Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: My Top 5 Blog Posts

2015 has been a good year for Defending the Legacy.  34 blog posts have been written this year (well, this makes post #35).  They have covered a wide variety of subjects including but not limited to the American Revolution, the East India Company, Books, and Short Stories.  The Christian movie Beyond the Mask was released this year, and because I had followed it for many years, many blog posts were naturally written about it (see them at http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/search/label/Beyond%20the%20Mask).

Here are my top 5 blog posts of 2015.  They were chosen for a variety of reasons, including most-viewed and best-researched.

#5: "Lord Clive Receiving From the Nawab of the Carnatic a Grant of Money For Disabled Soldiers and Officers" 
http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/09/lord-clive-receiving-from-nawab-of.html.  This one I chose because of its unusual subject matter.  British East India Company uniforms of the Seven Years War are not often focused on, but the 18th Century painter Edward Penny gave us many details  of the uniforms in the painting that is analyzed in this post.

#4: "Providence and a Book" http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/02/providence-and-book.html.  This is one of my more personal blog posts as I trace my journey to acquire a copy of Augustine's Confessions.

#3: "Analyzing Benjamin West's Painting 'Sir William Johnson Saving a French Officer'"
http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/11/analyzing-benjamin-wests-painting-sir.html.  This post I consider one of my best-researched and most interesting of 2015.  It is also, according to Blogger's count, my #3 most viewed post that was published in 2015.

#2: "Beyond the Mask--Charles Kemp's India Jacket" http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/04/beyond-mask-charles-kemps-india-jacket.html.  Without question, this was my most-viewed post of 2015 according to Blogger's statistics.  In it, I explore one costume from the movie Beyond the Mask that may seem unusual; however it is solidly based in historical fact.

#1: "With Truth and Grace" 
I am very pleased with how this short story turned out, especially considering that I had been on a long hiatus from writing fiction.  But this is more than just a story; it is based on a real journey that I went through.  I wrote this in an effort to distill the lessons that I learned and share them with others.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who read and comment on my blog.  Blogging can be a very solitary activity, and I love hearing your thoughts and reactions to what you have read.  I hope that you all had a good year in 2015!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Short Story--With Truth and Grace

This is a short story I wrote for the SEA Scribblers Short Story Contest.  The rules stipulated that I needed to use one or more of the three photo prompts in my story, and it had to have a Christmas/winter theme.  This is my entry; however, it didn't win any place or an honorable mention. The narrator's growth through the story is written from first-hand experience, as I went through a very similar process.

With Truth and Grace by Jordan Jachim

“He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love.”

Isaac Watts’s carol Joy to the World had long been a favorite of mine.  But as I stood singing it in church, my mind was disturbed by a paradox.  How could these people be singing that Christ ruled the world with truth when they did not live like it?  Some of the churchgoers voted for ungodly politicians who stole money and persecuted those who followed the Bible.  Others did not interact with God’s children as they rushed out of church at the last “Amen” to watch a sports event.  The few who did remain were not interested in discussing important spiritual matters but only the latest novel they were reading.

But the thoughts passed from my mind as soon as we were dismissed from church on Sunday afternoon.  They only returned on the following Saturday evening while my sister practiced Joy to the World on the piano.  I began thinking once again about the problems I saw in the church.  First I enumerated them in a long list; then I thought about remedies.  But every remedy that entered my head required a strong leader to carry it out.  And who was better fitted to become that leader than me?  In a few months I would graduate from high school and could then move on to leading a church.  Under my leadership, it would flourish, modelling God’s uncompromising truth, and becoming a leading voice for reform in our country.  I went to bed that Saturday night, hopeful of the grand changes I would initiate.


I seemed to be ascending into the sky, filled with hopeful and optimistic thoughts.  The higher I climbed, the higher I wanted to climb.  Finally I reached a height where I could look down on the earth.  The orange sunset filled me with a sense of satisfaction as I contemplated the dark world below me.  How high I had come!  While I might not have attained the heights a few had reached, yet I was far above the world of darkness.  Surveying my achievement, I realized with a start that I was not alone.

“It is good to see you.”  The voice came from a woman in white with thick golden hair.  Her eyes were kind but sad as she looked at me.  “I have heard that you are discontented with your church.”

“How can I be content when they do not follow God’s ways?”

“Do you follow God’s ways?”

“I try my best, even if I sometimes fail,” I evaded.  “But the others do not.  If only I could lead them to living in God’s truth!  They need a strong leader.”

“Living in God’s truth is the desire of every true Christian.  But that desire cannot come from another person leading them.  It must come from God.”

Photo Prompt #1
“As a leader, I would be God’s instrument,” I shot back.

She sighed, and I thought it was a sigh of weariness.  “You must follow me, for I will show you something.”

Without warning, she stepped forward.  She fell towards the earth and after a few seconds of indecision, I followed.  We passed the atmosphere, and continuing our course, landed softly at the corner of Washington and Lossberg.

“That’s my church,” I said incredulously.  “Why were you sent to show me that?”

She made no answer, but opened the door and motioned for me to enter.  Attendance was smaller than I remembered and something seemed different.  Perhaps it was that no usher greeted me, or that no one smiled at me as I sat down.  Everyone’s head was down, fixed on their Bibles, and each wore a grave face.  Perhaps they were just being reverent, I mused.

But my thoughts were diverted when the minister opened a side door and walked onto the platform.  I noticed his icy blue eyes, shaded by expressive eyebrows that moved up and down to emphasize his texts.  His face was very somber, at least what was not hidden behind a black mask.  Why did he wear a mask in church?  But I had no time to ponder this since he began his sermon.

His sermon dealt with many of the same evils I had noticed in my church before.  He thundered against money-thieving politicians and unjust laws.  Next, he outlined the lack of spiritual community in his church.  When he finished, the people filed out of the door until I was the only one left.  The masked pastor came up to me and greeted me.

“I am glad that you came to our church.  And you did not run out of the door after my last prayer.”

“I want to have fellowship and be edified by our conversation.”

His face broke into a smile. “I am glad that is the case for you.  You will likely make an excellent addition to our church.  But you need a few lessons from me first.  After all, you voted for Ryan Jenkinson.”

“And why should I not?” I asked in surprise.

“His HB.5067b could strike against religious freedom in this country.”

“That bill—I read it—merely exempts churches from certain regulations pertaining to their tax-exempt status.  There wasn’t a word about more regulation for churches.”

Photo Prompt #2
“Have you read anything besides HB.5067b recently?” he asked quickly.

“I just finished Wolf’s Best Friend.  It’s a novel about a man and a wolf who become friends.”

“Reading fiction is an ungodly and pernicious pastime.  All orthodox church leaders have spoken out against it.”

“I agree that many novels should be used as fuel for bonfires, but this one was written from a Christian perspective.  It was an allegory, filled with the beauty of God’s creation.  Why,” I added, “I’ve even written several short stories to illustrate Christian truths in a—”

“All fiction is expressly designed to help the reader escape into fantasies rather than pursuing God’s kingdom.”

“What about John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress?  That illustrates Christian truths and was written by an orthodox church leader.”

“If you hope to remain a part of this church,” the pastor’s eyebrows lowered, “you must not waste your time in these frivolous activities.”

“This is absurd!  You are free to share your concerns, but you are attempting to claim lordship over my conscience with your rules.  That is reserved for God alone.”

“I am not claiming lordship over your conscience.  You are.”

“No, I am not,” I fired back.  “I claim that for God alone.”

“In attacking me, you have attacked yourself.”


Photo Prompt #3
For answer, he untied the black ribbon that fastened his mask and let it drop to the floor.

“Who am I?” he demanded.

My face froze as I contemplated the man sitting across from me.  Now that the mask was removed, there could be no doubt of his identity.

“Yes,” he said, in answer to my baffled look.  “I am you.  I follow your rules; I implement them with your zeal.  The only difference between us is that I have power!  I am in the position of church leader.  This is what you will become!”

I sank my face in my hands as the world seemed to whirl around me.  When I finally raised my face, my guide stood before me.  Of the pastor there was nothing.

“Why was I such a fool?” I groaned.  I was now anxious to make atonement for my misguided zeal and made a promise that I would never hold convictions and tell them to others.

“One cannot compromise truth for peace if one is a believer in the word of God,” she said gently.

“Then how can I share my convictions without becoming like—like what I have seen?”

“What song brought this train of thought originally?”

This was an odd question, but it shifted the current of my thoughts and I replied, “Isaac Watts’s Joy to the World.”

“Yes.  In the fourth verse, it is stated that Christ rules the world with truth and grace.  These are the two virtues you need to interact with others.  Because you believe in Christ and his word, you have truth.  But it must be shared with grace.  That is what Christ did to you before you believed in him.  He blessed you with health, life, the love of your family and friends, while telling you of his free gift of eternal life.  Follow Christ’s pattern.”

“Thank you,” I said with feeling.  “Looking at it now, I see that I needed this lesson.”

“But do not compromise the truth under a guise of ‘grace.’  For that is not grace, but a license to sin.  The apostle Paul writes well of it in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.”

“Thank you again.”

“You needn’t thank me,” she replied.  “I am just a servant of God, as you are.  May God bless you.”

As she turned to go, she looked at me, and said with a smile, “When sharing truth, you might start by telling others of truth and grace.  Look in John chapter 1, verse 17.”

She, the church building, and finally my consciousness, slowly faded into blinding white light…

“It’s Sunday morning!  Time to get up and get ready for church!”  I heard my mother call cheerily.

So it was all a dream, I mused.  But to me, this was unlike any dream I had ever had.  The important truths and the vivid way they had been taught stayed with me.  And I realized that it had been accurate.  I had been too forceful when sharing my convictions with others.  But God in his mercy had taught me this lesson: to share truth seasoned with grace.  That was why Christ had come, so stated the Apostle John.  The law was from Moses, but Jesus had brought truth and grace when he came to earth that first Christmas day.  That Sunday morning I went to church with a new-found love of Christ’s love, determined to share it with others—with truth and grace.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beyond the Mask in 30 Seconds with LEGO--Credits

The video featured in the previous blog post (see at http://www.defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/12/beyond-mask-30-seconds-with-lego.html) is one that my siblings and I created for a contest run by Beyond the Mask.  Because the winner is the video with the most views, please watch and, if you liked it, tell your friends about it.

My part in this video was co-writing the script, constructing most of the sets, character design, and all the editing.  Many of the Lego bricks seen in this movie are from my collection.  My voice was used for Charles Kemp (the villain).

My sister co-wrote the script with me, set up scenes and lighting, and was assistant camerawoman.  She also worked on character design.  Her voice was used for Charlotte Holloway (the heroine).

My brother set up the scenes and lighting, was chief cameraman and director of photography. He helped with character design (Will's appearance was entirely his work) as well as some set construction and supervising all stunts and stuntmen.  His voice was used for William Reynolds (the hero).

Will Reynolds (center with hair) is framed by Mr. Harrison (far left).
George Washington is at the far right.

My dad's voice was used for Mr. Harrison ("He did it") as well as Benjamin Franklin ("Follow the wires").

My mom took over our normal chores so that we could have more time to film.  She also allowed us to use her closet as a studio and her phone as a movie camera.

This movie was filmed on an iPhone 4s and edited with Windows Live Movie Maker.  Lines were recorded with Audacity.

Note: this movie makes the most sense if one has seen the real Beyond the Mask first.  It can be ordered at http://beyondthemaskmovie.com/

Beyond Mask 30 Seconds with Lego

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Beyond the Mask--54mm Plastic Soldiers

 The American Revolution-era movie Beyond the Mask was released earlier this year.  I recreated four of its characters with 54mm plastic soldiers.  I hand painted all of them, and a few were converted with a knife and some sculpting.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.

Will Reynolds
At one point in the movie, Reynolds becomes a masked highwayman, battling Loyalists and keeping Philadelphia firmly in the grasp of the Americans.  The original figure is by BMC.  I cut off the original figure’s knapsack to create Reynolds.

Mr. Harrison
Harrison is a Loyalist ringleader in Philadelphia.  He recruits his friends to thwart the city’s rebels by intimidation and sabotage.  While the picture shows Mr. Harrison in brown, there is one scene in the movie where he wears a gray overcoat.  The original figure is by Accurate.  The figure was originally standing firing a musket, but I cut the musket off, bent his arms, and added a pistol.

Benjamin Franklin
In the movie, Franklin runs a printing business and manages to avoid any Loyalist attacks on his print shop.  He employs Edmund Bentley and William Reynolds.  The original figure is by Accurate and was sculpted to look like Franklin.  I just cut his musket off and added a cane.

Edmund Bentley
A minor character, Bentley is fired from Franklin’s print shop.  He then joins Mr. Harrison’s Loyalist band, and appears to be Harrison’s trusted assistant.  While the picture shows him in a brown coat, he more often appears in his cream-colored waistcoat.  The original figure is by Marx and was intended to represent Johnny Tremaine.  No conversion was required on him.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Analyzing Benjamin West's painting Sir William Johnson Saving a French Officer

The French & Indian War was a significant event in pre-Revolutionary America, and some of its events were chronicled by Benjamin West.  West painted one painting entitled “General Johnson saving a wounded French officer from the tomahawk of a North American Indian.”  The General Johnson in question is Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs.  Johnson was a good friend of the Iroquois and recruited them to help the British during the French & Indian War.

The title of the painting gives little detail as to when this event happened but with the aid of history, we can put it in its proper setting.  Johnson only fought in two battles: Lake George (1755) and the Siege of Fort Niagara (1759).  But which battle does it depict?

Marechal-de-camp, licensed under GNU License
The painting is traditionally set during the Battle of Lake George, with the French officer being identified as the defeated French commander Baron Dieskau (1), who was wounded, captured, and nearly killed by the Mohawks, a part of the Iroquois Confederacy(2).  But there are several clues within the painting that disprove this theory.

First is the uniform of the French officer.  Baron Dieskau was a marechal-de-camp (3), and their uniform was decreed by Louis XV in 1755.  The picture shows how a marechal-de-camp’s uniform would appear (4).  This is clearly nothing like the uniform portrayed in West’s painting, which is white with green cuffs and lapels.  The uniform does match the French regiment Volontaires-Etrangers, and a detachment of them were sent to reinforce the Canadian Compagnies Franches de la Marine.

Volontaires-Etrangers, licensed under GNU License

Just to the right of Johnson’s arm are two soldiers in red coats.  One has blue cuffs and lapels and the other has yellowish cuffs and lapels.  The red color usually denotes regular (professional) British infantry, as most provincials (troops raised in the 13 colonies) wore blue or green.  But no provincial regiment wore red coats with blue cuffs (5), (6).  Therefore these two are British soldiers.  The soldier with blue cuffs belongs to the 60th Royal American Regiment which fought at Fort Niagara.  The other soldier wearing yellow cuffs is from either the 44th or 46th Regiments which also fought under Johnson’s command at Fort Niagara.  Unfortunately, there are no visible characteristics to pin which of these two regiments he belongs to, as he has stripped the lace off his coat and waistcoat. These two wear the “jockey caps” that were popular for light infantrymen.  They are marked with a “G R” which stands for “Georgius Rex”—Latin for “King George.”

While on the subject of British uniforms, it might be observed that Sir William Johnson is wearing a general's “undress” coat.  These were popular because of their plainness—there was no gold lace to mark one out as a general, or to be ruined by camping in the woods. (7)

But the final clue that this painting is set during the Siege of Fort Niagara is that a fort is depicted in the background of the painting (behind the soldier of the 60th Royal Americans).  There was no fort during the Battle of Lake George (8), so this painting must be set during the Siege of Fort Niagara.


(1) This is the prominent identification of the painting on Wikipedia, despite a note that details more closely correspond with Fort Niagara: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Johnson_Saving_a_Wounded_French_Officer_from_the_Tomahawk_of_a_North_American_Indian

(2) pg. 31, Fort William-Henry 1755-57 by Ian Castle (Oxford: Osprey, 2013)

(3) pg. 10, Fort William-Henry 1755-57 by Ian Castle (Oxford: Osprey, 2013)

(4) http://kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=French_MarĂ©chal_de_Camp

(5) At http://kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=British_Army, uniform information for the provincial troops of all 13 colonies can be found.  None have red coats with blue cuffs for a uniform.

(6) There was one exception to this rule.  Some deserters from the Virginia Regiment in 1754 were recorded as wearing red coats with blue cuffs; however, others wore red coats with red cuffs and others, civilian clothing.  Besides, the Virginia provincials did not take part in the battle of Lake George.  Information from http://kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Virginia_Provincials

(7) pgs. 42-43, Cumberland's Culloden Army 1745-46 by Stuart Reid (Oxford: Osprey, 2012)

(8) A good map of the battlefield is available on page 29 of Fort William-Henry 1755-57 by Ian Castle (Oxford: Osprey, 2013)

Friday, November 13, 2015

American Revolution--2nd Pennsylvania Regimental Flag

I recently featured the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment on my blog (to see it, go to http://www.defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/10/2nd-pennsylvania-regiment-by-armies-in.html).  This unit is one of the few Continental units where the regimental flag is known and linked to that unit.  How?  

Colonel Stewart's portrait
Detail from the portrait
In the background details of Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of Colonel Walter Stewart of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment, the regimental camp can be seen. (1)  Flying in front of a large tent (possibly the colonel’s) is a large flag.  Due to its size and placement in camp, it is the regimental flag rather than a camp flag.  Camp flags “marked the area when in camp.  They were 18in (45cm) square, with poles either 7ft (2.1m) or 9 ft (2.7m) high.” (2)

In this close-up from the recreated 2nd Pennsylvania’s website (3), the flag can be seen with a white ground, a yellowish snake, and a blue scroll below the snake.  This is my recreation of the 2nd Pennsylvania’s flag.  Unfortunately, the picture is much too small to make out any lettering in the blue scroll.  I put “Do Not Tread on Me” because that was a common motto on American flags.  However, the scroll could also contain the unit’s name: “2nd Pennsylvania Regiment.”

If you would like to use this flag for your wargame armies, that is great, but please make sure to credit Defending the Legacy (a link back to this post would be appreciated!)

(2)  pg. 146, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms from 1775-1783 The American Revolutionary War by Digby Smith and Kevin F. Kiley (Lorenz: London, 2010)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review of When London Burned by G. A. Henty

I have often featured work by the author G. A. Henty on my blog (http://www.defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/search/label/Henty) but this is the first time I have reviewed one of his books.  This is in spite of the fact that I have read about 40 Henty novels over 5 years.  Today’s review will cover When London Burned: A Story of Restoration Times and the Great Fire.

 The historical setting is during the reign of King Charles II of England from 1661-1668.  The English Civil Wars have concluded and the King enjoys his own, but feeling still runs strongly in the country.  The Cavaliers (supporters of the King) and the Roundheads (supporters of Parliament) are not fighting with swords, but continue to regard each other with suspicion.  In foreign affairs, France and England are friends, but Holland is ready to make with England over trade and colonies.

The story begins by introducing us to Sir Aubrey Shenstone, a nobleman turned out of his estate after supporting King Charles I during the English Civil War (1642-1651).  He is forced to flee to France with his only son named Cyril, for his wife had died.  When Charles II returned to the throne, Sir Aubrey sailed to England to recover his estate—vainly, as it turned out.  In London father and son reunited, but not for long for Sir Aubrey died.  He had neither a penny to his name, nor any friends to help Cyril through the world

But Cyril had learned the trade of a clerk in France and had supported himself and his father while in London.  Now after much reflection, he decides to keep working as a clerk with the hope to buy back his rightful estate.  He worked for many men in London and one of them recommends him to a merchant named Captain Dave.  Captain Dave used to be a sailor but now sells merchandise for ships: rope, copper bolts, compasses, anchors.  Cyril is hired to help him keep the accounts and quickly discovers that someone has been stealing Captain Dave’s goods.  After some careful investigation, Captain Dave’s two apprentices are discovered to have been the thieves.  They and their accomplices are arrested and brought to trial.

This success in defending Captain Dave’s property has earned Cyril the hatred of the criminals, who go by the name of the “Black Gang.”  Cyril is kidnapped and sent to Holland, where he books passage on a ship back to England.  There the members of the “Black Gang” are tried and found guilty.  But two escape from the prison: Robert Ashford the apprentice and “Black” Dick.  But Cyril has other matters to worry him more than the escape of two prisoners.  Captain Dave’s daughter Nellie has been swept off her feet by a young gallant of Charles II’s Court, and is prepared to elope with him.  But he is not a nobleman but instead a fortune hunter named John Harvey.  To thwart him, Cyril enlists the help of John Wilkes, an old and trusty employee of Captain Dave’s.  Together, they fight and defeat Harvey and two of his cohorts as they attempt to carry Nellie off.  This narrow escape has its effect on Nellie, and she becomes more kindly and less vain. 

Shortly after this, Cyril and Wilkes fight a fire.  Together they rescue four women from a burning house and meet the Cavalier, Prince Rupert.  The Prince appoints Cyril as a volunteer aboard his own ship, the Henrietta, which is preparing to fight the Dutch fleet.  The English ships sail and engage the Dutch in what would become known as the Battle of Lowestoft.  During the battle, a Dutch fire ship (a ship lit on fire and then sent into an enemy ship) is bearing down on the Henrietta.  Cyril manages to steer it away from impacting his ship.  This action saved his life, for “Black” Dick was aboard the Henrietta and had determined to kill Cyril until he saw his sacrifice to save their ship.

Returning to England, Cyril helps battle the Plague of London in company with Dr. Hodges.  During this time, Cyril meets several Independents, so called because they were independent of the Church of England.  Among these are a Mr. and Mrs. Harvey.  They are nearly robbed by their son John, but Cyril manages to thwart him.  Mr. Harvey quickly writes out his will to prevent his son from inheriting any money.  But John Harvey is determined to strike back and since he has the Plague, infects Cyril before dying of it.  Cyril and John Wilkes the seaman fight the Plague with sweating, tobacco, and fresh air.  After this exhausting regimen of treatments, the plague spots abate and disappear completely.  Captain Dave and his family return from the country back to London in November.  On Christmas Eve, a lawyer arrives informing Cyril that he has received an inheritance of a house and land.  It comes from Mr. Harvey, who wishes to do justice by restoring it to the son of the former owner.

But war flares up again between the English and Dutch, and the English fleet is ordered to put to sea.  It clashes with the Dutch fleet for the four-day long Battle of Dunkirk.  Cyril is appointed to a small yacht and manages to reroute a few Dutch fireships during the battle.  Both sides refit their ships and clash in another battle.  After his service, Cyril returns to London only to find that the Great Fire of 1666 has broken out.  Cyril, John Wilkes and Captain Dave’s family work frantically to save a few of their goods from the fire by boarding a ship.  But the Dutch are far from beaten and proceed to land on the coast of England and capture Sheerness.  Again the English fleet meets them in battle.  Shortly after, the peace treaty between the two countries is signed.

This is one of Mr. Henty’s finest books.  Cyril’s hard work and his willingness to sacrifice for others give excellent lessons to the reader.  Wise quotes and maxims are sprinkled throughout the book as well.  It can be read for free at: https://archive.org/details/whenlondonburned00hentuoft

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2nd Pennsylvania Regiment by Armies in Plastic

The 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment had an excellent reputation during the American Revolution.  They fought gallantly at Brandywine (1777), Paoli (1777), Germantown (1777), and Monmouth (1778).  The 2nd was a unit of trusted veterans and George Washington knew it.

When Major John Andre was captured and Benedict Arnold fled to the British, George Washington believed that West Point (where Arnold had formerly commanded) might be in danger.  He needed reinforcements to halt the British if they attempted to capture it.  He called on the Pennsylvania regiments, who marched 16 miles in 4 hours (from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.) to reach West Point.  "When Washington got word of Wayne's forced march and timely arrival, he quite rightly called the feat 'fabulous.'" (1)

In 1781, the Pennsylvania Line mutinied because of a lack of pay, but the 2nd Pennsylvania did not initially join them "until the other troops threatened them at bayonet point and with artillery." (2)  The 2nd was sent to join Lafayette and his hard-pressed Continentals in Virginia.  There they took part in the Battle of Green Spring and ultimately, the Battle of Yorktown.

The 2nd Pennsylvania wore blue coats with red cuffs and lapels and white waistcoats.  Colonel Walter Stewart was the colonel of the 2nd Pennsylvania and he was an officer who cared for his men. "I find the little necessaries for my regiment difficult to be procured and at the most exorbitant prices, but I am determined to get them and have them I will if possible,"--Stewart wrote. (3)

Figures are by Armies in Plastic "American Revolution: French Infantry."  I chose French infantry as the base for these soldiers because they were cast in white plastic.  Most men carry "Brown Bess" muskets, but one man has a French musket (distinguishable by the barrel bands).  These soldiers are painted with Testors paints.  Click on each picture to expand it.

(1) pg. 65, Victory at Yorktown by Richard M. Ketchum
(3) http://www.243regiment.com/WalterStewartHistory.html

Friday, October 9, 2015

Green Spring--Cornwallis's Order of Battle

British outposts in Virginia.  Painting by Edward Lamson-Henry
After campaigning in South and North Carolina, Lord Charles Cornwallis advanced into Virginia, where he linked up with a British army under Benedict Arnold which was already in the area.  The Marquis de Lafayette was sent to keep Cornwallis from overrunning the state. But Cornwallis laid a trap for Lafayette at Green Spring.  There, he made it appear that most of his army had crossed the James River.  Major-General "Mad" Anthony Wayne attacked--only to find most of Cornwallis's battle-hardened veterans waiting for him.  To buy time, Wayne organized a counter-attack and Lafayette was able to extricate him from his dangerous situation.  This order of battle for Cornwallis's army at the Battle of Green Spring (July 6, 1781) was taken from http://web.archive.org/web/20060709171639/http://www.battleofgreenspring.org/participants/participanthistory/orderofbattle.html

Advanced Guard, Colonel Bannistre Tarleton
  • 17th Light Dragoons
  • British Legion
  • Jaegers
Camp Guard
  • 71st Regiment of Foot, 2nd Battalion
  • 82nd Regiment of Foot, Light Company
  • Regiment von Bose
Dundas's Brigade
  • Royal Artillery
  • 43rd Regiment of Foot
  • 76th Regiment of Foot
  • 80th Regiment of Foot
Yorke's Brigade
  • 1st Battalion of Light Infantry
  • 2nd Battalion of Light Infantry
  • Brigade of Guards
  • 23rd Regiment of Foot
  • 33rd Regiment of Foot
A Rifleman of the Queen's Rangers
Baggage Guard, Lt. Colonel Simcoe
(Simcoe's troops had crossed

the James River and did not participate in the battle)
  • Queen's Rangers
  • North Carolina Volunteers

Friday, October 2, 2015

Jackdaw's Clive of India

The folder that contains all the documents
 I like reproductions of historical documents.  I am also interested in the East India Company in the Seven Years’ War and no employee of the Company is more famous than Robert Clive.  Born in England in 1725, Clive entered the Company’s service as a writer, but quickly moved into their armed forces.  After a few successful victories, Clive was ordered to assist Mir Jafar, who was attempting to dethrone the current nawab Siraj-ud Dowlah. 

Jackdaw was a company that reproduced historical documents related to a certain era.  This particular folder covers Clive of India, but Jackdaw made at least 47 others.  All of these documents have a number printed in the corner to assist identification.


1.      A plan of the Battle of Plassey.  This is an original plan of three stages of the Battle of Plassey.  A drawing above the plans shows elephants in the army of Siraj-ud Dowlah.

2.      Journal of the Expedition to Arcot.  Arcot was the first battle in which Clive commanded the British forces and this journal was kept by a sergeant and later copied by Dr. James Wilson, a surgeon.

3.      Extracts from the East India Company’s Advices by Thomas Saunders.  In 1753, the French supported the powerful ruler Salabat Jung. This document discusses ways to thwart the French plans.

Jackdaw folder opened
4.      Pages from A Genuine Narrative by J. Z. Holwell.  John Zephaniah Holwell was an employee of the East India Company who survived the Black Hole of Calcutta.  These extracts are from his book about the Black Hole. 

5.      Translation of Siraj-ud Dowlah’s letter to Clive.  In this letter, the Nawab attempts to make peace with the Company after Robert Clive attacked his camp by night.

The Contents of Jackdaw's Clive of India
6.      General return of troops April 10 1757.  This is probably my favorite piece of the entire collection, since it shows each Company unit, the number of its officers, enlisted men, and sick men.  It also shows the artillery, sepoys, and deserters.

7.      Letter from Clive to Governor Roger Drake.  In this letter, Clive discusses forging Admiral Watson’s signature on a treaty allying with Mir Jafar.  Watson signed the real treaty, but not the false one, which was intended to deceive a conspirator named Omichund, who wanted more money.

8.      Contemporary translation of the Treaty between Mir Jafar and the English.  Mir Jafar wanted to become Nawab instead of Siraj-ud Dowlah.  In this treaty, he promises to support the Company and pay their losses when Siraj-ud Dowlah captured Calcutta.

9.      Pages from the London Chronicle #69.  The main article is a description of Calcutta.  Another related article discusses the recent capture of Calcutta by Siraj-ud Dowlah and his troops.  Other interesting columns of the newspaper include: “Foreign Transactions” reports on the Seven Years’ War in Europe; “Country News” covering the capture of two highwaymen; “London”, discussing ships and society; and an editorial crying out against the injustice of not paying seamen who work for the Royal Navy.  This last piece is “manifestly confirmed by facts”, including several citations from the Bible.

10.  A Page from the London Chronicle #70.  This gives more coverage to the capture of Calcutta, as well as the Black Hole (a small prison that was filled with 146 Englishmen and women).

11.  Six broadsheets.  These were produced by Jackdaw, and cover Robert Clive, The Rival Companies, The Siege of Arcot, The Black Hole of Calcutta, The Battle of Plassey, and India After Plassey.

12.  A Table of Contents.  This gives a short summary & background on each document.   Among other things, it reproduces a painting of the 39th Regiment (which fought at Plassey) by David Morier, as well as an East India Company cipher to conceal messages.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Lord Clive receiving from the Nawab of Bengal" by Edward Penny

Edward Penny was a noted British artist of the 18th Century.  He was born in 1714 and died in 1791.  He painted military subjects and was known to be accurate in his details. The Seven Years' War comprised some of his subject matter.  While fighting raged in Europe and North America, the Seven Years’ War was also fought in India.  During the war, a young man named Robert Clive rose to command some of the Company’s troops and scored an important victory at Plassey.  Clive’s forces contained regular British soldiers, Englishmen who served the Company, and natives who served the Company. These last were known as Sepoys.

This painting is titled “Lord Clive receiving from the Nawab of Bengal a grant of money for disabled officers and soldiers.” Edward Penny also painted another canvas about high-ranking military leaders helping sick soldiers.  Read about it here: http://www.defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-marquess-of-granby-helping-sick.html

Robert Clive stands in the center of the painting, with Mir Jafar, the Nawab of Bengal.  The strange looking knife in the Nawab’s sash is known as a katar (or kattary).  Clive returned to England in 1772, and Mir Jafar died in 1765, so this painting must be between 1757-1765. In other words, it is set during the era of the Seven Years’ War.  The uniforms of the East India Company in the Seven Years’ War are poorly recorded, so this painting may provide several important clues. 

The seated man in blue is an artilleryman of the British Royal Artillery (1).  The two soldiers standing in the back of the group are European infantry raised in Bengal (2).  By looking closely behind the artilleryman’s head, a sepoy’s head and turban can be made out.  His jacket is red and his turban is white with a blue center.  

With infantry, artillery, and sepoys in the painting, the last seated figure is likely to be a cavalryman.  The EIC did raise some units of European cavalry (3, 4).  Furthermore, his uniform is unlike any known British regular cavalry unit (5).  He appears to be wearing short gaiters over his shoes.  His coat is red, with red lapels and cuffs, and gold buttons, but no lace on the buttonholes.  His waistcoat is blue with gold lace edging the buttonholes.  His hat is black with gold trim.  It is quite possible that Edward Penny painted him to record the uniform of the Company’s European cavalry.

To the right of the group of soldiers is a European woman and three children.  They are likely the family of one of the soldiers.

(1)  Uniforms of the Seven Years War by John Mollo and Malcolm McGregor (Blandford: 1977) pgs. 92, 157-158
(4)  Armies of the East India Company 1750-1850 by Stuart Reid (Osprey: 2010) pg. 23

(5)  A History of the Uniforms of the British Army by C. C. P. Lawson (Kaye & Ward Ltd: 1971) pgs. 107-150, especially pg. 120