Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quebec: 48th Regimnent of Foot - Unit Design

 Grenadier of the 48th Regiment
 of Foot by David Morier
The 48th regiment of foot present on the Plains of Abraham was first raised in Norwich, 1741 as James Cholmondeley's Regiment of Foot. Present at Falkirk during the '45 rebellion, it was one of the few regiments to stand it's ground and went on to fight at Culloden  (1745-1746). The regiment was renumbered as the 48th foot in 1748 and went on to fight at Monongahela  (Braddock's 1755 expedition and disaster) and Louisburg (first regimental honour received but in 1882). 

Succeeding Robert Dubar as Colonel of the 48th by the time of the Quebec was Lieutenant General Daniel Webb. It was the same Webb who so famously denied his support for a relief attempt during Montcalm’s siege of Fort Henry in 1757. Webb had been appointed Colonel of the 48th on 11 November 1755.  He had purchased his first commission as ensign on 20 March 1720, was promoted to major of the Eighth Horse in 1742, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of that regiment in 1745 after having served at the battle of Dettingen two years previously. It was after fighting at Fontenoy that Webb was made up to Colonel of the 48th in 1755.

Whilst having obtained the rank of Major General in 1759 (and later Lieutenant General in 1761) Webb was not amongst the senior commanders for the Louisberg and Quebec campaigns and thus was not at the Plains of Abraham. The regiment was commanded in the field at both Lousiberg and Quebec by its Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Burton. Tradition tends to insist within the records; however,  in referring to the 48th as Webb's foot. Previously Major of 2nd Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards, Burton was appointed Lieutenant-colonel of the 48th Foot in 1754. Burton had fought at Monongahela and was reputedly a favourite of Braddock's and set to receive a colonelcy of a newly raised American royal regiment but for Braddock's untimely death. 

Why the 48th were given such numerical prominence and allocated sufficient boats for them to land and ascend the Plains of Abraham in the numbers they did I cannot say. I would hazard; however, that given this regiment constituted the entire reserve and second line by forming in divisions with large gaps, Wolfe must have had confidence in the quality of the regiment’s soldiery and its commander. The regiment entered the American war with a good reputation and whilst having recruited from Americans heavily in 1755, much of the regiment enterred the wilderness with an established record and reputation. During the debacle at Monongahela, the 48th was positioned in the rear of the column which endured the furious attack and did not bear the main assault directed at the head. Whilst not suffering overly high casualties, the 48th still lost a captain, subalterns amongst other ranks and can be seen to have built upon it's core of experienced veterans including its Lietenant-colonel.

Whilst a reserve at Quebec, the 48th were not hotly engaged on this occasion either and suffered only three (3) rank and file wounded by days end.

For my 48th at Quebec, I am experimenting with figures from only one manufacturer – Crusader Miniatures. For me, this is the only company posing marching figures in an almost stand-to pose. They are not particularly forward in posture and I don’t want my reserves to look as if they are going anywhere in too much of a hurry. For me, this is a departure in sculpt selection from a ten year practice of mixing and matching to animate as best I can ranks of toy soldiers. I will only depart from Crusader Miniatures when absolutely necessary. The challenge here will be to break down as far as possible the endless uniformity that a unit of this size will bring with 53 out of the 70 total figures being musketeers with but a handful of subtle variants.

The above is my developing unit design diagram. If is it not readily apparent, the split rectangles represent officers with S for sergeants, E for ensigns, M for musicians and the C is the Lieutenant Colonel with red for line and blue for grenadiers.

The other challenge will be the conversions required to turn 7 further Crusader Miniatures line infantrymen into grenadiers, which I intend doing to match the look of the regiment across all companies. I am clearly dissatisfied with the poses of other grenadiers on offer to match the intended appearance of this particular project model. It may very well result in my developing a line of differently posed grenadiers from differing companies and what may come of it is anyone’s guess.

If I thought the 57 figure 78th highlanders were to be a challenge, the 48th with 70 miniatures will prove my largest ever battalion model in any period thus far.