27th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 27th Foot

Origin and History

In December 1688, Gustavus Hamilton organised the men of the Irish town of Enniskillen in two companies. At the beginning of January 1689, King William III authorised the formation of one regiment of horse, two regiments of dragoons and the regiments of foot (including the present regiment) among the forces assembled at Enniskillen. By January 27, the regiment had swelled to ten companies. They relieved the Castle of Crom, burned the Castle of Augher, fought at Ballyshannon, raided Cavan and Meath, captured Omagh but failed to relieve Derry. On June 19, they captured Belturbet. On 26 June, William III appointed Zacharaiah Tiffin as colonel of the regiment (then counting 625 men) which became known as the "Zacharaiah Tiffin's Regiment of Foot". The regiment was defeated by the Duke of Berwick at Cornagrade. It later ambushed the Jacobites at Lisnaskea. On 31 July, it fought at the Battle of Newtownbutler. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of the Boyne; in 1691, in raids on Sligo, in the siege and capture of Ballymore, in the storming of Athlone, in the Battle of Aughrim and in the capture of Galway, Castleconnell and Limerick.

Until 1751, the regiment would be known by the names of its successive colonels.

In July 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in an expedition intended against Dunkerque. However, the place being well defended, the expedition was redirected towards Ostend. The regiment probably took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. It then marched to Dixmude to fortify the place and re-embarked for England. In 1694, it returned to Flanders. In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. In 1696, it re-embarked for England which was threatened by a French landing but soon returned to Flanders once the French fleet had been defeated.

In 1697, the regiment returned to England and was soon sent back to Ireland.

By 1736, the regiment was stationed at Bristol. It quenched a very serious riot amongst the colliers at Kingsdown.

In 1739, the regiment was sent to the West Indies. It landed at Bastementos, near Portobello, on the Isthmus of Darien. The climate proved so destructive to the troops, that nothing effectual could be done, and after contending two years against sickness and death, the regiment returned to Europe with only 9 privates, who alone out of 600 had escaped the ravages of the fever. In December 1740, the regiment returned to England.

From 1745, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment served in Scotland against the Jacobite Rising. In 1746, it fought at the Battles of Falkirk (January 17) and Culloden (April 16). At the end of 1746, the regiment was sent to Ireland.

On July 1, 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "27th (Enniskillen) Regiment of Foot".

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from 1725 until 1761: William Blakeney

From 1763 to 1767, the regiment was stationed in Canada, assuming garrison duty in Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal.

In 1840, the spelling 'Enniskillen' was changed to 'Inniskilling'.

Service during the War

In May 1756, the regiment embarked for North America under the command of the Earl of Loudon. In June, it landed at New York.

In 1757, the regiment was selected for the planned campaign against Louisbourg or Québec. On May 7, the transport fleet sailed from Cork, Ireland, arriving at Halifax on July 9. Three French Naval Squadrons reinforced Louisbourg that summer and the British expedition was canceled. Lack of winter-quarters at Halifax forced the relocation of the 27th Foot to the area around Fort Edward on the Hudson.

In the spring of 1758, the regiment was assigned to the expedition against Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga) under Lieutenant-General James Abercrombie. On July 5, it embarked at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George). On July 6, at daybreak, the British flotilla reached the narrow channel leading into Lake Champlain near Fort Carillon and disembarkation began at 9:00 a.m. On July 8, the regiment fought in the disastrous Battle of Carillon. At daybreak on July 9, the British army re-embarked and retreated to the head of the lake where it reoccupied the camp it had left a few days before.

By the end of June 1759, the regiment had joined the British army assembling under the command of Lord Jeffrey Amherst, at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement for the second expedition against Carillon. On Saturday July 21, after a long delay, the regiment finally embarked aboard the flotilla which set sail over Lake Saint-Sacrement and reached the Narrows at the outlet of the lake before nightfall. At daybreak on Sunday July 22, the British force disembarked, occupied the heights, and then advanced to the line of entrenchment of Carillon. On the night of July 23, most of the French force retired down Lake Champlain, leaving only 400 men to defend the place as long as possible. At 11:00 p.m. on July 26, the French, who had abandoned the fort, blew one of its bastion to atoms. On August 1, the British force also took possession of a destroyed Fort Saint-Frédéric (present-day Crown Point) which had been abandoned by its French garrison. The British force then spent months rebuilding the two forts and adding some outworks while vessels were being built to take command of Lake Champlain. It was not until October 11 that the British troops re-embarked aboard their flotilla. On October 18, due to bad weather, Amherst resolved to cancel out the expedition and to retreat to Crown Point.

In 1760, the regiment took part in the three pronged attack against Montréal and was present at the surrender of the town in September.

In 1761, the regiment was sent to Nova Scotia where it laid idle for most of the year before leaving for the West Indies where it arrived in Carlisle Bay in Barbados on December 24.

In January and February 1762, the regiment took part in the expedition against Martinique. On 16 February, the regiment was embarked under Brigadier-General Walsh for the capture of Grenada, which island was also taken possession of without opposition. Then, from May to August, it participated in the siege and capture of Havannah, suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months. In October, the regiment was sent back to New York.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier
27th Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap (as per Morier in 1751) - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
British mitre with: a buff front edged white embroidered with white floral twigs with yellow leaves and with the regimental badge (a dark blue disk outlined in white with a dark blue scroll outlined in white wearing "Enniskillen" in white and with a white castle and arc, St. George colours flying on the central tower) in the centre surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap edged white with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a yellow on green bottom strip; red back; a buff headband edged white probably wearing the number 27 in the middle part behind; a white pompom
Neck stock white
Coat brick red lined buff and laced and edged white (white braid with a yellow stripe and blue zigzag) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above) and swallow nests at the shoulders (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels buff laced white (same lace as above), each with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs buff (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with white buttonholes (in a fishbone pattern) and white buttons on the sleeve
Turnbacks buff
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above)
Breeches brick red
Gaiters white with black buttons
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with with a "Brown Bess" muskets, a bayonet and a sword. They also carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.

Officers

Officers of the regiment wore the same uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences

  • silver gorget around the neck
  • an aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • silver buttons
  • silver lace instead of normal lace
  • a crimson sash

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command; however, officers of the grenadier company wore a more decorated mitre cap.

Officers generally carried a spontoon, however, in battle some carried muskets instead.

Musicians

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in buff, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with red, and laced in such manner as the colonel shall think fit for distinction sake, the lace, however, was of the colours of that on the soldiers' coats.
The front or fore part of the drums was painted buff, with the regimental badge (Castle with three turrets, St. George colours flying in a blue field and the name Enniskillen over it) and the number “XXVII” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (Castle with three turrets, St. George colours flying in a blue field and the name Enniskillen over it). The regiment number "XXVII" in Roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.

Regimental Colour: buff field; centre device consisting of the regimental badge (Castle with three turrets, St. George colours flying in a blue field and the name Enniskillen over it). The Union in the upper left corner with the regiment number "XXVII" in Roman gold numerals in its centre.

King's Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Trimble, William Copeland: The Historical Record of the 27th Inniskilling Regiment, London: WM. Clowes and Sons, 1876

Other sources

Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours

Boscawen, Hugh: The Capture of Louisbourg, 1758, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2011

Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 90-103

Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)

Wikipedia: 27th Foot

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.