Ventris Columbine's Foot

From Project WSS
Jump to navigationJump to search

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised at Bois-le-Duc from Irish troops for Dutch service on 12 December 1673 as the "Sir Walter Vane's Regiment".

In 1685, James II requested their services during the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion and organised them into two units, given the precedence as the 5th and 6th Regiments of Foot. After Monmouth's defeat the regiment returned to the Netherlands.

When William III became king of England in 1688, the regiment accompanied him. It was nicknamed "The Dutch Guards". The same year, it was transferred to English Establishment.

During the Williamite War in Ireland, on 11 July 1690, the regiment took part in the Battle of the Boyne. On 22 July 1691, it was present at the Battle of Aughrim.

During the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment served in Flanders from 1692 to 1695. On 3 August 1692, it took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. In July and August 1695, it was present at the Siege of Namur and took part in the storming of the Brussels Gate.

By 1698, the regiment counted 1 battalion of 10 companies for a total of 34 officers and 411 men.

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:

  • since 23 June 1695: Ventris Columbine
  • from 2 November 1703: James Rivers
  • from 6 February 1706: William Southwell
  • from 14 June 1708 to 7 March 1716: Thomas Harrison

In 1743, the regiment received the privilege to carry a badge representing an Antelope in recognition of its service at the Battle of Saragossa ( August 20 1710).

Service during the War

In 1702, the regiment was initially sent to the Netherlands. However, it was reassigned to the planned expedition against the Spanish coasts. In June, the regiment, then counting 550 men, was appointed for sea-service and took part in the expedition against Cádiz. It then returned to Portsmouth.

In 1705, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Barcelona.

In April 1706, the regiment participated in the defence of Barcelona.

On April 25 1707, the regiment, then counting 505 men, took part in the Battle of Almansa where it suffered heavy casualties.

On July 27 1710, the regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Almenar. On August 20, it was at the Battle of Saragossa where it captured Moorish standards, one of which having an antelope as centre device. On December 8 and 9, the regiment fought in the Battle of Brihuega.

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.

For this particular regiment we found only a brief description of the uniform in Mill, stating that the uniform had yellow facings. In the following description, we assume that the metal colour of the regiment was white.

Privates

Uniform in 1702 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier black felt tricorne laced white
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 yellow lining; 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 pewter buttons
Cuffs yellow, each with pewter buttons

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

Turnbacks none
Waistcoat long waistcoat (red or yellow) with pewter buttons
Breeches no information found, probably 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 Box 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:

  • 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 yet

References

This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Sixth, or Royal First Warwickshire Regiment of Foot, London: Cloews and sons, 1839
  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Marine Corps, p. 3
  • Wikipedia Royal Warwickshire Regiment

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

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)

Walton, Clifford: History of the British Standing Army A.D. 1660 to 1700, London, 1894, pp. 89, 92, 216

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