Origin and History
The regiment was raised by Colonel James Long in England in 1741. It was part of the seven new regiments of infantry created to reinforce the British Army at the outset of the War of the Austrian Succession. Initially, the regiment ranked 55th. Drafts from five regiments constituted the kernel of the new unit.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Scotland from 1745 to 1747, taking part in the Battle of Prestonpans. In 1747, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it served under the Duke of Cumberland until the end of the war in 1748.
After the War of the Austrian Succession, Colonel John Lee took command of the regiment which was stationed in Ireland. With peace came the reorganisation of the British Army. Eleven regiments were disbanded (43rd Foot and ten regiments of marines). Thus, the 55th Foot was re-ranked 44th Foot. The Royal Warrant of July 1 1751 confirmed this rank and the regiment officially became the "44th Regiment of Foot".
During the Seven Years's War, the regiment was commanded by:
- 1751: Colonel Peter Halkett
- 1755: Colonel James Abercromby
Service during the War
On January 14 1755, the regiment (about 500 men) embarked at Cork in Ireland to sail to North America as part of General Edward Braddock's force. On February 20, it arrived at Hampton in Virginia. It was then ordered to march up the Potomac to Alexandria. New recruits were waiting for the regiment in Alexandria. It was thus brought to full strength (about 700 men). Early in March, the regiment reached Winchester. By May 10, it was with Braddock's expeditionary force at Fort Cumberland at the junction of Wills Creek with the Potomac. It took part in the disastrous attempt against Fort Duquesne where, on July 9, it suffered a heavy defeat in an ambush on the Monongahela. The British force first retreated to Great Meadows (July 13), then to Fort Cumberland, leaving this fort for Philadelphia on August 2.
In 1756, the regiment was among the reinforcements being sent to Fort Oswego under Colonel Webb. This force left Albany on August 14. Webb had scarcely reached the Great Carrying Place (actual Rome NY) when he was informed of the capture of Oswego. When he received an erroneous report that 6,000 French were advancing upon New York, Webb ordered trees to be felled and thrown into the stream at Wood Creek to stop the progress of the French. Then, with shameful precipitation, he burned the fort at the Great Carrying Place and retreated down the Mohawk River to German Flats.
The regiment spent Winter of 1756/1757 winter at Fort William Henry and the Hudson Valley.
In March 1757, a detachment of the regiment (274 men) under major Eyre garrisoned Fort William Henry which was attacked by a French expeditionary force. The garrison repulsed attempts against the fort but the French managed to destroy the storehouses as well as the British ships assembled around the fort, thus preventing any British offensive on Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George) during this campaign. In Spring, the regiment was selected for the planned campaign against Louisbourg or Québec. In early June, the transport fleet carrying the 44th Foot sailed from New York, arriving at Halifax on June 30. However, three French Naval Squadrons reinforced Louisbourg that summer and the expedition was cancelled. Lack of winter quarters at Halifax forced the relocation of the 44th Foot back to the Mid-Atlantic Colonies.
In Spring 1758, the regiment was assigned to the British force under James Abercromby for the expedition against Fort Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga). The army assembled at Albany, then advanced to Fort Edward and Fort William Henry. On July 5, the regiment was embarked at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George) and crossed the lake. 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, Abercromby's Army fought the Battle of Carillon where it was utterly defeated, the 44th loosing 205 men. 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.
In 1759, the regiment took part in the expedition against Fort Niagara which surrendered on July 24. After the capture of Fort Niagara, the regiment was assigned to garrison Presqu'Isle on Lake Erie.
In 1760, the regiment was part of the British army assembled at Oswego by Lieutenant-General Amherst. In August, this army advanced downstream on the Saint-Laurent River, participating in the three pronged attack against Montréal where it made its junction with two other British armies on September 6. Montréal surrendered on September 8, Canada was now under British rule.
In 1761 and 1762, detachments of the regiment garrisoned Trois-Rivières, Chambly, Saint-François and other localities. By October 1762, the entire regiment was assembled in Montréal where it assumed garrison duty.
|Coat||brick red lined bright yellow and laced white (white braid with a yellow stripe in the middle, a blue zigzagged line on one side and a black zigzagged line on the other side) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
|Waistcoat||brick red laced white (same lace as above) with pewter buttons and white buttonholes|
|Gaiters||white with black buttons|
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
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:
- a silver gorget around the neck
- a silver aiguillette on the right shoulder
- silver lace instead of the normal white lace
- a crimson sash
Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command. However, officers of grenadiers wore a more decorated mitre than the privates.
Officers were usually armed with a spontoon. However, in action, some carried a musket rather than the usual spontoon.
The body of the drums was painted yellow, with the King's cypher and crown, and the number of the regiment underneath.
For all colours, cords and tassels were crimson and gold.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XLIV" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: bright yellow field, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XLIV" in gold Roman numerals.
Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours
Boscawen, Hugh: The Capture of Louisbourg, 1758, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2011
Burrows, J.W.: The Essex Regiment (1st Battalion)
Crabb, Terry: His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot
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
Kindersley, Doring: Eyewitness American Revolution, Dorling Kindersley, 2005
May R. and Embleton G. A.: Wolfe's Army, Osprey Publishing, London, 1974
Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which seems unfortunately to have disappeared from the web)
Phillips, Ed: Braddock at the Monongehela, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No. 4