Origin and History
The unit was originally raised at Exeter in October 1756 as per a resolution of September 20 of the same year as a second battalion of the 4th Foot. However, this second battalion was detached from its parent regiment on April 21 1758 to form the “62nd Regiment of Foot”.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- since April 21 1758: Strode
Service during the War
In January 1758, 4 companies of the 2nd Battalion were assigned as marines aboard ships of admiral Boscawen's fleet. This fleet sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the planned expedition against the fortress of Louisbourg. The remaining companies of the battalion were stationed at Plymouth. On April 21, while these companies were crossing the Atlantic, a regulation ordered to detach the 2nd battalion for its parent unit to form a distinct regiment: the 62nd Foot. Nevertheless, the 4 companies aboard the fleet continued to serve as marines for the rest of the campaign against Louisbourg. The fortress surrendered on July 26 and part of the fleet sailed home in October.
In February 1759, the entire regiment embarked aboard the fleet of admiral Saunders for the expedition against Québec. During this campaign, the regiment along with the 69th Foot served as marines on board the fleet. It was landed on the Isle d'Orléans in the Saint-Laurent River. At the end of October, before the departure of the fleet after the capture of Québec, drafts were taken from the regiment to reinforce the regiments staying to garrison the town. The remaining troops of the 62nd sailed home with the fleet.
In 1760, the regiment was assigned to Ireland where part of it garrisoned the castle Carrickfergus. In February, the French conducted an expedition against the Irish Coasts. On February 21, a French force of approximately 600 men under the command François Thurot conducted an amphibious assault and laid siege to the castle. The castle's defences were in a state of disrepair, including a 50 foot breach in the wall. Under the command of lieutenant-colonel John Jennings, the 4 under-strength companies, approximately 200 men in all, withstood three assaults on the castle. In addition to being outnumbered, the garrison was short of ammunition, having to melt down their buttons to make bullets. By the time the French made their third attack, the defenders had expended all their ammunition and were left with rocks and bayonets. After the third attempt was beaten back, lieutenant-colonel Jennings was forced to seek terms. After meeting with the French commander, Jennings and his men were allowed to surrender the castle, give their parole, retain their arms and colours. The French, in return, promised not to plunder the town of Carrickfergus. The French force was later intercepted on its way home by the Royal Navy and destroyed.
In 1761, part of the regiment was sent to Germany to join the British forces serving on the continent.
In 1763, the regiment was reunited and deployed in the West Indies where it would remain until 1776.
The companies who served during the campaign against Louisbourg in 1758 most probably wore the uniform of their initial regiment: the 4th Foot.
|Coat||brick red lined buff and laced and edged white (white braid with 2 black and 2 buff stripes) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
|Waistcoat||brick red laced white (same lace as above)|
|Gaiters||white with black buttons|
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
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 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.
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 king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXII” under it. The rims were red.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXII" in gold Roman numerals on crimson.
Regimental Colour: buff field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXII" in gold Roman numerals on crimson. The Union in the upper left corner.
Fortescue, J. W., A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899
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 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.