Madras European Artillery

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> Madras European Artillery

Origin and History

In 1746, there was a small party of gunners under 2 ensigns and 2 master-gunners at Fort St. David near Madras (present-day Chennai). In February 1747, the Madras Government appointed Captain Alexander Delavaux as chief engineer and commandant of artillery. In May 1748, Captain Delavaux arrived at Fort St. David.

By June 1748, the company of Artillery in the East India Company Service consisted of 116 men:

  • 1 first captain and chief engineer
  • 1 second lieutenant and second engineer
  • 1 captain-lieutenant and director of the laboratory
  • 1 first lieutenant fire worker
  • 1 second lieutenant fire worker
  • 1 third lieutenant fire worker
  • 4 sergeant bombardiers
  • 4 corporal bombardiers
  • 100 gunners
  • 2 drummers

In July 1748, the grade of ensign was abolished in the artillery and commissions as lieutenants were given to the subalterns serving the train.

In December 1748, orders were received from Great Britain for the formation of a regular company of artillery. This company would consist of 116 men:

  • 1 first captain and chief engineer
  • 1 second-captain
  • 1 captain-lieutenant and director of the laboratory
  • 1 first lieutenant fire worker
  • 1 second lieutenant fire worker
  • 1 third lieutenant fire worker
  • 4 sergeant bombardiers
  • 4 corporal bombardiers
  • 2 drummers
  • 100 gunners

In May 1749, Captain Delavaux deserted and absconded to Pondicherry (present-day Puducherry). In August, the Government of Madras divided the establishment of 100 gunners into two classes: 40 first class gunners and 60 matrosses.

In December 1750, Benjamin Robins arrived at Madras to replace Captain Delavaux.

In 1751, Robins died and was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Caroline Frederick Scotts of the 29th Foot.

In December 1752, the Government of Madras reorganised its artillery into 2 coys: 1 coy at Fort St. George under Captain Lewis D'Illens, 1 coy at Fort St. David under Captain John Brohier. The establishment of each company consisted of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 first lieutenant
  • 1 second lieutenant
  • 1 third lieutenant
  • 6 sergeants
  • 6 corporals
  • 30 bombardiers
  • 30 gunners
  • 40 matrosses
  • 2 drummers

In July or August 1753, an artillery company consisting mainly of Swiss arrived at Madras aboard the Montfort.

Service during the War

By 1756, the establishment of a company consisted of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 captain-lieutenant
  • 1 first lieutenant
  • 1 second lieutenant
  • 3 lieutenants fireworkers
  • 3 sergeants
  • 3 corporals
  • 8 bombardiers
  • 20 gunners
  • 64 matrosses
  • 2 drummers

The train was to consist of:

  • 2 x 12-pdr guns
  • 10 x 6-pdr guns
  • 3 x 5¾ inch howitzers

By May 1756, the first company was under the command of Captain Lewis D'Illens and the second company under Captain John Brohier.

In October 1756, a party of the Madras European Artillery (80 men and 2 field pieces under Captain Robert Barker) formed part of the force led by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Clive for the punitive expedition against Calcutta. On December 20, after long delays, the fleet transporting Clive's force finally reached Fulta. However two ships, one transporting 2 coys of the Madras European Regiment (200 men) and another carrying most of the field artillery, were still lagging behind.

At the end of March 1757, 1 officer, 1 conductor and 20 gunners with one 18-pdr and two field pieces took part in Lieutenant-Colonel Forde's expedition against Nellore.

In 1757, Captain Brohier, who was an engineer by profession, was sent for by Clive to serve in Bengal. On June 23, the detachment of the Madras European Artillery serving in Bengal took part in the Battle of Plassey.

In September 1758, the survivors of the detachment of the Madras European Artillery which had been sent to Bengal in 1756, were transferred to the Bengal Establishment.

From December 14, 1758 to February 17, 1759, 64 men of the Madras European Artillery took part in the successful defence of Madras. During the siege, this detachment lost 24 men killed and 30 wounded.

Between 1761 and 1763, the Madras European Artillery was still composed of two companies, each of which was officered by:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 captain-lieutenant
  • 1 first lieutenant
  • 1 second lieutenant
  • 2 lieutenant fireworkers

In September 1761, Captain Barker was promoted to the rank of major. He then commanded the whole of the artillery (including the detachment of the Royal Regiment of Artillery) employed in the expedition against Manila.

In January 1763, Major Barker was succeeded in the command of the artillery employed in the Philippines by Captain Matthew Horne of the Madras European Artillery.

Uniform

In 1748 Captain Delavaux was instructed to dress the new artillery company with the following uniform: blue coat with red cuffs, red facings and brass buttons, and a hat.

In 1756, it was ordered that the uniform should be of the same pattern as that of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Matross and gunner black tricorne edged with a narrow gold lace with a black cockade (left side)
Pioneer and miner fusilier style hat
Neckstock white
Coat blue woollen coat lined scarlet and laced and edged yellow (plain yellow worsted braid); 3 yellow buttons and 3 yellow buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above) at the waist; 3 yellow laces at the small of the back
Collar scarlet collar tabs edged yellow (same lace as above), each fastened with a yellow button
Shoulder Straps blue epaulette edged yellow and fastened with a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels scarlet half-lapels edged and laced yellow (same lace as above) with 8 yellow buttons (arranged 2-2-2-2) and 8 yellow looping around the buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets vertical pockets edged yellow with 6 yellow laces (same lace as above) in a chevron pattern, each with a yellow button
Cuffs scarlet (slashed in the British pattern) edged yellow (same lace as above) with 6 yellow buttons and 6 yellow buttonholes (same lace as above) in a chevron pattern on the sleeve above each the cuff
Turnbacks scarlet
Waistcoat blue edged yellow with 12 yellow buttons (arranged by pair) and 12 yellow buttonholes (same lace as above) with horizontal pockets edged yellow, each with 6 yellow buttons and 6 yellow buttonholes (same lace as above)
Breeches blue
Gaiters black with black buttons (white for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard none
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


N.B.: from 1758, the yellow lace on the waistcoat was discontinued.

Fusiliers were armed with a musket and a brass-hilted sword. They also carried a dark brown haversack.

Gunners carried linstocks.

Officers

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

  • gold lace instead of normal lace
  • red waistcoat
  • red breeches
  • soft-topped jockey boots

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command but with a gold lace.

Officers of this regiment never carried spontoons. Instead, they carried fusils in the field. In the 1760s, the sword gradually replaced the fusil.

NCOs

Sergeants had a broad gold lace on their tricorne and gold looping around the buttonholes of their coat and waistcoat. They also wore a gold worsted shoulder-knot, corporals two yellow worsted knots, and bombardiers one.

Until 1754, all NCOs carried halberds. From 1754, only sergeants retained the halberd, the corporals and bombardiers were equipped with carbines.

Musicians

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment wore the royal livery. They were clothed in red, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with blue, and laced with the royal lace (golden braid with two thin purple central stripes).

Colours

‘’no information available yet’’

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Anon. The History of the Madras Army, Vol. 1, 1801, pp. 38-39, 45-46, 88-91, 98, 103-105, 108-109, 172
  • Carman, W. Y.: Indian Army Uniforms under the British from the 18th century to 1947 – Artillery, Engineers and Infantry, London: Morgan-Grampian, 1969, p. 19