Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Smallwood's Marylanders

The Maryland Battalion was formed in January 1776 as the state's contribution to the Continental Army; it consisted of 3 companies from Baltimore and 6 from Annapolis. It was commanded by William Smallwood (1732-92), a prominent local politician and F&IW veteran who ran a tobacco plantation on the Potomac. In December 1776 a further 6 battalions of Maryland troops were raised and Smallwood's unit was redesignated the 1st Maryland Regiment. The regiment fought at Long Island, White Plains (at which Smallwood was wounded), Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and then campaigned in the south until it was disbanded in 1783. Smallwood ended the war as a Major General, apparently the highest promoted Marylander in the army. He went on to be the fourth governor of Maryland and a senator. The regiment distinguished itself at Long Island in August 1776. Itwas assigned to the brigade of William Alexander, Lord Sterling, along with the Delaware Battalion of John Haslet, and was instrumental in holding up the British advance to allow the rest of the American army to escape.

I painted a "1st Maryland" a few years ago, in blue faced red coats. However, that seems to be the regiment's 1777 uniform and in 1776 Smallwood's men were recorded as wearing tan hunting shirts over buff breeches, with officers in red coats faced buff. Given the unit's distinctive uniform, I decided to paint it up for the Long Island game. The orbat required 24 figures but by using the rank and file I had already painted for the 1st and 2nd North Carolina I only needed a further 8 hunting shirt types and then the command figures in their red faced buff coats. There is an excellent painting of the regiment fighting at Gowanus in the "New York 1776" Osprey Campaign book, and this was the look I wanted to capture. So I added a casualty and used officer figures who look as if they are trying to calm down and reassure the men. The chap with the spontoon is in fact a Foundry British officer. The flag is home made and is based on the family arms of Lord Baltimore. There is evidence that this flag was used for the state from the 1600s until the AWI (see here). There were other options, but this black and yellow lozenge design is very distinctive and certainly stood out on the table! Many thanks to Brendan Morrissey for his help with the uniform and flag details of this unit.

So, given the "1st Maryland" I painted a while ago, these 12 figures represent the first AWI regiment that I have painted twice, in its 1776 and 1777 incarnations. I noted a few posts ago that the range of 25mm figures now available means that you can model reasonably accurate armies for specific years of the war; a Continental Army of 1776 will look rather different to its 1777/78 equivalent and you can, if you want, use a different mix of figures for each army (and if you want a summer 1778 Continental Army you should probably have them all in shirt sleeves!) . So I may have to revisit the notion that I have "enough" American regiments...

12 figures. Painted October 2008.


Sire Godefroy said...

Well done. From the pics, I hadn't thought of the regiment being part of the Continentals. The officers look almost like their British counterparts. Always wondering, how these guys could be distinguished in the heat of battle.
Anyway, good luck with remodelling your Americans. ;)


Andy McMaster said...

Good and interesting stuff again, Giles. Looks like you may have found a way of giving you enough painting for the next few years as you start doing every unit for every year of the war! :-)


Greg Sapara said...

Nicely done!


Allan (AJ) Wright said...

I love this unit and the flag. Great research, executed nicely in the figures. I definitely need to do the 1776 version for my army. I just happen to have some Perry figures in hunting shirts freshly delivered from England!

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Love the flag! That will certainly stand out!

Andrew said...

Nice! I've always been fond of the uniforms that incorporate the buff color. What a great, bold flag! I lived in MD for 7 years. I'm more of a F&I War guy, so I was disappointed that the Marylanders didn't have much of a part in that conflict. I'm glad to see that in the AWI they were able to put down their steamed crabs and participate!

Allan (AJ) Wright said...

You can never have 'enough' figures. At least that's what I keep telling my wife!

Thomas said...


As ever brilliant paint job, not sure I trust the 'Baltimore flag' but as a concept it works.



Anonymous said...

The flag is correct. It is not the "Baltimore" flag it is the Calvert arms which was the only flag used up and until after the civil war when the modern MD flag "Calvert & Crossland" arms were combined. You did a very nice job on the painting but unfortunately you have the flag backwards on the staff. The small black square should be against the staff at the top. As the saying goes to remember which way the flag goes "Black square in the air".
Karl Feldmeyer
MD Sons of the American Revolution

wcw said...

I am going to be painting a unit of Smallwood's 1st and have been trying to figure out what flag they would have carried. I have found your post showing the black & gold flag (what is it called?) and I saw another that was painted by someone else using a red & white striped flag with something on a blue square in the middle.... could you help me out?

Giles said...

Hi wcw - thanks for your comment. The idea for the flag was suggested to me by the author Brendan Morrissey, who knows a thing or two about the AWI. I wanted something a bit different that would stand out. As to whether it's authentic or not, who knows; although Karl above seems to think it's ok. Some of the model flag producers make one of these flags now. GMB do other "conjectural" Maryland flags that have a coat of arms in the middle on a blue background - WIA 35 and 36. Steve Jones used one of those flags for his Smallwood's. So I think the best advice is to go with what you like. No one can argue that you've used the wrong flag, as no one knows for sure! Hope that helps.