Thursday, January 3, 2013

Quebec Project: Bragg's 28th Foot


Originally raised in 1694 by Sir John Gibson and known by his name, the regiment was numbered the 28th foot in 1742. By 1734 the regiment found itself under the Colonelcy of Phillip Bragg who presided over it for 25 years, whose leadership endured long afterwards through the regiment's first nick-name - 'The Old Bragg's'. The regiment had been in action at Fontenoy in 1745 where it suffered heavy losses, then was garrisoned in Ireland from 1749 to 1757.

Whilst originally an English regiment (Bristol) and having retained a core of seasoned troops by this campaign, the 28th had already served in Newfoundland, Spain and the Low Countries throughout it's 65 year history through the campaigns of the Nine Years War and the Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Successions. Like so many units of the British regular army, it would have arrived in Quebec as a polyglot force with a core of fighting Irishmen. Nevertheless, after having arrived in Canada in 1759 the regiment was held in reserve at the siege of Louisberg and formed part of its garrison.

The 28th was actively employed during the Quebec campaign, engaging skirmishers at Montmorency Falls and suffering losses at Beauport. On the day of battle on the Plains of Abraham, we are told that Wolfe led the counter-charge at the head of the regiment, although he fell whilst attached to the Louisberg Grenadiers. 
My first tricorne figures for Wolfe's army - Redoubt fusiliers at the ready
Colonel

Phillip Bragg himself was an active old soldier, having fought with the 1st Foot Guards at Blenheim (1704), holding a captaincy with them. Returning to Ireland some time around 1713. Achieving the post of Master of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham (1732) Bragg was made Brigadier General and commanded in Flanders with Lord  Stair and was later promoted Lieutenant General in 1747 and from 1751 he continued to serve on the Staff. and he became Member of Parliament for Armagh. He died in 1759 of unrecorded causes but at 'an advanced age' in Ireland.
Striving for animation: Identical figures irregularly posed for an illusion of individuality
Lieutenant Colonel

Another Irish soldier and commander of the 28th in the field at Quebec was the then, Lieutenant-Colonel Hunt Walsh. Aged 39 at the time, Hunt Walsh attained his commission with the 28th and rose to Major by 1753 and purchased his Lieutenant Colonelcy of it in 1757. He survived the engagement at Quebec and went on to full Colonel by 1760, purchased Colonelcy of the 56th foot in 1766, Major General 1772, Lieutenant General '77 and General in 1793.He was also the Member for Maryborough between 1764 and 1776. He died in 1795 aged 70.

The usual two-deep formation at Quebec, my 38th foot of 32 figures
Modelling

As I may have mentioned previously with my Quebec build, the variance in the available Seven Years War figure ranges forces a collector to compromise. And I doubt if I will be forced to compromise as I have done so with my version of the 28th Foot.
References

Anyone attempting this unit will find very little pictorial evidence for it on-line. The essentials are nicely covered in the Project SYW website and it's link to the Fife and Drum - in fact both are essential. After these references, images get very thin on the ground, the Wikki page for the regiment being surprisingly incomplete. I had few pictures in any of my printed material but then, my collection is not that extensive either.

The Soldiers of Gloucester website has a number of prints and a handy search engine to help the visitor navigate through a rather extensive collection. The prints of the SYW are not necessarily from the period but include a few picture cards or prints by John Marsham composed around 1880.
Dotted lace representing diamonds and zig-zag stitching
Lace

The first and most obvious compromise needed is in the use of the castings themselves. None of the ranges known to me provide for double-lace cuffed coats and that's what the 28th foot wore in this period (see Marsham's grenadier above). So, whilst a bigger man than I might have elected to paint on the extra row of lace, I thought better off it. This may have been different if I worked in a scale any larger than 28mm.

The second compromise also related to the lace. The 28th had dark blue diamonds and zig-zag blue thread shot through the lace making for a particularly complex difference to their uniform. So, again ... how to represent this in 28mm? Well, with a finer brush, steadier eye and a magnifying lamp even more powerful than mine a younger and more skillful painter might have attempted all that detail to an exactitude but not me. Instead I opted to represent it by dotting the lace which I hope is a good approximation. I note that of the few examples of the 28th foot that I've found, figure painters have opted to rely on a plain white lace and I can't say as I blame them - it damn near sent me mad.
Probably about as good as I'm going to get with my material flags
Colours

For this battalion, I went for a newer, darker looking jack and have persisted with making cloth King's and Colonel's colours. I am satisfied with the process now of sketching the pattern on the cloth prior to folding them concertina style, wrapping them in cotton and soaking them in a PVA water solution for about an hour. Throughout the painting process, the cloth gradually unfolds (partially) and developed a ruffled, irregular kink and I think looks quite realistic.

Colonel's colour developed sharper creases for some reason
Anyway, I'll let the photos speak for themselves in all other respects. This is the fourth unit I have completed for Quebec not including the artillery but the first regular line regiment with the tricorne hats. Now well over the 100 mark, I'll move on next to the largest unit to push things along and also try my hand at figure sculpting for my brigadiers and Wolfe himself.
I have really enjoyed painting these Redoubt Miniatures

3 comments:

  1. great painting and great research. I think you have done a top job and you should feel very proud
    Peace James

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  2. Stunning unit !!!

    I´m very impressed by the unit size, looks realy good. I just have 3 bases of 5-6 minis for my AWI army but then I see your work I might have to expend them, if I ever get around to restart that project...

    Best regards Michael

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  3. Thanks Gents. The problem with units of this size is than my productuion turn-over is very slow. I feel I'm slipping into the 'wargaming modeller' rather than 'player'. I have revisited an old WSS army and have been 'up-grading' to 33 figure units. If you aren't addicted to big battalions, I'd avoid them. Alas, for me it is too late.

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