Thursday, 14 August 2008

Ebenezer Learned's brigade 1777

Now for my brigade to be used at Bemis Heights. I mentioned on my main blog that I would depict the brigade of Ebenezer Learned comprising the 2/8/9 Massachusetts and 1st Canadian.

Clockwise starting from from the left
2nd Mass - as described in Lefferts, etc very much standard uniform except for Brown breeches
8th Mass - I used the picture in Mollo (#105) as the basis. I agree with comments that it may have been just one company, but it makes a very striking unit
9th Mass - No clear description, so I depicted another Mass regiment Glovers Marbleheads (14th Cont.), which looks very similar to the unit attacking the Breymann redoubt in the Osprey Saratoga book
2nd Canadian - rather than the 1st this unit saw more action, more clarity on the uniform so I copped out.

Flags - All generic Massachusetts flags, except the 2nd Canadian which came from Warflag

I also added a couple of extra generals by converting some Revell American Militia, one is clearly formally dressed, except he is missing his hat, and the other I will use with one of my militia brigades.
Finally, here is the very useful response from Brendan Morrisey on the Lace Wars group when I queried the 1st Canadian Uniform.

"The situation with much of the Northern Army in the summer of 1777 was that very few units were issued uniforms of any sort prior to the Saratoga campaign, most only receiving their 1777 issue clothing in November and December. So the short answer to your question is that you could probably use a militia unit with a few uniformed officers for Livingston's regiment.

To take the regiments of Learned's brigade:

2nd Mass. Several deserters were recorded wearing blue coats/short jackets, so there may have been a uniform of sorts, possibly worn by men who had re-enlisted from 1776 and were wearing old uniforms from other units. The first recorded issue of clothing to the regiment itself, was in December 1777 and included a large amount of green and red cloth (suggesting green-faced-red).

8th Mass. This unit was issued with 60 coats and similar numbers of waistcoats and breeches, but also 238 hunting shirts, some time between February and August (they were very much the exception). In the early years of the war, h/shirts were issued in pairs (ie each recruit got two), but more likely the 8th were given one each because of shortages

9th Mass. They got exactly 18 sets of coat/waistcoat/breeches,which I would suspect were issued to the sergeants. The rest of the unit would have been wearing "civvies" - ie, they'd look like militia.

1st Can. Because the Canadian regiments had no "home" State, they were often overlooked when it came to clothing and equipment (IIRC,Hazen had to bang the table a few times to get Congress to kit out his own regiment, the 2nd) and I suspect a lot of them were wearing their own clothes. From the assorted deserter reports listed in an earlier post, it sounds like the two men wearing the captured British coat and the blue coat faced red, were in the the "official" uniform( probably one was a musician and hence was in reversed colours - my money's on the guy in the British coat). The other two men were probably wearing their own clothes, and therefore may have been new recruits. A consignment of British coats was "liberated" from the7th and 8th Foot (dark blue facings) and 26th Foot (yellow) during the invasion of Canada in 17775-76, and the deserter above could well have been wearing one of these - quite likely a 7th/8th Foot coat.(Before his death, Montgomery had a spat with Congress over British coats, as the latter wanted him to take away all prisoners' coats and he had to explain that only un-issued coats could be taken as spoils of war, as the British soldiers paid for their uniform, so the coats they were wearing were private property and so could not be confiscated.)

Hope that helps."



The Dale Wardens said...

Very cool posts! I love the on parade look.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Hey Will, did you see this on TMP??

Was thinking Bemis Heights might make a good entry?? :o)