Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Uniforms of "Kidnapped" from Contemporary Pictures

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped is an interesting look at Scotland in the aftermath of the last great Jacobite rising. What sets this novel (and its sequel, Catriona) apart from others set in the same era is the thorough research that Stevenson put into them.

Early in the book, David Balfour comes into Edinburgh, where he sees a regiment on parade, where the grenadiers described as wearing “pope-hats.” This is perfectly correct, as British grenadiers wore tall pointed miter caps, much like bishops’ hats. Painter David Morier painted this group of three grenadiers in c. 1751, giving us excellent detail on the appearance of their miter caps. This painting depicts the 46th, 47th, and 48th Regiments of Foot, and while none of these may be the regiment Balfour saw, their general appearance would be the same. The major differences between most regiments were the different colors of their lapels and cuffs, and differently-colored decorations in their white lace trim.

After several adventures, David meets a Highland Jacobite named Alan Breck Stewart. Based on a real character from history, Stewart was a former British soldier who switched sides after the battle of Prestonpans. After fighting through the ’45, Stewart escaped to France, where he enlisted with the French Army under Louis XV.

In the historical “Wanted” advertisement after the Appin Murder, it is stated that Stewart came from Ogilvy’s Regiment. This was one of two units of Scots in the service of Louis XV of France. Ogilvy’s Regiment is illustrated by an important manuscript entitled “Troupes du Roi” and this manuscript was drawn in 1757. For more details about Ogilvy’s Regiment, visit
http://kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Ogilvy_Infanterie. I am greatly indebted to Ian Nimmo for his short biography, The Man with the Belt of Gold, where he reproduces the original advertisement for Alan Breck Stewart. (which can be read at http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org/heritagetrust/documents/alanbreck.pdf),

While David and Alan are talking aboard ship, Alan mentions that his father Duncan Stewart was a gentleman-soldier in the Black Watch when it was raised. Originally numbered the 43rd Regiment, it received the number 42 after the disbanding of Oglethorpe’s 42nd Regiment. The Black Watch was a unit of Highlanders, dressed in traditional Highland clothing with short red jackets. The tartan pattern known today as “Black Watch” is the same as that which was worn by the 42nd Regiment in the 1740s. This illustration is taken from the 1742 Cloathing Book. 

When Alan Breck Stewart and David Balfour flee through the heather, they are pursued by redcoated line infantry companies and dragoons. The line infantry dressed similarly to the grenadiers (above), wearing a tricorne hat instead of a miter and with no “wings” on the shoulders. Dragoons were mounted infantry who would (in theory) ride to a battlefield and then dismount to serve as infantry. In practice, however, they were more often treated like cavalry, charging on horseback at enemy infantry. The illustration is of a trooper from the 13th Regiment of Dragoons, as depicted in the 1742 Cloathing Book.

I hope that you enjoyed this look at the uniforms of the time. Stay tuned for a post on the uniforms of Stevenson’s sequel—Catriona!

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