Monday, October 24, 2016

Uniforms of "Catriona" from Contemporary Pictures

Since I analyzed the uniforms of Robert Louis Stevenson’s popular novel Kidnapped, it is time to tackle the uniforms described in his sequel, Catriona.

The first time we encounter a soldier in this book (aside from a few unnamed privates arresting James More MacGregor) is in the character of Lieutenant Hector Duncansby, who challenges David Balfour to a duel with the intention of killing him. It is not stated what regiment Duncansby belongs to, so this makes it difficult (if not impossible) to determine his uniform.

The fact that Duncansby is specifically mentioned as a “Highland boy” could suggest an association with the 42nd “Black Watch” Highlanders. However, it is also stated that he clasped his hands under his coat’s skirt, and the Black Watch’s coat was specifically cut short (that is, without skirts) and designed to be worn over a kilt. It is likely that Duncansby belongs to the 1st Royal Scots Regiment, which also recruited Scottish personnel. Its coat skirts were of a conventional length and its officers carried smallswords, rather than the broadswords of the 42nd Highlanders. The illustration shows two British officers dressed in a conventional 1750s uniform.

After his run-in with Lieutenant Duncansby, Balfour arrives at Lord Advocate Prestongrange’s house. He spies some halberds tucked away in a corner and suspects that his arrest is near. These “halberds” are the polearms now known as Lochaber axes, and they were carried by the Edinburgh City Guard, who served as a police force for that city. Evidence for their unusual weaponry is found in the 1704 “Act For Regulating the City Guard.”
The re-created Edinburgh City Guard.

"That the Captain of the Guard cause two men of the best qualified in their guard walk nightly through the streitts with a large batton or poleaxe in their hand, who are hereby appointed to give notice immediately to the firemasters and guard in case of fire, and the said Captain is to take accompt of the diligence each morning and the Captain of the guard is always to keep a list of the firemasters and ane accompt of their dwelling places." (1)

Halkett's Regiment in Dutch service
David Balfour is not arrested by the Edinburgh City Guard, but is later kidnapped by a band of wild Highlanders and imprisoned on the Bass Rock. There, Andie Scougall tells a tale of his father Tam Dale, who served as a soldier on the Bass when it was a prison for Covenanters. The Bass Rock was garrisoned by an independent company (2), that is, a company that is not part of a regiment but serves on its own. The deputy-governor of the Bass Rock was Charles Maitland, later 4th Earl of Lauderdale (3).

Balfour is eventually reunited with his friend Alan Breck Stewart, who mentions that he has a cousin who serves in the Scots-Dutch Brigade, in Halkett’s Regiment. The Scots Brigade was a unit of 3 Scottish regiments who had served in the Dutch Army since 1572. Halkett’s Regiment was a unit in that brigade and its uniform is illustrated in the picture above.

Near the climax of the book, Balfour again meets Captain Hugh Palliser, who is an actual naval captain from history. (4) This picture (left) is an actual portrait of Captain Palliser in the uniform of a captain of the Royal Navy. The ship in the background (which also features in Catriona) is Palliser’s frigate the Sea Horse.

At the very end of the book, a company of French infantrymen manning Dunkirk’s garrison is mentioned. The illustration above shows French infantrymen’s uniforms of the 1750s.  The vast majority of French infantrymen wore grey-white coats.

This concludes our two-part study of the uniforms of Kidnapped and Catriona. Perhaps soon I will analyze the uniforms of another novel set in the 18th century.

(2) pg. 57, The History of the Uniforms of the British Army, volume 1, by C. C. P. Lawson.
(3) pg. 267, Memorials and Letters of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, volume 2, by Mark Napier.
(4) pg. 69, Braddock’s Defeat by David Preston

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Yorktown Paintings by David R. Wagner

On this day in 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army of 8,000 British, Hessian, and Loyalist troops to Continental General George Washington and French General the Comte de Rochambeau.  Yorktown is regarded as the last major battle in the American Revolution, for while there would still be other battles, Yorktown convinced the British government to come to terms with their rebellious colonies.

Painter David R. Wagner has painted a comprehensive series of paintings, tracing the routes of Rochambeau's French army from their initial encampments at Rhode Island to ultimate victory at Yorktown.  These can be viewed at  With detailed historical research and a wise use of color, I greatly enjoy all of these American Revolution paintings.  Because his "Revolutionary Route Series" contains over 50 paintings, I have spotlighted those that deal specifically with the siege of Yorktown.  All descriptions are from his website.
Sabre Au Clair
The flanking charge of Lauzun's Legion during The Battle of the Hook on October 3, 1781 at Gloucester Point, Virginia.

Virginia Militia Battle Tarleton
On October 3, 1781, Lauzun's legion clashed with British forces headed by Tarleton. The battle took place across from Yorktown on the Gloucester side of the York River. After a protracted engagement, in which the Virginia Militia were involved, the forces under Tarleton were forced to withdraw. It was a preview of the surrender of Cornwallis just 14 days later, bringing the war to an unofficial end.

Night Assault on Redoubt #9
On the night of October 14, 1781, attacks against Redoubt #9 and Redoubt #10 were ordered. The assault on Redoubt #9 was a French undertaking, with American forces assaulting Redoubt #10. The French Royal Deux Ponts and Gatenois Regiments took on the Hessian Erbprinz Regiment. Because it was dark, and both the French and Hessian troops wore dark blue coats, many were killed by "friendly fire" as they could not be easily identified as friend or foe.

Assault on Redoubt #10
Although the Rhode Island Regiment was consolidated into a single unit in May 1781, the contingent of black troops was still called the "1st Rhode Island" and were commonly referred to as "Olney's Batallion." After dark on October 14, 1781, three days before the surrender of Cornwallis, the column moved forward in silence, muskets unloaded, bayonets fixed, in good order. Leading were eight pioneers with axes with the forlorn hope to be first through the cleared breach. With one man per company, then Col. Gimete (French officer) with five young officers in advance; next was Olney's Company and then the rest of the force. "When we came under the first of the abattis (logs and brush), the enemy fired a volley of musketry. The British continued to shoot, but aimed high. The pioneers then cut through the abattis. Olney moved past them, climbed the outer wall of the Redoubt, stepped on to the parapet between the two palisades. Twelve of his men followed closley. He called out, "Capt. Olney's company, form here." Six or eight British bayonets pushed at him. Some scaled his fingers, one pierced his thigh, another stabbed him in the abdomen just above the hip bone. Two of his men had loaded their muskets and came to the aid of their Captain, firing at the enemy soldiers attacking him. With this the redcoats ceased their assault; some ran away, some surrendered. The rest of the American force now entered the redoubt without opposition. The redoubt was taken in ten minutes. Lafayette praised very well known personages for their performance in the assault, but made only a cursory reference to Olney -- a situation occuring in all wars where the wrong people get the credit. Afterward, Gimete, the French officer, visited Olney in the hospital to say that Lafayette needed to rectify his omission; but the veteran Continental answered, "Let it go, the day is past." It was eventually brought to Washington's attention and the Rhode Island flag was ordered to be flown above the Redoubt through to the surrender a few days later.

And the Guns Fell Silent
In October at Yorktown, a young British drummer boy was ordered to the parapet to beat the call for a parley. No one knows the boy's name nor where he stood when the guns fell silent as he began to beat his drum. Behind him followed a British officer waving a white handkerchief, thus signalling, for all practical purposes, the end of the American Revolution.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Once to Every Man and Nation

As October gives way to November, interest is heightened about the Presidential elections of the United States. Yet as citizens make ready to choose their Chief Magistrate, I have sensed much fear at the possible results. Some are concerned with the appointment of Supreme Court justices, others worry about economic policies and their effect on the nation. Could the church of America be forced to celebrate actions God condemns as sin? Or will the United States be controlled by “experts” from the United Nations? Perhaps all of the above will happen, and then what will our country be?

This fear is very real as I know from first-hand experience. I shudder when I think what life could be like for my children…or even in 8 more years. But God in Isaiah 51:10 states: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Because He knows that we are prone to fear, God promises us that He will be with us through all our trials. But we need to keep following God and not fear what men can do to us. (see also Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:28). Furthermore, if we desert our principles to fear, how can we expect our leaders to do any differently? For leaders are a reflection on the kind of people that they rule. 

A hymn called “Once to Every Man & Nation” captures the trust we should have in God while facing danger. Below are the first and fourth verses:

Once to every man and nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
’Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Brandywine

Captain Patrick Ferguson
A slim captain dressed in a short green coat slipped through the forest. He looked quickly left and right, visually checking that his corps was in position. They had an important task: spearheading the advance of General Knyphausen across the Brandywine River. Captain Patrick Ferguson concealed himself in the brush and checked that his weapon was ready for action. This was no ordinary musket, but a highly-sophisticated breech-loading rifle. Ferguson held a patent for it and had even demonstrated it before King George III.

The British realized the importance of Ferguson’s rifle, and ordered him to form a unit of riflemen to aid them in their war against the American rebels. 100 men were put into Ferguson’s Riflemen, and since their guns could fire 6 shots a minute, they were a formidable asset to General Knyphausen’s column.

As Ferguson watched the countryside, he noticed two riders come slowly toward his ambush. One was unusually dressed in a hussar uniform, while the other rode a bay horse and wore a large cocked hat. Ferguson ordered three of the best shots in his corps to come and shoot down these officers, but countermanded the order. To deliberately target officers like this was not civilized warfare.

The hussar made a circuit away from Ferguson, but the other came within range. Slipping out of the brush, Ferguson called, ordering him to stop. The rider looked back and slowly continued on his way, heedless of Ferguson’s deadly rifle. Again Ferguson motioned for him to halt, but the rider’s back was turned and he kept on.

What an opportunity! Patrick Ferguson, one of the best marksmen in the British army, could have shot this rider, who was obviously a general officer, in the back. Yet as he fingered the trigger, a thought flashed through his mind. It is not pleasant to shoot an unoffending individual in the back, he mused, especially while this individual is only attempting to do his duty. Ferguson lowered his rifle and the man rode away.

Minutes later, a musket ball slammed into Ferguson’s right elbow. He was helped to the field hospital, where the bullet was extracted. As he was recovering, he told this story to other wounded British officers. One of the surgeons, who had been attending the wounded Americans, heard it.   He informed Ferguson that the officer he had earlier refused to shoot was none other than the rebel commander-in-chief, General George Washington.

God’s hand of Providence had clearly kept George Washington safe at this battle of Brandywine.
"Washington's Encounter Along the Brandywine"
Painting by Pamela Patrick White.

Ferguson's own account of the battle is as follows:

A member of Ferguson's Rifles, as illustrated by Don Troiani
"We had not lain long...when a rebel officer, remarkable by a hussar dress, passed towards our army within a hundred yards of my right flank, not perceiving us.  He was followed by another, dressed in dark green or blue, mounted on a bay horse, with a remarkably large cocked hat.
I ordered three good shots to steal near...and fire at them, but the idea disgusted me.  I recalled the order.  The hussar in returning made a circuit, but the other passed again within a hundred yards of us, upon which I advanced from the woods towards him.
On my calling, he stopped, but after looking at me, proceeded.  I again drew his attention and made signs to stop but he slowly continued his way.  As I was within that distance at which in the quickest firing I could have lodged half-a-dozen of balls in or about him before he was out of my reach, I had only to determine.  But it was not pleasant to fire at the back of an unoffending individual, who was acquitting himself very coolly of his duty, so I let him alone.
The day after, I had been telling this story to some wounded officers who lay in the same room with me, when one of our surgeons, who had been dressing the wounded rebel officers, came in and told us they had been informing him that General Washington was all the morning with the light troops and only attended by a French Officer in a hussar dress, he himself dressed and mounted in every point as above described.  I am not sorry that I did not know at the time who it was."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Unmerited: Movie Review


Official Description: “Two brothers estranged after a tragic accident, meet unexpectedly years later.”

The concept for this movie is taken from Ezekiel 16:64 "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD."

My Review: (beware, spoilers ahead)

The American Revolution has broken out and Charles Rosse is serving as a Continental private. When his unit engages in battle against the British, Charles’ comrade is shot and killed. This stirs painful memories for Charles, as he remembers that his younger brother Henry fell from a ship’s rigging and died.

With the end of the American Revolution, Charles Rosse returns to his home town. He stops at the harbor, looking at a merchant ship being unloaded. A gentleman sits nearby, tallying the stores. The gentleman looks at Charles, and Charles moves away. Despite his service in the war, no one greets him kindly. Townsfolk pass on their way, and the landlady refuses to rent him a room because he can only pay in worthless Continental paper dollars. Disconsolately, Charles walks down the street until he is accosted by a young girl about 9 years old. She cheerfully informs Charles that her father would like to see him. After some hesitation, Charles decides to follow her.

Much to his surprise, the girl’s father is familiar—in fact, he is none other than Charles’ long-dead brother Henry! The accident was not fatal, even though Henry was crippled in one leg. For 15 years Charles had not seen Henry, because he fled from his family. Charles is certain that his father despises him, until Henry informs him that their father died, wishing for Charles’ return.

Reluctantly, Charles informs his brother that the accident on the rigging was deliberate. Charles felt slighted because of his younger brother, so he deliberately caused Henry to fall from the rigging, breaking his leg. Yet even with this news, Henry states that he forgives his brother. But Charles does not believe him and prepares to wander away to another town. As Charles makes ready to exit the graveyard, Henry calls after him “I still forgive you.” This finally convinces Charles that Henry still loves him. He turns back and the two brothers are reunited.  Henry owns a merchant ship (he was the gentleman tallying stores) and he offers Charles a position as skipper.
(Spoiler warning ends.)

My Thoughts

This is a little gem of a movie. Less than 10 minutes long, it packs both an important message and impressive visual shots. Its message of forgiveness and love in the face of suffering is one that we should never tire of (see also my Lessons Learned from the Noah Conference at

As well as an important message, this movie also contains lavish visuals. From the colonial town that Charles wanders through, to the battle between companies of Continentals and Redcoats, this movie’s sets and costumes are top-notch.

My conclusion: Impressive scenery, sets, and a ship combined with a powerful story of love and forgiveness make this movie worth watching. 5/5 stars.

See it here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lessons Learned From the Noah Conference

My booth with Through All Ages LLC
[Author’s note: This is an extremely different piece from any I have ever written. This is a true account of events that happened to me. I put it here in the hope that it will bless or encourage someone. JCJ]

When first hearing of Generations’ Noah Conference in the late spring/early summer, I was not interested. We had been to two of their previous “Family Economics” conferences and I saw no reason to be interested in a third. But then an irresistible bait was presented before me: an opportunity to sell my paper soldiers at the conference. (For more information about my paper soldiers, please visit my business site at A chance to sell my wares in a part of the country that was not previously aware of Through All Ages LLC! Leaving nothing to chance, I even prepared a new book of ACW Confederates since I was headed south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The first day, I set up my booth and did a somewhat brisk trade in paper soldiers, posters, and postcards. When business slowed in the late morning, a lady came to my table. She was interested in my historical products and explained that she was here, helping some friends run their table. What did they sell? They were an informational booth for a WWII event in south-central Tennessee called Remembering WWII (

Even though I am an American Revolution buff, I had heard of this event before through several Facebook friends. They had attended in various capacities and their photos looked impressive. After all, how many towns in the USA turn themselves into a provincial village in 1940s France? But, despite an interest in WWII, I had little desire to find out more about this event—not just because south-central Tennessee is far, far away. The truth is, I avoided this event as a means of protecting myself from hurt.

Remembering WWII Promotional Postcard

At one point in my life, I had been hurt by a few members of a group of people I thought I belonged to. Even though only a few had actually hurt me, I bitterly regarded the entire group for what I considered their betrayal of me. And now this friendly WWII lady was a part of the same group (though she had never hurt me, or even previously known of my existence). Could I regard her bitterly, or at least put on a coldly formal mask to protect myself?

In the Bible, the prophet Ezekiel (under God’s direction) addressed this very issue: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20) This was exactly what I was failing to do: I was blaming the righteous for the wickedness of the wicked. This was the lesson God was going to teach me at this conference, and this friendly reenactor had given me the first piece of it.

Before leaving my table, she invited me to check out her table down the hall. It would have been easy to coldly dismiss her invitation, but she had been very friendly to me—and also had begun to dismantle the misconceptions I had sheltered behind. I wanted to learn a little more about this reenactment (and see the photographs), and God had the second piece of His lesson for me waiting at their table.

My love of history (and lack of customers) drew me through the vendor hall and to Remembering WWII’s table, where I leafed through a scrapbook of pictures. Veterans and reenactors, tanks and motorcycles, singers and civilians were all displayed in photographs. But one page made a deep impression on me. When asked what important lesson he wanted to leave with the attendees, one of the WWII veterans stated: “Forgive everyone.” The text informed me that this man had survived a concentration camp and was left for dead in the Bavarian Alps. Yet with all he had suffered, he advised his listeners to forgive everyone.

Ouch. Here was a man who had been treated brutally, yet knew the power of forgiveness. I had never been treated like this, yet I was refusing to forgive. I needed to forgive and this lesson was becoming more apparent to me as the day had gone on. God had given me two pieces of the lesson and the third piece was on its way.

In the afternoon, customers were elsewhere, and I was left with little to do. Wandering up and down the vendor hall proved uneventful and I drifted back to my booth, only to notice a young lady studying my products. A customer! I hurried over and we got to talking. Our talk quickly diverged from paper soldiers and postcards into Christianity and ethics—specifically how Christianity should impact the actions we perform and the positions we hold to.

This is not unfamiliar territory for me, as I strongly believe that my faith should influence my actions. But I had been scarred because of the use of this concept as a club against myself. In one way, this was ultimately beneficial to me, as I saw that I had done the same thing to others (see my short story “With Truth and Grace” at Unfortunately, I had also shied away from the concept—yet another wall to protect myself.

The conversation tailed off and she went on her way. I am certain that she did not realize the impact this one conversation would have on her listener. After she had walked away, God opened my eyes to a truth that I had been avoiding for too long: I had been building walls to keep others out and protect myself from hurt again. But I could not do this. I had to begin to break down these walls and reach out to others.

I could never have guessed that at this conference, I would learn the importance of forgiveness from three who were not advertised on my conference program. But God knew, and He had planned all this out. I am grateful to those three people for their lessons, and more than that, for the politeness and friendliness of the two whom I met. They could not have known that their friendliness would be used by God to show me the error of my ways and allow me to forgive others. But most of all, I am grateful to God, who kindly—gently—taught me what I needed to learn.

As Paul put it in his Epistle to the Philippians: “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:20)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Remembering Montcalm and Wolfe

On this day in 1759, British General James Wolfe and French General the Marquis de Montcalm met outside Quebec City in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.  Both commanders died in the ensuing battle; Wolfe before the battle had even ended, Montcalm early the next morning.  These two pictures (with quotes) are a tribute to them.

On Wolfe's picture, his men are ascending to the plains of Abraham.  The quote "The Paths of glory lead but to the grave" is from Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard.  Wolfe reportedly claimed he would rather have written those lines than capture Quebec.  Wolfe's last words were "Now, God be praised, I will die in peace."

Montcalm's picture shows the wounded general replying to the concerned inquiries of Quebec's citizens: "The Marquis is killed!"  "It is nothing, do not weep for me, my good friends."  Montcalm spent his last hours writing to Brigadier-General Townshend asking him to treat the Canadians kindly, and praying.