46th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment (10 companies for a total of 815 men, includiing officers) was raised on January 13, 1741 as the "John Price's Regiment of Foot". It then ranked 57th.

In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was initially stationed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In October of the same year, it was sent to Scotland. By 1745, it garrisoned several places in the Highlands. At the beginning of the Jacobite Rising, the regiment assembled at Perth and then joined the English force concentrating at Stirling under the command of Sir John Cope. In August 1745, this force marched towards Inverness. With the Young Pretender operating in Southern Scotland, Cope decided to embark his force at Aberdeen to sail for Dunbar where he arrived on September 18. On September 20, the regiment (580 men) took part in the Battle of Prestonpans where it routed, most of its troops being made prisoners. In 1746, the remnants of the regiment were stationed at Berwick before embarking for Jersey in September. At the end of the war, several British regiments were disbanded and the regiment was ranked 46th.

From 1749 to 1757, the regiment was stationed in Ireland.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "46th Regiment of Foot".

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

  • from June 23, 1743 to 1764: Thomas Murray

Service during the War

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. However, three French Naval Squadrons reinforced Louisbourg that summer and the British expedition was cancelled. Lack of winter-quarters at Halifax forced the relocation of the 46th Foot to the Mid-Atlantic Colonies, most likely around Albany.

In July 1758, the regiment joined the force under the command of Major-General James Abercromby assembling on the Hudson. It then took part in the expedition against Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga). On July 5, it embarked at the head of 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. In this battle, the regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Beaver, Captains George Needham and Edward Wynne; Lieutenants Jacob Laulhé and Arthur Lloyd; Ensign George Crofton, and Quarter-Master Thomas Carbonell. 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. On the morning of July 24, 150 men of the regiment under the command of Colonel Eyre Massey took part in the engagement of “La Belle Famille”, defeating the French relief force. Niagara surrendered on July 25.

In August 1760, the regiment joined the army under the command of Lord Jeffrey Amherst who participated in the three pronged attack against Montréal whose garrison surrendered on September 8.

In 1761, the regiment laid idle in North America for most of the year, leaving in October to join a British amphibious expedition assembling in the West Indies.

In January and February 1762, the regiment took part in the expedition against Martinique. Then, from March to August, it participated in the siege and capture of Havannah, suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a yellow front embroidered with the King's cypher and a crown over it; a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a yellow headband wearing the number 46 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined yellow and laced and edged white (white braid with one yellow stripe and 2 blue zigzags) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above) and red swallow nests laced white at the shoulders
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels yellow laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets vertical pockets with white laces (same lace as above) in a fishbone pattern, each with pewter buttons
Cuffs yellow (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 yellow
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 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 yellow, 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 yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XLVI” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XLVI" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: yellow field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XLVI" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

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

References

The section “Origin and History” of this article is essentially an abridged and adapted version of the following book which is in the public domain:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Forty-Sixth or The South Devonshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1851

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

Hargreave-Mawson, M.: 46thFoot.com

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: 46th Foot

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