Grenadier, Minorca 1771

This painting by Giuseppe Chiesa depicts British soldiers in Minorca in 1771. They are mostly battalion company men of the 25th Foot on the right, but the group on the left are of great interest because they are grenadiers of various regiments. One of the grenadiers is from the 13th Regiment wearing yellow facings. The National Army Museum identifies the regiments from the left as, 13th 11th 67th and 3rd. There is a grenadier officer saluting another officer in the middle but they are both 25th. This painting is reproduced in monochrome in British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660 by Michael Barthorp (1982). He captions the picture, saying that the 13th is the third grenadier from the left so that the order is, 67th 11th 13th and 3rd. He points out that the 13th is the one with the regulation bearskin cap i.e. that it has the metal plate on the front as laid down in the 1768 Dress Regulations. The 3rd Buffs grenadier has the obsolete mitre cap worn prior to 1768. The 13th arrived in Minorca in 1769 and stayed until 1776. The 67th arrived earlier, in 1763, so may not have received their proper caps.

The year 1768 was significant for the development of military uniform. As mentioned, the black bearskin cap replaced the cloth mitre cap. The metal plate at the front was of universal pattern, black with silvered devices. The back of the cap was red with the regimental number embroidered. In the painting the cap with the plate has a tassel hanging on the right side. The 1768 regulations called for a plain white waistcoat, and the red coat was fastened near the top with hooks and eyes. The cuffs were simplified to a round shape and there was a collar with a button and loop on each side. The lace patterns had changed for most regiments so that the 13th now had white lace with a yellow line down the middle. The button loops in all the other regiments were doubled over but the 13th had only a single strip of lace for each button. The shoulders had wings for the grenadiers, which laid close to the shoulder, not sticking out. The shirt had a black cravat or stock with the white shirt collar folded over it. The shoulder belt still had the match-case but that was more symbolic than practical. Grenadiers still carried swords but the battalion company men had no swords, except for the sergeant.

Regimental Details | Uniforms


by Stephen Luscombe