47th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Scotland on January 3, 1741 as the "John Mordaunt's Regiment of Foot". It then ranked 58th.

On September 21, 1745, during the Jacobite Rising, the regiment fought at the Battle of Prestonpans where it was routed. It then took part in the defence of the Edinburgh Castle until the arrival of reinforcements.

In 1748, the regiment was renumbered 47th Foot.

In 1750, the regiment was sent to North America.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "47th Regiment of Foot".

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

  • from 1743 to 1771: Peregrine Lascelles

Service during the War

In 1755, at the outbreak of the Seven Years War in America, the regiment was part of the Nova Scotia garrison.

In 1757, the regiment was selected for the planned campaign against Louisbourg or Québec. However, three French Naval Squadrons reinforced Louisbourg that summer and the British expedition was cancelled. The 47th Foot spent the Winter 1757/1758 at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In 1758, the regiment took part in the second attempt against the Fortress of Louisbourg in Canada. On May 28, the British Fleet departed Halifax. On June 8, when Amherst's Army landed near Louisbourg, the regiment was part of the centre brigade under Wolfe. In June and July, it took part in the Siege of Louisbourg which finally surrendered on July 27. After the capture of the fortress, the regiment sailed for Boston where it arrived on September 14.

In 1759, the regiment was part of the expedition against Québec. It belonged to Brigadier-General Townsend's Brigade. On June 27, the army landed on Isle-d'Orléans and were drawn up on the beach near the village of Saint-Laurent. On July 31, the grenadiers of the regiment took part in the failed attack on the shores of Beauport, suffering heavy losses in the fight. Late in the evening of September 12, the regiment formed part of the first 1,700 men who were ordered from the British vessels above Québec into bateaux in preparation for a landing at Anse-au-Foulon. On September 13, the regiment took part in the victorious Battle of the Plains of Abraham near Québec. It was deployed in the centre. On September 18, Québec finally surrendered. At the end of October, when Vice-Admiral Saunders left with his fleet for Great Britain, the regiment, whose ranks had been replenished to about 450 men by drafts from the 62nd Foot and 69th Foot, remained as garrison in Québec along with 9 other battalions.

On April 28 1760, the regiment fought in the Battle of Sainte-Foy where it was deployed in Fraser's Brigade on the left wing. After the defeat, the small British force retired to Québec but was soon relieved by the arrival of a British fleet. In August and September of the same year, the regiment took part in the expedition against Montréal.

In 1763, the regiment returned to Great Britain and was stationed in Ireland for ten years.

Uniform

In 1758, the new clothing of the regiment were captured by French privateers. The regiment then purchased the uniforms of the disbanded 50th Foot (red with white facings). Coincidentally the uniforms of both regiments were quite similar.

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 white 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 white headband wearing the number 47 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined white and laced and edged white (white braid bordered by a dark blue zigzag stripe on each side and with a thin yellow zigzag in the centre) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels white 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 white (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with white buttonholes and white buttons on the sleeve
Turnbacks white
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 natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


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

  • 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 white, 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 white, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XLVII” 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 "XLVII" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: white field with a red cross; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XLVII" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

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

References

Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours

Boscawen, Hugh: The Capture of Louisbourg, 1758, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2011

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, 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: 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot

47th Foot]

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