Monday, 5 June 2017

1st Continental Dragoons (1)

This unit was raised in June 1776 in Virginia, and was originally on the state's establishment as the Virginia Light Horse Regiment.  In November is was taken into the Continental Army and re-designated as the 1st Continental Light Dragoons on 25 November 1776.  One of the original troops commanders was Captain Henry Lee, who in 1778 was promoted to Major and authorised to raise his own legion of infantry and cavalry.  The regiment was present at Brandywine, Germantown and Guilford Court Horse.  In January 1781 the 1st Dragoons were re-organised into a legion, with four mounted and  two dismounted troops, and was re-named the 1st Legionary Corps.  The regiment was disbanded in November 1783.

The 1st Light Dragoons are commonly portrayed in brown faced green coats and leather caps.  I had two Foundry dragoon figures left over and I decided to use them for an alternative interpretation of the unit's uniform to that which is commonly portrayed (e.g. by in the Perry and Fife & Drum ranges).  This different uniform of blue faced green coats and the standard brass helmet is shown in a Don Troiani painting, with the caption "Fall-Winter 1780-1781".  I've seen other references to this uniform in descriptions of Greene's army at Cowpens.  Maybe this is a new uniform issued at the time of the re-designation into the 1st Legionary Corps.  In the published "British Grenadier!" orbats, the 1st Dragoons appear at Cowpens (4 figures), Weitzel's Mill (2) and Eutaw Springs (2).  Given that Cowpens was fought in January 1781, Weitzel's Mill in March and Eutaw in September, I thought I could justify using these figures.  Other references refer to the post-1781 uniform coats as being blue faced red, but given that I already have figures in that uniform I decided to go with Troiani and have green facings.  With a unit of only 2 figures I don't have enough for Cowpens, so at some stage I will paint 4 in the earlier uniform of brown faced green coats. 

2 figures. Painted May 2017.


David said...

Nice work and interesting background Giles.

Simon said...

What a great small unit and it uses up spare figures.

Jason said...

Lovely figures Giles - great paintwork. Always nice to read some history about the unit you have chosen to paint too.
Best wishes,

Giles said...

Thanks, David - hope you're enjoying your holiday!

Giles said...

Thanks, Simon. I have one Foundry figure left - the trumpeter. Not sure what to do with him; a command stand maybe?

Giles said...

Thanks, Jason. I'm having a bit of a cavalry moment. I've just started the 4th Dragoons and militia cavalry (Perry figures).

Simon said...

Hello Giles,
A command stand sounds good with the Trumpeter. Maybe another small unit with another mounted figure? Two different uniforms on the same stand? I think Patriot units mixed uniforms after much research. This especially the case early war, I truly believe units were issued with whatever was at hand, probably by company.


Der Alte Fritz said...

I enjoy reading your historical commentary on the cavalry units that you are painting. Your research saves the rest of us a bit of legwork. :)

Nice brushwork too.



Unknown said...

Nice work and interesting background Giles.

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