Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dorrington's Regiment

Labelled "Walsh" but clearly
Dorrington's from the standard.
Picture courtesy the
Vinkhuijzen collection of
military uniforms 1700-1720.
Louis XIV.
Another regiment joins the ranks....

In May 1690 five Jacobite regiments were sent by King James II from Ireland to France in return for a larger force of French infantry who were to fight for him in the Williamite war in Ireland (which ended with the Battle of the Boyne). These five Jacobite regiments, comprising about 5000 men, were largely inexperienced and the French immediately disbanded two of them. The remaining three regiments however, (Mountcashel's, O'Brien's and Dillon's) were formed into the Irish Brigade.

When the war in Ireland finished, under the terms of the Treaty of Limerick (1691) a separate force of 12,000 Jacobites were allowed to go into exile in France (the event we now know as the "Flight of the Wild Geese"). These troops were kept separate from the Irish Brigade, and were formed into King James army in exile (they may have been his army but they were paid by Louis).

In 1697 the Treaty of Ryswick ended the Nine Years War allowing Louis to  re-organise these Irish troops, and Dorrington's regiment came into being from the former 1st and 2nd Battalions of James's Royal Irish Foot Guards - one battalion of which had come to France following that Treaty of Limerick, and one battalion who had already been in French service.

The regiment (as was usual in those days) was named after it's lieutenant-colonel, a man called William Dorrington, and to remember their regimental ancestry during the whole of their existence the regiment continued to wear the scarlet and blue uniform of the ‘King's Own Foot Guards’.

There's not much about Dorrington on-line but I have managed to find out that he was appointed Colonel of the the Foot Guards by James following the defection of the previous colonel (the Duke of Ormond) who went over to William in April, 1689.

He distinguished himself at the Boyne in 1690, was appointed Governor of Limerick in 1691, and promoted Brigadier about this time. He was then taken prisoner at the Battle of Aughrim, and ended up in the Tower of London but was exchanged and returned to France (where he still retained his Colonelcy of the Foot Guards.

In 1704 he was promoted Lieutenant-General, and served in Flanders and Germany till 1710. Ruvigny's Jacobite Peerage mentions that he was made Earl of Macclesfield in 1715 for his participation in the attempted Jacobite restoration of that year (the First Jacobite uprising) and then died in 1718 unmarried.

As was also typical during those days, Dorrington was merely the founder - as a Brigadier he was unable to command the regiment on a daily basis, and this responsibility was given to a man called Michael Roth.

Roth started his military career in 1686 as lieutenant in the same regiment as Dorrington (ie. the Irish Foot Guards) under the command of Ormonde. When Ormonde went over to William, Rothe was promoted captain in the command of the first or King's Own company. He served with the regiment throughout the Irish campaign of 1689–91, fought at the Boyne (1 July 1690), and after the treaty of Limerick the regiment (and he) elected to enter the French service. They set sail for France in the autumn of 1691.

  • In January 1692, the regiment was incorporated with the Irish Brigades in the service of France, and was stationed in Normandy as part of the army destined for the invasion of England (which never happened - hurrah for the British Navy again! ). 
  • In 1693 they saw active service in Flanders under the Marshal de Luxembourg. 
  • In 1694 they served with the army of Germany, and in 1695 with the army of the Moselle. 
  • by an order dated 27 Feb. 1698, Dorrington's regiment was formed and Rothe was made its lieutenant-colonel by commission of 27 April. 
  • Roth was promoted colonel in May 1701, the regiment served during that year with the army of Germany under the Duke of Burgundy and Marshal de Catinat. 
  • In 1703 they joined the army of Villars in the Vosges, and took part in the capture of Kehl, the storming of Hornberg in the Black Forest, the combat of Munderkingen, and the first battle of Hochstadt (a French win)
  • In 1704 they served under Marshal Marsin, and "shared in the rout of the French at Blenheim", where the regiment managed to escape being captured. 
  • Roth was promoted to brigadier 18 April 1706, the regiment was again attached to the army of the Rhine under Villar, and were present during actions at Drusenheim, Lauterburgh, and the Ile de Marquisat
  • In 1707, under the same general, they were at the carrying of the lines of Stolhoffen, and actions at Etlingen, Pfortzeim, Winhing, Schorndorf, at the defeat and capture of General Janus, and at Suabsgemund, and Seckingen. The regiment wintered in Alsace. 
  • They continued with the army of the Rhine under Berwick until June 1709, when they were transferred to Flanders and fought with distinction in the battle of Malplaquet. The regiment was engaged in the centre. When the left of the French army recoiled before the tremendous fire of the British right, Villars brought up the Irish brigade to its support. Rothe and Cautillon led a successful charge, crying ‘Forward, brave Irishmen! Long live King James III!’ Thirty officers of his regiment were killed. Now if that doesn't want to make you paint up the whole Irish Brigade I don't know what will... 
  • Roth was appointed major-general 29 March 1710, and he was 2-i-c to de Vauban in the defence of Bethune against the Duke of Marlborough, where he so distinguished himself that Louis XIV, by brevet of 15 Dec., named him for the next "Commander of the Order of St. Louis" that should become vacant.
  • After serving another sixteen months in Flanders, Rothe obtained this honour on 9 April 1712, and served during the following summer at the taking of Douay, Quesnoy, and Bouchain. 
  • In 1713 under Villars they were at Friburg and Landau with the army of the Rhine. 
  • Upon the death of Dorrington on 11 Dec. 1718, and by a commission dated the following day the command of the regiment was transferred to Rothe, and hence became known as the ‘regiment of Rothe,’ (a name which it then bore for forty-eight years until the regiment was renumbered when it was taken into Revolutionary French service under Napoleon).
  • After service with the regiment in Spain he continued colonel-proprietor of his regiment until May 1733, when he made over the command to his son. 
  • He died at Paris, in his eightieth year, on 2 May 1741. 
Another, relatively, unknown giant in history - absolutely fascinating, and such lives they lead.....

Either way... 24 figures comprising mostly Dixon (99% of the firing figures - there are a couple of infiltrators in there whose make I don't recognise). The standard bearer is Black Hat I think (may be Minifigs), the Roth figure is a Freikorps Dragoon, a bit martial for an officer figure (with the musket slung over his shoulder!), but I love the figure and came to the conclusion that any man who lasted as long as he did would have been well armed! The flag is home drawn (copied), found a nice flag on the web and then used the Warflag site as a template to get the right size... and yes before you say it, I do like my flags big, actually...

Roth and the boys prepare to subject more mischief on the forces of Queen Anne

Finally, and somewhat appositely, I have completed the re-work of the War of the Spanish Succession Project blog comments are welcome as I have spent the time trying to make the blog clearer and more easy to read (light backgrounds larger/darker fonts) - if it doesn't work tell me why....  in addition all time dependant data has been brought up to date (prices updated etc)...   enjoy!


  1. Very nice regiment and great history


  2. A great looking unit and an excellent history lesson!

    1. Cheers Ray... I used your unit for inspiration! :o)

      All - see here for Ray's depiction of the regiment in their slightly earlier guise...

  3. Nice little unit, love the "big hair" of the period!

    1. Cheers Matt... the uniforms may have been more ornate in the Napoleonic or even SYW period, but the regiments, and especially their commanders were more colourful in this period!

  4. As I have commented before, Steve, I really like the "histories" of your units. Thank you again for yet another one.

    -- Jeff

    1. Cheers Jeff... it gave me a bit of a mental push, and I may even undercoat another regiment today!

      Can you do me a favour by the way, and let me know what you think of the template I'm using for the WSS Project blog...?? Interested to know whether you have visibility or scrolling/width problems...

  5. Very nice regiment, great background, and a wonderful flag!

    1. Thanks Phil... got it from here:

  6. Beautiful unit - the colorful uniforms give any Napoleonic unit a run for the money. Best, Dean

  7. What a fine detailled, beautiful regiment - my compliments! Thanks also for the historical background informations - I like that.