Wednesday, May 25, 2011


During the Niagara campaign of 1814, the US Left Division included a brigade of militia under the command of General Peter Buell Porter, including troops from New York and Pennsylvania. They acquitted themselves well in both the battle of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, and to the surprise of a skeptical Winfield Scott, did credit to the American army during the campaign.

In previous campaigns, the militias of Pennsylvania and New York each had various state militia uniform distinctions, however during the 1814 campaign they were equipped by the US government and dressed much like the remainder of the Left Division. The leather shako and short grey roundabout jackets were very much in evidence. In order to portray them on the tabletop, I have chosen to sculpt them with bayonets unfixed and in their scabbards, and with a variety of irregular equipment. Their shakos are not trimmed out to the full extent one would expect of a disciplined regular, and substitute headgear such as straw hats, round hats, and old felt shakos are worn by some of the troops.

The long garment worn by this figure is a work smock, not a long wool coat. These were a very common item in camp and rarely seen on the wargame table. The pattern formed the basis of the rifle frock, which had the addition of fringe and a "cape" (layer of cloth over the shoulders, also with fringes).

Miltia units sometimes painted their unit designations on the shakos rather than wearing a shako plate. They were also quite fond of decorating their knapsacks, canteens, and caps with stars, eagles, and other patriotic designs.

I have yet to sculpt command for these figures. I will be adding some Pennsylvania and New York uniform flourishes to the command packs. For instance, New York militia commanders wore cocked hats and coats with lapels as Napoleonic French.

The new militia packs can be found here at

All for now!

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