Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How Impractical were Eighteenth-Century Soldiers' Uniforms?

Were eighteenth-century uniforms laughably impractical?

Dear Reader,

 When discussing the aesthetics of the eighteenth century, people often comment on the garish nature of military clothing. On the surface, it may seem that the wars of the eighteenth century were "wars in lace," and the period was "a decorative interval."[1] Uniforms are often used as a piece of evidence to assert that eighteenth-century warfare was inefficient, formalized, and foppish. According to some historians: "In general, an ancien regime [eighteenth-century] army was a slow and unwieldy mass of disgruntled and terrorized soldiers led by untrained and unimaginative officers."[2]  Were these conflicts "wars in lace," with all of the baggage that term implies?

Once again, as I write this post, I am greatly indebted to other historians and researchers who have examined this subject. Individuals such as Mark Canady, Henry Cooke, Daniel Hohrath, Neal Hurst, Phillip Katcher, Tomasz Karpinksi, Matt Keagle, William Koker, Tim Logue, Joseph Malit, Steve Rayner,  Hew Strachan, and Rob Welch, have spent much of their time researching and reconstructing eighteenth-century military garments. Though I have researched uniforms in a cursory way, I will never understand eighteenth-century military clothing in the painstaking way these individuals have.

So, how ostentatious and formal was eighteenth-century military clothing? Did soldiers truly fight bewigged in scarlet splendor?   Did uniforms hamper the ability of European soldiers to effectively wage war? Did brightly colored uniforms make men targets? Did these uniforms restrict the range of motion enjoyed by the soldiers? Was the available clothing bad for soldier's health, freezing or overheating them? Finally, did armies adapt their clothing to local needs and conditions?

The blue faced-red coats of the Continentals were inspired by European fashion
It is often said, particularly by Americans, that the bright red uniforms of the British regular infantry made them easy targets, to be individually picked out by American riflemen. Although this may true in very specific cases, by and large, the American War of Independence was not fought by drab colored riflemen. Rather, it was a war fought by men wearing brightly colored coats with (aim-able) smoothbore weapons. While the British were wearing their trademark red, the American medley of colors in the early war was increasingly replaced by blue uniforms or white/grey hunting shirts after 1780. Very few of the American uniforms were intentionally designed to camouflage the individual wearer.

Soldier's carried small field guides in order to identify
enemy units based on uniform details
Why would this be the case? Generals favored highly visible and identifiable uniforms because they allowed troops to be recognized, controlled, and moved. Units wore brightly colored coats, and different colored lapels and turnbacks (coat tails or skirts) allowed for officers and men to distinguish between different units of the same army.  Soldiers and officers effectively utilized their clothing and equipment in order to fight as efficiently as possible. Ironically enough, it is only after the Seven Years' War that some European armies became so infatuated with their perception of the external trappings of the Prussian army. Thus, in the late eighteenth century, produced some officers who argued for formality without function. They would have been rather out of place in the Europe of 1757, or the North America of 1777.

Come on, guys
What about the powdered wigs, you ask?? Can we truly respect any army that fought in powdered wigs? Although hair powder was very popular, and worn by soldiers, by the middle of the eighteenth-century, soldiers preferred to wair their own hair, not wigs.[3] This preference can be seen in the writings of Thomas Hughes of the 53rd Regiment, in September of 1778:
"I am recovering very fast and make no doubt shall be perfectly well... the only disagreeable consequence attending his sickness is the loss of my hair, which comes out by hand-fulls. I hope it will not all fall out-- what a horrid old-fashioned figure shall I make in a wig. I shall be taken for the resurrection of one of Queen Anne's soldiers."[4]
In addition to wearing their own hair, British soldiers in North American cut their hair short a number of times in the eighteenth-century, notably in the mid-French and Indian War, and early American War of Independence. If soldiers wore their own hair, were their brightly colored uniforms restrictive?

A German Jaeger in the American War
Clothing in various eighteenth-century militaries was undoubtedly more restrictive of movement than military clothing after the mid-nineteenth century. Having worn replica British and Germanic clothing of this era, as well as British and German military clothing from the 1980s-1990s, there is definitely a difference in range of motion. The improvement in the design, construction, material, and increase in efficiency is indeed noticeable.  With all that said, I would argue that the clothing of eighteenth-century soldiers did not greatly hamper their efficiency in combat. Though still an intensely physical experience, eighteenth-century combat was on average less physically demanding than combat today. In an example of this logic, Christopher Duffy asserts that loads in the eighteenth-century averaged about 60 pounds, while modern soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan carry around 120+ pounds.[4]  Despite this, eighteenth-century warfare could still be incredibly physically demanding, as the 12 mile run of the 45th Grenadiers from Philadelphia to Germantown shows us. Likewise, Prinz Henri and his army marched almost 100 miles during three days in August of 1760.

Officers and soldiers were concerned with the functionality and durability of the garments fighting men wore. After the Seven Years' War, the Prussian Army completed the transition to woolen gaiters as a result of their functionality. General Schmettau reported:
"The Gaiters: They had formerly been made out of twill, but it is better that they be made out of cloth, experience has taught us that these are warmer and lay better, so that the soldier looks more orderly, therefore, they have been almost universally adopted. Although they cost twice as much as the others, they only need to be issued once a year, because they are much more durable than the others, and the company proprietors prefer to issue something that looks better."[]

British troops buttoning their coats in cold weather

In addition, officers and soldiers often made common-sense decisions regarding clothing with regards to weather and terrain. Soldiers' buttoned their coats over while in cold or rainy weather, and regimental tailors were instructed to make sure this was possible.[7] The Russian and Swedish armies discarded their regimental coats in summer, fighting in sleeved waistcoats. Furthermore, during particularly hot summers, troops would remove yet more clothing. Pvt. Hoppe of Fusilier Regiment Alt-Kreytzen reported:
On August 20th, we set up camp at the town of Reppen, where we were allowed to take off our clothes.This we did, but our repose did not last long, since the enemy concentrated at Zorndorf, two hours beyond Kustrin on the other side of the Oder. So the order came in the night that we should break up quickly and put our gaiters into our haversacks.[8] 
The summer heat in 1758 caused numerous problems

If soldiers changed what garments they wore as a result of local conditions, it should not surprise us that they also modified the garments themselves. Again, the British Army adapted to local conditions in this way, cutting down hats and coats during the 1758 campaign in North America, and also merged local native legwear with the European gaiter. Gaitered Trowzers, or overalls, were largely born out of North American experience.

British Infantry wearing gaitered trowzers

Finally, it is indisputable that soldiers cared a great deal about their uniforms, even the minor details. Period treatises such as Cuthbertson make it clear that officers cared a great deal about the uniforms of their men. Uniform details often became wrapped up in matters of honor, and as a result, ordinary soldiers also cared about them a great deal. In 1787, when the second Battalion of the Royal Highland Regiment was to be designated the 73rd Regiment, the men complained that they would lose their royal facings (a deep blue color.) Norman Macleod reported:
"I embrace this opportunity of sending you a Return of it, and of giving you a full account of its present state...I shall now speak of the clothing. As the Reg’t we had the honour to have Royal Facings from the beginning and have done nothing to forfeit that honour, but on the contrary has been distinguished by brave behaviour, and severe sufferings, it hopes that tho separated from the Fourty Second, it will still be a Royal Highland Regt. It is not easy for me to express the anxiety felt on this account by the whole corps. The officers certainly fell is as a point of honour, and on a mischievous report being raised that the facings were to be changed, the men loudly expressed their grief and rage. I must therefore earnestly recommend this point to your most serious consideration."[9]
We should be careful not to conflate the honor and pride felt as a result uniform distinctions with an idea that eighteenth-century conflicts were somehow more garish, and less serious, than later wars. These "wars in lace" were deadly serious for the men who took part.  To some extent, the tactics and ideas of eighteenth-century soldiers should look antiquated, that is not surprising.  Let us see how our own military is judged two hundred years in the future.

If you enjoyed this post, or any of our other posts, please consider liking us on facebook,  or following us on twitter. Finally, we are dedicated to keeping Kabinettskriege ad-free. In order to assist with this, please consider supporting us via the donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the page. As always:

Thanks for Reading,



Alex Burns


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[1] Alexander Martin, "The Last “War in Lace” or the First “Total War”?" Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 15 no. 2, 2014, pp. 293-301. Christopher Duffy, Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 3.
[2] Andrew R. Wilson, "Master's of War: History's Great Strategic Thinkers" (lecture, The Great Courses, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island).
[] Soldiers would occasionally protest if not provided money for hair-powder. See Bill Potter, Redcoats on the Frontier, MA Thesis, Murray State University.
[4] Thomas Hughes, A Journal by Thomas Hughes, 41.
[5] Duffy, Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 168.; https://protonex.com/blog/what-do-soldiers-carry-and-whats-its-weight/.
[6] Fredrich Wilhelm von Schemttau, Einrichtung des Krieges-Wesens für die Preussische Infanterie zu Friedens-Zetien, 209. (Page number is from 2016 reprinting)
[7] Reglement für die Königl. Preussische Infanterie, 498. (Fawcitt, Regulations for the Prussian Infantry, 409.)
[8] Anon., Offizier-Lesebuch, Historisch-militärischen Inhalts, Mit Untermischten Interessanten Anekdoten, Von Einer Gesellschafts Militärischer Freunde (Berlin: C. Matzdorff's Buchhandlung, 1793), 180-1.
[9]MacLeod, Norman. “Letter From Col McLeod to the Col of the 73rd. 1787.” Dunvegan Castle: NRAS 2950, Section 4, #752.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

ESR (Et Sans Résultat!) 1809 Wargame Battle Report

French and Austrian Troops begin to deploy

Dear Reader,

Today, I wanted to offer a wargaming battle report. A few weeks ago, the designer of Et sans résultat!, David Enteness, and I played a short game of his excellent ruleset. Although the game is set in the Napoleonic era, David hopes to someday expand his ruleset and miniatures sales into the Seven Years' War era.  I will describe the battle, and then offer a few thoughts on the ruleset. You can find these rules, published by The Wargaming Company, on their website, here.

Battle Report:

A few notes on the scenario. Based on the uniforms and ratings of forces involved, this was a battle between 1 Austrian and 1 French army corps, in 1809. Both forces had around 20,000 men, and entered from opposite sides of the table, as you can see from the map below. Both commanders were trying to make way for larger forces by driving the enemy off the table.


The French (Blue lines) axis of advance was from the west, (top of the map) while the Austrians (White lines) advanced from the east. Both players started with an initial force on the table (an advance guard and infantry division) with one additional element arriving each turn. The French, under Jean-Baptiste Bessières, moved forward in an effort to seize Huelsendorf. The Austrians, under Johann Karl, Freiherr von Hiller, moved their avant garde forward, while trying to seize high ground north-east of Fuerstenwald.

von Hiller hurries an Austrian column towards high ground north of the Fuerstenwald
The Austrians attempted to control the high ground in the north-east quadrant of the battlefield, while the French rushed forward to take possession of the town and surrounding terrain.

State of affairs after one turn of movement. 
The Austrian avant-garde deployed, rushing a 6-pound battery and uhlans forward, as Grenzers moved up as fast as they could. The French, moving at a more stately pace, still managed to concentrate their chasseurs à cheval and an infantry division around Huelsendorf.

French Cavalry crosses a bridge, while the Austrian Avant-Garde struggles to deploy

The picture above shows the view from the western (French) side of the table. The Austrian advance forces quickly realized that a whole French infantry division was deploying in their front, and sought the cover of the woods. As more French infantry moved up, von Hiller moved one infantry division into position on a ridge behind the Fuerstenwald.  Bessières began to mass more French infantry around Hueslendorf, but as a result of confused orders, a large infantry division became lost on its way to the battlefield, losing about 1 hour's marching time.

Both generals bring more forces towards the fight. 
Von Hiller moved one infantry division from the south side of the Kunersbusch marsh to the north side, directly across from the town of Hueslendorf. The main Austrian force concentrated around the Fuerstenwald, with the French forming opposite, near the town. Faced with an entire Austrian infantry division, the French avant-garde chasseurs à cheval retired in good order through the town. While Bessières brought up his second infantry division and a division of Cuirassiers, the recently redeployed Austrian infantry division formed up to assault the town. The situation at this stage of the battle is depicted below.  Click on the image below for higher resolution/clearer labels.



At this critical junction, von Hiller (yours truly) decided that the moment had come to assault the town. Radetzky's division, formed up alongside the avant-garde, as pictured above, was ordered to attack the town. The Austrian infantry moved up, taking fire from French skirmishers posted in the houses. At this critical juncture, with battalions of Austrian infantry moving to contact, General Radetzky, the Austrian division commander, fell from the saddle, killed by a bad roll, err, Tirailleur's ball. Though inflicting some damage on their French opponents, the Austrian infantry fell back after a brief combat, reforming 1,000 yards away from town.

The Austrian attack on Huelsendorf stalls, while another French division moves forward
Even worse, at the same moment, the delayed French infantry division appeared directly across the marsh from Huelsendorf, and General Morand began deploying the 4eme de Ligne. Colonel Vincent of the 3rd Ferdinand Hussars, seeing French infantry deploying to his front, faced a stark choice: fall back, allowing French yet another infantry division to commit to the fight, or charge with 5 squadrons against a full French infantry division. Being a colonel of hussars, Vincent, of course, decided to convert onto an attack order, and charge.

Colonel Vincent charges a partially deployed French Infantry Division
Colonel Vincent's five squadrons were handily turned aside by two battalions of the 4eme de Ligne, but crashed into the third, routing it. The battalion streamed along the rest of the ployed division, shouting, "sauve qui peut!" This was too much for the division, which pulled back to defensive positions outside of the hussars' reach. The hussars themselves, being quite depleted by this rash attack, were only too happy to see them go. Both the hussars and the infantry formed, and spent the next hour in desultory probing with no clear advantage. While the charge of the 3rd Ferdinand Hussars had inflicted little real damage on the French, it made Colonel Vincent's reputation, and from then on young ladies took to their smelling salts whenever he narrowed his eyes.


With Marmond's infantry division reforming, von Hiller decided that the moment to strike had come. A detached force of Austrian Chevaulegers and Grenadiers (pictured above) assaulted across the Kunersbusch, towards the rear of the town. At the same time, a large column of Austrian grenadiers assaulted towards the French left, and von Hiller took personal command of the final fresh Austrian infantry division, marching towards the French center.


By keeping French forces occupied in the town, the Austrian mixed detachment was able to keep some of the French infantry pinned in the town. The French cuirassier brigade, backed away from grenadiers, not wanting to charge fresh infantry while unsupported. Meanwhile, the infantry under von Hiller's personal command slammed into French center. The fighting between the center infantry divisions was heavy, with neither side gaining a clear advantage.


The Austrian grenadiers continued to advance, leaving the cuirassier brigade with little choice but to attack. The Austrians began to gain an advantage in the contest between the two infantry divisions, while the French cuirassier suffered horribly in their charge against the grenadiers  The French infantry managed to clearly repulse the mixed detachment of grenadiers and Chevaulegers, but the damage was already done.


With the cuirassier brigade pushed to the other side of the river in confused retreat, the Austrian grenadiers threatened to cut the French line of withdrawal. Bessières pulled his troops out of Huelsendorf, leaving the Austrians as masters of the field. The two sides had suffered a roughly equal amount of damage up until the later turns, when the disastrous attack by the cuirassiers began. All in all, von Hiller had achieved a solid, though not complete, victory over Bessières. This battle represented around five-six hours combat between two corps and took two players about four hours of play time to complete. For more photos of the game, check out The Wargaming Company's photo gallery.  You can also watch my review of the miniatures from the same company on youtube.



Ruleset Review:

These rules provide an interesting window into the Napoleonic era. The turns are broken down into 4 phases: Command (Blue) Movement (Green) Artillery and Skirmish (Purple) Combat (Red). Or, to put it another way, turns are spent planning objectives and performing special actions, moving and deploying forces, and inflicting damage on enemy formations. In this game, you force your enemy to flee by causing him to perform, "assessments," something like a division-wide morale check. The more "fatigue" (combat attrition) a formation suffers, the more likely it is that they would have to perform an assessment. You can find a link to the quick-reference sheet here.

In this game, we used small orange dice to track fatigue

As I will discuss below, this is very much a game about leaders. A general can perform any number of useful actions at the beginning of a turn (or game) but as the game continues, formations which suffer fatigue will become less responsive to actions. Likewise, as the game continues, it is more and more likely that a general will become bogged down and trapped in a formation which has suffered a great deal of fatigue.

 As the rules and The Wargaming Company website repeatedly state, this is a perspective-based wargame. Some wargame rulesets allow you to be Blücher, Ney, Bagration, Beckwith, O'Hare, and Riflemen Harris. That is to say, they allow you to command at the army, corps, division, regiment, company, and individual levels. Et sans résultat! is uncompromising in its commitment to deliver the best experience on one of those levels: that of a high-level commander. Whether you are commanding at the army, corps, or division level, that is scale of play. You are not interested in flanking the enemy's battalion, you are interested in flanking his division or corps.

In that sense, ESR is firmly perspective-based wargame fought on the grand tactical scale. If your favorite part of gaming is wrecking an enemy battalion, this game is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you want a realistic window into the type of decisions which troops commanders actually had to make. As a result, the experience of the game is quite different from other wargames I have played. Practically, what does this mean?


Troops begin ployed (in marching column) on the table's edges, commanders are left to develop the battle on their own. As opposed to many games, which plan for combat on turn 1 or 2, around a third of the game time was devoted to moving troops to the appointed positions on the battlefield. While this may sound like a drawback, in reality, much of the job of Kabinettskriege or Napoleonic general was accomplished before the first shot was fired. Et sans résultat! firmly demonstrates this to the player.

In ESR, generals are concerned with pressing things at their level of responsibility: committing and recalling artillery batteries to the fight, energetically deploying extra units from line into column, weighing the importance of personal intervention at crisis points on the battlefield, and forming new ad-hoc formations in order to plug gaps in the line. Your mileage may vary, but as a military historian focusing on this era, I found ESR to be incredibly compelling and enjoyable as a game system.

If you enjoyed this post, or any of our other posts, please consider liking us on facebook,  or following us on twitter. Finally, we are dedicated to keeping Kabinettskriege ad-free. In order to assist with this, please consider supporting us via the donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the page. As always:

Thanks for Reading,



Alex Burns


Friday, March 30, 2018

Reenactment Report: Kaintuck Immersion 2018


Photos from Kaintuck Immersion 2018
Dear Reader,

Today, we wanted to try something a little bit different. We have another guest author, David Ervin, who is a reenactor and author himself. He and I both attended an immersion reenactment event in eastern Kentucky this past weekend. This event was designed to replicate backcountry warfare during the American Revolution, possibly during a British-led incursion into what is now Kentucky late in the war. Alex Burns will provide the British perspective, and David Ervin will provide the American, or Congressional perspective.

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Our Sargeant and I arrived at the site of the reenactment on Friday afternoon, and hiked up into the hills in order to find a campsite for the night. Upon locating a suitable site, we began the process of cutting firewood and collecting water for the rest of the unit. As a result of the weather and various other factors, our unit made a rather small showing at this event. Most of the unit arrived by 11pm, and we spent the rest of the night trying to stay warm. The temperature dropped to below freezing, and by morning, most of the unit was huddled around a fire attempting to stay warm. Our unit began to move out around 7:45am on Saturday morning when a heavy snowfall began. All in all, around 4-5 inches of snow accumulated by the afternoon.



Moving through wooded, snowy, and elevated terrain in period clothing while expecting to fight Whigs (slang for American rebels) was somewhat challenging. Our unit moved between three and four miles, and dropped out of the hills into the bottoms of a creek. At this moment, the lead man in our formation saw what he assumed were Whigs, and our unit took cover. This suspicion was confirmed when the enemy opened fire, and we began to reply. Our sergeant gave the order, "to the front, form!" My file partner and I scrambled through the snowy undergrowth, taking a position alongside the other files. Upon the order, "Commence firing," Dakota and I began to load and fire as fast as we could. Because of the heavy snowfall, both sides had difficulty with their firelocks. After a flash in the pan,  I fired my musket fired twice and others had less luck. On the Whig side, I counted two shots. In the course of the fight, I splashed through a creek, soaking my right foot in below freezing weather. Fun.



At this point, both sides began moving back to their start positions, since neither had gained a clear advantage. Moving back into the mountainous terrain, our unit slowly marched the 3-4 miles back to camp, where we assessed the situation, decided to head out for the weekend. All in all, it was an amazing time. The snow combined with the elevated terrain made for tiring marches, and the sergeant and I moved about 14 miles by the time the weekend was all said and done. (Still just about one average day of marching for an eighteenth-century army.) I rolled my ankle several times in the course of the weekend and was quite sore overall. Despite this, the weekend was absolutely an incredible experience, one which I highly recommend to others. The weather, terrain, distance covered, and short and confusing fight made this experience seem a bit like some of the primary sources I spend time reading. I never felt as though, "I was there", but still valued the immersive experience.

A cocked hat after 4 hours of snowfall

Considering joining our unit (Lt. Colonel's Company, King's Regiment) next time for Kaintuck Immersion! You can find us on facebook here.
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The weekend of March 23-25, 2018, a dozen members of the Augusta County Militia (ACM) and the Shirttail Mess gathered at Pioneer Weapons’ Wildlife Management Area near Salt Lick, Kentucky. We were to portray a cobbled-together Kentucky militia detachment dispatched to recover the dead and wounded of a party that’d been ambushed near the banks of Cave Run Lake and to pursue any Native or British enemies that lingered in the area. On Friday we established a basecamp in an easily defensible hollow a few miles west of the objective. The weather forecast threatened wet snow and rain for Saturday, so we constructed a shelter of poles and tent linen and laid on a supply of firewood. Over supper, Captain Kraus of the ACM formulated a plan for the next day’s march. We’d advance along Buck Creek until we reached the objective in the hopes of reaching it quickly, recovering the victims, and returning to camp.



At first light, we roused and packed enough equipment to spend the night outside of basecamp. We pushed out a picquet near Buck’s Creek while the company formed, and then took up our march shortly after dawn. Three men in an advance party marched a hundred yards to our front and a flanker took up positions on each of the flanks. The middle of the formation was composed of a single Indian file, and our rear guard of three men. We were to form a large square upon enemy contact, with the file in the middle splitting off to the left and right and the advance party and rear guard making closing in if they could. Thereafter we would maneuver accordingly. It was overcast and cold, but still dry. We moved carefully. Men scouted a hundred yards up each hollow before we passed it, and we hurried past open ground.

We halted at the first crossing of Buck Creek and formed a line while the captain and a scout pushed on beyond the creek to reconnoiter. In the meantime, the weather had deteriorated. In our advance of a couple of kilometers, a downpour of heavy, wet snow had begun and showed no signs of letting up. Everything was quickly covered, and near half the men were ordered back to camp to attempt to get warm and dry. The scouts continued up the creek while a few of us held the line at the crossing. Those scouts fell in with a party of the enemy and surprised them. They treed and the captain managed to get a shot off. The enemy, too, managed to fire once, but the weather had rendered arms inoperable. As such, the scouts retreated to the crossing.



With the weather turning serious and several men’s feet wet, Captain Kraus decided that we would maintain a picquet of two men at the crossing and relieve them at short intervals. The snow turned to rain, then back to snow, and all the while we got drenched. When the picquet was relieved, we pulled back closer to the basecamp, which, at this point, offered little respite. The shelter leaked in torrents, weighed down by heavy snow. The company held a council.

The situation had changed from a tactical exercise to a real-world survival situation. Each man was asked to consider his own situation and decide for himself whether he would stay or go. A few chose to leave, but most stayed on. After a few more hours in a losing battle against the elements, however, we opted to abandon the event for safety’s sake and hoped our adversaries decided the same. We marched out to the sound of tree branches snapping under the weight of wet snow. The event was far from a bust, course. We learned valuable lessons with which we can improve our woodcraft skills and, most importantly, came out of a potentially dangerous situation unscathed – even if not very dry.



If you are interested in attending future events like this as a militiamen, check out these websites: Shirttailmess.blogspot.com and augustamilitia.com

Dave Ervin

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If you enjoyed this post, or any of our other posts, please consider liking us on facebook,  or following us on twitter. Finally, we are dedicated to keeping Kabinettskriege ad-free. In order to assist with this, please consider supporting us via the donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the page. As always:

Thanks for Reading,



Alex Burns

Thursday, March 22, 2018

"My Dearest Willy": A Scottish Noblewoman Loses Her Son


Dear Reader,

Today, we have a primary source account from the mother of a British officer. The Hon. William Leslie, an officer of the 17th Regiment of Infantry, died in the Battle of Princeton. His mother, Scottish noblewoman, Wilhemina Nisbet, recorded her worries and loss in her diary. These entries show how war could affect the lives of women (and men) thousands of miles away from the battlefield. This diary can be found in the Society of the Cincinnati Library, in Washington, D.C.

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Thursd 24.

This day (by a ship arrived at Glasgow), there is an alarming account come to town concerning the 17th Regiment... that a body of provincials had attacked that regiment, (which was upon its march) from behind a hedge, and that the 17th Regiment broke upon them in a furious manner, and had killed about 300, taking their commander... that the loss sustained by the 17th was inconsiderable,----- this is very trying news. May the Lord prepare me to receive the loving perfection of his unerring Providence with becoming meekness and submission. Faith in the overwhelming power and providence of God is the only relief of the mind, believing that nothing can happen without divine permission when very uneasy. Vexing thoughts only in my heart, Lord! Enable me to hope in thee continuously! I am but ill-prepared to receive bad news, but this I know, that whatever happens to my dearest Willy, it will be the Lord's doing, and not a hair of his head will fall to the ground without divine permission...

Sat. 27th February (the day after I received the account of my dear Willy's death.)

This is the day that hurt made wherein I should feel anguish and sorrow. O that it may be after a Godly manner, and that sin, which is the cause of sorrow may not mingle with my tears... about 7 oclock last night I received of my lovely Willy's death.

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If you enjoyed this post, or any of our other posts, please consider liking us on facebook,  or following us on twitter. Finally, we are dedicated to keeping Kabinettskriege ad-free. In order to assist with this, please consider supporting us via the donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the page. As always:

Thanks for Reading,



Alex Burns

Monday, March 19, 2018

1770s Prussian Army Uniform Plates


Prussian Hussars circa 1776


Dear Reader,

Over "spring break," I had the distinct pleasure to be able to research for my dissertation in Washington D.C. and New York City. I looked at numerous document collections relating to my dissertation on the cultural views of British and Prussian soldiers, but also took a few moments to photograph this collection.

The official title of this collection in German is: Plan von der Koeniglichen Preussischen Armee worinnen ein Officer und Gemeiner von Jeden Regiment zu Sehen.  Roughly, this means, "plan of the Royal Prussian Army with a officer and private from each regiment pictured." Drawn in 1776, this collection displays an officer and soldier from each regiment of the Prussian Army as it appeared in the 1770s. I had the opportunity to photograph it at the Society of the Cincinnati Library, in the Anderson House Museum.

This image collection is not necessarily a great resource for the Seven Years' War era, some of the regiments post-date that conflict. However, it is a source drawn in Berlin within 15 years of the end of the war. Certainly, for any wargamers interested in the Prussian army in the 2nd half of the eighteenth-century, these images are worth a look.










































If you enjoyed this post, or any of our other posts, please consider liking us on facebook,  or following us on twitter. Finally, we are dedicated to keeping Kabinettskriege ad-free. In order to assist with this, please consider supporting us via the donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the page. As always:

Thanks for Reading,



Alex Burns