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Thread: The History of the Red Hackle and the Broken Square

  1. #21
    Indubitably

  2. #22
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TamDrummond View Post
    I thin k to be able to read the article you would need to have the eyes of a House
    Yours Aye
    Tam.

    Meaning?

  3. #23
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jf42 View Post
    I have only just come on this post. An interesting discovery. I wish I'd seen it before

    The earliest challenge to the Geldermalsen story that I knew of was that of Brig. Bernard Fergusson in 1955. In his revised version of the ‘Short History of the Black Watch’ published that year, he described the action at Geldermalsen as having “a spurious place in regimental history… for it is certain that the Hackle has no connection with this particular battle.” Fergusson alos pioneered the alternative view that the Red Hackle started as a custom that “probably derives from the long years spent in North America.” He didn't give an explanation but his view was later borne out by the rediscovery in 1967 of Maj. Gen. James Stirling’s account of the American 'red feather' from 1822 (by written up Col. Arbuthnott in the Red Hackle, April 1982).

    The Herald article does not offer as robust a challenge as that of Brigadier Fergusson, but it shows that what he dismissed as “unfounded legend” was being subjected to sober scrutiny even earlier than it was thought. The Herald journalist did stick to tradition, though, in not reading the source materials with too much care!
    Perhaps there is a mix up with the 46th. In September 1777, the Light Company of the 46th, along with the 42nd and 44th were involved in an action at Paoli that saw 300 Americans killed and wounded, and a great number taken prisoner, with most of their arms and baggage.

    The Americans having vowed vengeance for the attack at Paoli (which they deemed a "massacre"), and that they would give no quarter, the soldiers of the Light Battalion declared that in order to prevent any one not engaged in the action from suffering on their account, that they would dye the feathers worn in their caps red, as a distinguishing mark, and, no doubt, to taunt the rebels with a reminder of the American blood that had been shed. (from http://www.hargreave-mawson.demon.co...y17641778.html)

    This is also briefly mention in the book 'Black Watch at Ticonderoga (page 59).

  4. #24
    Senior Member TamDrummond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky View Post
    Meaning?
    My old eyes can't read it is what I mean .

    War does not decide who is right , only who is left.

    Tam Drummond
    Former Musician in the 1st Bn The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment )

  5. #25
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    Tam,

    There is a link below the image that takes you to a larger one.

    Here it is again

    ::Click Here:: to view a larger image.

    Remember to click if you get the magnifying glass with the + sign.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky View Post
    Perhaps there is a mix up with the 46th. In September 1777, the Light Company of the 46th, along with the 42nd and 44th were involved in an action at Paoli that saw 300 Americans killed and wounded, and a great number taken prisoner, with most of their arms and baggage.

    The Americans having vowed vengeance for the attack at Paoli (which they deemed a "massacre"), and that they would give no quarter, the soldiers of the Light Battalion declared that in order to prevent any one not engaged in the action from suffering on their account, that they would dye the feathers worn in their caps red, as a distinguishing mark, and, no doubt, to taunt the rebels with a reminder of the American blood that had been shed. (from http://www.hargreave-mawson.demon.co...y17641778.html)

    This is also briefly mention in the book 'Black Watch at Ticonderoga (page 59).


    For Paoli Tavern:




    Gen W Howe, Commander in Chief
    HQ Guard 42nd of Foot, (2 Batt.s?): CO Lt.-Col. Thomas Stirling. Note the Highlanders were detached from 3rd British Brigade.
    Left Division: Maj. Gen. Charles Cornwallis
    3rd B Bde. 15th, 17, 44th. 4th Bde. 33rd, 37th, 46th, 64th Regt. of Foot. Guards 1st and 2nd batt.

    1st and 2nd LI Inf. Bde.

    1st LI Inf. Batt. composed of Light Coy’s of the fallowing regiments of Foot: 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 28th, 33rd, 35th, 37th and 38th.

    2nd LI Inf. Batt. consisted of: 40th, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th, 49th, 52, 54th, 55th, 57th, 63rd, 64th, and two LI Coy’s of the 71st.

    Source: Orderly Book of Capt. Thomas Armstrong, 64th LI Coy (in the Washington Papers) found online or in the Library of Congress online site, dates Sept 15th – Oct 3rd 1977. confirms the composition of the 2nd LI Inf. Batt. The reconstruction of these battalions was possible owing to the research carried out by Thomas McGuire.


    Note: The 42nd Coy LI at Paoli, with the infamous 2nd LI Batt., under Maj. J Maitland is nonsense, as JF42 stated, mistake made on online sites and PDF’s.
    42nd LI Coy was with 1st Batt. LI till late 1778.





    According to: J. Browne, History of the Highlands, and of the Highland Clans, 4 vols., (London, Edinburgh and Dublin, 1845), IV, p.269. & M. Brander, The Scottish Highlanders and their Regiments, (London, 1971), p.164-165.

    The Regiment served with distinction in many of the war's major engagements, such as the battles of Brooklyn Heights, Guildford Court House, Brandeywine Creek, and at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis surrendered. It was during this war that the Regiment began to wear a red hackle in their hats, after General George Washington had written to an old acquaintance on the British side, Lieutenant Colonel Maitland, complimenting the latter on the conduct of the 71st Highlanders. In his reply, Lieutenant Colonel Maitland jocularly advised General Washington that the regiment would now wear a red hackle in their bonnets to ensure that the General did not overlook “doing justice to their exploits, in annoying his posts, and obstructing his convoys and detachments,” as the General “was too liberal not to acknowledge merit, even in an enemy.”



    A Historical Account of Services of the 34th & 55th Regiments, by George Noakes, 1875. p. 27.

    Howe receiving intelligence of this sent General Grey with the 42nd and 44th Regiments and the 2nd battalion of light Infantry, in which was the light companies of the 55th. To guard against accidents, Grey had ordered the men to take the flints out of their muskets, intending to trust to the bayonet alone, and from this circumstance he acquired the sobriquet of “No-flint Grey.” The British fiercely attacked the Americans, the assailants had bayoneted more than 300, as taken 100 prisoners the rest escaped at night leaving their baggage behind. As the light battalion had in this sanguinary affair done then the greatest execution, the Americans, who were greatly exasperated, declared that in any future action they would give the “Light Bobs’ no quarter. The “Light Bob’s replied “They were ready for them”; and to prevent any others suffering on their account, they chivalrously dyed the feathers of their caps a red colour, and retaining the red feather as a distinguishing badge, bore it valiantly in the van of the army, and in the thickest of every fight, until the termination of the war. In one of these companies the distinction has been preserved to present day, for when the light companies returned to their regiments, and the light infantry battalion ceased to exist as such, the red feather seems to have disappeared in all except the light companies of the 46th Regiment. This retained the distinction either in the form of a red plume or tuft until flank companies were abolished, when still preserved by a red tuft, which was sectioned to the entire regiment. This distinction might have been accorded to the whole six regiments whose light companies composed the battalion alluded to, had they been as tenacious of their honours as the 46th had been; and to the absence of this must, we suppose, be attributed the fact that the 55th have sunk in abeyance a decoration which they appear to have worn with the same distinction as the other companies composing the light infantry battalion.




    Notes and Queries. P.241.

    LETTER OF MAJOR J. H. T. CORNISH-BOWDEN, THE DUKE OF CORNWALL'S LIGHT INFANTRY REGIMENT.—


    In the October number of the PENNA. MAG., vol. xxxviii, pp. 504-6, we printed extracts from an interesting letter of Major J. H. T. Cornish-Bowden, of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Regiment, requesting data to verify a tradition relative to the addition of a red feather to the regimental badge, after the affair at Paoli. In reply the Editor PENNA. MAG. stated, that in his opinion, no correspondence could have taken place between Gen. Grey and Wayne's men owing to the divergent movements of both divisions immediately after the action, but it was probable, that the American prisoners verbally threatened their captors to retaliate with the bayonet on the next occasion, and this they did two weeks later at Germantown, where both divisions again faced each other. The serious wounding of Major Cornish-Bowden, in France, some months ago, interrupted our correspondence but since his removal to England, the following letter has been received: Leighton Lodge, 8th March 1915.

    Dear Dr. Jordan.
    Your letter of February 1st. has found me at last, but not until after having been out to France and back! I am sorry to say that, after six months, I am still in bed and without any immediate prospects of being able to get back to have a second innings against the world enemy. VOL. XXXIX.—16

    Your copy of Lieut.-Colonel Hubley's letter of the year 1777 is most interesting and valuable. I am only sorry that, until the war is over and I can once more have access to my books and papers, I am prevented from either getting on with my work on regimental history or of verifying my statements. I hope you see how hard it is to throw overboard a belief of such respectable antiquity as that attached to our Red Feathers. From the chronology that you give it seems highly improbable that communications could have passed between the combatants. This I freely grant. On the other hand, I am sure that you will agree with me, that in matters historical tradition is of great value. My contention indeed goes somewhat beyond tradition, though it certainly falls short of authentic history. In the first half of the last century, an official at the War Office, was commissioned to write the history of certain regiments. Among others, he compiled that of the 46th Foot, now the 2d Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. He seems evidently to have had access to official papers and so far as he goes he is generally supposed to be accurate. He gives the story of the Red Feathers practically as I related it to you. But he wrote fully eighty years after the event, so he cannot have had it from eye witnesses. His work is to a great extent composed of extracts from dispatches, of official letters, reports, etc. One or two of the letters refer to the incidents in an indirect manner. Usually some inspecting General found fault with the unauthorized tuft of red as worn by the regiment and a letter would be received, to the effect that in consideration of the romantic nature of the event related the authorities were pleased to allow the distinction to be continued. Unfortunately the petition setting forth the “romantic” circumstances has never been kept.

    One thing is certain and that is that the 46th Regiment have worn a distinctive red mark in their head gear ever since memory can reach. Until Light Companies were abolished (after the Crimean War) it was borne by the officers and men of that company only. I have found a letter authorizing it to be borne by the whole unit in consideration of its interesting origin—details again not stated—on the occasion of the then reorganization. In one form and another the badge has been sanctified by a vast amount of blood. Cannot you see how impossible it is for us to knock it down and trample upon it because it refuses to fit into a cold historical niche? Yours sincerely, J. H. T. Cornish-Bowden.



    The book of the American Revolution, final years lists for the Battle of Paoli; 53 American deaths, 150 wounded, and 71 captives.




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    Last edited by Spaņiard; 4th December 2014 at 18:59.

  7. #27
    Senior Member anneca's Avatar
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    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you for posting.
    Anne

  8. #28

    Red hackle and 46th Light coy at Paoli Tavern

    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky View Post
    Perhaps there is a mix up with the 46th. In September 1777, the Light Company of the 46th, along with the 42nd and 44th were involved in an action at Paoli that saw 300 Americans killed and wounded, and a great number taken prisoner, with most of their arms and baggage.

    The Americans having vowed vengeance for the attack at Paoli (which they deemed a "massacre"), and that they would give no quarter, the soldiers of the Light Battalion declared that in order to prevent any one not engaged in the action from suffering on their account, that they would dye the feathers worn in their caps red, as a distinguishing mark, and, no doubt, to taunt the rebels with a reminder of the American blood that had been shed. (from http://www.hargreave-mawson.demon.co...y17641778.html)

    This is also briefly mention in the book 'Black Watch at Ticonderoga (page 59).
    Chalky- greetings.

    There must be something in the water. I had been meaning to take up your point about the action at Paoli much sooner but was waiting for an opportunity to take a look at ‘Black Watch at Ticonderoga’ which I got hold of recently in the British Library at St Pancras.

    “46th Note: The Two Feathers is a distinction of the 46th, a light company of which in 1777, with others were brigaded as "The Light Battalion." The Americans were so harassed by the Brigade that they vowed "No Quarter." In derision, to prevent mistakes the Light Battalion dyed their feathers red: the 46th alone retained the distinction.”
    (p.59 The Black Watch at Ticonderoga', Frederick Richards, Secy NYSHA 1911)


    The idea of a link between the role of the Black Watch in the attack at Paoli Tavern and the origin of the Red Hackle in America is interesting. Given the folklore that surrounds the subject, it is surprising that there has never been serious suggestion of a connection between the fertile ‘red feather tradition’ associated with Paoli (e.g. the various versions elsewhere in this thread) and the ‘red feather’ of the 42nd. The important word is ‘serious’. In 1968, Philip Howard, author of 'The Black Watch', a pocket history for the Leo Cooper ‘Famous Regiments’ series, came up with a weird concoction that mixed a garbled version of the defiant red feather of Paoli with the battle of Brandywine ten days earlier (where the 42nd apart from the flank coys remained in reserve) as well as an unnamed “bitter engagement” and threw in a reference to the Red Indians for good measure.

    "For years the Highlanders had been decorating their bonnets with assorted feathers, perhaps in imitation of their Red Indian ‘brothers’. There is a misty story of this period of the Americans, after some bitter engagement, saying they would take no prisoners next time. And before Brandywine the Black Watch and two other regiments who had been involved sent back word to the effect ‘Very well, just so that you’ll know us, we’ll be wearing red feathers in our bonnets.’" ('The Black Watch,' 1968)

    ‘Misty’, indeed. Given the date he was writing, maybe he should have written ‘smoky.’ A little water with it and some careful research wouldn’t have gone amiss.

    To date we still have only the one reference for an American origin for the Red Hackle: Maj Gen James Stirling’s matter-of-fact account from 1822 of the Black Watch being ordered by the C-in-C “to get the red feather” as some form of brigade TRF “to make the whole uniform”. Even though in the same letter Gen Stirling refers to the red feather already being worn by the 2nd Light Infantry battalion, he makes no reference to the fight at Paoli or American revenge threats, perhaps because his account, although frustratingly vague, suggests that the red feather of both the 2nd LI and the 42nd predated the attack at Paoli by about six months to a year.

    With regard to the material posted above by our friend Spaniard, it’s important to note that the reference to the light company of the 42nd being attached to the soon-to-be notorious 2nd Light Infantry battalion in September 1777 is not correct.

    I have pages 241-242 of Thomas McGuire’s book ‘Paoli’ open in front of me and in the list of regiments with light companies attached to the 2nd LI Battalion on the eve of the attack at Paoli Tavern, taken from the orderly book of the 64th, the 42nd LI coy does not appear.

    Shortly after the 42nd arrived in America in August 1776, their light company was attached to the 1st Light Infantry Battalion. The light companies of all those regiments wearing the blue facings of a ‘Royal’ regiment were grouped together in the 1st LI.

    Head Quarters, Dyker’s Ferry, 6th Aug. 1776 ...The Light Company of the 42d
    Regiment to join the 1st Battalion Light Infantry


    The 42nd LI coy continued in 1st LI until the light infantry battalions were merged in October 1778, so there can be no connection between the Red Hackle and the exploits of the 2nd LI through the 42nd ‘light bobs.’ If they wore any coloured distinction at that time it would have been a green feather, which Stirling and contemporary sources attach to the 1st LI.

    This is borne out by Colonel James Stewart in a letter to Colonel David Stewart of Garth, after he had retired, which described how he joined 42nd : "About the close of the American campaign 1777 I was appointed a Lt in the 42nd Regt and a little before the Army went into Winter quarters at Philadelphia I joined the Light Company serving with the first Batt under Sir Robt Abercromby Summer and Winter I shared with them the severest duty I was ever engaged in till taken with Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown...”


    To avoid possible confusion, it’s also important to clarify that in the quotation from Browne’s ‘History of the Highlands etc’ –

    ‘It was during this war that the Regiment began to wear a red hackle in their hats’

    -the regiment in question is not the 42nd but the 71st Regiment, or Fraser’s Highlanders (second of that name). Browne’s History was an update of Stewart of Garth’s Sketches of the Highlanders, first published in 1822. In later editions, Stewart added an anecdote of the 71st very similar to that of the 2nd LI, telling of red feathers adopted during the War of Independence in defiance of vengeful Americans which, because also it contained a brief reference to a red feather “assumed by the Royal Highland Regiment” in 1795, has sometimes been taken to mean there was a connection between the two.

    Why Stewart chose to bury this obscure reference to the Red Hackle in the history of another short-lived regiment, long disbanded, is a puzzle, considering that he made no mention of the subject at all in his main history of the Black Watch earlier on in the Sketches. Browne follows Stewart’s cue and makes no reference to the red feather of the 42nd. It wasn't until Keltie's third update in 1875 that the origin of the 'red heckle' - or at least one version of it - was brought to a wider public. Ironically this had nothing to do with America, being the first popular account of the Geldermalsen story.

    The suggestion that former soldiers of the 71st brought the custom of wearing a red feather to the 42nd in Nova Scotia after the American War doesn’t hold water. There is evidence that their light coy did wear a red ostrich feather among the black feathers in their bonnets but there were only a handful of them transferred to the 42nd and, clearly, even if they were all wearing red feathers the Colonel would have had something to say on the matter. There is also the awkward fact that there is no authentic, contemporary evidence of a red feather being worn in the bonnets of the 42nd before 1802, when Loutherbourg’s massive canvasses of the Egyptian campaign were finished. At that point the Red Hackle enters history. There is one ambiguous portrait at Balhousie which shows a red feather, apparently from 1789, but there are problematic elements and it still cannot be dated with confidence. We also have to consider that Ronald Cameron, Andrew Dowie and David Stewart of Garth, although in flawed references made long after the event, whatever the actual explanation, each remembered the Red Hackle as a novelty in 1795. This one will run and run.
    Last edited by Jf42; 5th December 2014 at 00:11.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Jf42 View Post
    Chalky- greetings.

    With regard to the material posted above by our friend Spaniard, it’s important to note that the reference to the light company of the 42nd being attached to the soon to be notorious 2nd Light Infantry battalion in September 1777 is not correct.

    I have pages 241-242 of Thomas McGuire’s book ‘Paoli’ open in front of me and in the list of regiments with light companies attached to the 2nd LI Battalion on the eve of the attack at Paoli Tavern, taken from the orderly book of the 64th, the 42nd LI coy does not appear.

    Shortly after the 42nd arrived in America in August 1776, their light company was attached to the 1st Light Infantry Battalion. The light companies of all those regiments wearing the blue facings of a ‘Royal’ regiment were grouped together in the 1st LI.

    Head Quarters, Dyker’s Ferry, 6th Aug. 1776 ...The Light Company of the 42d
    Regiment to join the 1st Battalion Light Infantry


    The 42nd LI coy continued in 1st LI until the light infantry battalions were merged in October 1778, so there can be no connection between the Red Hackle and the exploits of the 2nd LI through the 42nd ‘light bobs.’ If they wore any coloured distinction at that time it would have been a green feather, which Stirling and contemporary sources attach to the 1st LI.



    Moi wrong, could be, however online etc., that’s posted on few sites PDF’s etc, the 42nd at Paoli, with the infamous 2nd LI under Maitland which is nonsense, as JF stated.


    Orderly Book Of Captain Thomas Armstrong's Light Infantry Company, 64th. http://www.64thlights.com/orderlybook.htm



    General Sir William Howe’s Orderly Book, 1775-1776. Page 272-273.

    Organisation Orders - Light Infantry Battalions, Head Quarters Tuesday 14th May 1776. Parole Arbuthnot Cr. S. Halifax Field Officer for tomorrow Lt.-Col. Moncktoc.
    The Commander in Chief is pleased to form the Grenadier and Light Infantry Companies into four Battalions...

    1st Battalion of Grenadiers; composed of the following Companies, to be Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William Meadows 55th Regt. and Major Edward Mitchell 5th Regt., Viz.: 4th, 5th, 10th, 17th, 22d, 23d, 27th, 35th, 38th, 40th.

    2d Battalion of Grenadiers; composed of the following Companies, To be Commanded by Lieut.-Col. Hon. Henry Monckton 45th Regt. and Major Hon. Charles Stuart 43rd Regt., viz.: 43, 44th, 45th, 49th, 52d, 55th, 63d, 64th. 1st. and 2d. Marines.


    1st Battalion of Light Infantry: Commanded by Major Thomas Musgrave 64th Regt. and Major Thomas Dundass 65th Regt., viz.: 4th, 5th, 10th, 17th, 22d, 23d, 27th, 35th, 38th.

    2nd Battalion of Light Infantry: Commanded by Major Hon. John Maitland Marines and Major Turner von Strobenzie (Straubenzee) 17th Regt., viz.: consisted of the following Coy’s, 40th, 43d, 44th, 45th, 49th, 52d, 55th, 63d, 64th.

    The 2nd Battalion of light Infantry to parade to morrow Morning at 9 O’Clock on the Ground on which the Marines are reviewed.

    The 1st LI Infantry sailed on 3 ships, James & William, Gd. D. of Russia and William with 939 rank and file. 2nd LI Infantry boarded the Ranger, Betty Stevenson and Betty Higgins, consisting of 879 all ranks. 1st Grenadier embarked on the Sysmetry, Friendship, Whitby, with 1109 men. 2nd Grenadier transported on the Ocean Hartfield, and Saville, with 998, officers and men.



    Head Quarters Dyker’s Ferry, Staten Island 6th Aug. 1776.
    The Light Company of the 42nd Regt to join the 1st Batt. Light Infantry.
    Source: Orderly Book, 4th British Grenadier Battalion, from Peebles’Journals, National Archives of Scotland.


    Head Quarters New Rochelle 23rd Oct. 1776.
    Lt.-Col. Robert Abercrombie 37th Regt. is appointed to the Command of the 1st Battalion Light Infantry in the Room of Lt. -Col. Thomas Musgrave 40th Regt., lately wounded.
    Source: The Kemble Papers, Vol. I, 1773-1789 in Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1883, Publication Fund Series, Printed for the Society, New York, 1884.

    Head Quarters New York March 23rd 1777.
    The 3rd Batt. of Grenadiers and 3d Batt. Light Infantry, are to be incorporated into the 1st and 2nd Batt. as follows:-

    15th, 28th & 33d Lt Inf. Companies to the 1st Batt. of Light Infantry, the 37th, 46th & 57th Companies to 2nd Batt. of Light Infantry.

    1st Batt. Grenadiers Coy’s of 15th, 28th, 33rd and 37th., the Second Batt. Grenadiers. 46th, 57th and 42nd.

    Source: “Orderly Book of General Sir William Howe, kept by Major Stephen Kemble, Deputy Adjutant General, 29 January 1777 - 20 June 1777” in New York State Library, Manuscripts and History Library, Accession Number 6744.



    Battle of Paoli By Thomas J. McGuire 241-242 etc.

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=yNNj...trong.&f=false



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    Last edited by Spaņiard; 4th December 2014 at 19:16.

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