Friday, 11 January 2008
Von Bose Musketeer Regiment
The von Bose regiment has a rather unique position in the history of Hessian regiments in America. The regiment was stationed in New York in 1776-80 (until October 1778 it was called Trumbach's regiment, after it's chief at that time). In April 1780, elements of the regiment and some loyalists sallied out into New Jersey to attack the positions of Major Byles. In October 1780, the regiment embarked for Virginia and then to Charleston in order to join Cornwallis' army in the south. The Hessians did not enjoy the extreme heat and bad conditions of the south. Regimental records show that sickness was very common due to bad water and long marches in the intense heat. But the regiment nonetheless fought well.
At Guilford Courthouse, the regiment performed sufficiently well for Cornwallis to say that the regiment "deserves my warmest praises for its discipline, alacrity,and courage...". The von Bose found itself in danger of being outflanked, as happened to the Guards' first battalion, but successfully repulsed Lee's Legion and helped rescue the Guards. The regiment therefore played an important part on the British victory and it's comanding officer, Major Johann Du Buy, was singled out by Cornwallis for particlar praise [yes, I know some Americans don't consider this battle to be a British victory!]. The regiment lost 11 killed and 66 wounded, out of British totals of 109 and 389. Within a month of the battle of Guilford Courthouse, Cornwallis' army had arrived at Wilmington where the entire army was re-fitted with new clothes. Each soldier was issued with two pairs of shoes (one of which was free!) as the men had been reduced to marching barefoot or fashioning cowhide slippers. The army travelled on to Yorktown, where the regiment was eventually surrendered.
When I first decided to model this regiment, I wanted to recreate a unit that looked as if it had been tramping through the southern wilderness and so had a real "campaign" look about it. The idea of using green stuff to add some tears to the leggings and shoes came from Pat Smith's excellent work on Ferguson's Rifles (which you can see on the Perry Miniatures website). This was my first attempt at using green stuff for anything substantial and certainly the first time I've ever tried to alter a Perry sculpt. The results are perhaps a bit "ott", but I think they look ok. The drummer on the right of the command group photo has an opened-up shoe; perhaps that's why he looks so upset. I gave most of the figures "5 o'clock shadows" because given that Cornwallis didn't even stop for lunch when racing to Guilford Courthouse I don't imagine the troops had time to shave either. I usually give the officers of my Hessian regiments powdered hair. There is no historical support for that at all, it being extremely unlikely that officers in the field went to this kind of bother; but on Hessians it somehow looks right. This time I gave both officers dark brown hair and added some grey streaks on the officer in the rear rank. I painted the leggings in a variety of colours and gave some men blue-stripped ticking, which I thought they might have looted from somewhere. I painted these figures over the Christmas holiday and there is a step-by-step guide to how I painted the faces etc on the WD3 forum here.
18 figures. Painted December 2007. Flags by GMB.