95th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 95th Foot

Origin and History

Burton’s Regiment was formed in 1761, from two battalions of Independent Companies. The Independent Companies were sent from England in 1760 to reinforce the war weakened battalions already in service in North America. Originally these companies were intended to be split up and the soldiers sent to the various regiments that needed men. When the Cherokees failed to come to terms after Montgomery’s campaign, eight of these Independent Companies were sent to South Carolina under colonel James Grant (40th Regiment). The companies embarked at Amboy New York for Charlestown aboard the Royal Duke, Diana, and Charleton. The eight companies were organized into two battalions. General lord Jeffrey Amherst recommended that Grant keep these battalions together. Once in South Carolina, Grant found that the Independent Companies were trouble. They did not work well together, as battalions. The officers still considered themselves as independent, and did not care for “regimental” duties. Seniority among the subalterns was unsettled (although it had been settled once at Amboy). Administratively these companies were a burden on Grant. To make matters worse these companies had never really been trained properly.

Because of the sheer number of raw recruits, Grant had the Independents training twice a day. A portion of their training included firing ball, at marks.

" The two Divisions of Independents are to Practise firing w[i]t[h] balls at a mark. They are to Fire three Rounds p[e]r Man Every day when the Wether is Favorable till They Have fired 24 Rounds pr man.

The men are to fire Singly without Word of Command, & are to Practise kneeling & Standing. Tis Recommended to the Officers to take Care that the men take a proper Aim." (Moneypenny, Orderly Book, March 8, 1761. (JCS Vol.II, No. 3, 314)

The Army marched from Charlestown in late March 1761. Once in the field, Grant began a training regimen for his entire corps.

" This morning for the first time I joined the whole together & made them form from the line of march to the front, rear & flanks in different ways by signals. This I intend to practise every day while we remain here that those evolutions may be familiar to them if it should be necessary to put them in practice upon real service." Grant to Amherst, Moncks Corner, March 30, 1761(Mays, 221)

In Early April, Amherst received word from England to form the Independent Companies into a regiment for colonel Ralph Burton. Because of unequal numbers in the original twelve Independent Companies, Burton’s regiment of nine companies would be formed from the eight Independent Companies in South Carolina. To this end captain Sawyer, of one of the companies which remained in New York, was sent to South Carolina with the officers, sergeants, corporals, and drummers of his company to join the regiment. Major Robert Prescott, who was appointed to the new regiment would accompany these men to South Carolina. Major Campbell, of Montgomery’s regiment, was appointed lieutenant-colonel and would soon follow the others. Major Prescott reached Grant’s army in early May, just before the army reached Ninety Six.

" This Afternoon Major Prescott arriv'd in a Day & a half from Charles Town 152 Miles, a voyage of three Weeks from N. York with the King's Orders to form the 8 Independent Companies into a Regiment of 9 Companies for Coll. Burton. Capt. Sawyer with his commission & Noncommission Officers were following him. Major Campbell of Montgomery's was made Lt. Coll. of Burton's, Prescott, Major, Capt. Tyrwhit of the Independents got Prescott's company in the 15th" (Alexander Moneypenny's Diary, May 3, 1761(JCS Vol.II, No. 3, 324)

By early June, the army had reached Fort Prince George, heavy rains having delayed the army's march. Once at Fort Prince George, they made final preparations for the incursion into the Cherokee country. Here Grant organized an Indian corps containing some of the provincials and regulars. Captain Quentin Kennedy (17th Foot) commanded this group with lieutenant Westfall of Burton’s as his second in command. In spite of Grant’s misgivings, Burton’s regiment performed their duty on the campaign, and gave Grant no cause to complain.

After the Campaign, Burton’s regiment remained at Fort Prince George, waiting to see if the Cherokee made peace. In mid October, with a preliminary peace treaty signed, Grant marched his troops to Ninety Six. Towards the end of the month, General Amherst sent orders for Grant to proceed to Charlestown with his remaining men and embark them to take part in the expedition against Dominique. Once in Dominique, they were placed under the overall command of lord Rollo. Like the other soldiers, the regiment was hard hit by disease while in the West Indies.

Following the peace in 1763, the 95th was disbanded. Officers were placed on half pay and the few fit men that remained were drafted into older regiments.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since April 1761 to 1763: colonel Ralph Burton

Service during the War

In 1761, Burton's regiment served during an extended campaign in the Cherokee Country. With some 880 Privates, the regiment was the largest formation under Grant's command. General lord Jeffrey Amherst advised Grant to administer them in two separate divisions, although they were joined together as a regiment nearly a month before Grant's forces march from Fort Prince George for the Cherokee country. On June 10, during the battle of Etchoe Pass, about three days march from Fort Prince George, the army came under heavy fire. The 95th took the heaviest casualties, perhaps because of their larger numbers as much as their inexperience. One sergeant and four privates were killed. Two officers (lieutenant Barber and ensign Campbell) and 16 privates were wounded. The killed were thrown into the River to prevent their being scalped, Some of whom were found resurfaced after a weeks time. The wounded were kept in the townhouse of Necuassee, which the army appropriated as a hospital. The army continued on in the Middle Settlements for nearly a month, systematically destroying Cherokee towns and crops. On July 9, the troops returned to Fort Prince George. The Cherokee were slow in making peace, but after the preliminary treaty was signed Grant marched the men to Ninety Six, to await the approval of the final treaty. By mid November after some eight months on campaign the camp equipage was worn out and "Burton's Regt. is almost naked." (Grant to Amherst, November 18, 1761; (Mays, 331)

After the Cherokee sued for peace, the 95th along with the rest of Grant's regulars were ordered for the West Indies to take part in the expedition against Dominique. Once there, Grant's command was to be under the command of lord Rollo at Dominique. In case of accident the troops were to put in at Guadaloupe, where governor Dalyrmple would inform him of the state of the island campaigns. Depending on the information, the whole would proceed to Dominique or to the general rendezvous. On December 18, 1761 the troops embarked at Charlestown, the day the South Carolinians ratified the peace treaty with the Cherokee. On February 9, 1762 the South Carolina Detachment arrived in Port Royal. Martinique had already been taken. The 95th was most likely placed under the command of general Monckton, who arrived in the Indies just prior to the troops from South Carolina. Monckton had brought with him a reinforcement of regulars from New York and Canada. The other French Islands fell in quick succession. Spring in the West Indies wreaked havoc upon the soldiers, many died of disease.

After Spain was forced to join the War, British high command knew they would have to seize Cuba to prevent the combined Bourbon fleet from having a safe anchorage. On April 26, 1762 general Monckton turned over command to the earl of Albemarle. The regiment was to serve during the siege and reduction of Havana. Shortly after Albemarle took command the 95th numbered some 585 men (Mante, 407). Desertion and disease had already drastically reduced the number of men in the regiment. More troops sickened and died as the siege of Havana got under way. On July 27, colonel Burton arrived with a further reinforcement from North America (46th Foot, 58th Foot, 3,000 provincials and Gorham's Rangers). This would be the first time the colonel joined his regiment since its formation. Havana was forced to surrender in August. Most of the British soldiers who served there had succumbed to disease and dehydration. The 95th, like the other regiments suffered greatly. It is possible that the remaining soldiers were incorporated into mixed battalions and sent back to North America for the operations against the French in Newfoundland.

Uniform

Privates

The privates of Burton's regiment were initially uniformed entirely in Madder red. Since the Independent Companies which formed Burton's regiment were originally intended as replacements, their regimental coats had only red facings and linings which could be easily changed when they joined their new regiment. There was no lace on the uniform. Given the late the season when the regiment was formed, the privates were not likely to have received the new facings and linings for their coats while in South Carolina. Officially the facing colour for the regiment was grey. The regiment most likely received their new uniforms while in the West Indies.

It is not certain that the regiment ever actually formed a grenadier company. However, it most probably had a light company since Grant had ordered a light company formed out of the provincial regiment in South Carolina. Furthermore, Mante states that the regiments coming to the Caribbean were ordered to form light companies on their arrival so that they would be on the same footing as those from North America (this may also imply that the 95th would have had a grenadier company by this time). Without specific documentation, we assume that the 95th would adhere to the prevailing custom in the army at the time. So in spite of their nine company establishment and background as hat men, the 95th would have formed both a light infantry and a grenadier company.

Uniform in 1761 - Source: Ibrahim90 from a template by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a madder red front (probably grey from 1762) edged white and embroidered with white scroll work and the King's cypher surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a madder red headband (probably grey from 1762) edged white probably wearing the number 95 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat madder red lined madder red (probably grey from 1762) with no lace with 3 pewter buttons under the lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps madder red (left shoulder only)
Lapels madder red (probably grey from 1762) without lace with 7 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets
Cuffs madder red (probably grey from 1762) slashed cuffs without lace with 4 pewter buttons on the sleeve above each the cuff
Turnbacks madder red (probably grey from 1762)
Waistcoat madder red without lace
Breeches madder red
Gaiters white with black buttons
black during campaigns
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


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

Officers

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

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

Field officers coming to South Carolina from New York may have had the proper grey facings, and laced uniforms.

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.

Musicians

Musicians wore the reverse colors of the rest of the regiment. In South Carolina, a drummer without his instrument would have looked much like any other soldier.

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in madder red (probably grey from 1762), lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with madder red, and laced in such manner as the colonel shall think fit for distinction sake.
The front or fore part of the drums was painted red (probably grey from 1762), with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XCV” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

The colours of the regiment are undocumented. Here we present a tentative reconstruction of the colours that the regiment may have received in 1762.

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XCV" in gold Roman numerals on crimson.

Regimental Colour: grey field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XCV" in gold Roman numerals on crimson. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

Anderson, Fred; Crucible of War, Alfred A. Knopf, (New York, 2001)

Foote, William A., The American Independent Companies of the British Army 1664-1764, Doctoral Dissertation, UCLA, 1966. (Microfilmed by University Microfilms, Inc., Ann Arbor).

Gale, Ryan R., A Soldier Like Way: The Material Culture of the British Army, (2007)

King, Duane H. and Evans, Raymond (ed.); Memoirs of the Grant Expedition against the Cherokees in 1761, Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. II No. 3; Hudson Printing; (Chattanooga, 1977).

Mante, Thomas; The History of the Late War in North America; Research Reprints; (New York, 1970). (Originally published London, 1772).

Mays, Edith; Amherst Papers, the Southern Sector, 1756-1763; Heritage Books, Inc.; (Bowie,1999)

McMaster, Fitzhugh; Soldiers and Uniforms: South Carolina Military Affairs 1670-1775; University of South Carolina Press; (Columbia, 1970).

Acknowledgements

William Jack for the initial version of this article