Sunday, June 12, 2011

American Regiments - part the first..

More than time (I thought the other day) that I catalogue the American War of Independence collection in the same way I am the Marlburian armies.

The thing is of course that when I started putting these armies together it was way before I even had a blog (some would argue it was probably even pre-interweb smileys), so I never got round to it, but one of my joys is to do the research behind each regiment that I represent on the table top. There are too many regiments in the AWI collection to go into great depth on each, but in this, the first of an(other) occasional series I hope to provide potted histories of the regiments serving on each side... this is the first episode and features the first of the American regiments.

First off - some general information....
  1. This collection started with the kind gift of a quite astonishing number of painted figures by the late John "Lofty" Corrigan. When I got them they were in a big box, with no identification, so I started out by sorting them into groups, I then went to my trusty copy of Mollo and tried to find the "best fit" for each unit. I know that the scholarship of the Mollo book has been questioned in more recent times, but I love it, and when I had my first American War of Independence collection back in the mid-70's I used it extensively - so when the time came to start up again it was the first book I bought...
  2. When I first started the project I bought a set of rules called "Minuteman" and based all my troops to play that rule set - I had a pretty quick falling out with them, but luckily found a set by Will McNally free on the web that used the same basing, so stuck with it - all these figures are based on 5cm squares - either 6 infantry (line), 3 infantry (lights), 2 cavalry, or one gun - two bases make a battalion/squadron (except artillery)..
  3. They were all Minifigs as they were John's passion...
  4. Click on any of the pictures to "embigen" them...
Green Mountain Boys - 1st & 2nd Battalions

I had enough figures for two battalions of these guys - plate no. 18 in the Mollo book looked close enough... they came from New Hampshire, and were involved in the taking of Fort Ticonderoga and later the invasion of Quebec, and battles at Hubbardton and Bennington in 1777. There seem to have been two battalions, one commanded by Seth Warner and the other by Ira Allen. Mollo at least believed there were enough of them to comprise one battalion of 500, so two battalions is probably a bit on the high side... the flag is almost certainly not correct (see the Wikipedia article for the correct one), but will do until I get round to re-flagging them. I use them as line infantry, better than militia but not classed as Continentals - totally evocative and they clearly caught my eye when I was first organising the regiments as they are base numbers 1, 2, 3 & 4.

Massachusetts Militia - 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions

Three separate battalions of plain vanilla American Militia of the type most would recognise - plates 4, 5 & 6 in the Mollo book... At the time it was fairly clear that I liked to group figures together - if I were to re-base these guys (which I think I will eventually) I'll mix them about a bit, or perhaps put the guys on the left in the first picture, in the second row behind the firing guys... base numbers 5 & 6, 13 & 14 and 15 & 22.

1st Rifle Regiment

Plate no 40 in Mollo - I treat them as Militia if I use them in my games but in reality they were the 1st regiment formed by Washington in the new Continental Army - apparently created from Hand's Pennsylvania Rifle regiment these guys have rifles as opposed to muskets. Base no's 7 & 8

New York Regiment

Fictional I think - I have no idea who these guys were painted to represent - I think I chose them based on plate 52 which shows an Amercian infantryman in a uniform with dark blue breeches - if any of my readers has an idea, send them in via a comment! smileys According to the base numbers he is from the Minifgs Seven Years War range, and is a "French Fusilier (Campaign Dress)" Base no's 9 & 10.

9th Pennsylvania Regiment

Based on plate no 71 - though Mollo shows them with the light infantry cap as opposed to tricorne, but as Mollo stated there was only one mention of the cap in the regimental returns I thought it would be safe to give them tricorne's. This regiment served all the way through the war until it was disbanded in 1781 on the orders of Washington according to Mollo - but Wikipedia says that "On 22 July 1778 the regiment was re-assigned to the 2d Pennsylvania Brigade. It was consolidated with the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment on 17 January 1781 and re-designated as the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment and concurrently furloughed at Trenton, New Jersey.The regiment would see action during the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Springfield". Base no's 11 & 12.

1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions Philadelphia Associators

John had painted loads of these guys, which were a total mystery to me as I'd never seen that style of headgear before. I thought they looked closest to the figures depicted in plates 93 & 94, which were from the 1st Battalion "Philadelphia Associators" at Valley Forge. Mollo indicates there were four battalions, who were eventually amalgamated into the 3rd Philadelphia Brigade under Cadwalader in 1777. They eventually consisted of five battalions, earning honours in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown. The hats are not right, but the uniform colours are correct as Mollo indicates they were uniformed in brown with different coloured facings for each regiment. Base numbers 16 & 18, 17 & 19 and 20 & 21.

Maryland State Marines

Another guess - clearly these look nothing like plate no. 150! I'm guessing that when I divided the units these guys were moved to the American side in order to make up numbers. They are clearly marines, or rather sailors, John's tastes were eclectic! Either way, in my American army they form a battalion, and a weak (one base) battalion of state marines - these guys formed sterling service in the recent action in the Plattville Valley. Base no's 23 and 24 & 25.


...and there endeth the first box - stay tuned - another four to go... smileys


  1. i liked that a lot. Nice information. I try and use a single source where possible to avoid confusion but for the WSS that isn't always possible. For the AWI there is just so much out there you can't get much wrong.

  2. A great collection, I too love the Mollo books, I'm not fussed if some of the info is or isn't that correct. The New York regt look to be painted as the figure number said, I'd say they were the Companies Franches de la Marine, painted up for the French Indian War, or John may have just bought them as the uniform fits in with any regt just in their waistcoats.

  3. Good stuff - I've been doing the same with my Napoleonics collection.

  4. I'm with Ray on the Cie Franches, the Philadelpia guys in the jocky caps are F&IW British Light Infantry ( Gage's or 80th reg't.

    The sailors remind of the marblehead fellows but I suspect a pirate background!

    I used to like to mix my poses but I am now finding an attraction to at least the occasional 1 pose unit. Wheels turning.

  5. Nice idea to document the units, gives a nice feel to the army. I'd consider doing the same, but I think the task has become to big, maybe as I tidy up individual units.

  6. Thanks Steve!
    Just as I get back to ACW I
    am getting distracted by AWI :-)
    Like many others, I have used Mollo. The more I read the more I am convinced that when it comes to uniforms the only thing to be definite about is that you can't be definite. It comes down to the fact that it is 'your' army. Looking forward to the next batch - but I must finish painting this ACW regiment first.
    Best wishes

  7. Thank you, Steve. I have always enjoyed your unit backgrounds . . . they help bring them to life.

    -- Jeff

  8. David Bickley14/06/2011, 16:08

    As an aside, how nice to see all those old Minifigs; it takes me back a bit!

  9. Thanks for the words guys - been meaning to do this for ages and a duff Sunday (for weather) finally gave me the opportunity - I plan to do the first box of British/Hessians this weekend...

    The New York Regiment deserve a post on their own - my thanks to Ray for the initial ammunition to allow some enjoyable Googling over the last few lunchtimes....

    David B. - my thoughts exactly - I love them - they have a particular charm...