48th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 48th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised by Colonel James Cholmondeley 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 59th.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Scotland from 1745 to 1747, taking part in the battles of Falkirk and Culloden. In 1747, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it served under the Duke of Cumberland and fought in the Battle of Lauffeld.

With peace came the reorganisation of the British army. Eleven regiments were disbanded (43rd Foot and ten regiments of marines). Thus, the 59th Foot was re-ranked 48th Foot. The Royal Warrant of July 1 1751 confirmed this rank and the regiment officially became the "48th Regiment of Foot".

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

  • 1755: Colonel Thomas Dunbar

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 part of the aborted expedition against Fort Niagara.

In Spring 1757, the regiment was selected for the planned campaign against Louisbourg or Québec. In early June, the transport fleet carrying the 48th 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 48th Foot back to the Mid-Atlantic Colonies.

In Spring 1758, the regiment embarked from Philadelphia and returned to Halifax. It then took part in the amphibious expedition against Louisbourg. On May 28, the British Fleet departed Halifax. On June 8, when Amherst's Army landed near Louisbourg, the regiment was part of the right brigade under Whitmore. In June and July, it participated in the Siege of Louisbourg which surrendered on July 27. After the capture of the fortress, the regiment sailed for Boston where it arrived on September 14.

In 1759, the regiment was part of the expeditionary force sent against Québec. It belonged to Colonel Murray's Brigade. On June 27, the army landed on Isle-d'Orléans and were drawn up on the beach near the village of Saint-Laurent. On July 31, the grenadiers of the regiment took part in the failed attack on the shores of Beauport, suffering heavy losses in the fight. On September 13, the regiment took part in the victorious Battle on the Plains of Abraham near Québec. It was initially drawn up en potence fronting the Saint-Charles River to prevent French light troops from outflanking Wolfe's Army while two companies were left to guard the landing-place. Québec finally surrendered on September 18. At the end of October, when Vice-Admiral Saunders left with his fleet for Great Britain, the regiment, whose ranks had been replenished to about 650 men by drafts from the 62nd Foot and 69th Foot, remained as garrison in Québec along with 9 other battalions.

On April 28 1760, at the defeat of Sainte-Foy, the regiment was in Burton's Brigade on the right wing. It then participated in the expedition against Montréal, where the surrender of Vaudreuil's troops on September 12, completed the conquest of Canada.

In January and February 1762, the regiment took part in the siege of Fort Royal and in the conquest of Martinique Island. Then from March to August, it participated in the siege and capture of Havanna suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months.

In 1763, after the peace, the regiment returned home.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a buff front embroidered with the King's cypher with 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 pale buff headband probably wearing the number 48 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined pale buff and laced white (white braid decorated with a thin green line, a thin yellow line and a green waved line) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel and brick red shoulder wing laced white (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red swallow nests (left shoulder only)
Lapels pale 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 pale buff slashed cuffs laced with a single white braid (same lace as above) with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes (same lace as above) on the sleeve above each the cuff
Turnbacks buff
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above) with pewter buttons and white buttonholes
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


N.B.: some authors mention brass buttons for this regiment but we have been unable to find any evidence of this.

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

Officers

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 aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • silver istead of white lace
  • a crimson sash

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers uder their command. however, officers of the Grenadier's company wore a more decorated mitre cap.

Officers generally carried spontoons; however, in battle some carried muskets instead.

Musicians

The body of the drums was painted buff, with the King's cypher and crown, and the number of the regiment underneath.

Colours

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

Regimental Colour: Buff field, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XLVIII Regt" in gold Roman numerals.

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

References

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

May R. and Embleton G. A.: Wolfe's Army, Osprey Publishing, London, 1974

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

Phillips, Ed: Braddock at the Monongehela, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No. 4