6th Dragoons

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Inniskilling in 1689 by amalgamating troops from regiments created in 1688. It was initially known as the "Sir Albert Cunningham's Regiment of Dragoons".

In 1691, the regiment was ranked 6th Dragoons.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the "6th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragoons". It consisted of two squadrons.

At the end of 1755, a company of light dragoons was added to the regiment.

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

  • in 1758: Cholmodeley

Service during the War

From May to July 1758, the company of light dragoons of the regiment took part in the first expedition against the French Coasts. In the Summer, the regiment was among the first British contingent (6,000 men) sent to reinforce the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. The contingent embarked at Gravesend on July 19, disembarked at Emden on August 3 and arrived at Coesfeld on August 17, after marching through a very heavy rain.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Finckenstein's Division in the second line of the cavalry right wing. On April 13, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it was deployed in the first column under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. In June, the regiment was still part of the Allied main army under the command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, it was present at the Battle of Minden in the first line of the cavalry right wing which was not engaged.

On July 10 1760, the regiment was part of Lieutenant-General Waldegrave's Reserve at the Combat of Corbach. This reserve did not take part in the engagement. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the second line of Lord Granby's British Cavalry Brigade. Granby charged and broke the French cavalry right wing then wheeled and hit the French infantry in the flank, winning the day for the Allies. On August 22, the Hereditary Prince crossed the Diemel with 12,000 men (including this regiment) and advanced on Broglie's left flank, his vanguard reaching Zierenberg. His light troops engaged a French detachment (Royal Dragons, Thianges Dragons and part of the Chasseurs de Fischer) under M. de Travers, which had been left at Oberelsungen to observe the Allies' movements. The Allied light troops were soon supported by the Hereditary Prince at the head of the 2nd North British Dragoons (Scot Greys) and the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons and the British grenadiers. The French were finally driven back with considerable loss and took refuge into Zierenberg. During the night of September 5 to 6, the regiment took part in a surprise attack on Zierenberg. For the attack, it was posted at the entrance of a large wood, near Malsburg. On October 1, Ferdinand sent a British division (including this regiment) under General Waldegrave as reinforcements to the Hereditary Prince, operating on the Lower Rhine. On October 16, the regiment fought at the Battle of Clostercamp where it formed part of the advanced guard.

On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it belonged to Anhalt's Corps.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1758
Headgear black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat double breasted red lined yellow with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes grouped 2 by 2
Collar none
Shoulder strap left shoulder: red fastened with a small white button

right shoulder: white aiguillette

Lapels none
Pockets long vertical pockets with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern
Cuffs yellow (slashed in the British pattern) with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern on the sleeve
Turnbacks yellow
Waistcoat yellow with very narrow white buttonholes
Breeches yellow with white knee covers
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt n/a
Cartridge Box natural leather
Scabbard n/a
Bayonet scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Housings yellow with pointed corners decorated with the regimental badge (the castle of Inniskilling within a wreath); bordered with a white braid with a blue stripe
Holster caps yellow with pointed corners decorated with the golden crowned king's cipher and the rank of the regiment (VI. D.) underneath; bordered with a white braid with a blue stripe
Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket.

Officers

As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • a narrow silver lace at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
  • a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
  • crimson and gold striped sword knot
  • yellow housings and holster caps laced silver

NCOs

Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a silver aiguillette; a yellow worsted sash about their waist.

Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; white silk aiguillette.

Musicians

Drummers rode grey horses. They wore yellow coats lined and turned up with red and laced with a white braid with a blue stripe. Red waistcoats and breeches.

Drummers wore a mitre cap similar to the grenadier mitre cap but with a lower crown and the tassel hanging behind. Yellow front decorated with the regimental badge (the castle of Inniskilling within a wreath); little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, yellow headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (VI. D.) in the middle part behind.

The drums were of brass with a yellow forepart carrying the regimental badge (the castle of Inniskilling within a wreath).

Guidons

The guidons were made of silk, fringed with silver and blue and embroidered with silver. The tassels and cords were of crimson silk and gold mixed.

King's Guidon: crimson field decorated with the rose and thistle conjoined surmounted by a crown. Underneath the central decoration: the king's motto “Dieu et mon Droit”. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment (VI. D.) in silver characters on a yellow ground.

Regimental Guidon: yellow field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (the castle of Inniskilling within a wreath). In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment (VI. D.) on a red ground within a small wreath of roses and thistles.

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

References

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

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II

Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)

Mollo, John and Malcom McGregor: Uniforms of the Seven Years War 1756-63, Blandford Press Ltd., 1977

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

Acknowledgements

Volker Scholz for additional details on the company of light dragoons of the regiment