Saturday, December 2

"Firing into the Brown" #31 - "You cowboy", Thomas Ballard's Regiment of Foote, and an anniversary...

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..
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Been a while, but little metal men have appeared in the manse..


Cowboys!🤠



...and a wagon.. 😀


Very much enjoyed the little set-to at Long Bute Farm [clicky], and promised that for the next set-to I'd try the 2nd Edition rules, but in order to do that I wanted some pukka cowboys rather than my ACW stand-in's...  I've gone 15mm thinking they would fit my existing Sudan/desert terrain as I have a feeling, I'd like to set these games somewhere on the Mexican border (and indeed one of these bags does indeed feature some Mexican bandoleros!)

Not painting all of them, just enough for four or five a-side..  a selection are already mounted on pennies, the wagon constructed, all of them undercoated and ready for the brush... 

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From the freely available online
 Osprey Elite - "Soldiers
 of the English Civil War 1: Infantry"
 link in the ECW Project Blog
Couldn't help noticing the other day while playing the ECW game that the two sides of the project are currently slightly unbalanced as the Royalists have six regiments of foot completed, whilst the Parliamentarian army only has five..  time to remedy that!

Looking at the order of battle for Edgehill that I am using as my "starter for ten", I picked Thomas Ballard's Regiment, purely because I had only painted one other regiment in the brigade..

My main source for information on the battles, leaders, and regiments of the British Civil Wars is the BCW site, but I've noticed that it is currently unavailable so have had to revert to the last scanned copy of the site on the Wayback machine..  I hope the owner is OK, as the site is an absolute gold mine of information..  link in the ECW Project page has been updated to take you to the saved version of the website, by the way..

There's not a huge amount of information available about either Sir Thomas Ballard, or indeed his regiment, and that's mostly because the regiment (and him to an extent!) were a bit of a one hit wonder..

The old Sealed Knot website for the reenactment of the regiment was good for the history, though - link here:

Col Thomas Ballards - Ballards in the Civil War (archive.org)

So, to summarise the information there, it seems: 

  • Thomas Ballard was born in 1600, and was the 3rd (and only surviving) son of Henry Ballard.
  • The family lived in Southwell near Nottingham/Newark, and also owned property in Lincolnshire. That becomes important later..
  • He served under Lord Grandison in The Bishops War, and there is mention (but little documentary evidence) that he also served abroad in the 30 Years War.
  • I think it probable that he did serve though, as Parliament saw him experienced enough to appoint him to command and recruit a regiment (one of five) for service in Ireland, following the rebellion there in the spring of 1642. Only one was actually sent abroad, and the others (including Ballard's) were incorporated into the Parliament army at the start of the war.
  • Ballard's apparently were under strength and marched later than the other regiments, but by October the regiment was complete and had joined the Earl of Essex's army in the Worcester area. 
  • At this time Ballard was appointed Sergeant-Major General of Foot (similar I guess to Brigadier) and had command of four regiments - his own, Essex's foot, Lord Brooke's and Denzil Holles' totalling 3604 men excluding officers. Ballard's numbered 776 men and 33 officers with the men formed into 10 companies. 
  • At Edgehill. Ballard's brigade was in reserve, positioned on the left centre of the army, behind Charles Essex's brigade. 600 musketeers from the brigade were detached to the left flank to counter Royalist dragoons (200 of these were from Ballard's). Royalist cavalry charges on both flanks routed the Parliamentary horse and must have had a devastating effect on these musketeers as there was no no pike support. 
  • Rattled by both the defeat of their cavalry and pressure from the Royalist foot, the brigade in front of Ballard's broke and ran but despite this, Ballard's four regiments stood firm and engaged the opposing foot, helped by two regiments of Parliament cavalry that had been in reserve - this turned the course of the battle.
  • The battle ended in a stalemate, but the losses suffered by Thomas Ballard's Regiment were dreadful - the brigade as a whole is estimated to have lost approximately 40% of it's strength. but Ballard's lost nearly 45%; 776 men down to 439 - two company commanders had been lost and two companies formerly of 80 men were down to 19 and 15 each.
  • There are no further records of the regiment participating in any major actions as the reduced unit was relegated to a Garrison unit and in in Aug 1643 Thomas Ballard himself left to take up a command in the Midlands and the regiment was taken over by it's Lt-Col, Francis Martyn. From May 1644 to October 1645 the regiment formed the garrison of Aylesbury. A few of the officers seem to have been continued in pay until spring 1646. . 
  • Ballard himself fell from favour after the attack on Newark failed. Some accounts have it that he did not pursue the attack as fiercely as he might because he still had friends in Newark (told you that was pertinent.. 😁). It is believed that he subsequently left England (he apparently applied for a pass to do so from Parliament) and may have been buried in Rouen, France or emigrated to America (where there were several Ballard's amongst the early settlers despite it not being a common name) or even joined Henry Morgan in Jamaica (!).

Painted - not yet based - bear with..

From The Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers:

  • Thomas Ballard Colonel of a regiment of foot in the earl of Essex’s Army from or by 12 Aug. 1642. On 6 Jan. 1643 he was paid a month’s salary as colonel of a brigade from 9 Dec. 1642, and as colonel of a regiment and captain of a company from 24 Dec. Ballard was still colonel as late as 31 July 1643; however, he left in the summer to campaign instead in the Midlands and the regiment had passed to Francis Martyn by 25 Aug. 1643. References: TNA, SP28/1a/66, SP28/5/39, SP28/8/224, SP28/9/187.

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...and the Anniversary?? Well the 27th November just gone, marked the 17th Anniversary of the first ever blog post here on the "Random Musings"..  where the hell did those years go???! 😱

Laters, as the young people are want to say...

10 comments:

  1. Nice figures Steve. Happy 17th Blogbirthday!

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    1. Cheers, Ray... First painting in two years... which is diabolical!

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  2. Keeping at this for 17 years is a terrific accomplishment. Well Done!

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  3. 17 years, wow, an early adopter, deserving of congratulations. Enjoyed the spotlight on Ballard’s Regiment.

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    1. Thanks Norm, my Web presence started on Geocities back in the day, using their website builder software... but in the end it was just a hassle maintaining all the links.. :o) Thanks also for the words about Ballard's.. the history for me is the heart of the hobby...

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  4. Well done on 17 years and the figures look superb

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    1. Cheers, Neil.. based unit pictures next week..

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  5. Fantastic effort for 17 years Steve!

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    1. Ta Ben, but in truth, it absolutely flew past.. :o)

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