3rd Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 3rd Foot

Origin and History

The unit was initially raised in 1572 as the "Thomas Morgan's Company". It served in Holland with the Dutch against Spain.

In 1665, the English troops of the British brigade serving in Holland returned to Great Britain after refusing to swear allegiance to the States-General. The repatriated English soldiers formed a new regiment known as the “4th (The Holland Maritime) Regiment”.

By 1668 the regiment was known as the “4th (The Holland) Regiment”.

In 1688-1689 its name was "4th The Lord High Admiral's Regiment". Then, in 1689, it became the “Prince George of Denmark's Regiment”. From then until 1751, the regiment took the name of its successive colonels.

At a certain there were two colonels named Howerd in the British army and thus two regiment known by this name. To differentiate them they were designated by their distinctive colour: “Buff Howard” and “Green Howard”.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the “3rd Regiment of Foot” but its nickname remained “The Buffs”. As per a resolution of September 20 1756, a second battalion was exceptionally added to the regiment. Two years later, in 1758, this second battalion was made a distinct regiment as the 61st Regiment of Foot.

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

  • since August 21 1749 until May 13 1763: sir George Howard

Service during the War

In September 1757, the regiment, which was stationed on the Isle of Wight, embarked aboard the fleet and took part in the unsuccessful and wasteful raid on Rochefort.

In November 1758, the regiment was under orders for foreign service in the West Indies as part of major-general Peregrine Hopson force destined to the expedition against Martinique and Guadeloupe. On November 12, it was aboard the convoy who sailed from Spithead for the Leeward Islands.

On January 3 1759, the convoy reached Carlisle Bay in Barbados. On January 13, the whole British force sailed for Martinique Island. On January 16, the British infantry landed near Fort Royal. On January 17, the grenadiers of the regiment joined those of the other units and together dislodged a French force entrenched near the British camp. Unable to make any significant progress, Hopson re-embarked. The expeditionary force then redirected its efforts against Guadeloupe Island. On January 23, the British fleet bombarded and almost completely destroyed the town of Basse-Terre. On January 24, the regiment was landed and occupied the town. From then on, it actively took part in the numerous actions which led to the conquest of the island which finally capitulated on May 1. On June 25, Barrington sailed for Great Britain with the remnant of the regiment along with [[61st Foot] and 64th Foot, under convoy of the Roebuck (44).

In May and June 1761, a detachment of the regiment reinforced the expedition besieging the French island of Belle-Isle who finally surrendered.

In July 1762, the regiment was part of the British reinforcements sent from Belle-Isle to Portugal to assist the Portuguese army against a Spanish invasion. Colonel Howard was absent and his lieutenant-colonel on a sick leave. Major John Biddulph had to assume command. At the end of August, the regiment operated in the region of Coimbra. It was later engaged in the Alvito, Alentejo and Estremadura.

In 1763, the regiment was sent to Minorca to occupy the island restored by France after the peace.



Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
3rd Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
British mitre with: a buff front edged white embroidered with white floral twigs and with the regimental badge (green dragon with a red tongue, standing on a green ground) 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" in white and with a green bottom strip with yellow stripes; red back; a buff headband edged white probably wearing the the Roman numeral III in the middle part behind; a white pompom with red and buff inner threads
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined buff and laced white (white lace with 3 thin lines dark blue/red/buff on each side) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red (left shoulder only) fastened with a pewter button
Lapels buff laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets laced white (same lace as above)
Cuffs buff slashed cuffs laced white (same lace as above) with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes (same lace as above) on the sleeve above each cuff
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 buff
Waistbelt buff
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes

Troopers were armed with a “Brown Bess” muskets, a bayonet and a sword.


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

  • silver gorget around the neck
  • a silver aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • 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.


The drum body was buff with a green dragon surmounted by a crown and with the number of the regiment under the dragon.


King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (a green dragon surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto Veteri Frondescet Honore). The regiment number "III" in roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.

Regimental Colour: Buff field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (same as above). The Union in the upper left corner with the regiment number "III" in roman gold numerals in its centre. A crown with a rose in the three other corners. During the period when the regiment counted two battalions (September 1756 to 1758), the colours of first battalions had one flame and those of the second two flames descending from the upper left corner of the flag towards its centre.

King's Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: PMPdeL


Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

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

Kirby, Mike, The British Contingent - Uniform Information, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth

O'Hara, Danny, Eighteenth Century Wargaming Resources On-Line

Peter, The Buffs

Wikipedia - The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

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