,
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resistance they go ♪ ♪ death and destruction attend every blow ♪ take that, hamilton. [ laughter ] [ applause ] service with light troops attracted some of the british army's most daring young officers, such as the subject, a cost of revolution, master george, who fought with the 52nd regiment of light company during the philadelphia campaign of 1777. on parade back home at the british isles, the light infantry company fell in on the left flank. that was not the case of the american war zone from 1775 to 1783. both grenadier and light infantry companies were detached from their parent regiments and brigaded together in elite battalions with companies of their own type. light infantry battalions help remedy the british army's scarcity of calvary by taking on the role of reconnaissance and tactical situations. grenadier and light infantry ba
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stallions worked together, working in flanking movements that made many opponents run and remorselessly pressing braver rebels who endeavored to hold their ground. when the american rebellion erupted the british army contained one infancy regiment who advertised its members' ethnicity. the 42nd regiment of foot, the highland regiment, the blackwatch. due to dire economic hardship and other factors we heard about earlier, scott's proved more willing to invest in the american lore than englishmen and a second battalion of the blackwatch and eight more highland regiment, three with two battalions, and three with highland principles for home defense. officers and men in highland regiments wore their native plaids, what a modern viewer would call kilts, and diced stockings, in lieu of british army leg wear. the well appointed highlander turned out also with a fur purse and carried his ammunition
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at the front of his waist belt in what was called a belly box. bonnets with diced red, white, and green bands took the place of cocked hats. highland grenadiers and light infantry were issued the distinctive headgear worn by their breed in the rest of the british line. bask hilted broad swords complemented a highlander's musket and bayonet. that traditional weapon went into storage as the war progressed. in addition to the highlanders, a trio of foot regiments stood apart from the others. this category of troops originated with the ordnance regiment, formed in 1685 to guard a british field army's trade of artillery. light flintlock muskets instead of more cumbersome match locks. this unit evolved into the 7th regiment afoot. it was joined on the army's table of organization by the 1st royal north
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british fusiliers, scots, and the 23rd royal welsh fusiliers. they enjoyed the privilege of prating in bearskin caps 10 inches tall, two inches short of the grenadier model. all three fusilli regiments would see service in the revolutionary war. the welsh fusiliers fighting from lexington and concord to yorktown. the british army endeavored to govern the dress of the line infantry with a set of regulations known as the royal clothing warrant of 1768. king george promulgated this document on december 19th of that year. it covered the design of an officer enlisted p colors, drums, accrued him and belts, and the devices and badges for the royal regiments and of the 6th old corps. the royal clothing warrant of 1768 superseded the royal clothing warrant of 1751,
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the british army's uniform regulations for the seven years war, or the french and indian war, as americans call it. as can be seen from this line and the next, the coats worn by those were fuller and heavier, with broader lapels, innate cuffs and a greater confusion of regimental lace. grenadiers war lighter caps during the 1750s, but they were made from embroidered or laced cloth rather than bearskin. they carried hangers that added an unnecessary burden to tax stamina and slow their movements. officers turned out in coats glittering with yards of metallic lace. they signified their rank with elaborate knots that can be easily tangled as the wearers passed through woods or brush. with the adoption of the royal clothing warrant of 1768, most regiments had plain
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white waistcoats and breaches. the british field armies committed to the american war also contained regular soldiers whose dress was not governed by the royal clothing warrant of 1768. the british corps of marines, seagoing soldiers who normally kept order aboard the royal navy's men of war, sometimes consolidated the attachments and turned them over to army command. two marine battalions containing more than 1,000 troops served with lieutenant general thomas gage's boston garrison at the war's start. one battalion participated in the relief of the gren deers and light infantry that attempted to destroy whig stores in 1775 and both ba stallions passed through the bloodbath at bunker hill on june 17th. early in 1776, the three regiments foot guards, the elite household troops entrusted with protecting the life of the british sovereign, received orders to contribute
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detachment for a composite command to battle the american rebellion. a total of 30 officers, 82 noncommissioned officers, 14 drummers, six fifers, and a 960 privates, were drafted from the three battalions of the first foot guards, and the two coldstream guards. when the guardsmen arrived at sandy hook in time to join the new york campaign, general william howe directed they operate as a brigade composed of two battalions with a grenadier company and four battalion companies composing the first battalion and light infantry company and four companies making up the second battalion. unlike line infantry regiments, guards, grenadiers, and light infantry remained attached to their parent organization. the foot guards left england in uniforms that aped the style set by the clothing warrant of 1768. the first foot guards issued orders to adopt those
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standards on november 27th, 1770. the coldstream guards november 13th, 1773 and the third food guards in phases. the first april 9th, 1768 and the second july 11th, 1774. because the guards were a law under themselves, and still are, their sergeants decorated their coats with gold lace, like the officers, instead of the white lace sported by sergeants. in the less exalted regiments afoot. although armies are undoubtedly hierarchal organizations, change often receives its initial impetus along the lower reaches of the chain of command. this was as true of the british army as any other. toward the end of the seven years war, and the five years of that followed, several regiments anticipated the royal clothing warrant of 1768 by moving to coats with narrower and lesser innate facing, cape colors and simplified rank insignia for officers, the
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fringed epaulet in place of the eggolet. once the 1768 uniform regulations went into effect, it took time for the british army to attain a relatively uniform appearance. regiments on foreign station had to wait for the delivery of new styles, since clothing, headgear, and various accessories did not always arrive in the same shipment, several units turned out in a mixture of current and obsolete items well into the early 1770s. even those regiments posted to the british isles, amidst a certain amount of ambiguity as their colonels appeared to interpret the clothing warrant's dictates differently. by the time the revolutionary war broke out, the british army had resolved these issues. it was about to undergo a new round of changes in response to the demands of campaigning in canada and the colonies to the south. the notion that the british army
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entered the war of independence, like the proverbial babe in the woods, without the challenges facing it, could not be further from the truth. this was an organization with a long institutional memory about adapting to the north american environment. simplifying the uniform to promote celerity and comfort in the field was by no means foreign to redcoats in the 1750s. in addition, british commanders responded to the demands of woodland fighting and a shortage of indian allies by having each american -- each foot regiment in america organize its own light infantry company. they also organized separate companies of american rangers. the first two commanders in chief to preside over the king's forces in the revolutionary war, thomas gage and william howe, had logged extensive experience in the french and indian war.
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gage had even formed a light infantry regiment dressed in brown, in an early example of camouflage. howe commanded major general james wolf's light infantry in the quebec. if howe proved in the restoration of light companies in 1771 and 1772. as commander of great britain's american army from october 1775 to may, 1778, he infused all his redcoats with the light infantry spirit and capabilities. with these thoughts in mind, we can begin to explore how the king's regulars transformed themselves after the commencement of hostilities in the spring of 1775. as indicated earlier, one of the things that most disconcerted the british about the new england troops they faced early in that conflict was the latter's choice to make priority targets out of officers when they fired on enemy formations.
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this habit registered with startling effect following the costly british victory at bunker hill, june 17th, 1775. general gage lost 1,034 redcoats killed and wounded, nearly 40% of his attacking force. of that total, 89 were officers. as one officer of marines observed, "it is very uncommon in such a great number of officers should be killed and wounded more than in proportion to the number of private men." major general john burgoyne agreed, writing home, "the loss was common among officers, considering the numbers engaged." expressed in statistical terms, losses at bunker hill amounted to nearly 13% of the total number of combat casualties the british army officer corps would absorb for the entirety of the war. british newspapers made frequent mention of the military prowess of the americans, their
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marksmanship, and their skill at forest fighting. when riflemen from western pennsylvania, maryland, and virginia joined the nation of continental army in the boston siege lines, british officers found themselves subjected to accurate fire from skilled marksmen at 300 to 400 yards, three to four times the range of the common musket. a letter dated august 5th, 1775 that appeared in "the london chronicle" two months later, "since the rifle maep rrived they've killed six or eight officers of distinction on the lines of charlestown" the peninsula where bunker hill was located. looking less conspicuous and had become a clear imperative for the king's officers. as we can see from the portraiture, british officers began dressing down for service and armt amount. the regimental coat glittered
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with metallic lace or embroidery. all officers carried swords. the battalion company officers also had short hikes that made it easier to distinguish them at a distance. as a lieutenant of the 35th regiment confided to his mother after bunker hill "the reason we lost so many officers is on account of their dress. that is altered as we dress now like soldiers" and he meant common soldiers. surviving portraits disclose that officers serving in america stripped their coats of lace. battalion company officers put away there's spontoons and emulated the example of their counterparts, where they can kill at a distance, and bayonets, which facilitated hand to hand combat. one of the most memorable examples of this trend involves none other than our
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friend richard st. george. on april 15th, 1776, st. george purchased a commission in the fourth regiment of foot, which was already stationed in america. before he sailed west, he posed for a full-length portrait by thomas gainsborough, who is today considered one of england's great old masters of the 18th century. for our purposes today, i call your attention to the st. george portrait, and that of a brother officer from the fourth foot, the same regiment on this slide. at left is nathaniel holmes' 1771 portrait of lieutenant thomas embury who proudly posed from his pre-war finery. contrast embury's coat with st. george's. while st. george retain epaulet and sash, he clearly tried to make less of a show of himself. gone is the silver buttonhole lace. st. george went to america wearing a sword, an officer's traditional weapon, but also armed himself with a
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fusel and bayonnetet. guards bound for america took similar precautions. 1776, lieutenant colonel edward matthew, the commander of the brigade of guards, directed his officers to make up a uniform with white lace like the privates of their respective regiments. he instructed them to replace their spontoons with fusels. foot guards and officers reported for duty in coats, smothered with thick, gold lace. for field service in europe, they wore plainer coats with no button loops, but with gold lace edging on their faces. this portrait of lieutenant and captain thomas doddeswell shows what he looks like when he served in the first company first battalion brigade of guards during the new york campaign of 1776. note that his coat lacks an
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epaulet, and the tails appear to have been cut short in emulation of the light infantry. note also that no gilt bus on its are visible on his cuffs. the buttonholes are bare. spacing and shoulder straps are edged with thin white courting, rather than gold lace. the young englishman's headgear consists of a cut down cocked hat with a narrow brim for some sun protection, and a few black feathers attached to the left side. he carries a fusel and bayonet and there is no sign of a sword. he retains the sash, because there are certain badges of rank's some british officers refused to relinquish. sergeants similarly dispensed with gold lace on their yoomps. the brigade of guards modified their appearance in other ranks. grenadiers lost their bearskin caps and had to wear cap hats with front peaks and visors.
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light infantrymen received similar headgear. on august 14th, 1776, two days after the brigade arrived at sandy hook, matthew informed his battalion companies that they would and i quote "cut their hats round immediately and sew the lace on again, one flap to stand up and the other two to be down." in other words, they converted their cocked hats, which left their faces exposed to the sun, into round hats. all guardsmen cut their coats short to light infantry length. the king george iii topographical collection of the british library houses a watercolor by lieutenant and captain bellew of the grenadier company that shows the battalion company private standing sentinel at the guard camp on staten island in 1777. as we can see, he sports a broad brimmed hat and shortened coat. here are re-enactors in
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a reconstruction of that uniform. something similar had happened among redcoats already in the war zone. a watercolor view of the bunker hill area executed in the summer of 1775 by captain thomas davies of the royal artillery positioned three infantrymen in the foreground. the figure at right is an officer or sergeant, judging from his sword, cocked hat, and a fusel with a bayonet. the other figures, enlisted men, model cocked hats converted into round hats with brims to guard against the sun. redcoats underwent other changes that made their lives a little easier. under the royal clothing warrant of 1768, enlisted infantry carried ammunition and black leather cartridge boxes that hung on the right hips from a leather belt over their left shoulders. their bayonets or hangers were on their left hips attached to waist belts. brass buckles with their regimental numbers or badges.
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troops in america began draping there bayonet belts over there right shoulders, which was less constricting. this use of cross belts became so popular army wide, it quickly spread to regiments stationed in england. as reinforcements from europe swelled general howe's ranks to 32,000 red coats and hessians to capture new york, the work of simplification continued. a wonderful snapshot of this process can be found in robert cleverley's depiction of september 15th, 1776 which cinched the british capture of new york city. one of the most prolific maritime artists of the georgian era. at first glance, it's another tribute to great britain's awesome naval might amphibious expertise, waves of british and blue crab german infantry with artillerymen going ashore on long boats, while broadsides from british warships shock and awe any continentals who may be awaiting them.
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let's look at a closer look at the redcoats in the small boats. what do we see? these men are not wearing cocked hats, but round hats with narrow brims. look at the back of their heads. there are no hues or ponytails hanging down there necks, which confirms written observations that howe had british infantrymen crop their hair short, a measure calculated to ensure their comfort, and a timesaver, sparing them from the inordinate amount of time required to maintain european hairdressing styles. we are indebted to richard st. george for evidence of even more dramatic changes in the dress of howe's army. st. george as you've heard was an amateur art 'tis whose pre-war satiric drawings were translated into wide circulated engravin engravings. st. george continued to produce watercolors after he went to war.
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three of those works dating from 1777 now belong to the harlem pro library, which has loaned them for display in cost of revolution. by the time st. george drew these scenes, he had left the fourth regiment foot, transferring as a lieutenant into the 52nd regiment of foot on december 23rd, 1776. assigned to the 52nd light company, he assumed a place in the forefront of the action as general st. george sits on the ground puffing on a pipe after finishing a meal while on outpost duty. his soldier servant offers him a cloak to shield him from rainfall. the other drawing, "in myself conversing with rebel prisoners according to the rule of chivalry." the thing to note in each drawing is what st. george is wearing. instead of a regimental coat
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he models a round-about. a single breasted jacket without tales. the garment has no lapels, leaving st. george to display the face and collar and only cuffs. the jacket is equipped with light infantry wings. we could see st. george wears his hair cropped. instead of the leather helmet, he and his servant wear more practical and comfortable hats. in my triumphant entry into philadelphia he depicts himself in cart, wrapped in a blue cloak after he suffered a serious wound at the battle of germantown. we cannot see any of st. george's uniform or much of what others are wearing beside him. a wounded corporal in a round hat with the left brim folded up, a red roundabout jacket with laced wings
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and black leather crossbelts to carry his accoutrements. it also carries st. george's hat with his unwounded left arm. st. george sent these drawings and others like them to matthew and mary darley. in 1778, the pair released a few in america which celebrated the british capture in philadelphia and underline the inconvenient fact that the rebel cause had not collapsed. st. george's influence can be immediately recognized in the figure of the british light infantrymen, and campaign dress mocking his prisoners. one of them a black man struck on his backside by a cannonball. finally, the museum of the american revolution owns two paintings by xavier delagada from 1782 that depicts the infantry in action during philadelphia campaign. if st. george did not do the
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works he advised during the competition, turning each into a guide to how the redcoats of 1777 looked when they went on campaign. delagada recreated the devastating british night attack of september 20th, 1777, on the pennsylvania continentals at paoli. the artist painted the continentals attempt to avenge themselves at germantown on october 4th of that year. the brit irn light infantrymen figure prominently in both painting as one might expect. de la gada shows british light dra dragoons and green clad british riflemen trained by patrick ferguson supporting the light bobs. in the germantown painting we see members of the battalion companies of the 40th regiment with a wildly inaccurate regiment of where they made their famous stand that delayed general
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washington's advance. note the 40th personnel had cut their coats short and converted their cocked hats into round hats, and leather belts. between st. george's drawings and the brushwork, we witness the redcoats light wear. at the sight of the revolutionary war they took considerable time in covering his lower extremities. he had to pull on a pair of long white stockings that stretched over his knees which he secured with black leather garters. that buckled just below the knees. then he donned a pair of short legged breaches that blend and buckled below the knees. to protect his shoe tops and lower legs, he received two pairs of leggings called gators. full xwators extended above the knees, which means they could not be put on quickly. they were hard to secure those buttons. gators were designed for a skintight fit. half gators were more convenient because they only buttoned two
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above the ankles.o above the ankles. nevertheless, this system required the soldier to put on eight to ten items to be properly atired below the waist. as st. george and delagada show us, british enlisted men moved to trousers. a garment that combined breaches stockings and gators by 1777. other observers contributed to the record which is confirmed by written documentation. modifications occurred elsewhere in great britain's american army. highland troops swap plaids for gatored trousers, and their grenadiers and light infantry favored the soft bonnets over the distinctive bearskin and leather caps. other regiments placed bearskin caps in storage and took the field in round hats. sir william howe's army was not the only british field
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force to undergo alterations. in the same year howe captured philadelphia, lieutenant general john burgoyne attempted to lead a british army down lake champlain, lake george, and hudson river to albany in a futile bid to split the united states. burgoyne's campaign took place in what people of european descent considered wilderness country and his army prepared accordingly. before burgoyne marched south, general carlton decreed that all british regiments in canada had knee length regimental codes to to provide patching material in the coming year. the troops also cut down their cocked hats for conversion into light infantry style caps. in addition to the changes, we note that some of burgoyne's redcoats switched from stockings and half gators to trousers. all of the british infantry adopted cross belts. royal artillery companies belonging to the canadian army followed suit. in addition, lieutenant james hunter of the royal
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artillery captured three unusual looking redcoats in a 1777 watercolor. in addition to modeling the short and regimented coats, two of these fellows sport caps with visors and indian style leggings that reached to the tops of their thighs. this has led some historians to deduce that they belonged to captain alexander fraser's company of select marksmen. this ad hoc formation consisted of the two best shots from every foot company under burgoyne and operated in support of the many indian allies who accompanied his army at the campaign start. there is a view of burgoyne's adapted artillery, we could go on surveying the alterations in the british army's appearance for the rest of the war, which i'm sure you don't want to do. for instance, by the time the south had become the
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conflict's main theater, fuselary regiments had stored their bearskin hats and adopted cocked hats and gator trousers. i think this lecture has already made its main point. either that or it has exhausted your patience. the british army of the american revolution was not some parade ground organization led by gallon gallant but impractical thoughts. this was a formidable organization whose officers took things seriously and sought to make the most effective use of resources entrusted to them. it was no accident that the british soldier won most of his battles or that it took americans eight grueling years to secure independence. like the u.s. military, however, in vietnam, afghanistan, and iraq, the british army learned it is not enough to vanquish armies on the battlefield when confronted by an armed insurgency that controls much if not all of
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the countryside along with the populace. no matter how well great powers train their troops, mighty armies will squander their strength by not including a viable formula for winning hearts and minds in the strategic plans. thank you. [ applause ] >> so we have a few minutes for questions, i believe. i shocked and awed you. okay, up front. >> actually, i have the mic. >> thanks. >> thanks professor erwin. having done a great job at showing how bad the seven years war outfits were getting officers killed and stupid marching in a big line, presenting near impossible to miss target, why were both
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the mass line and earlier clothing regulations ever adopted if they were so stupid? >> they are conditioned by the strengths and weaknesses of weapon systems. in the 18th century they reflect the strength and limitations. if you have to --it wasn't a rifled weapon accurate beyond 75 yards or so. the key to victory was thought, was to concentrate your fire. one man shooting at an individual target kind of like standing at a stream and throwing a pebble. if you pick up a handful of pebbles and throw them all at once, you'll score some hits. smoother musket bullets would deviate up or down, right or left depending on the last look
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they took from the barrel. as i said, firing at an individual target you might not know you're mad at him. if you get everybody to mass fire and send out a wall at the enemy, even if you don't get the guy in front of you, if you get the man four men down from him, you're making a contribution, also because you're fighting at close range, that makes hand-to-hand combat more likely. anybody who is a football fan knows what a tight line can do to a strung up line. the fact that the british went to extended tactics and they sought hand-to-hand combat with their line spread out and still managed to prevail, usually rebels breaking before contact was made is a terrific testimony to their discipline. it's also testimony to the trust british officers in the 1770s were posed with their
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enlisted men. when you're fighting an open order, often you have to leave it to sergeants and corporals and sometimes even privates to use their initiative in making tactical decisions. it's very different relationship than what emerged in the british army under the duke of wellington, outside of light infantry and rifle units. [ inaudible question ] >> what about the uniforms, the outfits? >> yes. 1750s -- >> they adapted in the 1750s. i mean that's on the slide. >> officers getting killed in the seven years war -- >> the defeat, yeah, there were a lot of officers killed. >> so why did they adopt those then, uniforms that singled out the officers in the 1950s dress code? >> because it -- well the dress code is adopted in 1751 and the seven years war
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breaks out in 1755 -- 1754-1755. that is the first time large numbers of british regulars are fighting in north america. they're new to the environment. they learned quickly from their mistakes. then they returned to the european army. back then, gentlemen dressed a certain way. as befitting their status. there is one way of singling out an officer in a position of authority. it was a way of him demonstrating his prestige. officers tended to come from money, et cetera, so sort of dressing that way was just part of the culture. but again, when they come back to north america, they change those customs. they adapt. the british army will have a pretty strong debate in the 1780s and 1790s over what kind of tactical modes are best. officers who stay in europe, spreading out like this, you meet a bunch of french cavalry in europe you are dead. the army that fights
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under wellington, partially through the influence of a young officer in north america to have both the steady thin red line that could hold its position against french columns but also lots of squirmishers, light infantry regiments and rifle regiments and each line regiment will have a light infancy company, too. so it's more than 10% light infantry when it goes to the peninsula and when it goes to waterloo. >> i'm curious, the location of the barracks in chester county, and montgomery county and philadelphia. where were these locationed for the british army? >> gee, i don't know. but during the seven years war, when the british army went in to winter quarters, people objected to quartering regular troops in homes, et cetera, and different colonies were asked to build
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barracks, the old barracks at trenton is part of that barracks network but i don't know where the barracks you're asking about, where they were located. i'm sorry. >> thanks. one more question? >> sure. >> anyone have a question? >> yes, a quick question about the queens rangers, the green outfit and they formed for the seven years war originally i believe. >> rogers rangers. >> romger e rogers rangers and to get a commission from congress, they don't trust him. he goes to the british and offers his services. general howe gives him permission to raise the queen's american rangers. a lot of brit irn officers and loyalists gentlemen don't like the quality of the officers that rogers commissions. rogers too by this time has past his prime. he had a drinking problem after
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he went back to england. he may have had it here in north america, but he's eased out, and his officers are ease td out an replaced by loyalist gentlemen from new york and virginia. so the people who flocked to lord dunmoor and the queen's rangers are reconstituted, under the command of john graves simko i quoted, a young man without much money so he wants to get ahead distinguishing himself in combat and finding a powerful patron in sir henry clinton, reminding clinton of everything he does right. there are lots of letters between the two of them, and he makes a reputation for himself. he ends up commanding a mixed command of infantry, light infantry, he has a rifle company. he has a troop, he has a highland company and starts raising light dragoons so it becomes a region. it was one of the best forces in the british army.
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it's funny, because the 18th century was a hierarchal time. if you read officers reports on both sides in this war, when they talk about people who performed well in battle, they name only officers. simko did not respect the american revolution. he wrote diatribes to himself, imaginary dialogues, refuting all the principles of american republicanism. if you read his journal, he will talk about sergeant so-and-so and private so-and-so. he didn't care about class when it came to military merit and also promoted men from the ranks, and made officers of them. if they angted like gentlemen and acted bravely, he had his eye on them so he's an interesting, interesting figure. because when he goes to canada, lieutenant governor, he's going to try to find ways to sabotage the american republic, but at the same time there's, this will make him roll over in his grave but there was a little
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egalitarian streak in john simko. i did answer your question? [ inaudible ] >> he said it's great. he liked to set up ambush caves he called them. in the summertime the guys blend in with the trees and they said you got issued one coat a year. by the time the fall and winter comes on, that green is kind of brownish, it's grungy and it's camoufla camouflage. he did that deliberately, yes. sorry for going on a tangent. thank you. [ applause ] all week we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. lectures in history, american artifacts, reel america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nation's
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history. enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on c-span3. normally what would happen is there would be a team of helicopters helping each other and supporting eacher to to make sure they have saerp but because there was no one else there, o donnell made the decision immediately he'd rescue these men so he went down to, into the landing zone area and he hovered on the ground for four minutes, waiting for the reconnaissance team to arrive there, which is in a battle condition an eterni eternity. it's a very long time to be sitting vulnerable to the enemy, but he waited. the reconnaissance team arrived, injured but safe, they boarded the helicopter, all of them and o donnell began to pull the helicopter up above the tree line and radioed, i have everyone. i'm coming out. >> president and ceo of the metropolitan museum of art daniel weiss on his book "in that time" about the life of
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michael o'donnell, who went missing in action during the vietnam war. sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "q & a." next on american history tv, west point history instructor major david lambert discusses how gunpowder was outsourced and manufactured in the mid 19th century. the new york military affairs symposium hosted this event. it's about an hour and 40 minutes. >> major david lambert is a native of chicago, illinois, following high school he enrolled in the united states military academy at west point, new york, and there he majored in history and graduated with honors in 2007. he commissioned as an officer and served as a tank platoon leader and company executive officer at ft. hood and in mosul, iraq, fr


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