Richard Coote's Foot

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Ireland, according to a royal warrant issued on 13 February 1702, as the "Richard Coote's Regiment of Foot". Until 1751, it would be known by the names of its successive colonels.

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

  • from 13 February 1702: Colonel Richard Coote (died in 1703)
  • from 17 March 1703 to 11 March 1719: Colonel Nicholas Sankey

Service during the War

In 1702, the new regiment was stationed in Ireland where it remained for five years.

In the spring of 1707, the regiment was selected for embarkation for Portugal. On 22 May, along with Thomas Pearce, John Newton’s and Stanwix’s Foot, the regiment sailed from Cork, arriving at Lisbon on 8 June. The four regiments immediately marched to the frontiers under the command of the Marquis de Montandre and took up quarters at Estremos. At the end of the summer, they encamped in the valley of the Caya, near Elvas. In November, the regiment took up quarters in the frontier towns of Portugal.

In the spring of 1708, the regiment took the field and encamped at Fuente de Sapatores, between Elvas and Campo Maior. The army remained on the defensive and, at the end of the year, the regiment went into cantonments.

In the spring of 1709, the regiment moved from its quarters and encamped near Estremos. On 23 April, it proceeded to Elvas and joined the Allied army on the banks of the Caya. On 7 May, the regiment took part in the Battle of La Gudiña. After the defeat, where its colonel was taken prisoner, the regiment retired to Arronches. It then encamped at Elvas and later took position on the banks of the Guadiana. It once more passed the winter in cantonments in the Alentejo.

At the beginning of 1710, new recruits replenished the ranks of the regiment who took the field in the spring, operating in the Alentejo. In the autumn, the Allied army advanced across the Guadiana. On 4 October, it reached the plain of Xeres de los Cabaleros, on the river Ardilla, in the Spanish Extremadura. On 5 October, the regiment took part in the capture of Xeres de los Cabaleros.

In May 1711, the regiment formed part of the army which assembled at Olivenza. It took part in the capture of several small towns and in levying contributions in Spanish Extremadura.

In 1712, the regiment remained in Portugal. In the autumn, it went into cantonments when a suspension of hostilities was proclaimed.

In 1713, after the Treaty of Utrecht, the regiment was initially sent to Gibraltar but was later transferred to Minorca to form part of the garrison.

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.

We have been unable to find any description of the uniform of this regiment. Farmer just mentions: scarlet uniform with green facings.

Privates

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:

  • tricorne 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 usually wore coat of the facing colour of the regiment, decorated with lace on the seams of sleeves and back and on the buttonholes. Their coat was decorated with the crowned King's cypher or the Colonel's crest embroidered on the breast and back. Sometimes their coat had hanging sleeves.

Colours

no information found

References

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

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Thirty-Ninth or, The Dorsetshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1853

Other sources

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

Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. I, MacMillan, London, 1899, p. 400

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)