The Irish Brigade

During the Jacobite Rebellion, the French sent detachments from their Irish Brigade to Scotland.  These were formed together as a composite battalion of Irish Piquets.  I decided to model the complete Irish Brigade, which I wanted anyway for my expansion into the War of Austrian Succession, then take a few figures from the various units of this to form my model of the Irish Piquets, in other words exactly what they did in 1745.



The Irish Brigade was commanded by Marshal de Camp (Major-General) Charles O’Brian, Compte (or Vicount) de Clare.  He could have worn the French Marshal de Camp blue uniform, however I decided to model him in his Regiment Clare uniform, with yellow facings, but gave him a tricorne with white feathers around the edge, as worn by French Generals.






The figure I used was a Strelets Russian Dragoon of Peter I (as I have for most of my French mounted figures).





I removed the carbine, changed the position of the sword, removed the pistol from the left hand and repositioned that arm, twisted the head to face the front and welded the front of the coat open.


I decided to model the six battalions of the Irish Brigade as 14 figures per battalion, representing the 13 companies (including one grenadier) plus the equivalent of a company of piquets (which later became the light company).   This is of course exactly the same size as most of my British infantry.

For the Irish Brigade infantry I used Strelets Swedish Infantry of Charles XII.  I picked figures which had turnbacks folded back since most illustrations of units of the Irish Brigade are shown like this. This set only has one figure in each pose, but I bought 24 sets, which gave me enough for two French battalions in each pose, allowing for two figures per battalion in different poses as the command stand.  The figures I selected are shown below:


For all of the figures I removed the knapsack hanging over the sword on the left hip of the figure, since the French did not seem to use such equipment.  I removed the swords from the second and fifth figures and also removed the muskets from the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth figures, then repositioned them.  The first and third figures had tricornes, so were not otherwise modified.  The second, fifth and sixth figures had grenadier mitres so I swapped these for tricornes from RedBox British Infantry, which gave me additional grenadiers for those British figures.  The RedBox British Infantry sets have 43 figures, enough for three of my 14 figure battalions, but only four of these have grenadier mitres, and anyway I had also modelled one complete battalion all wearing mitres as fusiliers (21st Royal Scots Fusiliers) and planned to model a second one (23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers), so needed additional grenadier mitres for them.  The fourth figure was wearing a small cap, so I welded three small blobs of plastic onto the back and sides to turn it into a tricorne.  The modified figures (in the same order as above) are below, on their temporary painting bases (to stop them falling over before permanent basing).


For the command figures I originally planned to use a drummer and officer figure from that same Strelets set.


However the drummer was really large (even taller than the normal infantry, as shown by the first figure) whilst the officer (apparently modelled on Charles XII) was really small, which is odd since he was supposed to be 27 at that time.



I solved that by swapping the drummer and officer figures, which looks much better to me.  I cut the drum off the original drummer and welded it on to the original officer.  I repositioned the arm of the original drummer and added the sword from the officer.  I added a flagpole from a hairgrip.  The new drummer has a RedBox tricorne welded on, plus welded drumsticks added.


All six Regiments of the Irish Brigade were single battalion Regiments.   Their grenadiers (the figure on the right) wore the same uniform as the rest of the battalion, but I have given them moustaches, as worn by French grenadiers.   Below is the completed Regiment Rooth.  This had originally been formed by combining the 1st and 2nd battalions of King James II’s Irish Guards after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and retained several features of that ancestry, including British Royal Regiment blue facings (cuffs, waistcoats, turnbacks and breeches), gold or yellow lace, Royal Regiment Drummers livery.  I have given all of my Irish Brigade battalions a Regimental, as opposed to Colonel’s flag and that of Rooth’s Regiment was a white flag with a red St George’s cross.


Below is the Regiment Berwick.  They had white lace and facings, but a green flag with a red St George’s cross and a red St Andrew’s saltire.  Their drummers (like those of all the Irish Brigade regiments, apart from Rooth’s) wore the same uniform as the rest of the battalion, but with lace (yellow or white as appropriate) on their sleeves.


Below is the Regiment Dillon.  They had yellow lace, black cuffs but white waistcoats, turnbacks and breeches.  The illustration of their flag in the Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project shows cantons 1 (top left) and 4 (bottom right) as black, with cantons 2 (top right) and 3 (bottom left) as red.  Every other source (Wikipedia entry for the Irish Brigade, French language “Regiments Francaises d’Ancient Regime”, description and picture in the Osprey “The Wild Geese” and front cover of the Osprey “Fontonoy” show the cantons on the obverse (front) of the flag (ie with the pole on the left) the other way around, with cantons 1 and 4 red, whilst 2 and 3 are black.   The Osprey “Fontonoy” has a photo of a surviving Dillon flag to prove this, so that is how I have modelled it.  Of course the cantons on the reverse of the flag, as shown below, would be in the pattern shown on the Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project, but it is conventional to show the obverse (front) of the flag if only one side is shown in an illustration.


Below is the Regiment Bulkeley.  They had white lace, emerald green cuffs, waistcoats, turnbacks and breeches.  The Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project shows them with white breeches, but at the time of the War of Austrian Succession they were still wearing green breeches and (according to the Osprey on Louis XV’s Army Foreign Regiments) did not adopt white until 1758.  All sources (including Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project) agree with the pattern of their Regimental flag, obverse with cantons 1 and 4 emerald green, whilst cantons 2 and 3 were red, with the reverse (as shown below) the opposite way around.


Below is Lally’s Regiment, which was the most recently formed in 1744.  It had yellow lace, pale green cuffs, waistcoats, turnbacks and breeches.  Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project shows white turnbacks and breeches, but (according to the Osprey on Louis XV’s Foreign Infantry) that was not adopted until 1758.  The Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project shown their Regimental flag as cantons 1 and 4 red, with cantons 2 and 3 pale green.  However every other source (Wikipedia entry, French language “Regiments Francaises d’Ancient Regime and the Osprey “The Wild Geese”) all show cantons 1 and 4 as blue and cantons 2 and 3 as red, so that is how I have modelled it, with the reverse of the flag (the opposite way around), shown here.


Below is Clare’s Regiment.  They had white lace, yellow cuffs, waistcoats, turnbacks and breeches.  Kronoskaf Seven Years War Project shows white breeches but the Osprey Louis XV’s Foreign Infantry makes clear that that was a change in 1758.  Again Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project shown their Regimental flag as cantons 1 and 4 yellow, whilst 2 and 3 are red.  Every other source (Wikipedia entry, French language “Regiments Francaises d’Ancent Regime” and the Osprey “The Wild Geese” shows cantons 1 and 4 as red whilst 2 and 3 are yellow, so that is how I have modelled it, with the reverse (shown here), the opposite way around.


All six regiments sent detachments of at least 50 men per regiment to Scotland. but those of Bulkeley’s and Clare’s were captured at sea, so never made it to join the Jacobite Army.

Berwick’s actually sent three separate detachments of that strength, the first of which landed, but did not join the rest until just before Culloden, the second was captured at sea and the third escorted a shipment of £12,000 of gold (worth many times that today), which landed in Scotland in March 1746.  They were met by a group of Jacobites led by George Mackenzie, Earl of Cromartie, with his own clan Regiment plus MacDonnell of Barisdale’s Regiment (also known as the 2nd Battalion of Glengarry’s Regiment) and a small MacGregor Regiment (the latter two regiments being described as indistinguishable from bands of robbers). They were all defeated by a party of 64th (Loudoun’s) Highlanders and MacKay Government militia.  Much of the gold was never recovered (and serves as an intriguing story in several novels, including the Outlander series).  It would also make an unusual wargame.

The Irish Brigade detachments which did reach Scotland had a disproportionately high number of officers (57 are identified by name in “No Quarter Given” – the Jacobite Muster Roll), many of whom were attached to other Jacobite regiments.  They also had some reinforcements in Scotland, mainly from British deserters and dismounted FitzJames Horse.



Lieutenant Colonel Walter Stapleton of Regiment Berwick was appointed as a Brigadier (a temporary appointment given to a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel commanding a Brigade) and commanded the Irish Piquets and Royal Eccossais.  I modelled him by converting this Strelets figure.






I removed the musket, removed the cartridge box and knapsack, swapped the grenadier mitre for a tricorne and welded the coat to be open.  I added a gorget (as worn by all French Regimental Officers) welded on from a small piece of sprue.  The figure is mounted on a euro two cent piece (I have collected a few on trips to Spain) with a thin card below it.  I later welded plastic sprue all over the base.






The completed figure is here, painted in the white facings of Berwick’s Regiment but with officer’s silver lace.  The Irish Brigade Officer’s Gorgets were gold, regardless of Regimental lace colour.








For the Irish Piquets I needed a command stand, of an an officer (without a flag) and a drummer.  I modelled these from the two figures shown here.  The drum is just a piece of thick sprue, since I was not using a drummer figure as the officer.

I painted the officer as Lally’s Regiment (since they seemed to provide more officers than any other Regiment) and the drummer as Dillon’s.


Below are the complete Irish Picquets representing their strength at Culloden, a command stand of two figure, plus two figures each of Rooth’s, Dillon’s Lally’s and Berwick’s..


I decided I wanted to be able to portray a “What If” scenario of the complete Irish Brigade arriving in Scotland.  I though that if they had, then they would probably have been split into two brigades, since they were twice the size of any other Jacobite Brigade. In consequence I wanted to portray the Compte de Clare as a Divisional Commander, so he needed an ADC, preferably from his own Regiment.


I picked this Strelets figure from their Russian Dragoons of Peter I set, but he did not have a horse as some figures are portrayed as riding two to a horse.  The horse is therefore one of the incredibly cheap Eagle Games ones.




I welded the horse furniture into a square shape, swapped the figure”s carbine for a sword, swapped the grenadier mitre for a tricorne and welded the front of the coat as open.




I like having named staff officer figures wherever possible, so looked for someone suitable in the book “No Quarter Given” – the Muster Roll of the Jacobite Army.   There was just one officer of Clare’s Regiment shown, Captain Richard Warren, and he is shown as an ADC to the Duke of Perth.  I assumed that if the Compte de Clare had arrived he would have appropriated him as his own ADC.  The completed figure is here.





Here is the Compte de Clare and his ADC on a command sabot.  Because of the way I can swap figures around on these command sabots, I could use Captain Richard Warren in his real role as an ADC to the Duke of Perth in a historical scenario.



Lastly, if I were to portray the Irish Brigade split into two smaller brigades, then I needed Brigadiers for them.  I could use Lieutenant Colonel Stapleton as one, but I needed one more.  According to the Kronoskaf Seven Year’s War Project, Colonel Charles Lesley, Compte de Rooth was captured in Scotland at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, although he does not appear in the book “No Quarter Given” – the Muster Roll of the Jacobite Army. His biography says that he was appointed as a Brigadier in 1743, so that was good enough for me to model him as the second Brigade Commander.




The figure I used was a Strelets officer from their Swedish Infantry of Charles XII set.










I decided to show him in a greatcoat, looking just like the Officer from Regiment Rooth in Plate G3 of the Osprey “The Scottish Jacobite Army”.  I therefore added a tricorne, removed the wig he was holding in his left hand, welded the front of his coat open and added shoulder pieces to make it look like a greatcoat.







The completed figure is here.

That completes my Irish Brigade.


2 thoughts on “The Irish Brigade

  1. Peter September 3, 2017 / 11:56 am

    Splendid job on the Irish Brigade. I allways have phantasized about playing a wargame about the Jacobite Gold. A perfect what if scenario. Just like your thoughts. Maybe one day. If the Jacobites under Cromartie could have managed to made it back in time before Culloden like the 2nd Fraser batallion and the MacPhersons they had some 1.000 men extra put to the effort. The outcome might very well have been different.


  2. rodwargaming September 3, 2017 / 12:46 pm


    My thoughts exactly. I do have plans for a small ship, to be modelled later this year. I originally planned for this to be HMS Vulture, which was the RN sloop which tried to stop the Jacobite siege artillery being ferried across the Firth of Forth. I might be able to let it double up as Le Prince Charles (former HMS Hazard) or build a second one.



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