Monday, 12 April 2010
Lee's Legion infantry
Lee's Legion (raised by "Light Horse Harry" Lee, father of Robert E Lee) began life in June 1776 as a body of horsemen raised in Virginia and attached to the 1st Continental Light Dragoons. Within a couple of years Lee had been promoted and was asked by Congress to expand his unit into a "legion", comprising both cavalry and infantry elements. George Washington envisaged his Continental Army's legions, or partizan corps as they were also known, as being elite formations that could carry out reconnaisance and raids. Lee's Legion served with distinction in the Southern theatre. It was present at Guilford as well as several minor engagements and skirmishes. By 1781 the Legion seems to have mustered over 100 cavalry and 180 infantry. The Legion was disbanded in November 1783.
Uniform sources for Lee's Legion are minimal. There are references to the cavalry at least being mistaken for Tarleton's British Legion, so one assumes that they wore similar dark green jackets. The infantry may have worn something similar, although there are also references to "blue coats with red trim". However, the most well-known representation of the infantry is Don Troiani's painting of a soldier in a kind of purple outfit, and this is what I have followed for these figures (as did the painter for the figures on the Perry website). Where this comes from I am not too sure, but wiser heads than I have suggested that it may be faded blue. The officer figure here is in a different uniform to everyone else - a cut-down coat with lapels and facings. In keeping with the British Legion theme, I painted the coat dark green with black facings. I suppose I could have painted him blue with red facings, but this way he will match the cavalry element when I turn my attention to that. I think you could use these figures for the elusive British Legion foot as well - perhaps in a white uniform.
In the published "British Grenadier!" rules, Lee's Legion infantry appear only once - 10 figures at Eutaw Springs. I painted up both Perry packs, so I have 12 figures; at 1:20 that equates to 240 men which is probably more than actually served in the unit. Never mind. I toyed with the idea of basing them up on close order infantry bases; this would have been a nice look, but the figures are posed as skirmishers and reading about the Legion and it's activities I think on balance skirmish bases are most appropriate. I've been unsatisfied with my indoor photos for some time now so took these outside in the garden; hopefully the natural light improves them a bit.
12 figures. Painted February 2010.