69th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 69th Foot

Origin and History

The unit was originally raised as per a resolution of September 20 1756 as a second battalion of the 24th Foot. However, this second battalion was detached from its parent regiment on April 23 1758 to form the “69th Regiment of Foot”.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since April 23 1758: Colville

Service during the War

In January 1758, 4 companies of the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot 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. 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 69th Foot. Nevertheless, the 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 62nd 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 69th sailed home with the fleet.

From March to June 1761, the regiment took part in the expedition against Belle-Isle. The citadel of Palais finally surrendered on June 7. The regiment then laid idle until being sent to the West Indies where it arrived in Carlisle Bay in December.

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

Uniform

The companies who served during the campaign against Louisbourg in 1758 most probably wore the uniform of their initial regiment: the 24th Foot. The uniform of the newly formed regiment were described as follows.

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a willow green front edged white and embroidered with white scroll work and the King's cypher surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a willow green headband edged white probably wearing the number 69 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined white and laced white (white braid with 1 red and 2 green stripes) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red (left shoulder only)
Lapels willow green 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 willow green 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 the cuff
Turnbacks probably white (since lining is reported to be white) but maybe willow green
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 white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a “Brown Bess” musket, 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 willow green, 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 willow green, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXIX” 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 "LXIX" in gold Roman numerals on crimson.

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

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

References

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)

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