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tv   British Army the Revolutionary War 1775-1783  CSPAN  November 10, 2019 9:00am-10:06am EST

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on c-span two. next on american history tv, military historian gregory irwin talks about challenges the british army faced in adapting to north american terrain and battle tactics during the revolutionary war. the museum of the american revolution, pritzker military museum and the richard vann has foundation cohosts this event as part of a three-day international conference. >> my name is philip mead, director of curatorial affairs -- professor urwin is a longtime
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friend of this museum project. it is one of the great advantages of being in philadelphia, that we can be close neighbors to the professor, whose work on the british army in the american revolution is extensive and nuanced, and is always inspiring of our exhibits and publications , and the development of our core exhibition. professor urwin played a crucial role in the display of the story of enslaved runways, weighing the promise of the phils berg problem nation announced by general clinton in 1779, that offered vaguely protection and perhaps freedom for runaways to make their way to the british lines, through
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consultation with a number of historians, particularly of african-american history in this period. it became an imperative that we due to very challenging and often seemingly contradictory things with our tableau showing enslaved people facing the question of whether to trust the british on this promise. and one was to demonstrate their agency to capture the sense that they had some impact and some volition, deliberation, choice in what they were doing. and the other was to not shy away from the horrors of the tyranny of slavery that dominated their
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lives and that kept the majority of enslaved people still in bondage through the american revolutionary war. the way we imagined doing this was, we would put a uniformed soldier of african dissent across a fence rail, in conversation with a person still enslaved, still in their field clothes, but the challenge was that most, from what we could tell, most of the formerly and slaved people who made it to the british army probably would never have received a red coat. so we went to professor urwin, who among his other accomplishments, including nine books either written or edited as well as 150 articles, has also produced over 2800 issues of an email blast called red coat images. of this
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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 is often sending addendum's and updates -- and we all hang on these magnificent pieces of scholarship. and they were in fact partly inspiring of our choice to do a redcoat story for this exhibition. but in the case of these virginia runaways, we put it to the expert of redcoat images, who among these enslaved people might have had a red
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coat? and there is a book that professor urwin has been working closely with the manuscript from 1783 called "the book of negroes," to lift the formerly enslaved people who were under the protection of the british army in new york in 1783, and based on his findings in that book, he suggested a young, 15-year-old man named london pleasance, as he joined benedict arnold's british lesion and served as a trumpeter, which would have been a uniformed and armed rankso we were able to capture an immediate image of him and galleries of a formerly-enslaved person who has made a choice with great personal and political implications, by presenting our version of london pleasance. and
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we are thankful to professor urwin for that. his "redcoat images" is also influential in our development of this exhibition. originally what became the cost of revolution, the life and death of an american soldier, was initially to be a portrait display based on professor urwin 's redcoat images. we went out a deep rabbit hole with richard st. george, which professor urwin was very helpful with as well. today he will be talking about his topic, from parade ground to battlefield, how the british army adapted to war in america, 1770 5-1780 three. and it captures one of the great messages of his work on that army, which is that the public imagery of redcoats as these
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often inept, sort of dandy, often people monsters is woefully inaccurate, so instructs me you are to forget everything you ever learned from "the patriot" and mel gibson. [laughter] and these are not figments of the imagination of the redcoats he will present. [applause] prof. urwin: colleagues at the -- i would like to thank you and your colleagues at the museum for the colossal bad judgment of asking me to speak today. [laughter] i think all the sponsors of this wonderful conference, particularly the
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pritzker military library and museum. military history rules. [laughter] last night i made the mistake of channel surfing cnn, msnbc and fox news. i like to say i am really glad to spend today holed up in the 18th century. [laughter] whenever a friend outside academia asks me about my job, i quip i make my living by reading dead people's mail. like other historians, especially those focused on the -- on before the 20th and 21st centuries, i ply my trade by examining written records. that is where we find the information that tells us what the people of the past experienced, what it
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meant to them and why it should matter to us. in other words, historians use words to create pictures and their readers' minds and to interpret what those pictures mean. standing here in the museum of the american revolution, i feel obliged mention historians can learn much from artwork and artifacts dating from the eras they study. as a boy, my growing obsession with history through sustenance from "american heritage magazine, whose lavishly-illustrated format inspired me as much as written articles. the visual form and how they portrayed their times tells us a lot about what they experienced and how they thought about that. cost of revolution, the exhibition this conference complements, provides us with a golden opportunity to gauge how
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much the visual record can enhance what we glean from the written record. many drawings, engravings and other objects collected by the museum -- as a military historian, i take interest in what cost of revolution tells us about the british army, in which richard st. george soldiered, and how it responded to challenges of fighting a difficult war in a foreign and often hostile environment thousands of miles from home. students of war study the strengths and weaknesses of weapons systems to determine their tactical options on the battlefield, and in addition
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what soldiers wear reflects the values of the societies they serve, both stylistic and utilitarian, as well as norms and traditions of the organizations to which they belong. it is also important to realize that what an army wears and carries when it goes to war changes in the course of a conflict. hard experience teaches officers and men what works and what does not. in other words, what should be retained, modified or jettisoned. i must acknowledge that my fascination with with -- fascination with military material culture reflects one of my obsessions. in the 1970's, youthful enthusiasm led to my being seduced into historical reenacting. while that confession arouses smirks, i'm unapologetic. over the years i have found living history a useful teaching tool, and a
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supplement to conventional research. it is one thing to read an 18th-century drilled manual or after action report, but something else to perform the actions described therein, especially on the same sort of ground where revolutionary armies fought. sampling a common redcoat or continental's diet, knowing where his clothing chafed, shoes blistered, equipment belts bit, increases empathy for the people you study, as does familiarity with the eccentricities of flintlock weapons or trying to live your day and execute battlefield movements by commands transmitted by fides and drums and bugle horns. this lecture will take the form of an illustrated survey of how the british army adapted to north american conditions as it strove to suppress the rebellion that erupted in 1775. adaptation is not a word americans associate with their country in that contest. redcodes are normally -- the redcoats are normally
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depicted as unthinking automatons unsuited for the challenges. according to the long-cherished stereotype, they campaigned in colorful and impractical uniforms zion for parade grounds and practiced rigid linear tactics suited for the clear, flat expanses of europe rather than rougher or often wooded terrain. a brilliant young british historian, matthew spring, demolished these myths in 2008 when he published, with zeal and bayonets only, the british army on campaign in north america, 1775-1783 spring revolutionized our view of the combat in the war of independence. the british army george washington faced is what today's 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 their foot soldiers to function like
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infantry. after bunker hill, they invariably lead their redcoats to battle in open order, not tightly-packed lines, lacking large amounts of calvary and facing enemy horses in too few numbers to necessitate the tight formations, british officers trained soldiers to move quickly and overtake and strike. in battle, the redcoats usually sought a quick decision, preferred to close within 75 yards of the enemy, fiery volley and charged with bayonets. these tactics brought them victory with daunting regularity, hence the king's regulars were a much more formidable of forstmann most americans appreciate. due to the expense involved in transporting calvary and artillery across the atlantic and maintain them in a combat ready, state on american soil infantry composed most of those troops who struggled to restore
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george the third's authority. . this lecture will focus on the british army's largest and most important combat branch. the attire of the common british footsoldier in the 1770's depended on three factors, army wide regulations, the regiment to which he belongs, and his rank and position. at the revolutionary war's start, the infantry consisted of 70 regiments, 68 were single battalion formations with 10 companies a piece. the exceptions were the first regiment, the royals, and the 60th, the royal americans, which mustered 2 10 company battalions a piece. a regiment stationed in england numbered 477 officers and men. one on the irish establishment was supposed to total 474. with the outbreak of the war, foot regiments went under augmentation. private
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increased from 38 to 56, and they received 2 additional companies to remain in the british isles to collect and train recruits. these were often general officers finding other excuses to not accompany their units in the field. that meant regimental command routinely fell to a lieutenant colonel assisted by a major, quartermaster, surgeon, and surgeon's mate. the officers commanding a company included a captain, lieutenant, and a second lieutenant. 2 sergeants was increased to three. three corporals assisted with company management. once a regiment left home, attrition due to combat, disease, desertion, there were
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-- cap numbers well below authorized levels. every soldier in the british foot wore a red uniform coat, a regimental. this government -- garment became the trademark, inspiring the nickname red coat and such derogatory american variants, such as bloody back and lobster back. since shoulder patches and other unit distinctions did not exist at the time, each regiment received its own facing color, which its members displayed on the regimental coats, caller, lapels, and cuffs. regiments announced their connection to hanover by sporting dark blue faces. the other regiments displayed nearly every other color in the rainbow. yellow, green, white, black, purple, and orange. with only the seven primary colors identified by isaac newton in the early 16 70's, it was impossible to avoid duplication with 70 different infantry regiments, not to mention the 35 others authorized
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after the revolutionary war began. to distinguish between regiments wearing the same facing color, each one received its own multicolored lace that privates and corporals displayed in rectangular or pointed in shaped loops around buttonholes on their regimental. a regiment exhibited its number on its buttons. certain privileged outlets inc. their unique regimental badges on their buttons and elsewhere. that meant the closer you got to a red coat, the sure you became about his affiliation. sergeants and officers wore coats made of -- officers displayed metallic lace, silver or gold, depending on their regiment, and matching buttons. this insignia, along
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with the crescent shape and crimson sash, made a regiment's leadership easy to single out, even at maximum small arms range. while meant to emphasize a commander's status and authority, these facilitated the american rebels' habit of taking aim at enemy officers. in addition to a red coat's regiment, company placement also affected what he wore. most british infantryman served in eight battalion companies. they were known as hat men, because they were issued the standard hat made of stiffened black felt and edged with white lace. silver lace edged sergeants hats. officers hats sported either silver or gold, or black edging. in addition to the battalion companies, each regiment possessed 2 elite companies composed of personnel with special qualifications. the
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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. they functioned as shock troops leading assaults on positions. for their height and fearsome they wore a cap covered with bearskin. it added an additional 12 inches to his stature. red wings trimmed with regimental lace on the coat also advertised his elite status. grenadier's began the war with brass match cases attached to the cartridge box belt, a reminder of the days when they threw small bombs. they were also equipped with short brass hilton cutlass is. these weapons were soon put in
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to storage leaving them to fight with muskets and ans. although grenadier's 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. the battalions trained to fight in three ranks are deep, with each file set off six inches from the other. the long redline popularity associated with the british army. light infantry, on the other hand, operated in 2 ranks, with the men set apart of intervals at four feet or 10 feet, which made them more difficult targets. the light bobs practiced skirmishing and how to advance small bodies.
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they are 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 a widebrimmed 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 dashing image
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in a song published by a loyalist newspaper in december, 1778. "a battle prepared and their countries just caused their king to avenge and support all his laws. as swift as a tiger, as swift as a role the british light infantry dash on their foe. the rebels are numbered oppose their career, their hearts are undaunted no strangers to fear. no obstacles hinder, 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 across a the revolution, master george, who fought with the light company during the philadelphia campaign of 1777.
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on parade back home at the british isles, the light infantry company felt 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 paraded together in elite battalions with companies of their own type. light infantry battalions remedied the british army's scarcity of calvary by taking on the role of reconnaissance and tactical situations. grenadier and light infantry battalions 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, one infantry regiment advertised its members ethnicity. of the 42nd regiment afoot, the highland regiment, the blackwatch. due to dire economic hardship and other factors we heard about earlier, scott's proved more willing to
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enlist in the american war. a second battalion of the blackwatch and eight more highland regiment, three with 2 battalions, and three with highland principles for home defense. officers and men in highland regiments wore their native plaisds, what a modern viewer would call kilts, in lieu of british army leg wear. the highlander also turned out with a purse and carried his ammunition 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 contacts. highland grenadier's and light infantry were issued the distinctive headgear worn by their breed in the rest of the british line. broad swords complemented the musket and bayonet. that traditional weapon went into
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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 ordinance regiment, formed in 1685 to guard a british field trade of artillery. light flintlock muskets instead of more cumbersome and match locks. this unit evolved into the seventh regiment. it was joined on the army's table of organization by the 21st royal north british fusiliers, scotch, 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 fusillier regiments would see service in the revolutionary war. the welsh fusiliers fighting from lexington and card -- concorde to yorktown. the british army endeavored to
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dress the line infantry with a set of regulations known as the royal clothing warrant of 1768. king george promulgated this document on december 19 of that year. it covered the design of an officer enlisted uniform, headgear, colors, cam colors, drums, accrued him and belts, and the devices and badges for the royal regiments and of the sixth old core. the royal clothing warrant superseded the royal clothing warrant of 1751, 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, cuffs, and a greater confusion of regimental lace. grenadier's war lighter caps during the 1750's, but they were made from
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embroidered or laced cloth. they carried hangers that added a necessary 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 it in 1768, most regiments had plain white waistcoats and bridges. 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
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detachments and turned them over to army command. 2 marine battalions containing more than 1000 troops served with lieutenant general thomas gage 's boston garrison at the start. attempted to destroy military stores in cochran, massachusetts. both battalions passed through -- received orders to contribute 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, or drafted from the three battalions of the first foot guards, and the 2 coldstream guards. when the guardsmen arrived at sandy hook in time to join the new york campaign, general william how directed
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they operate as a brigade composed of 2 battalions with a grenadier company and 4 battalion companies composing the first battalion and light infantry company and 4 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 ate the style set by the clothing warrant of 1768. the first foot guards issued orders to adopt those standards on november 27, 1770. the coldstream guards on a november 17, and phases for the others. 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. although armies are undoubtedly
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hierarchal organizations, change receives its initial impetus along the lower reaches of the chain of command. this is 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 i moving the coats with narrower and lesser made facings, colors, and simplified rank insignia for officers, the fringed epaulet in place of the egg let. 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,
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several units turned out in a mixture of current and obsolete items well into the early 1770's. even those regiments posted to the british isles, against a certain amount of ambiguity as their kernels 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 entered the war of independence, like the proverbial baby in the woods, without the challenges facing it, cannot be further from the truth. this was an organization with a long institutional memory about adapting to the north american environment. simple find the uniform to promote celerity and
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comfort in the field was by no means foreign to redcoats in the 1750's. in addition, british commanders responded to the demands of woodland fightings and a shortage of indian allies by having each foot regiment in america organize its own light infantry company. they also organized separate companies of american rangers. the first 2 commanders in chief to preside over the king's forces in the revolutionary war, thomas gage and william how,e logged extensive experience in the french and indian war. gage had even formed a light infantry regiment dressed in brown. in an early example of camouflage. how commanded major general james wolf's light infantry in the quebec. it disbanded the formations when it downsized after the french and indian war. he proved instrumental in light companies in 1771 and 72. as
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commander of great britain's american army from october 1775 to 1778, he infused all of his redcoats with the light infantry spirit and capability. 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 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. this habit registered with startling effect following the costly british victory at bunker hill, june 17, 1775. general gage lost 1034 redcoats killed and wounded, nearly 40% of his attacking force. of that total, 89 were officers. as one officer of marines observed, "it is uncommon in such a great number
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of officers should be killed and wounded more than in promotion -- proportion to the number of private men." major general john burgoyne agreed, writing "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 marksmanship, and skill at forest fighting. one rifleman 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 marksman at 300 to 400 yards, three to four times the range of the common musket. although they are dated
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-- a letter dated that since the rifleman arrived they have killed six or eight officers of distinction. looking less conspicuous and had become a clear imperative for the king's officers. as we can see, britishsee, british officen dressing down for american service and altering their armament. the regimental coat glittered with metallic lace or embroidery . all officers carried swords. the battalion company officers short short pikes that made it easier to distinguish them at a distance. as a lieutenant of the 35th regiment confided to his mother, "the reason we lost so many officers is on account of their dress. we dress now like soldiers." he meant common soldiers. officers serving in america stripped their coats of
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lace. battalion company officers put away there's pontoons and emulated the example of their grenadier and light injured -- counterpartsy bayonets, which facilitated hand to hand combat. one of the most memorable examples of this trens involves none other in our friend richard st. george. on april 15, 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
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officer from the same regiment on this slide. nathaniel holmes 1771 protrude of thomas embury, who probably posed in this prewar finery. contrast embury's coat with st. george's. st. george retained his epaulet and sash, he clearly tried to make less of a show of himself. gone is the silver buttonhole lace. george went to america wearing a sword, an officer's traditional weapon, but armed his self with a fusel and bayonet. 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 respected regiments. he on formal state occasions
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foot guards and officers reported for duty in coats, smothered with thick, gold lace. for field service in europe, they wore plain coats with no button loops, but with gold lace edging on their faces. this portrait of lieutenant and captain thomas. as well shows what he looks like when he served in the first company first battalion brigade of guards during the new york campaign of 1776. his coat lacks an epaulet. the tales appear to have been cut short in emulation of light infantry. no buttons are visible on his cuffs. the buttonholes are bare. spacing and what you and shoulder straps are edged with thin white courting, rather than gold lace. the headgear consists of a cut down hat with a narrow brim for some sun protection, and a few
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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 badges of rank officers refused to relinquish. sergeants similarly dispense of gold lace on their uniforms. the brigade of guards lost their bearskin caps and had to wear cap habits with front peaks and visors. light infantry men received similar headgear. on august 14, 1776, two days after the brigade arrived at sandy hook, matthew informed his battalion companies that they would "cut their hats around immediately and so the lace on again, one flap to stand up, and the other 2 to be down." in other words, they converted their hats, which left their faces exposed to the sun, into
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round hats. all guardsmen cut their coats short to light infantry length. the king george the third 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 at the guard camp on staten island in 1777. as we can see, he sports a broad brimmed hat and shortened coat. here are reenactors in a reconstruction of the 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 by his sword, cocked hat, and a fusel with a bayonet. the other figures, enlisted men, model cocked hats converted into
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enlisted infantry carried ammunition and black leather cartridge boxes on the right hips from a belt over their left shoulders. there bayonet and or hangers were on their left hips attached to waist belts. brass buckles with their regimental numbers or badges. 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 the ranks to 32,000 redcoats and hessians, the work of simplification continued. a wonderful snapshot of this
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process can be found in a oniction of an army september 15, 1776 since the british capture of new york city. one of the most prolific maritime artists of the era. at first glance it is a tribute to great britain's awesome nabel might and amphibious expertise. waves of british and blue crab german infantry with artillerymen going ashore on long boats, while broadsides from british warships shock a continentals who may be waiting for them. these men are not wearing cocked hats, but round hats with narrow brims. look at the back of their heads. there are no ponytails hanging down there next, which confirms written observations that howe had british infantrymen crop their hair short, a measure calculated to
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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. he was an amateur artist whose drawings translated into widely circulated engravings. st. george continued to produce watercolors after he went to war. three of those works dating from 1777 now belong to the harlem pro library, which has loaned them for display in cost of revolution. he left the fourth regiment of foot, transferring as a lieutenant into the 52nd regiment of foot on december 20 third, 1776. assigned to the 52nd light company, he assumed a place in the forefront of the action as general sir st. george -- he sits on the ground puffing
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on a pipe after finishing a meal while on outpost duty. his soldier servant offers him a coke tush -- cloak to shield him from rainfall. mock gallantry and myself conversing with rebel prisoners. the thing to know with each drawing is what st. george is wearing. instead of a regimental coat he models a round about. a single breasted jacket without tails. the garment has no lapels, leaving st. george to display the face and color of only his 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
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moreervant wear practical and comfortable hats. 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 around hat with the left brim folded up. a red roundabout jacket with laced wings and black leather cross belts. it also carries st. george's hat and fusel. sent these drawings and others like them to london friends, leading print publishers. in america they celebrated the
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british capture of philadelphia -- notrebel cause had collapsed. st. george's influence can be recognized in the depiction of , campaign dress mocking his herbal prisoners. -- finally, the museum of the american revolution owns two during philadelphia campaign. he advised the composition, turning each into a guide of how the redcoats of 77 looked on campaign. he re-created the devastating british attack of september 21, 1777 on the pennsylvania continentals at a only. the artist painted the continentals attempt to avenge
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themselves on st. george at germantown in october of that year. british infantrymen figured prominently in paintings. he also shows british light dragoons and green clad british rifleman supporting the light bob's in their work at a only. in the germantown painting we see members of battalion companies of the 40th regiment entering a wildly inaccurate whereion of the mansion they made their favorite step -- famous stand. note that the personnel have cut their coats and converted their cocked hats into round hats and they where buttoned leather cross belts. between st. george's trawling's and this brushwork we also witness the leg where of the redcoats. at the start of the war british soldiers spent considerable time covering their lower
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extremities. first there was a pair of light grey stockings that he stretched over his knee that he secured in place with lack -- black leather gardens. then he donned bridges that buttoned and buckled below the knees. to protect tissue tops and lower legs they received two pairs of iter --s called gs they cannot be put on quickly due to having so many buttons. those buttons were hard to secure because these were designed for a skin tight fit. these only buttoned to above the ankles. this system required the soldier to put on eight to 10 items to be properly attired below the waist. this artiste and show us, british enlisted men had moved to trousers, garments that combined rigid stockings and gaiters.
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other observers contributed to the record which is confirmed by british documentation. modifications of uniforms and field equipment occurred elsewhere in the great highland troops swapped flats for trousers and light infantry favored the soft over the distinctive bearskin and leather caps. other regiments placed bearskin caps in storage and took the field in round hats. this army was not the only british field forced to undergo sensible alterations. in the same year they captured philadelphia a general attempted tolead a british army down lake champlain, lake george and hudson river innovation and route to alternate in a glint us -- in a bid to split the united states. burgoyne's campaign took place in what they considered before burgoyne marched south
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-- they decreed that all british regiments in canada cut knee to provide perry -- patching material. they cut down cocked test for conversion into light infantry style caps. in addition to those changes we know that some of the redcoats switched from rigid stockings to trousers. all of the british infantry adopted cross belts. companiesllery belonging to the canadian army followed suit. lieutenant james hunter of the royal artillery captured three unusual looking redcoats in a 1777 watercolor of four ticonderoga. in addition to modeling the regimental codes, two of these fellows had cats with and indian style leggings that reached to the top of their thighs.
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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 company under burgoyne and operated in support of the many indian allies who accompany his company. there is a view of the 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 main theater, the regiments had stored their bearskin hats and adapted gator trousers. i think this lecture has already made its main point or has exhausted your patience. the british army of the american not some parade
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ground organization led by gallant but in practical fops. this was a serious organization his officers took their trade seriously and sought to make the most effective use of resources. it was no accident that the british soldier won most of its battles or that it took americans eight years to secure their independence. the u.s. military 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 the countryside along with the populace. no matter how well great powers train their groups, mighty armies will squander their strength by not including a viable formula for winning the hearts and minds in their strategic plans. thank you. [applause]
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we have a few minutes for questions. hopefully i have shocked and awed you. >> thank you, professor. having done a great job at showing how bad the seven years war outfits were getting people -- officers killed and how stupid the marching in a big line presenting a near impossible to miss target, why were the mass line and the earlier clothing regulations adopted? >> sensible tactics are conditioned by the strengths and weakness of weapon systems and the systems to ploy during the 18th century reflect the strength and limitations of a smoothbore musket. it was not a rifled weapon.
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it was not accurate beyond 75 yards or so. victory it 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 put up a handful and throw them all at once you will score some heads. musket bullets would deviate up and down, right and left. as i said, firing at an individual target you might not know it. if -- aside from the smoke and the noise he might not know you are mad at him. massu get everybody to their 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 for men down your making a contribution. because you are fighting at close range that makes hand-to-hand combat more likely.
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who is a football fan knows what a tight line can do to a strong up line. -- strung up line. but the british went to these tactics and sought hand-to-hand combat with their lines spread out and managed to prevail, rebels broke and ran before contact was made, it was a terrific testimony to their discipline. to thelso a testimony trust of british officers in the 1770's. when you are fighting an open lead often you have to with corporals, sergeants and privates to use their initiative at making tactical decisions. with one unmarked in the british army under the duke of wellington. [indiscernible]
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>> the uniforms, the outfits? [indiscernible] in the 1770's. [indiscernible] >> were more officers getting killed -- >> a lot of officers getting killed. >> why did they adopt uniforms that singled out the officers in the 1750's dress code? is the adoptedde in 1751 and the seven years war breaks out in 1755. that is the first time large numbers of british regulars are fighting in north america. they learn quickly from their mistakes. back then gentlemen dressed a certain way. it was the fitting their status.
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it was one way of sending an officer in a position of authority. officer tended to come from money. dressing one way was part of the culture. you come back to north america and then they change those customs and they adapt. have a pretty strong debate in the 1780's and 1790's over what kind of tactical modes are best. spreading out like this you meet a bunch of french cavalry. in the end the army that fights under wellington partially through the infants -- influence of a young officer in america they have a steady thin red line against french columns. also lots of skirmishes. light infantry regiments. each line regiment will have a nice infantry company. peninsulaes to the
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and when it goes to waterloo. i'm curious to the location of the barracks in chester county and montgomery county in philadelphia. where were these locations for the british army? >> i don't know. during the 7 years war when the british army went into winter quarters, people objected to quartering regular troops in s, etc. different colonies were asked to build barracks. the old barracks at trenton is a barracks network. i don't know where the barracks you are asking about were located. >> one more question? >> sure. >> anybody have a question? a quick question about the
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queen's rangers. the green outfit. they were formed for the 7 years war originally i believe. >> rogers. they try to get a commission from congress. they don't trust him and he goes to the british and offers his services. a lot of british officers don't don'tyalist gentlemen like the quality of the officers commissioned. rogers by this time is past his prime. he had a drinking problem after he went back to england. he may have had it here in north america. is eased out. his officers are eased out and replaced by loyalist gentlemen from new york and virginia. the people who flocked to lord dunmore. the queen's rangers are reconstituted, eventually they come out of the command of a young man without much money.
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he wants to get ahead by distinguishing himself in combat powerful patron in sir henry clinton. reminding him of everything he does right. he makes a reputation for himself. he ends up commanding and mixed command of infantry, light infantry he has a rifle company, , he has a highland company. he starts raising it. it becomes a legion. it was one of the best forces in the british army. it is funny because the 18th century was a hierarchal time. if you read officers reports on both sides of this war, when they talk about people who performed well in battle, they name only officers. he did not respect the american revolution. he wrote diatribes to himself. imaginary dialogues refuting all the principles of american republicanism.
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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. he also promoted men from the ranks. officers of them. if they acted like gentlemen and acted bravely. he had his eye on them. it is an interesting figure. he goes to canada. he will try to find ways to sabotage the american republic. at the same time, this will make him roll over in his grave, but there was egalitarian streak there. does that answer your question? >> about the green? >> he said it is great because he liked to set up ambush caves. as he called them. in the summertime guys blended in with trees. got issued one coat a year. by the time the fall and winter comes, the green is kind of brown. he did that deliberately.
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yes. sorry for going on a tangent. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] this is american history tv on c-span3, where each weekend we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. >> tonight on book, former
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speaker of the house newt gingrich with his latest book trump versus china. >> i think the chinese have any great planning, certainly in the next 20 or 25 years, to try to take us on militarily in a traditional sense, but i do think they are trying to build the kind of cyber capabilities, and this is part of where huawei is an extraordinary national asset for them. they are trying to build the capability of space, both of which will have implications. >> at sign :00 eastern, pamela at 10:00 eastern, pamela newkirk talked about her new book. >> what i'm not interested in is white america's ability to see fiction of african-americans, of latinx people, the centuries-old people andmages of
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how that has as much to do with a lack of diversity. >> watch book tv every weekend on c-span2. american -- on american history tv, we talk about the 18 to stick to battle of williamsburg in virginia and why it was overshadowed that your by larger and bloodier battles. we will also hear why williamsburg's colonial history has long obscured its civil war history. mr. gruber is the executive director of civil war trails. this was part of the emerging civil war's blog symposium.


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