Wednesday, November 10, 2010

33rd Regiment of Foot

The 33rd Regiment of Foot was one of the most distinguished regiments serving in the British army during the American Revolutionary War. An admirer, Sergeant Roger Lamb, commented that "The 33rd... set a standard of soldier like duty." Lieutenant-General Charles Cornwallis served as the regiment's colonel, but in the field the regiment was led by Lieutenant-Colonel James Webster.

The 33rd first served on a British expedition to the Carolinas, and it was present at battle of Sullivan's Island (June 28, 1776). After the unsuccessful conclusion of that expedition, the regiment was sent to New York, where it was active at the battles of Long Island (August 27, 1776) and Fort Washington (November 16, 1776). In 1777, the regiment participated in the invasion of Pennsylvania and the subsequent retreat through New Jersey. The battalion companies saw relatively little combat during this interval. The grenadier company, however, saw hard fighting at Brandywine (September 11, 1777) and Monmouth (June 28, 1778), and the light infantry company lost many of its men in various engagements by the end of 1777.

Also in 1777, a portion of the regiment served in the northern theater in John Burgoyne's army. These men helped serve the artillery pieces, and, like most of Burgoyne's men, were captured at Saratoga.

After Monmouth, the regiment spent time in and around British posts in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island. In 1780, the regiment fought in the southern theater, including at the siege of (April-May, 1780) Charleston. After Charleston surrendered, the battalion companies of the regiment helped garrison South Carolina. These men saw hard hard fighting at the battle of Camden (August 16, 1780), where the regiment charged Continental infantry and American cannon spewing grape shot and canister. By the end of the day, the regiment lost 100 men, or 1/3 of its strength. The next major battle in which the 33rd served was Guilford Courthouse (March 15, 1781). On this occasion, the British army was faced with three successive lines of American infantry. The 33rd was the first regiment to fight its way through the first two American lines (militia from North Carolina and Virginia), and it then played a pivotal role in forcing the final line (Continentals) to retreat. However, losses once again totaled 1/3 of the regiment's strength. The remainder of the 33rd accompanied Cornwallis into Virginia, and it fought its last battle at Yorktown (October, 1781).

Below are two images of 15mm miniatures I've painted to represent the 33rd Foot. Colors for the flag pole will be added at a future date.

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