British soldiers during the American Revolutionary war

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by scaryspice, Dec 15, 2006.

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  1. scaryspice

    scaryspice LE Moderator

    I have a US colleague who needs some info on the British Army during the Revolutionary War (as they call it). He's looking at the Battle of Cowpens (1781) and needs some info on the following:

    He's determined to tell it well from the British point of view and bring it to life. Your suggestions would be most welcome.
  2. This sites quite good for Revolutionary War Battles

    Typical the septic wants to know about one of the few battles they won :roll: tell him to look at all of them for a better picture of the war
  3. scaryspice

    scaryspice LE Moderator

    LOL - he didn't get to choose the battle someone else did. And he's absolutely not typical - he wants to portray the British side properly instead of what he considers to be the usual stereotypical American view of us from the 18th century.

    Thanks both of you.
  4. It was a rebellion not a revolution :D
  5. An interesting project scary, as said all the popular thumbnails run against a lot of reality, but the overriding factor is that Britain gave up control, though I wonder how many Americans are aware it was not a wham-bam 1776 quick war and the relinquishment was not formalised till the Second Treaty of Paris on 15 April, 1783.

    The view/history of the ‘winners’ typically prevails, though makes it harder to appreciate actual events.
    e.g. events of 15/16 Sept 1776, the popularist comment:
    ”Harlem Heights, NY 16 Sept. 1776 Nathanael Greene involved in engagement against British and Hessians. British driven back to their lines.”

    While from a Hessian (German) account:
    ”On the 15th of September, British troops from Long Island, crossed the East River and routed the American force at Kip’s Bay (presently 34th Street). Washington moved his troops to north-western Manhattan (present day Columbia University). A small force of British and Hessians were involved in a small skirmish at Harlem Heights, the Americans held their position.”

    ”16/17 November 1776 - The Army [British/Hessian] marched 22 English miles to New York (City) via Kings Bridge to Fort Washington, New York. Fort Washington was situated on a steep hill between the Hudson river and the Harlem Creek. The American’s in Fort Washington surrender to the British and Hessians but not after losing about 450 killed and some 2,800 Americans captured.”

    The popular American history states: ”Fort Washington, NY 16 Nov. 1776 American commander surrendered Fort Washington to the Hessians.”

    The Americans make much of Rogers Rangers and how their irregular tactics influenced American military – and yet, Rogers, Butler etc fought for the British?

    They also frequently seem to pass over the importance of the French Navy in the war, and, definitely do not like to mention how the new American militia elected to bring Canada into the revolution, yet their superior numbers got their butts kicked and the remnants fled south. Even the French colonials at Quebec city preferred to fight with the British rather than join the Americans.

    Nothing changes the end result of course.

  6. Smoo.
    It was a Revolution coz they won in the end :( Effing Sceptic Bastards.
  7. surely to have a revolution you have to have been an independant nation to start off with
  8. This lot are pretty knowledgeable. I once had the pleasure of firing a replica Brown Bess with them at a reenactment.
  9. Given that a sizeable majority in the American colonies were actually either loyalists or neutral (Indians, foreign nationals, religious colonies, etc), then the war might be defined as a coup or state-sponsored (France & Spain) sedition.

    An interesting aspect of the fledgling American government is that they were actually actively debating having someone as King (Washington apparently turned down the honour) - which rather sweeps away the modern myth of a revolution for democracy......

    Good luck to Scareyspice's correspondent: I have many dear American friends, many of them highly educated and intelligent. However the "Mel Gibson" version of history is firmly welded into the national psyche, and its near impossible to get them to even consider a neutral historical version of events - even those from US historians.
  10. Going back to the original point, didn't they give a TP of loading drills in one of the 'Sharpe' movies? But then again as it was TV they may have been complete bollox.
  11. It is possible to effectively reload and fire a brown bess in 15 secs (done it myself once) if you follow the loading cycle of the times, i.e with unpatched ball. However I did it on a range at my own firing point. Trying to do it in a line with all your mates, in stiff uniforms with full kit, while facing uncoming fire musket fire, cannon balls and canister would complicate matters, the 3rnds a minute rule is more realistic in my view.

    Add to that the possibility that you may be relaoding with a bayonet on....
  12. This "stiff kit" thing...yes at a levee in Brighton for the King but on campaign the "stiffness" of kit would have been somewhat degraded.
  13. They were still doing that "queue" thing with their hair, which have been bloody uncomfortable - having it pulled back so tight that some toms had problems closing their eyes...
  14. OK, happen to be the proud colleague of Ms. Scary herself. Don't know the reference to Sceptic so please give it to me in plain UK words as if I was a Squadie. You won't hurt my feelings.

    In a lame attempt to be one of you: I've been really, really, really drunk in Trafalgar Square so one of your officers dubbed me an honorary Squadie for my efforts. Spent several hundred in pounds Sterling in one of those old book shops you have there(many in that area--touristy as you all know) as proof prior to the Ale fest. Reading currently about a guy named Wellington from that very same book shop. Interesting chap. In America we would call him "balsy".

    I've actually found your drill manual from the 1770's. It is insanely complicated. How some people could make something as simple as loading and firing an inaccurate semi-reliable musket as the Brown Bess is inconceviable.

    After checking out a few of your web sites above. Can anyone paraphrase for this US officer how a British soldier was expected to load and fire a musket in plain modern day English without all the drill included(the sergeant moved here with the line moving here and the sergeant saying this etc. etc etc.). I'm trying to explain how it was done to a bunch of other US officers. Cartoons are good too.

    Many thanks and to all of you a Happy New Year. May it be a damn better one than the last. Cheers.

    Major Cali/Dawg