|Knuckleduster's 93rd Highlanders|
There can be fewer acts of valor in the face of overwhelming odds than the 93rd Highlanders' storming of the American advance redoubt at New Orleans. As the British Army was being bled white by withering fire, the 1st (flank) company of the 93rd surprised and overwhelmed a redoubt next to the river on the American right. Unsupported and exposed to a hail of lead from the US 7th Infantry, the detachment was mowed down. The remainder of the regiment, which should have been behind them, were inexplicably ordered on a futile and suicidal march across the middle of the killing zone to join another group assaulting the American left.
The main body of the regiment was observed standing at the canal in front of the the American position without the ladders and fascines they were promised in order to cross the the water and scale the works, awaiting orders which would never come from the silent lips of their dead commanders, "unable to go forward, too proud to retreat."
So we have here, as is so often the case, lions used like dogs. C'est la guerre. Fortunately, the only widows gaming produces are tin widows, so we can send our little men on any doomed mission we can dream up with a clear conscience!
The 93rd assembled in Plymouth, England for the expedition. They were ordered to wear trousers due to a shortage of kilt hose (socks) and a feeling among command that kilts were "ill-calculated for severe service" (maybe it was really a shortage of Bond's Gold Powder). Tartan arrived from South Africa in time to be made up into trousers ("trews"). Their bonnets were considerably simpler than those worn in the Peninsular War or at Waterloo, and certainly a far cry from the Lady Ga-Ga getup worn in the Crimea. A simple blue tam was worn with a wide, red-and-white checked band around the bottom. A pom ("tourie") topped off the cap, white for grenadiers, green for lights, and red for everyone else.
The tartan was the Government Sett. I own and occasionally wear a kilt of this pattern, so you would think painting it would be easy. Think again. I am very much a novice when it comes to painting tartan, but I gave it my best. I painted them blue, then green stripes, then a light green highlight at the junction of the green lines, then a thin black line down the center of the green. A far cry from the Crystal Brush competition, but it gets the job done and looks good at arm's length.
The 93rd is an essential unit to have if you're planning on gaming the Battle of New Orleans. They were critically important on the day of the battle, and they took part in a hotly-contested night battle during the lead-up to the battle.
I'll leave you with a joke a musician friend of mine from Northern Ireland often tells. Do you know the difference between a kilt and a skirt? If you're wearin' underwear, it's a skirt!