74th Foot

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Origin and History

The unit was originally raised at Newcastle-on-Tyne on September 20 1756 as a second battalion of the 36th Foot. However, this second battalion was detached from its parent regiment in April 1758 to form the “74th Regiment of Foot”.

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

  • from April 1758 to ????: Talbot

The regiment was disbanded in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years' War.

Service during the War

In 1758, 200 men of the regiment were sent to Senegal to garrison Fort Louis taken from the French on April 30. In May, the rest of the regiment was initially part of the force assembled on the isle of Wight for the first British expedition on the French coasts. However, when the expedition departed at the end of May, the regiment was left behind at Wight to serve in another mission. On July 12, it was ordered to embark for Jamaica.

From 1758 to its disbandment in 1763, the main part of the regiment was used in Jamaica against the Maroons.

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 deep green 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 deep green headband wearing the number 74 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined deep green and laced white (white braid with 2 red and 1 yellow stripes) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels deep green laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs deep green (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above)
Turnbacks deep 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


N.B.: while serving in Jamaica, the uniform was adapted; the coat was lined with linen, the breeches were thicker and thread stockings were used.

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

  • gold 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 deep 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 forepart of the drums were painted deep green, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXXIV” 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 "LXXIV" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: deep green field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXXIV" in gold Roman numerals. 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

The Highland Light Infantry

Lawson, Cecil C. P., A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 95

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth

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