Our painting guides are designed to pass on the information required to enable you to confidently get on with painting your Galloping Major figures, with the minimum amount of time lost in searching out the details. They are not step by step guides, most of us (wargamers and collectors) already have our preferred painting styles, if enough interest is shown, we'll be happy to produce specific staged guides later.

The term Rangers, though going back much earlier in England, was in use in North America from the early days of British settlement to describe men who patrolled or "ranged" the colonies against incursions by hostile Indians. Through the late 17th and early 18th Centuries the work of Rangers expanded their roles to encompass scouting, gathering intelligence through observation and the taking of prisoners, and raids into the territory of enemies of the British colonies. The ranging companies sought men for their ranks who were at home in the backwoods, adept at scouting and experienced wilderness fighters. With the raising of additional companies of Rangers as the French & Indian War progressed, such men became an increasingly finite resource, leading to the inclusion of growing numbers of less experienced young men in search of adventure and the much better rates of pay than service in the provincial or regular regiments could afford.


Rogers' Rangers

Rogers' Rangers are the best known of the ranger units of the French & Indian War, to the near exclusion of all others in the popular imagination, due greatly to the large number of books published about them, which of late have included a number of re-edited and re-titled versions of the limited number of original texts.

The unit's origins were as a company of Blanchard's New Hampshire Regiment, detached for ranging service in the spring of 1755 under its commander Captain Robert Rogers. A year later Rogers was commissioned to raise a 65 man company of rangers, including 3 sergeants and 2 junior officers. This company was responsible directly to the commander-in-chief and was paid from the "royal purse". Rogers' company was operating so successfully that in July 1756 Lord Loudon authorised the raising of a second company, which was commanded by Rogers' brother Richard. A company of Stockbridge Indians was raised "in His Majesty's service", 30 of whom were attached to Rogers' command. These "Stockbridge" Indians were not a tribe, but a mission settlement at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, of mostly Mahicans with a mixture of other tribes. Two further companies joined Rogers at Fort William in the Autumn of 1756. Like Major Rogers, most of the men in his ranging companies came from New Hampshire, which at that time was still very much a frontier colony frequently subjected to raids from the French colonies, making it a good training ground for wilderness fighters. Rogers' Rangers, officially His Majesty's Independent Companies of American Rangers, were increased to a total of seven companies, or as mentioned in at least one source, nine. From the beginning of 1757 the establishment of each company would increase, in theory at least, to 100 rangers, 4 sergeants, an ensign, a lieutenant and a captain.

The only known contemporary description of the dress of Rogers' Rangers which refers to colour was written by the agent for Thomas and Benjamin Forseys, clothiers of Albany, dated 22nd April 1758 (although a similar statement has been dated as January 1758): "The close (sic - clothes) that Rogers had made for his people are chiefly Green Bath Rug and low priced green cloths and white metal buttons and white silver laced hats, some of them silver laced, cord, or looping on their jackets, all lined with green serge".

The silver laced hats referred to would be officers' cocked hats, similarly the reference to silver lace on some jackets would be for the officers' and possibly some sergeants' coats. The reference to clothes (close), rather than coats or jackets can be taken to include breeches and probably waistcoats of the same materials. The descriptive term jackets, rather than the usual term of coats, could be taken to imply a garment of shorter cut, the same term is found applying to sleeved waistcoats. The term 'hunting coat', is thought also to refer to a shorter version of the period coat, as worn for hunting in Britain and the Colonies, rather than a term for a 'hunting smock'. It is generally accepted that the rangers wore coats of shorter cut than those issued to the regulars and most provincials (the soldier's coat of the period was cut to four inches above the knee when kneeling), but how much shorter cannot be stated with any degree of certainty. We have generally settled on the upper to mid thigh length as seen on the coats of working men of the period, and as usually represented for light infantry.  The 'uniform' coats I've represented on our rangers are all of similar cut, though some have the lapels buttoned back and others are buttoned across from chest down to waist, they are the same garment.

"Bath rug" was a cheap woollen cloth with a raised pile giving a rough, coarse appearance. The serge lining would have been a (probably) lighter weight, but hard wearing, woollen cloth. In common with many colours produced using the natural dyes of the time, a permanent green was difficult to achieve, and would fade far more quickly than modern dyes. No particular green is specified in the above description, and there is no mention of differently coloured green 'facings' on cuffs or lapels. However, given the expectation of fading, I think it is reasonable to expect that the green would start out as a darker shade. I've chosen to represent the lining colour where it appears on cuffs and lapels, as a different though related green hue, as achieving an exact match, even if required, would have been exceptionally difficult on two distinctly different woollen cloths; also, I just like the effect of the subtle contrast. It is, of course, possible that the cuffs and lapels were not of the lining material, but the same fabric as the main body of the garment; however, this would tend to run contrary to the usual expectation of lining cloth showing in turned-back areas, though this is by no means universal. In the absence of definitive evidence, I think it's reasonable to take your choice either way. Also, given the difficulty of achieving a perfect match in the first place, the mention of (other) low priced cloths being used, and the expected fade element, it may be reasonable to represent differing greens and shades of green within the same unit.

Although the above quote is the only, and therefore first, contemporary reference to the colour green in connection with the clothing worn by Rogers' Rangers, dating from early 1758, it remains open to conjecture as to whether this refers to the first or a subsequent issue of green clothing. It is possible that some or all of His Majesty's Independent Companies of American Rangers may have worn green prior to this date. It was certainly not the first issue of clothing made; as noted on 14th May 1756 each man of the three Independent Companies was to receive: "A good hunting Coat, Vest, Breeches, a Shirt, a pair of Indian Stockings, Shoes and a Hatchet to be delivered each man gratis at Albany - A firelock and Blanket to be Delivered Each Man at Boston"; however, between these records of issues of clothing, in January 1757 each ranger was to be given 10 dollars to: "find their own cloaths, arms and blankets".

Noted author, illustrator and 18th Century Rangers expert Gary Zaboly states in 'American Colonial Ranger' (Osprey Warrior 85) that: "for Rogers' men, green attire was a constant throughout the war." In a frequently quoted contrast, Captain John Knox of the 46th Foot describes them as wearing "no particular uniform", although this may have been used to emphasise the difference between the rangers and the more uniformly dressed regulars and provincial troops. Other contemporary observers described rangers as resembling Indians in appearance. In "The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers" by Timothy J Todish and Gary S Zaboly, Gary Zaboly writes: "Lord Loudon in January 1758, ordered Rogers to raise five new companies, and he stressed that they "must be uniform in every company." This would seem to suggest that most of the old Ranger companies were indeed uniformed differently from one another." In the same extensive, painstakingly researched and expertly presented chapter of "The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers" entitled "Rogers Rangers and Their uniforms: Fact to Legend, Legend to Misconceptions", Gary Zaboly also points out that it is likely that one of the ranging companies raised in 1756, that of John Shepherd, at least, was likely not to have been uniformed prior to 1758. Among the fascinating details in this study by Mr Zaboly are lists of clothing and other gear belonging to rangers of Shepherd's company who had died in 1757. These lists include such items as: "One blew Jaeket", "One red pare of britches", "One pare of Lather Britches" and "One Striped Jacket". These lists often include more than one of the same type of garment in different colours. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Anglo-American Rangers of the French & Indian War.

Another renowned military illustrator, writer and authority on the British Army of the 18th Century, and in particular the French & Indian War, has the following to say in "The Bloody Morning Scout" (journal of French & Indian War re-enactment society New France Old England) Gerry Embleton writes: "The idea of Rogers' Rangers neatly decked out in uniform 'dark forest green' is the result of someone's imagination overheating". As Gary Zaboly writes in his above-mentioned Osprey book, following a version of the quotation from Thomas and Benjamin Forseys' agent: "The occasions when Rogers' men wore such uniforms, rather than Indian costume - or perhaps even a mixture of both - obviously depended on the nature of their assignments." This, I feel, is the most pragmatic and probable way of summing up their likely appearance.

The headwear most associated with Rogers' Rangers is the Scots bonnet, as the well known quote goes: "The Rangers who can get them wear nothing else". Tracing its origins to the sixteenth century, by the seventeenth century this garment had become synonymous with the Scots, and was generally worn as an everyday garment by lowlander and highlander, protestant and catholic, and by Scottish armies of all allegiances during the British Civil Wars.

Knitted eighteenth century Scots bonnets were felted and naturally water resistant; a hard wearing and very practical hat. Although some rangers were Scots or of Scottish descent and would have been familiar with the Scots bonnet, others would no doubt have adopted it having become impressed with its practicality for service in the wilderness. Contemporary paintings show Scots bonnets mostly in a variety of dark(ish - the indigo and woad dyes fade markedly) blues, though some are described as brown, russet, grey and black. The most likely colours for Scots bonnets in use by Rogers' Rangers, I believe, are blues, with perhaps some greens. Gary Zaboly in "The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers" suggests that green is the more likely colour for Scots bonnets for Rogers' Rangers. More generally from a variety of military and civilian sources, some Scots bonnets of the period are shown with a narrow red head-band, others without; checkered bands do not start to appear until later. Some have a small tuft at the crown, either in the same colour as the bonnet or in red, others have no tuft.

However popular the Scots bonnet may have been with Rogers' Rangers, they were by no means universal, nor a 'uniform' item. As well as bonnets, many others are depicted wearing jockey or hunting caps with a plain round crown and a peak, often pushed up to meet the crown. Similar caps were made from cut down hats with a peak left (often turned up) at the front, and some with the rest of the brim made into a neck curtain for added protection in inclement weather, but otherwise worn folded up around the lower crown. Other caps may have been made of stiffened leather, as in the case of some other ranger units. It is likely that some rangers would have favoured hats with the brims simply cut down to a narrow width, as used as an expedient by many regulars called upon to serve in a ranging or light infantry capacity. Rogers himself is usually depicted sporting a cut-down cap edged with silver lace, a good many of his officers are likely to have worn silver laced tricornes.

I suppose if any one thing can be concluded from all that has been written about the appearance of Rogers' Rangers (bearing in mind that this name covers several Independent Companies paid by the crown under the overall command of Robert Rogers, but not as a unified battalion, rather serving with different armies and sub-divisions thereof often several hundred miles apart, over a period of several years) is that you have a fair amount of latitude as to how you decide to paint them.

Painted by Lance Cawkwell, Galloping Major Ltd

For the first rangers I've painted as members of Rogers' Independent Companies of Rangers, I've used a lot of the oft mentioned green, obviously for coats, but also for some breeches and waistcoats (vests, jackets or whatever name you prefer). I want to maintain a fair degree of co-ordination within this company, which is provided by the 'issue' green. This leaves plenty of room for variety of colour in frontier items of equipment. Also, I've painted the waistcoat of the ranger in the Scots bonnet firing his musket, in a brick red, for additional contrast and interest, and to represent a mixture of issue and privately acquired clothing. As I paint more of these, I'll introduce more differently coloured breeches, waistcoats etc alongside the green clothing.

The greens I've used are based on colours from the Foundry Paint System; for the coats, breeches etc: British Bottle Green Shade - British Bottle Green - Forest Green Shade - Forest Green, highlighted with a mix of Forest Green and Forest Green Light; for the linings etc: British Bottle Green Light - Bright Green Shade - Bright Green.

For the Scots bonnet in the photographs I've used, again from the Foundry Paint System: Sky Blue Shade - Tomb Blue Shade - Tomb Blue.

Painted by Christophe Coquet for VaeVictis Magazine

Gorham's (or Goreham's) Rangers

The origins of Gorham's Rangers were as "mostly full-blood, practically naked Mohawk warriors with a sprinkling of half-clad half-breeds" commanded by Captain John Gorham and sent to the relief of Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia in 1744. In 1747 George II granted a commission to: "… Captain Gorham to Command a Company of One Hundred men to be employed for the defense of His Majesty's fortress of Annapolis and Province of Nova Scotia." Between 1747 and 1749, with the support of two armed sloops provided by Gorham himself, this company was largely responsible for the defence of Nova Scotia, and the subduing of the Acadians and their Indian allies. The War of Austrian Succession ended in 1748 but hostilities following North America's King George's War continued until 1751.

Gorham's Rangers became a regular unit as part of the Nova Scotia Establishment in 1749. After John Gorham's death in 1751, command of the unit went to his brother, First Lieutenant Joseph Gorham.

In 1750 the Independent Companies of Rangers in Nova Scotia are described as wearing uniforms of blue broadcloth. In 1755 a French intelligence report described Gorham's company as wearing "grey, cross pocket, with small leather caps or hats. Rene Chartrand suggests in 'Colonial American Troops 1610-1774 (3)' that:

"Grey clothing was probably also worn into 1756, as 'some of the French prize Cloathing' was used for their uniforms since 'no Cloathing was sent', and this may also have been done in 1757. The 'grey' French uniforms were in fact off-white."

In January 1757 they are described as being paid as regular troops, using powder horns in place of cartridge boxes, being clothed by the Board of Trade and wearing leather caps. No details of any uniform are mentioned, although advertisements for the same year offer recruits to the unit a "new good suit of Cloaths".

In 1759 Gorham's was one of the six Independent Companies of Rangers assigned to Major General James Wolfe's army for the Quebec campaign. By this time Gorham seems to have attained the rank of Major, senior among the ranging companies with Wolfe, receiving a Major's commission in the regular British Army in 1761. He commanded the "Corps of Rangers", which included his own company, through Pontiac's Rebellion until disbanded in 1763-64.

In 1759 the six ranger companies serving with Wolfe were issued a distinctive new uniform of black and blue with Scots bonnets. We'll produce rangers dressed in this style later, along with their own painting guide, so I won't go into any detail here.

In 1761, five deserters from Major Gorham's Company were described in the 'Boston News Letter' as: "clothed in the Uniform of the Company, viz. Coats, red turn'd up with brown, with brown Capes and brown Insides, which may be worn either Side out; Waistcoats of the brown Colour; Linnen Draws, leather Jockey-Caps, with Oak-Leaf or Branch painted on the left Side".

This Uniform is illustrated by Frederick Ray in 'Military Uniforms in America, The Era of the American Revolution, 1755-1795' accompanying an article by the artist and John R Elting, from which the above uniform description was extracted. The uniform also appears illustrated by David Rickman in Osprey's 'Colonial American Troops 1610-1774 (3)' by Rene Chartrand.

Christophe Coquet has represented three of the rangers from our pack FIW RAN 1, which he made a lovely job of painting for VaeVictis magazine's review in issue 91, as Gorham's Rangers in their 1761 uniform, which we reproduce here by kind permission of the editor.

New Jersey Frontier Guard (Capt. Hezekiah Dunn's Company of Rangers)

Organised in the Autumn of 1756 to protect New Jersey's western frontier from depradations by hostile Indians, the first company of that province's rangers is believed to have been commanded by a Captain Gardiner. A year later a second company was raised, commanded by Captain Hezekiah Dunn. Gardiner was recommended for promotion to major, apparently with command over both companies, but was still being referred to as Captain Gardiner in July 1760. The new company was to consist of eighty-nine rangers, four corporals, four sergeants, two lieutenants and Captain Dunn. The soldiers of the New Jersey Frontier Guard were provincials, paid as rangers by their colony, unlike Rogers' Rangers and Gorham's who were paid by the British Government.

Painted by Lance Cawkwell, Galloping Major Ltd

Initially all ranks were expected to provide for themselves in addition to their clothing: musket, cartridge box and powder horn, knapsack, blanket and a cutlass or hatchet. In 1757 the uniform of the New Jersey Frontier Guard is described as: "…. Each Officer and Soldier furnished at the Expence of this Colony, with a good Blanket, a Half-thick Under-Jacket, a Kersey Jacket Lapell'd, Buckskin Breeches, two pairs of shoes, and two pairs of Stockings, and a Leather Cap, and a Hatchet." In January 1758 the New York Gazette described a deserter from Captain Hezekiah Dunn's Company of Rangers as wearing: "A grey lapell'd Waistcoat and an under green Jacket, a Leather Cap, and Buckskin Breeches." 'Military Uniforms in America, The Era of the American Revolution, 1755-1795' features an excellent article, by H Charles McBarron Jr and John R Elting, on this unit illustrating this uniform.

I have painted some of my rangers as members of Hezekiah Dunn's company, wearing a green half-weight jacket under a grey lapelled jacket with buckskin breeches, and intend to paint more for this unit later.

Painted by Lance Cawkwell, Galloping Major Ltd

As with our Native Americans, Canadian Militia and Rogers' Rangers, I've painted the men of this unit in a variety differently coloured Indian leggings of trade cloth or buckskin to give extra variety, as I've chosen to paint the rest of their clothing in a more 'uniform' manner. Additional colour and character is given to articles of equipment by painting powder horn straps etc in beaded or woven patterns.

For the light grey coats, again I've used some of the Foundry acrylics: Granite - Granite Light - Arctic Grey. The green of the jackets is made up of British Bottle Green - Forest Green Shade - Forest Green.

Temporary Volunteers and Draftees from the Provincials

Ranger units in temporary need of reinforcement, or for particular missions, would have their numbers bolstered by volunteers from provincial and regular regiments. An outstanding example of the use of such volunteers is Rogers' famed 1759 expedition against the Abenaki Indian town at St Francis. Rogers' force comprised, in addition to his own rangers and Stockbridge Indians, volunteers taken from ten provincial and regular regiments. Occasionally provincials were drafted "en masse", as in 1757 when six temporary ranger companies were formed from soldiers drawn from the provincial regiments at Fort Edward.

When serving with the rangers, volunteers and draftees would replace cartridge boxes with powder horns and leather shot pouches, adopt hatchets, Indian leggings and moccasins, and substitute a cap or cut down hat for their tricorne. The skirts of the soldiers' coats would be shortened to the length of those of the rangers.


Painted by Lance Cawkwell, Galloping Major Ltd

I have painted one of our first batch of rangers as one of these provincial volunteers. The addition of some 'rangerised' provincials to a ranger unit can give a very pleasing result, providing extra colour and contrast as well as character. I'll be producing a detailed painting guide to accompany the release of our provincials, so I won't go into any great detail here of the dress of the soldiers of the various colonies. The soldier I have painted as a provincial serving with the rangers is in the popular uniform colours of blue lined red, and could be from any one of a number provincial regiments.


Virginia's Provincial Rangers

There were seven 50-man companies of Virginia-raised rangers with General Braddock's ill-fated 1755 expedition, though two of these companies were termed 'carpenters' (pioneers?). These companies were badly cut-up on the Monongahela, with the loss of several of their officers.

Three further 50-man companies of Rangers were raised in 1755 for the protection of the Virginia frontier. The following year these companies were serving in south-western Virginia and had been recruited-up to 100 men each. Increased to four companies in the Autumn of1758, they were again reduced to three companies in mid 1759 before being stood down in 1760.

They appear to have been uniformed in "blue turned-up red", much as a great many of the provincial line units including the Virginia Regiment commanded by George Washington. The appearance of these Virginia Rangers could easily have been very similar to that of our volunteers from the provincial regiments above, which very nicely provides additional use for figures painted in this way.

Putnam's Rangers

Major Israel Putnam's Connecticut Rangers were with Abercromby's army at Ticonderoga in July 1758, and are described as wearing brown clothing.

Brenton C. Kemmer in Redcoats, Yankees and Allies says: "The only reference to a uniform comes in late war when Col. Eleazer Fitch's Regiment of Connecticut mentions a brown coat and green waistcoat for Putnam's men. As with the other ranger units, these men were issued shirts, stockings, breeches and wore either  shoes or moccasins. Many men made leggins of wool or leather to protect their legs in the woods, and most of them used issued weapons and accoutrements." He also mentions that: "Some of Putnam's men were Mohican Indians". In the same section on Putnam's Connecticut Rangers he mentions that: "The majority of ranging units wore tricorn hats or cut off the brims of their hats, making them into small round hats for the woods." Joe Lee's illustration of a member of Putnam's Rangers, which appears in Fig. 11 of this book shows him clad in leggings and mocassins, breeches and waistcoat under a short coat and with a Scots bonnet.

 

Select Bibliography:

Military Uniforms in America, The Era of the American Revolution, 1755-1795, from the Series Produced by The Company of Military Historians - Presidio Press, San Rafael, California, 1974.

The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers by Timothy J Todish & Gary S Zaboly, Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmanns, New York, 2002.

Warrior 85 - American Colonial Ranger, The Northern Colonies 1724-64 by Gary Zaboly, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford, 2004.

Men-at-Arms 383 - Colonial American Troops 1610-1774 (3) by Rene Chartrand & David Rickman, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford, 2003.

Men-at-Arms 48 - Wolfe's Army by Robin May & Gerry Embleton, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford, Revised Edition - 1997.

The British Infantry of the Seven Years War (1, 2 & 3) by Gerry Embleton & Philip Haythornthwaite, series of illustrated articles published in Military Illustrated magazine Nos. 36, 37, 38 and 39.

Articles by Gerry Embleton published in The Bloody Morning Scout.

Redcoats, Yankees and Allies: A History of the Uniforms, Clothing and Gear of the British Army in the Lake George - Lake Champlain Corridor 1755-1760 by Brenton C. Kemmer with illustrations by Joe Lee. Heritage Books Inc., Maryland 1998.

Copyright: Lance W Cawkwell, Galloping Major Ltd, 2010


 


 

The Huron, although an Iroquoian nation, were implacable enemies of the Iroquois confederacy (Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga and Tuscarora). The Huron forged strong trading and military alliances with the French settlements in Canada, whose governor in the early seventeenth century, Champlain, earned for himself and the French the lasting enmity of the Iroquois. Through the series of wars of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries between the French and British colonies, reflecting events in Europe, the Huron were one of the prominent nations which supported the French.

The traditional appearance of the Huron differed in several respects from their sworn enemies, the Mohawk.

While some Huron warriors wore the stiffened roach, men's hair styles were more varied. One distinctive style popular among Huron warriors was to shave one half of the head, allowing the hair to hang long and loose at the other side. Some shaved most of the head, leaving a tuft of hair at the crown and the scalplock, others left only rolls of hair above the ears.

Huron were rarely tattooed, but favoured war-paint applied in geometric patterns to both face and body or representing figures of humans or animals. Favoured paint colours were red, black, green and violet, and natural pigments such as red ochre were becoming replaced by traded ones such as vermilion and verdigris.

Breech-clouts were worn longer than those of the Mohawk, usually to the mid thigh; leggings were tied to a belt with thongs and were fastened at the sides. Garments traditionally made from tanned animal hide, due to the extensive trading network in which the Huron played a prominent part, were often replaced with European woven cloth. British-made strouds were particularly popular and traded far and wide. Available cloth colours varied, but martial-looking hues such as reds and blues were especially sought after.

In common with the Iroquois, the Huron had a preference for buckskin dyed black with dye obtained from the shells of the black walnut. Pouches and moccasins of black dyed buckskin were the most popular, moccasins often being decorated with quillwork or embroidery of dyed moose-hair on the vamps and cuffs. Unlike the Mohawk, Huron pouches and knife sheaths were suspended from the belt. Garments would often also be decorated with strips of quill-work or embroidery, usually in reds and browns, and also later with bead-work. Traditional finger-weaving techniques were used to produce various items such as belts, ties and sashes. Painted garments are also recorded.

As with many other woodland nations, European garments such as shirts, vests and coats were being adopted into the Huron style of dress.

We've armed our Huron with a mixture of French manufactured firearms: the Tulle hunting musket - the favoured weapon of the Canadian militia; the model 1728 musket which was current issue for the regular French troops, with its two barrel bands and distinctive end-piece; and a single-banded musket to represent the model 1717 musket, the Tulle Grenadier musket and "Le Fusil Ordinairre", all of which bore a very close resemblance to one-another.

The last set of pictures in this painting guide show two differently painted versions of the same Huron warrior. 

Copyright Galloping Major Ltd 2009

 

This is an edit of a piece I wrote for my old re-enactment newsletter 'The Bloody Morning Scout'.

'The unsung heroes of North America were the French Canadians, who were out numbered to the order of twenty to one by the English colonies and yet contrived to maintain the balance for so long through their mobility and skills with woodcraft and weapons'.

Chris Duffy Military Experience in the Age of Reason.Canadian Militia - present in all the engagements, usually the largest component part of French forces - often misrepresented or ignored these irregulars were the prototype light infantry unit in America.

Organisation All men able to bear arms between 16 and 60 were mustered by Parish in Companies. For specific expeditions and campaigns outside the Parish volunteers or specially selected men were brigaded into groups of three to four hundred under a Colonial officer whose name the brigade normally held (e.g. brigade de la Corne etc). Company organisation may have existed in brigades probably by Parish with NCOs and officers a mixture of Militia and Colony troops. Colony troops and Militia often came under the description 'Canadian' troops as many of their roles and equipment were similar.

Clothing and equipment Those going on campaign were issued with clothes and equipment which would mean a certain amount of uniformity within Brigades though this is before the colour coded tuques often mistakenly attributed to this era. The appearance was typical clothing for a voyageur - a knitted cap (tuque) usually in red or blue, not long like a stocking cap of later times but more like the bonnet rouge of the French revolution or Monmouth cap. Wool leggings that sometime carried decoration coupled with beef shoes or mocassins and a long linen shirt and wool breechcloth. Knives around the neck, at the knee and at the waist (covered in a wool sash) were typical and axes and awls also were supplied as well as powder horns and musket tools. The Musket was the Tulle hunting fusil - a slender accurate weapon that was also popular among Natives though sometimes an inferior musket might be brought in place of the ones issued or so was the complaints of the officers at the time. In winter a capote - a hooded woollen overcoat was issued - closed around the waist with a sash. Burdens were carried Indian style with a tumpline and their 'tents' were simple canvas squares that were suspended from bushes etc.

Tactics The Milicien was the skirmisher of the F&I wars although this 'skulking' method of war was despised by regulars on both sides. 'Courageous only when behind a tree' or 'savage and hidden rascals' are typical comments from the era. Miliciens were able to load their fusils while lying down - something that caused problems when they were incorporated into regular battalions such as at the Plains of Abraham. Giving ground to create ambushes - working around the flanks - these tactics were put to good use at Canadian victories such as Monongahela. When European tactics were used such as by Dieskau at Lake George and Montcalm at Quebec it had disastrous consequences for the French and it was generally to the horror of the Canadian and Colony troops who had been fighting a different sort of war for generations to see these defeats. Often mistaken for Coureurs de bois - whose notoriety in the 1680s and 90s created a legend among Anglo Americans - these Militiamen were law-abiding colonists though their experience was completely different than their American counterparts due to a less dense population and an involvement in the fur trade.

In popular culture. They have largely been ignored in the mythology of the Eastern frontier.

Introduction courtesy of Ralph Mitchard of Flintlock and Tomahawk


Painting Canadian Militia.

Although supplied with clothing and equipment, the Canadian militia had no uniform as such. All the same, they become clearly recognisable from the other protagonists of the French & Indian War, through an overall general similarity of appearance. Our first packs of Canadian militia are dressed for warm weather service: in shirts, mitasses (Indian leggings), breechclouts and moccasins.

Shirts are white or natural raw linen colours. For natural linen shades, in this case using Foundry acrylics (other brands are available) I've used mixes of, for example, drab/drab light/raw linen/raw linen light or moss/moss light through to almost white. For white shirts, I start with a base of a mid warm grey, through to white highlights.

Leggings can be painted as natural or dyed/stained deerskin, or cloth in any sensibly available colours: blues, browns, greys, muted reds and occasionally green and so on, a wide range of non-too-garish colours can be used within a unit for variety and contrast, or, if preferred, a more co-ordinated look can be achieved by choosing combinations of a narrower selection of hues. White is also mentioned for leggings, but I've so far avoided that in the expectation that it may not work out looking so convincing, although I may later try out a pair in white in contrast to a raw linen shirt. Please let us know if you've achieved a good result with white mitasses.

Caps can be in a variety of colours if preferred, I've gone for blue for the ones I've painted so far. The regional distinctions of red for Quebec, blue for Montreal and white for Trois Rivieres district appear to have been introduced in 1759.

There's plenty of opportunity for additional individualisation and bright colours in the waist sashes which are a classic feature of Canadian dress in the period, as well as quilled or beaded decoration on pouches, straps, moccasins, knife scabbards, mitasses, woven garters and so on.

For sleeved waistcoats or in colder weather, capotes etc., wools especially in browns and greys, white, blue and even reds are suitable.

Officers were drawn from the higher ranks of Canadian society, and would distinguish their rank by wearing a gilt gorget and/or often a sword, many while dressing in a similar manner to the miliciens, would be notable by better quality items of dress.


Copyright Galloping Major Ltd 2009

 

The Mohawk are one of the original five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy formed between the mid fifteenth and late sixteenth centuries with the Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida and Onondaga, who became six nations in the early eighteenth century when they were joined by the Tuscarora, who had moved up from North Carolina.  The Mohawk are probably the Iroquois nation whose name remains most associated, in the popular imagination, with the wars that were fought in eastern North America during the eighteenth century. The Iroquois had a fierce reputation as warriors.

Although there were general similarities of appearance throughout the Iroquois, we have decided to depict these warriors as Mohawk, specifically, those Mohawk who remained along the Mohawk River of what is now New York State and sided with the British, after part of the tribe had migrated to French Canada under the influence of the catholic missions in the seventeenth century.

While most of the "Woodland Indian" tribes were drawn into alliances with the French, most of the Iroquois were either allied to the Anglo- Americans, or remained neutral. Galloping Major's Mohawk Warriors are intended to represent Mohawk allied to the British.

Iroquois leggings were different to those worn by most other groups of "Woodland Indians", being sewn up the front, the join often covered by a decorative strip, and made looser fitting than most. Breechclouts were worn fairly short at the front and back. Both these items would originally have been made of tanned leather, but by the time of our period, many would be made from strouds and other trade cloths. The Mohawk, as other "Iroquoians", were particularly fond of black, and would often paint/dye buckskin items black.  Adding increasing amounts of a drab brown into highlights is particularly effective when representing leather dyed black with natural colourings. Buckskin dyed to darker shades of brown also looks particularly effective on Mohawk.  While trade-cloth wools and blankets came in a variety of colours it is better for the majority of these to be painted in more subdued tones, reflecting the natural dyes used to produce coloured cloths, restricting the brighter hues for smaller areas of decoration, or for items sported by particularly affluent individuals.

The tanned deerskin moccasins can be represented in any shade of brown through to black, darker colours being preferable, with decorative work on the cuffs and top panels for the more adventurous (or obsessive?) amongst us. More about decoration later.


The Iroquois carried their various personal items in a leather bag or pouch (again, black being popular) slung across one shoulder by a woven sash or leather belt.  As with many other "Woodland Indians", knives are often shown hanging in a sheath slung around the neck. Powder horns were just that, sometimes flattened, often decorated in a similar engraved way to scrimshawing, they look well painted a bone colour, perhaps streaked a little with grey or brown.

European garments became quickly adopted and adapted as contact, trade and alliances grew. Several of our Mohawk wear shirts, these are best painted in white or natural unbleached linen shades, with others in muted shades of dyed colours such as mossy or faded green, washed-out looking brown or tan, slate-ish blues, you get the idea - best to avoid bright emerald green or shocking pink.

Tomahawks (hatchets) were carried thrust through waist sash or belt for easy access, and we feel are best painted in a gunmetal shade, highlighted with silver (although cast brass ones are acceptable). Clubs are natural wood, and you could decorate some, but as ever, a little restraint pays dividends.

Iroquois men almost universally shaved their heads leaving a scalplock at the back, and a "roach" forming a central ridge left standing from front to back.  This hairstyle, though by no means unique to them, has come to be named for the Mohawk (sometimes mistakenly called a Mohican).  Artificial roaches were made from the longer, stiffer hairs from a deer hide dyed red, sometimes supplemented by white porcupine hairs.  Roach spreaders carved from bone were used to fan the roach out and to hold artificial roaches in place by fastening them to the scalplock.  A single eagle feather was attached to the roach spreader, from which it could swivel in the wind and with the movements of the wearer.  Roaches can be painted black, as stiffened hair, or particularly the more elaborate ones look well painted red, sometimes thinly streaked with off-white.

War paint was black, the most frequently used styles being a black rectangle covering most of the face, or three black stripes on both cheeks. Many Iroquois warriors were tattooed, geometric designs were popular, as well as clan motifs. With a steady hand and some forward thinking (and sometimes a little tidying up with a bit more flesh paint) the geometric patterns on arms, legs and/or torsos can be effectively represented with duller shades of blue.

Mohawk were by no means averse to a bit of bling.  Jewellery took several forms. Natural objects such as bears' teeth, claws of animals and birds and beads made of shell and bone were fashioned into necklaces and bracelets, clam shells were worn as gorgets. Silver was very desirable as armbands, gorgets and brooches. Earrings were made from beads, polished stones, shells and silver. Some of our Mohawk have nose rings and pendants - don't miss them.

Decoration on garments, pouches and moccasins might consist of curvilinear patterns of porcupine quill work or embroidery using moose hair. Sashes, garters, straps and belts were woven often in chevron and arrow head patterns from natural fibres such as nettle.  All these can be represented in natural colours or as produced from dyed fibres, hair etc.  Traders would introduce brighter colours in the form of silk ribbons and coloured glass beads for bead work to be incorporated into decorative patterns. But once again, a little restraint goes a long way.

A quick word about firearms. Our Mohawk are armed with Brown Bess muskets and an assortment of rifles and trade guns.  (Strictly speaking, the term Brown Bess had not yet become applied to the Long Land Service Musket.) All these are flintlocks of course, we are right in the middle of the age of the flintlock.  The lock parts are all iron and/or steel, the flint has to strike on a steel frizzen to create a spark -  we've seen these painted brass! Brown Bess was issued with a bright steel barrel (on the frontier often deliberately dulled by natural oxidisation), from 1728 all furniture: butt plate, end cap, sling swivels, trigger guard, ramrod guides etc., were brass, earlier models were issued with wooden ramrods, but from as early as 1724 some began to be issued with steel ramrods and by the 1750s all these were steel, although some with wooden ramrods would remain in use alongside the newer ones.  The rifles and trade guns of this period usually have wooden rather than brass patch boxes on the front face of the stock; as essentially civilian pieces, these don't need to follow a pattern, and could have either iron or brass furniture.

Copyright Galloping Major Ltd 2009