Defence of Edinburgh

I have recently received a copy of Jonathan Oates’ excellent book “The Sieges of the ’45”, published by Helion as part of their “Reason to Revolution” series. I actually ordered it several months ago, but it has only just been printed. I have probably now read it at least five times.

It has much more detail on the various sieges than more general histories of the ’45 and has inspired me to revisit my wargame troops involved in those sieges. The picture on the front cover is Carlisle, but I thought I would start with Edinburgh.

I had made some Edinburgh Castle garrison troops already, to represent Lieutenant General Guest and two companies of Lascelles’ 58th Foot. These companies were supposed to be 70 men each, probably 81 including Officers, NCOs and drummers, but were understrength. A strength return of their parent regiment at Aberdeen in early September 1745 shows their average strength per company as 60 men, which (at my 1:30 figure ratio) I have represented as two men per company.

I realised that I was missing the permanent garrison of an Independent Invalid Company, whose established strength, including officers, NCOs and drummers was 114 men. I picked a suitable Redbox British Infantry figure to represent these, modifying it to swap the grenadier mitre for a tricorne and have the coat not turned back, since this is how these men are depicted in the 1742 “Cloathing Book”. I also removed the haversack, as shown on the rear view, since these men were purely for defence of the castle and not required to deploy into the field.

I wanted a figure to represent the Invalid Artillery so modified this Imex AWI American Artilleryman.

Jonathan Oates speculates that the Invalid Company was probably understrength, but does not have actual figures for this. Invalid Companies in other garrisons seem to have been 80 men so that is an indicator. I decided to represent the permanent garrison as three figures, two men from the Independent Invalid Company and one Invalid Royal Artilleryman. There were only four Invalid Artillerymen in the Edinburgh Castle garrison, whose role was to maintain the guns and also train some of the Invalid Infantry to crew them. My Invalid Artilleryman therefore represents some of these trained infantrymen as well. The Independent Invalid Company personnel have no lace on their coats and have been painted as wearing stockings without gaiters, as would be normal in the castle. The Invalid Artilleryman also has no lace on his uniform. This lack of lace seems to be a characteristic of Invalid units. There is a mention in notes to Plate H of the Osprey “King George’s Army 1740-1793 (3)” of a tailor in 1771 being asked to make uniforms for a Royal Artillery Invalid Company, but the coats to be “plain” (ie unlaced, since there is a mention of a reduction in price for not having to sew lace on).

I had not previously considered any of the troops who defended Edinburgh City itself. Jonathan Oates lists these as:

Trained Bands – 16 Companies totalling 1,000 men.

The City Guard (some accounts refer to this as the Town Guard, but Edinburgh is a City) – one company of 114 men.

The Edinburgh Regiment – six companies totalling 300-600 men.

Edinburgh Volunteers – six companies totalling 500 men.

Musselburgh Volunteers – two separate groups shown totalling 350 men.

Haddington Volunteers – 200 men.

Dalkeith Volunteers – 200 men.

Gill’s Meeting House Seceders – 400 men.

Excise men – 60 men.

I decided to model figures to depict several of these elements.

The City Guard and the Edinburgh Regiment were paid, the others were unpaid. I decided to distinguish between them by depicting the paid troops in uniforms.

The City Guard acted as the police force, were mostly former soldiers and had a “rough and tough” reputation.

I used these Imex AWI British figures as the City Guard. A man with a halberd as an NCO and soldiers with muskets. They were authorised an increase in strength of 30 men, which would have taken them to 144, but how many extra were actually recruited is not clear.

Here they are painted up as an NCO and three soldiers. Their uniforms are well documented. There is an illustration in Plate G2 of the Osprey “King George’s Army 1740-1793 (2). There is also an active re-enactment group in Edinburgh wearing those same uniforms. One odd feature is that they had blue facings but red waistcoats and breeches (Regular British Regiments with blue facings had blue waistcoats and breeches).

For the Edinburgh Regiment I used Redbox British Infantry but modified this figure to change the position of the musket. I also made the coats closed, without turnbacks.

I decided to give them a command stand of an officer (standard bearer) and drummer. The drummer is wearing a normal uniform and not a special British Army drummer one.

Both figures are heavily converted.

There is an illustration of a man from the Regiment in Plate E3 of the Osprey “Cumberland’s Culloden Army 1745-46”. However, as the accompanying text shows, this is based on a Volunteer, not actually an Edinburgh Regiment soldier. That text does however speculate that the Edinburgh Regiment may have worn dark blue coats with red facings, as did many English Provincial Regiments, however there is no record of any Scottish unit wearing blue uniforms, and indeed the uniform proposed for the Argyll Militia and Highland Independent Companies (actually issued to some of the latter before Culloden) was red jackets, with yellow facings.

There was some delay in forming the Edinburgh Regiment since the authority to raise them was not received from London until 9 September 1745, and they were deployed to face the Jacobites advancing on Edinburgh only one week later. There was therefore no time to make such uniforms.

There is however another possible source for uniforms. The Regular British Army Regiment for Edinburgh was Sempill’s 25th Foot. They were originally raised in Edinburgh in 1689 and had the right to recruit in Edinburgh without having to ask permission from the Lord Provost. In September 1745 the 25th Foot was in Flanders, where it had taken part in the Battle of Fontenoy. However it had two recruiting companies in Scotland, each of 25 men, but designed to increase in strength up to 100 men each as they recruited. As the Jacobite Rebellion started these recruiting companies joined the garrison of Stirling Castle. However, they must have had stocks of uniforms ready for recruits and the obvious place for these to have been was Edinburgh Castle. The 25th Foot wore red jackets with yellow facings, so I am therefore assuming that this is what the Edinburgh Regiment wore. It is worth mentioning that when the Edinburgh Militia was formed, later in the 18th Century, they wore red jackets with yellow facings.

Here is my interpretation of the Edinburgh Regiment. I have shown them as 12 figures, which would represent 360 men. Jonathan Oates says they had six companies of a total strength between 300-600 men. However the accounts of the action seem to suggest that less than 200 men actually deployed to Corstorphine. I have shown them with grey gaiters, rather than the pipeclayed white of regular regiments

Their flag is speculative, a yellow field with the Coat of Arms of Edinburgh on it.

Interestingly, after modelling this, I came across an illustration on the Flags of War website, giving a very similar flag for the Edinburgh Loyalist Militia Regiment.

For the various volunteer units, I used Redbox Militia and Loyalist figures. I used the same figures for Jacobite Lowlanders and Loyalist Volunteers but had carried out head swaps on these so that all of my Jacobite Lowlanders had Scots bonnets whilst all of the Loyalists had tricornes. I had some of these figures spare, since I was originally going to use them for London Trained Bands, who formed part of George II’s Army deployed at Finchley Common, and who might have confronted the Jacobites had they not turned back at Derby. The London Trained Bands did not wear uniform in the 17th Century, during the English Civil War but, on reflection, they probably did by 1745, so I will now use Redbox British Infantry figures to model them at some future date.

I had a problem in that I had used some of the tricorne heads for the Irish Brigade Lally’s Regiment. Although this gave me spare mitres, these were not much good for Loyalist volunteers.

What I did have was quite a lot of spare Airfix Napoleonic British RHA heads, since I had used some of their bodies to make French Napoleonic Horse Artillery. I therefore used these for my Edinburgh Volunteers, welding the Tarleton helmets into tricornes.

For the Edinburgh Volunteers command I modified an officer, to make slightly different poses each time I used that same figure and converted a figure into a drummer.

Here is the completed Edinburgh Volunteers, of 12 figures. They have no flag. This includes two figures which I had already modelled as part of the composite unit Paisley, Edinburgh and Stirling Volunteers which were at Falkirk. My take on that is that when Edinburgh city was captured by the Jacobites in September 1745, the equivalent of a company of Edinburgh Volunteers fled to the west and joined up with the Paisley Volunteers.

I modelled the Musselburgh Volunteers (a composite of two different Musselburgh elements) as six figures. I wanted each unit of volunteers to be in a different pose, so that I could easily identify them. I had previously used this figure as Glasgow Volunteers (which were at Falkirk) and now changed the position of the musket.

Here are their command figures of an officer, in a modified pose and a figure converted as a drummer.

For the Haddington Volunteers I used a figure which I had previously used for the two figures of Stirling Volunteers which formed part of the composite Paisley, Edinburgh and Stirling Volunteers at Falkirk. I therefore modified this figure to give a different pose for the Haddington Volunteers.

For the Dalkeith Volunteers I used a figure which I had previously used for the Paisley Volunteers. I therefore modified this figure to give a different pose for the Dalkeith Volunteers.

Here are the Musselburgh, Haddington and Dalkeith Volunteers, which I would field as a composite battalion.

Although Lieutenant General Guest commanded the garrison of Edinburgh Castle he had no direct authority over the various units in the City. These all reported to the Lord Provost, Archibald Stewart, who I have modelled here.

He is converted from an Accurate/Revell AWI American Militia figure, simply by removing his musket. He was not a soldier, and did not leave Edinburgh itself, so I have shown him in civilian clothes without any weapons.

The Edinburgh Trained Bands declined to march out to Corstorphine to confront the Jacobites, but did help to defend Edinburgh City gates and walls. I have not modelled them as such, but if I wanted to represent them then I could use the Glasgow, Paisley and Stirling Volunteers.

Similarly I have not modelled the Gill’s Meeting House Seceders nor the Excise men. Both are mentioned as being present but I have come across no mention of any actual part they played. If I wanted to represent them, then I could use a planned unit of Carlisle Volunteers.

Next, I am going to construct a model of Edinburgh Castle.

2 thoughts on “Defence of Edinburgh

  1. simonsmrt May 10, 2021 / 10:45 am

    Nice conversions Rod, do you use the Plastic Solider Review site for keeping up to speed on the myriad of manufacturers products?
    I only found it 5 or so years ago but if I’m going to “pimp” a wargame with figures for a more visual effect I find it a pretty decent site and there seems to be so so many new products continually in the pipeline.
    For example, I never expected a manufacturer to produce a Natal Native Contingent set or four 4 separate sets of ACW infantry in march order or advance or attack or charge poses. It also does a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff
    A luxury modellers and wargamers have nowadays compared to just Airfix back in the day


  2. rodwargaming May 10, 2021 / 1:30 pm

    Hi Simon,

    Yes, I have used PSR for many years. One of the things I use it for is my charts of all of the figures which I use in my planning process:


    That is how I was able to replan to use figures originally planned to become London Trained Bands to be Loyalist Volunteers.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s