Monday, 4 January 2016

East Florida Rangers

The East Florida Rangers were a band of loyalist militia raised by Thomas Brown in 1776.  Brown was born in Whitby in Yorkshire and emigrated to America in 1774, when he was 25.   He settled in Georgia and founded the community of Brownsboro.  In August 1775 he was confronted by a crowd of patriots who wanted to know where his loyalties lay.  When Brown told them that he refused to take up arms against Britain a brawl ensued and Brown suffered a fractured skull.  Apparently he was then tied to a tree where he was "roasted by fire, scalped, tarred, and feathered".  To use modern terminology, this experience "radicalised" Brown and he set about mobilising Georgia's loyalists and the local Creek indians.  He was particularly successful in securing Creek support for the Crown and in 1779  he was appointed Superintendent of Creek and Cherokee Indians.  In the meantime, however, he led a group of mounted loyalists which became known as the East Florida Rangers or Brown's Rangers.  It's not entirely clear to me why the unit's name references Florida rather than Brown's home state of Georgia.  The answer may be that the authorisation for the unit's formation came from Colonel Patrick Tonyn, the governor of East Florida from 1774 to 1783.  In 1779 the East Florida Rangers were reformed as a regiment of infantry.  More on that, and Thomas Brown's later exploits, shortly.
 
I didn't set out deliberately to paint this unit.  I saw that I had 6 standing Eureka cavalry figures left over and thought about what to do with them.  Given that the figures were in a mix of hunting shirts and uniform coats, I started looking for a suitable patriot unit.  But then I noticed that the drummer was a negro (a figure I've never seen before and I'm not even sure he's pictures on Eureka's website) and I thought that a loyalist unit might be more appropriate.  Flicking through the Osprey MAA on loyalist troops I noticed that the East Florida Rangers were recorded has having recruited some coloured men and clothing some of its men in linen hunting shirts - perfect!  Even better, the unit appears in one of the BG scenarios, Briar Creek (with 6 figures).  The only problem I could see was that I didn't have enough round hats to go with the figures - I didn't want to use Continental-style helmets and tricornes don't fit on the "at rest" figures.  But this was easily solved by using leftover slouch hats from the Perry plastic British infantry box.  The coats were painted with the Foundry "French Chasseur a Cheval Green 71" palette, with a final highlight of 70B.  For the hunting shirts I used "Raw Linen 31" - not a colour I normally use for hunting shirts, but I wanted something that would blend in with the green coats. 

This is a nice little unit, I think; it's a bit different and certainly not something I've seen modelled before.  The "look" is rather conjectural, since I moulded the uniforms around the figures that I already had.  But, as noted above, the notes in the Osprey MAA seem to fit (although the reversed coat on the drummer is artistic licence) and I think this is as good a representation as any without access to mounted figures in frontier/civilian dress.  The colour scheme of the coats looks forward to the subsequent infantry unit formed in 1779.  The officer is a bit old to be Colonel Brown himself, who was in his late twenties.  Then again, all that tarring and feathering may have caused his hair to fall out - who knows?  I was tempted to put the two hunting shirt guys on a base by themselves, for potential use in patriot units, but in the end I just mixed them in with the others.  Again, this is the sort of unit for which the Eureka Miniatures' cavalry range is invaluable.

Happy New Year, everyone.

6 figures. Painted November 2015.

 
 
 

13 comments:

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

They look great Giles and very clever how you blended them in. Happy New Year!

Christopher

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

excellent.. it strikes me that you very rarely see bald miniatures, most of the little metal men appear to be hirsute...! :o)

Michael Awdry said...

Cracking work Giles.

Stephen said...

Lovely work and a cracking bit of history to boot :-)

Simon Jones said...

Fantastic Loyalist unit Giles and interesting history.

Best regards
Simon

Rodger said...

Very nice!

Jason said...

Very nice work indeed Giles. It's always good to feel I have learned some more about this fascinating period of history too.
Best wishes,
Jason

Fritz II. said...

A very cool unit and I also like its history and how you searched for finding a suiting unit for your left figures.

Dalauppror said...

Exellent blogpost, lovely painted minis and backgroud story.

David said...

A splendid little addition to the collection Giles!

legatus hedlius said...

Bags of character in this one!

Cincinnatus said...

Great Post. Following your blog now!

Steve said...

Lovely work on an interesting unit. Good stuff! Will look out for the infantry version...