Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Pratt Migration V-Asa in the War VI

Before we deal with Asa's next enlistment I want to share an account of how the New Hampshire Militia dressed and what they carried at the Battle of Bennington. This is from an 1852 book "History of New Ipswich" by Kidder and Gould:
"An aged veteran of the battle describes his fellow militiamen: To a man they all wore small-clothes, coming down and fastening just below the knees, and long stockings with cowhide shoes, ornamented by large buckles, while not a pair of boots graced the company. The coats and waistcoats were loose and of huge dimensions, with colors as various as the barks of oak, sumach and other trees of our hills and swamps could make them and their shirts were all made of flax and, like every other part of the dress, were homespun. On their heads was worn a large round-top and broad-brimmed hat."
"Their arms were as various as their costume. Here an old soldier carried a heavy Queen's Arm, with which he had done service at the conquest of Canada twenty years previous, while by his side walked a stripling boy with a Spanish fusee not half its weight or calibre, which his grandfather may have taken at the Havanna, while not a few old French pieces that dated back to the reduction of Louisburg. Instead of a cartridge box, a large powder horn was slung under the arm, and occasionally a bayonet might be seen bristling in the ranks. Some of the swords of the officers had been made by our Province blacksmiths, perhaps from some farming utinsel; they looked serviceable but heavy and uncouth."
For contrast, here is a look at their German foes at Bennington: 
By 1777 the British government realized that even though it had a well-trained, professional army, its numbers were too small to crush the rebellion. It therefore resorted to the time-honored and typically European expedient of hiring foreign auxiliaries. These were different from mercenaries in that they were not hired as individuals but were hired in organized units from the government of a willing state. At this time Germany consisted of more than 300 states and principalities, each with its own dynasty and army. It was sort of a Rent-a-Regiment business. In the case we are interested in the British rented a Regiment of Brunswick Dragoons commanded by Colonel Frederich Baum. Dragoons are equally adept at fighting on foot or in the saddle. These Brunswickers wore light blue jackets, tan leather pants, thigh length boots and bicorn hats. They were armed with both muskets and swords and everything matched. At Bennington they had no horses.
Brunswick was a small, but ancient Duchy in north central Germany in the Harz Moutains. Its ruler at the time had run up some big debts which he was trying to pay off by hiring out his military, mostly to the British.
NEXT: Asa at West Point.

Emailed Oct. 18

No comments: