13th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment was created on June 20 1685 by Theophilus, Earl of Huntingdon. It was one of the nine new regiments of foot, raised to meet the Monmouth rebellion. It was raised in the southern counties of England and its general rendezvous was at Buckingham. The new regiment was known as the “Earl of Huntingdon's Regiment of Foot” and consisted of ten companies. In the middle of July, it was employed to guard prisoners taken after the overthrow of the rebel army at Sedgemoor. It was then ordered to march to the training camp on Hounslow Heath where it encamped in the beginning of August. After this camp, it marched into garrison at Hull.

In June 1686, the regiment was again encamped on Hounslow Heath. In August, it marched into Yorkshire and Cumberland; the headquarters being at York, where it passed the winter. In February 1687, the headquarters were removed from York to Chester, where they remained during the following twelve months.

In April 1688, the regiment left Chester. In June, it pitched its tents on Hounslow Heath. In the meantime, the proceedings of the King, to establish Papacy and arbitrary government, had filled the country with alarm, and many of the nobility and gentry had solicited the Prince of Orange to come to England with a Dutch army, to aid them in opposing the measures of the court. The Earl of Huntingdon continued, however, faithful to the interests of the King, and his regiment was ordered into garrison at Plymouth, together with the Earl of Bath's Foot. When the Prince of Orange landed, the garrison of Plymouth was divided in its political views: the governor, the Earl of Bath, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hastings, of the regiment, were in the Protestant interest; the Earl of Huntingdon, who was present, and performing the duties of commanding officer, with Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Charles Carney, of the Earl of Bath's Foot, were devoted to the Roman Catholic interest; but nearly all the officers and soldiers had espoused the Protestant cause. The Earl of Bath, Lieutenant-Colonel Hastings, and several other officers, arrested the Earl of Huntingdon, Captain Owen Macarty, Lieutenant Talbot Lacells, and Ensign Ambrose Jones, of the regiment, who were Roman Catholics, and afterwards declared for the Prince of Orange, in which the two regiments in garrison concurred. When the fortress of Plymouth was established in the Protestant interest, the arrested officers were released. The army refusing to fight in his cause, King James fled to France. The Prince of Orange then promoted Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinando Hastings to the colonelcy of the regiment which was then known as the “Hastings' Regiment of Foot” or alternatively the “13th Regiment of Foot”. Until 1751, it was mainly known by the names of its successive colonels.

In the Spring of 1689, the regiment was ordered to Scotland. On arriving at Edinburgh, it was employed in the blockade of the castle, which the Duke of Gordon held for King James; at the same time Viscount Dundee was arousing the clans to arms. While the regiment was at Edinburgh, Major-General Hugh Mackay, commanding-in-chief in Scotland, ordered Colonel Ramsay to join him with 600 men of the Scots Brigade, in the Dutch service. The colonel commenced his march, but was intimidated by the menacing attitude of the Athol men, and returned to Perth; when 100 men of Berkeley's Dragoons, 100 men of the present regiment and 200 men of Leven's newly raised regiment were ordered to join him. Thus reinforced, the Colonel commenced his march through Athole and Badenoch for Inverness; and with the aid of this detachment, Major-General Mackay chased the clans, under Viscount Dundee, from the low country, and compelled them to take refuge in the wilds of Lochaber: the detachment of present regiment was afterwards stationed at Inverness and the regiment was relieved from the blockade of Edinburgh Castle by the surrender of that fortress on 13 June. After forcing Viscount Dundee to take refuge in Lochaber, Major-General Mackay proceeded to Edinburgh, where he learned that the clans expected to be joined by a reinforcement from Ireland, and would probably soon descend from the hilly country; Mackay therefore assembled the regiment and several other corps and marched from Edinburgh, to watch the motions of the insurgent Highlanders. At daybreak on the morning of Saturday July 27, Mackay started his advance towards the pass of Killicrankie, to confront his opponents, and on this occasion the regiment (excluding a detachment of 100 men left at Inverness), commanded by its colonel, Ferdinando Hastings, formed the rearguard, to cover the march of 1,200 packhorses, which carried the baggage of the army. The regiment emerged from the difficult Pass of Killicrankie with the baggage when Mackay's Army was already deployed in order of battle on some rising ground at the foot of a hill, on the summit of which appeared the insurgent host, under Viscount Dundee. The regiment formed on the right of the line. During the Battle of Killicrankie, it stood firm on the right wing but the other corps of Mackay's Army were routed and the army was forced to retreat to Stirling. However, Mackay received reinforcements and resumed his offensive and the Highlanders separated to their homes.

At the beginning of October 1689, the regiment embarked from Scotland to take part in the Williamite War in Ireland. On October 9, it landed at Carlingford and marched into quarters at Armagh and Clownish, where it was stationed during the winter. In April 1690, the regiment was stationed at Belfast. On July 1 (Old Style), it took part in the Battle of the Boyne. After this decisive victory, the regiment advanced with the army towards Dublin, and it was stationed several weeks in garrison in that city under Brigadier-General Trelawny. England being threatened by a potential French invasion, several regiments (including the present regiment) were recalled. After landing at Portsmouth, the regiment was encamped for several weeks near that fortress. When the alarm of invasion had passed away, it was ordered to join the expedition against Cork and Kinsale under Lieutenant-General the Earl of Marlborough. In mid-September, the regiment embarked on this service. On September 21, it arrived in Cork roads. On September 23, it landed and took part in the siege of Cork which surrendered on September 28. On October 1, the troops marched out of Cork and reached Kinsale on October 2. It then participated in the siege. On October 15, Kinsale surrendered. The regiment was then stationed in garrison at Cork. It had only 462 men fit for duty and 216 sick. In the Spring of 1691, the regiment was left in garrison at Cork, launching several raids in the countryside. On December 22, it embarked for England, where it arrived towards the end of that month.

In 1692, the regiment was sent to the continent to take part in the Nine Years' War which was raging since 1688. It was initially assigned to an expedition against the French coast. After menacing the coast at several points, the fleet finally sailed to Ostend. On August 22, the regiment landed at Ostend. It then formed part of a corps who took possession of Furnes and Dixmude, and fortified these towns. When the army went into winter-quarters, the regiment was ordered to return to England and it was employed on home service during the remainder of the war. In 1694, the grenadiers of the regiment took part in the disastrous amphibious operation at Camaret Bay, near Brest and were lost to a man. In 1695, Sir John Jacob assumed command of the regiment.

In 1698, the regiment was placed upon a peace establishment. It counted 10 companies forming a battalion of 34 officers and 411 men. In 1699, it was sent to Ireland to replace one of the corps ordered to be disbanded in that country.

In 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was allocated to a contingent of 13 battalions who were sent to the Dutch Republic to act as auxiliaries. In mid-June, it sailed from Cork to Hellevoetsluis, in South Holland. In 1702, the regiment joined the army covering the siege of Kayserwerth. In June, this army precipitously retired under the walls of Nijmegen. Closely followed by the French. The regiment later took part in the sieges and capture of Venlo, Roermond and Liège. In 1703, it took part in the sieges and capture of Huy and Limbourg. It was then selected to transfer its services to Portugal, to take part in the attempt to place Archduke Charles of Austria on the throne of Spain by force of arms. In 1704, the regiment landed at Lisbon and campaigned in the Alentejo. At the beginning of December, it formed part of a relief force sent to Gibraltar. In 1705, the regiment took part in the defence of Gibraltar. It was relieved from duty in the garrison of Gibraltar by a newly-raised regiment from England, and embarked on board the fleet for an expedition off the coast of Valencia and for the siege of Barcelona which surrendered. The Earl of Peterborough then resolved to invade Valencia. The regiment took part in this enterprise, marching from Barcelona to Tortosa. In 1706, most of the regiment was transformed into a dragoon regiment. The remaining officers and soldiers, who were not incorporated into this new dragoon regiment, returned to England to recruit the regiment of foot to its original establishment. In December 1707, the new regiment of foot recruited in England embarked for Portugal. In 1709, it fought in the Battle of La Gudiña where most of it was taken prisoners. In 1710, the captured officers and soldiers were exchanged; and the regiment served the campaign on the frontiers of Portugal. In 1711, it was withdrawn from Portugal and proceeded to Gibraltar, where it was stationed until the peace of Utrecht in 1713.

The regiment assumed garrison duty in Gibraltar till 1728 when it returned to England.

In 1739, the Honourable Harry Pulteney became colonel of the regiment who contributed a third of his privates to the creation of the 3rd Lowthers' Regiment of Marines.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1742, the regiment was sent to Flanders. On June 27 1743, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen. On May 11 1745, it fought at the Battle of Fontenoy. In September of the same year, it was recalled to Great Britain to curb the Second Jacobite Rising. By November, the regiment had reached Newcastle. On January 17 1746, it took part in the Battle of Falkirk and fled with the British infantry. On April 16, the regiment fought at the victorious Battle of Culloden. By August, the regiment was back to Flanders where, on October 11, it fought at the Battle of Rocoux. On July 2 1747, it took part in the Battle of Lauffeld. In November, the regiment was sent back to England.

In 1749, the regiment assumed garrison duty in various locations in Scotland.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "13th Regiment of Foot".

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since July 5 1739 until June 25 1766: Honourable Harry Pulteney

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Gibraltar where it remained for most of the war, returning to England in 1762.



Uniform in 1756 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a Philemot yellow front edged white embroidered with white scroll work and with a white King's cipher surmounted by a crown (gold with crimson cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap edged white with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the white motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a dark green bottom strip with 3 yellow stripes; red back; a Philemot yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 13 in the middle part behind; a Philemot yellow within white pompom
Neck-stock white
Coat brick red lined Philemot yellow and laced white (white braid with a two zigzags: one blue one red)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels Philemot yellow laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs Philemot yellow (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes (same lace as above) on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks Philemot yellow
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above)
Breeches brick red
Gaiters white with black buttons
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt white
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Foot gear black shoes

Troopers were armed with with a "Brown Bess" muskets, a bayonet and a sword. They also carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.


Officers of the regiment wore the same uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences

  • silver gorget around the neck
  • an aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • silver lace instead of normal lace
  • a crimson sash

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command; however, officers of the grenadier company wore a more decorated mitre cap.

Officers generally carried a spontoon, however, in battle some carried muskets instead.


According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in deep yellow, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with red, and laced in such manner as the colonel shall think fit for distinction sake, the lace, however, was of the colours of that on the soldiers' coats.
The front or forepart of the drums were painted deep yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XIII” under it. The rims were red.


King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath surrounding the rank of the regiment "XIII" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: Philemot yellow field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle on the same stalk surrounding the rank of the regiment "XIII" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf


This article is essentially and abridged and adapted version of the following book which is in the public domain:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Thirteenth, First Somerset or, The Prince Albert's Regiment of Light Infantry, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1848

Other sources

Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Hughes, Gerald: Pulteney's Regiment (13th Foot)

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 90-103

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

Wikipedia - Somerset Light Infantry