Friday 10 September 2010

British 80th Foot, North America 1758

Uniforms of privates of the 80th Regiment of Light Armed Foot (Gage's Light Infantry), 1758.

Although the ranger units were useful and effective in their own way, it was felt that regular units of light infantry were needed in North America. In 1757-8 Colonel Thomas Gage raised a unit of 500 light infantry at his own expense. They proved useful throughout the war but especially in the suppression of Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763-4, when, at the end of the SYW, a number of tribes (especially in the Great Lakes region) rose up against the British as a result of dissatisfaction with the British policy of treating the Indians as a conquered people, in contrast to the previous French policy of conciliation. The regiment was disbanded in 1764.

Their uniform was unusually drab, as it consisted of a short brown jacket with black painted or japanned pewter buttons, brick red waistcoat and breeches, and gaiters of varying colours, often brown, grey or blue-grey. Many men had shortened muskets, some with browned barrels. The authorities clearly had problems accepting so unorthodox a uniform, as by the end of the war the unit had a new uniform of a red jacket faced orange. Headgear was a jockey cap, usually cut down in various ways from the cocked hat and  with flaps that could be lowered to protect the head in bad weather.

Monday 6 September 2010

British Ranger Officer 1750s

This is a somewhat speculative uniform, based on an illustration by G A Embleton, but is probably close to the sort of uniform British ranger officers wore, at least at the beginning of the campaign before they ended up in rags or stolen civilian or military items like everyone else.