Friday, 16 June 2017

South Carolina Dragoons

Many Loyalist units were raised in the South and these figures represent generic Loyalist cavalry. I like to give my units specific regimental designations, so I'm calling this one the South Carolina Dragoons, even though it's designed to cover a variety of units.  Finding specific information on these sorts of units is difficult.  The Royal Provincial website lists 3 units of "South Carolina Light Dragoons" but provides no details.  The site also refers to a unit of "North Carolina Independent Dragoons".  These units seem to have be raised in 1781 and operated either as scouts or mounted infantry.  We do know that at least some of the South Carolina Loyalist cavalry was commanded by Major John Coffin, formerly of the Loyalist infantry regiment the New York Volunteers. 

I wanted something for use in two "British Grenadier!" scenarios: the "South Carolina Dragoons" at Eutaw Springs (8 figures) and the "New York Dragoons" at Hobkirk's Hill (6 figures).  It's possible that these two units are in fact the same, as there is speculation that whilst the "New York Dragoons" are recorded as having been at Hobkirk's Hill this unit may have been confused with the infantry New York Volunteers and that the cavalry present were from South Carolina.  I thought that if dressed in proper cavalry uniforms the troopers might have sought to emulate British regiments like the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons.  So tarleton helmets seemed appropriate, although chum Brendan Morrissey suggested to me that floppy hats would probably have been worn as well as, or instead of, metal helmets.  I decided to use more Eureka "ragged Continental" figures (which I've used for other Loyalist cavalry units, the East Florida Rangers and  Emmerich's Chasseurs).  Options for facings colours included blue, which would have been suitable for a New York unit, and yellow, which was more suggestive of South Carolina as it's known that some of the infantry Loyalists had yellow facings.  Given that I have the blue-faced 16th Light Dragoons in a similar uniform, I decided to go with yellow.

I'm almost there with British and Loyalist cavalry now - just the 17th Light Dragoons in their northern theatre dress and the British Legion left to do.

8 figures.  Painted April-May 2017.


Monday, 5 June 2017

1st Continental Dragoons (1)

This unit was raised in June 1776 in Virginia, and was originally on the state's establishment as the Virginia Light Horse Regiment.  In November is was taken into the Continental Army and re-designated as the 1st Continental Light Dragoons on 25 November 1776.  One of the original troops commanders was Captain Henry Lee, who in 1778 was promoted to Major and authorised to raise his own legion of infantry and cavalry.  The regiment was present at Brandywine, Germantown and Guilford Court Horse.  In January 1781 the 1st Dragoons were re-organised into a legion, with four mounted and  two dismounted troops, and was re-named the 1st Legionary Corps.  The regiment was disbanded in November 1783.

The 1st Light Dragoons are commonly portrayed in brown faced green coats and leather caps.  I had two Foundry dragoon figures left over and I decided to use them for an alternative interpretation of the unit's uniform to that which is commonly portrayed (e.g. by in the Perry and Fife & Drum ranges).  This different uniform of blue faced green coats and the standard brass helmet is shown in a Don Troiani painting, with the caption "Fall-Winter 1780-1781".  I've seen other references to this uniform in descriptions of Greene's army at Cowpens.  Maybe this is a new uniform issued at the time of the re-designation into the 1st Legionary Corps.  In the published "British Grenadier!" orbats, the 1st Dragoons appear at Cowpens (4 figures), Weitzel's Mill (2) and Eutaw Springs (2).  Given that Cowpens was fought in January 1781, Weitzel's Mill in March and Eutaw in September, I thought I could justify using these figures.  Other references refer to the post-1781 uniform coats as being blue faced red, but given that I already have figures in that uniform I decided to go with Troiani and have green facings.  With a unit of only 2 figures I don't have enough for Cowpens, so at some stage I will paint 4 in the earlier uniform of brown faced green coats. 

2 figures. Painted May 2017.