Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie (1751-1793), arrived in America from his native France in 1776 and was authorised by Washington to raise a unit of foreign volunteers to fight with the Continental army. Armand's Legion, containing cavalry and infantry elements, was officially formed on June 25, 1778 at Boston, having taken over and augmented a unit formed in 1777 by Baron Ottendorf. In 1782 it was renamed the 1st Partisan Corps, by which time it had absorbed the remnants of Pulaski's Legion. The Legion was present at Monmouth, Brandywine Camden, Guilford and Yorktown but its reputation was not the best and it appears to have suffered from ill-discipline. In 1783 Armand was promoted to brigadier general and returned to France later that year. In the "British Grenadier!" scenarios the cavalry element appears as a 6-figure unit at Camden.
These are of course the new Eureka Continental dragoon figures, which come in two poses: at rest and charging. The figure that I had picked out as an at-rest officer is actually a charging trooper, which explains why he is leaning forward a little and isn't uniformed any differently to the other figures! I have two illustrations of the cavalry element of Armand's Legion in my library - Mollo/McGregor shows Armand himself in a British Legion-style jacket and a horsehair helmet; Zlatich/Younghusband (Osprey) has a trooper in a waistcoat and coat with a side-plumed, brass Tarleton helmet. I chose to use the Eureka "jockey cap" for the headgear as that seemed a good compromise; the crest is a bit small but it has the side-plume. I stuck to the Osprey's colour scheme of dark-blue coats and waistcoats with buff breeches and turnbacks (which aren't visible in the Osprey illustration but I thought buff turnbacks would look better than white ones). I painted the coats in a darker blue than usual, using Foundry's "French Blue 65" palette with a couple of extra highlights from "Deep Blue 20". Both reference books show a red stock, which adds a nice splash of colour. I reversed the coat colours of the trumpeter, but I have no authority for that.
The flag is home made. Having found nothing online about the Legion's flag (or indeed whether it had a flag at all) I decided to make something that combined American and French motifs. A variant on the French revolutionary slogan seemed suitable. I swapped "fraternity" with "justice" as the former word always reminds me of raucous early 20-something American students (further to a particular episode in a Barcelona nightclub) and the latter word just seemed more appropriate anyway. For the American element I added the crossed sabres of the US Cavalry; anachronistic, perhaps, but it sort of works. So the design is pure invention, but I like to think is the sort of thing that Armand or one of his officers might have dreamt up. As it happened, once back in France Armand became an enthusiastic supporter of the republican cause and the Revolution. However, his initial support turned to disillusion and he was instrumental in forming the Breton Association in his native Brittany which ultimately came into armed conflict with the revolutionaries.
6 figures. Painted March/April 2011.