85th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 85th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Shrewsbury on July 21 1759 by Colonel Crauford, an officer of the 13th Foot. It was known as the “Regiment of Light Infantry” and as the “Royal Volunteers”. Despite its name, the regiment received no specific training as light infantry.

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

  • from July 21 1759 to 1763: Colonel Hon. John Crauford

The regiment was disbanded in Salisbury in April 1763 after its return to Great Britain.

Service during the War

In May and June 1761, a detachment of the regiment reinforced the expedition against Belle-Isle.

In 1762, the regiment was sent to Portugal to assist the Portuguese army against the Spanish invasion of Portugal. It arrived in July from Belle-Isle. A Portuguese unit placed under the command of Hamilton was also known as “Royal Volunteers” but this was an entirely distinct unit. Colonel Crawfurd being employed as major-general at headquarters, Viscount Pulteney assumed effective command of the regiment. Pulteney was then put at the head of a converged battalion of grenadiers. During this period, Captain James Douglas assumed command of the regiment. By mid September, the regiment was attached to Burgoyne's detachment covering the border between Portalegre and Vila Velha de Rodao. On October 3, 200 men of the regiment formed part of Lieutenant-colonel Lee's detachment sent across the Tagus to attack the Spanish battery at Vila Velha. On October 7, Lee's detachment surprised the Spanish camp at Villa Velha, dispersed it with considerable loss, captured 6 guns and 60 artillery mules, and burned the artillery depot, at a cost of only 1 man killed and 10 wounded.

In 1763, the regiment returned home.

Uniform

Very few information is available about the uniform of this regiment: it wore a hat specific to the regiment, a coat without lapel, a white waistcoat and white breeches; its distinctive colour was blue (as per Kirby) or red (as per Lawson).

Privates

Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black hat laced white with a turned up front (à la Henry VIII) and a white plume
Grenadier no information available
Neck stock probably white
Coat brick red lined blue or red with pewter buttons, maybe with white buttonholes (unknown regimental lace)
Collar no information available
Shoulder Straps no information available
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets with white laces (unknown regimental lace) arranged in a fishbone pattern, each with pewter buttons
Cuffs blue or red slashed cuffs probably laced white (unknown regimental lace) with pewter buttons
Turn-backs no information available
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters short black gaiters
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt natural leather
Waist-belt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Foot gear black shoes


Officers

no information available

Musicians

no information available

Colours

no information available

References

British Armed Forces, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry

Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899

Kirby, Mike, The British Contingent - Uniform Information, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3

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

O'Hara, Danny, Eighteenth Century Wargaming Resources On-Line

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

United Services Magazine 1863, Issue 3

Acknowledgements

Digby Smith for information provided on this junior regiment.