Earl of Donegall's Foot

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> Earl of Donegall's Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in the northern counties of Ireland in 1701 by Arthur Chichester, 3rd Earl of Donegall at his own expense. It was thus designated as the “Lord Donegall's Regiment of Foot”. The regiment was also known as “The Belfast Regiment” because of its origins.

From 1706, the regiment was designated as the “Richard Gorges's Regiment of Foot”.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted one battalion.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • from 28 June 1701: Colonel Arthur Chichester, 3rd Earl of Donegall (killed in action near Montjuich in Catalonia in 1706)
  • from 15 April 1706 to 26 July 1717: Richard Gorges

After the war, the regiment was stationed in Ireland.

Service during the War

On 10 June, 1702, the regiment, who had been appointed for sea-service and brought from Ireland, arrived at Portsmouth. It was landed on the Isle of Wight and encamped with the army under the Duke of Ormond. The regiment then counting 550 men, embarked on the Ruby transport, the Albion frigate, the Hunter and Lightning fireships, the Stirling Castle warship and the Prince of Orange transport for the unsuccessful expedition against Cádiz. At the beginning of October, when the Anglo-Dutch force abandoned its design against Cádiz, the regiment was attached to a squadron under Captain Hovender Walker who sailed for the West Indies.

In 1703, the regiment took part in the failed expedition against Guadeloupe. In the autumn, it returned to Great Britain.

From January 1704, the regiment embarked at Portsmouth and took part in the amphibious expedition which transported Archduke Charles to Spain. In mid-December, the regiment (approx. 650 men) was sent from Portugal to reinforce the troops defending Gibraltar.

In 1705, the regiment took part in the defence of Gibraltar. In the summer, it was attached to the army of the Earl of Peterborough. On 3 September, troops were landed near Barcelona which capitulated on October 19. In November, the colonel of the regiment, the Earl of Donegall was appointed governor of the Fortress of Girona and his regiment probably followed him.

In April 1706, when Philip V started the investment of Barcelona, the garrison of Girona (1,100 men) managed to rejoin the defenders. His colonel fell in the defence of Montjuich. On May 22, the Franco-Spanish army raised the siege after the arrival of a relief force. On 29 May, the regiment was ordered on board the fleet. On 9 June, the fleet sailed from Barcelona and, on 15 June, arrived at Valencia. The regiment was then detached to Alicante with Lord Mohun’s Foot. On 8 August, this detachment took Alicante by storm. Brigadier Gorges,the colonel of the regiment, was appointed governor of the place.

In March 1707, the regiment was part of the Allied army (16,000 men) assembled at Candela. This army undertook the siege of Vilena. On 25 April, the Allies, informed of the proximity of the Franco-Spanish army of the Duke of Berwick, advanced in four columns against him. In the ensuing Battle of Almansa, the regiment suffered heavy casualties (87 men killed, including 3 captains; and 284 captured or wounded; out of an initial strength of 616 men).

On 19 March 1708, the regiment, which had been seriously depleted during the previous campaign, was ordered to be re-raised. Its officers, who were still prisoners in France, were replaced by others. Accordingly, during the summer, the remnants of the regiment were brought home and most probably sent to Ireland to obtain recruits.

Uniform

There were still no regulation concerning uniforms and colonels were responsible for the clothing of their soldiers. Therefore, there were wide variations from one regiment to another.

Hairs were worn long in a “long bob”. They were sometimes tied at the back of the neck. The hair bag was also already in use.

Men as well as officers were clean-shaven. Officers sometimes wore small moustaches.

Privates

Uniform circa 1702 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
The Royal Sussex Regimental Society
Headgear
Fusilier black felt tricorne without lace
Grenadier cloth cap with a raised and stiffened front decorated with the embroidered crowned Royal cypher or the colonel's crest; and with an embroidered grenade at the back of the cap
Neck stock knotted white linen neck-cloth with ends hanging or tucked into the top of the coat
Coat red with pewter buttons along the full length of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back

N.B.: the coats of grenadiers had tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes down to the waist

Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets placed low on the coat, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs orange, each with 3 pewter buttons

N.B.: the cuffs of grenadiers had tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes

Turnbacks none
Waistcoat long red waistcoat with pewter buttons
Breeches red
Stockings during campaigns, a first pair of finer stockings was pulled up under the breeches at the knees while a coarser pair of white stockings was worn over them, pulled over the knees and fastened with a leather strap and buckle
Gaiters gaiters were gradually adopted during the campaigns in the Low Countries
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather strap with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather waistbelt with a brass buckle worn above the coat
Cartridge Pouch natural leather cartouche box hanged at the crossbelt

Grenadiers had a pouch on a shoulder belt to carry grenades

Bayonet Scabbard black leather with a brass tip
Scabbard black leather with a brass tip
Footwear shoes fastened with a strap and buckle


Musketeers were armed with a musket without sling, a bayonet and a sword. Grenadiers were armed with a firelock with a sling, a hatchet, a bayonet and grenades.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms almost identical to those of privates with the following differences:

  • tricone laced silver
  • silver braids on the seams of the coat

Sergeants initially carried a halberd and corporals a musket. Gradually, all NCOs were equipped with musket.

Officers

Officers wore beaver tricornes laced gold (probably reserved to superior officers) or silver (probably reserved to subaltern officers). They also wore the fashionable full flowing curled wigs. On service they usually plaited their wig.

A large gorget was worn around the neck tied with ribbons. The gorget was gilt for captains, black studded with gold for lieutenants and silver for ensigns.

Officers usually wore uniforms somewhat similar to those of privates (even though there were not yet any regulation compelling them to do so), made of finer material. Their coats were decorated with gold or silver braids down the seams and on the sleeves; and with gold or silver embroidered buttonholes. Cuffs were usually of the same colour as the coat instead of the distinctive colour of the regiment.

The waistcoats of officers were often decorated with gold or silver fringes.

A crimson sash (often interwoven with gold or silver and fringed similarly) was worn around the waist.

Breeches were tied with rosettes below the knee.

Officers wore gloves, often decorated with gold or silver fringes.

Officers carried a sword and a half pike or a spontoon.

The cartouche box of officers were often covered in velvet and decorated with gold or silver embroideries.

Musicians

Drummers and hautboys wore orange coats with red cuffs and orange waistcoats. The coat was decorated with lace on the seams of sleeves and back and on the buttonholes. It was probably decorated with the crowned King's cypher or the Colonel's crest embroidered on the breast and back.

Colours

no information found yet

References

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

  • Trimen, Richard: An Historical Memoir of the 35th Royal Sussex Regiment of Foot, Southampton Times, 1873
  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Marine Corps, p. 3

Other sources

Farmer, John S.: The Regimental Records of the British Army, London: Grant Richards, 1901

History of the 35th Regiment (a website which is not online anymore)

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol. 1 From the beginning to 1760, London: Kaye & Ward, pp. 12-54

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)

The Royal Sussex Regimental Society

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.