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American Civil War - 14th Regiment, New York State Militia
The 14 th Regiment New York State Militia, which was also called the 14 th Brooklyn Chasseurs, was a
volunteer militia regiment from the city of Brooklyn, New York.
During the civil war the men of the 14 th Brooklyn became well known by both armies and throughout the
country for their hard drill, hard fighting, and constant refusal to stand down from a fight.
There were two things the men of the Fourteenth jealously guarded. Their regimental numeral, and their
At their time of their muster into Federal service, the men were promised by no less a figure then General
Irvin McDowell, that they could use the number “14”. Officially, however the regiment bore the number
“84” on the roster of New York volunteer regiments, and there was in fact another regiment called the 14 th
New York Volunteers.
This situation always annoyed the officers and men of the Fourteenth, and throughout the unit’s civil war
career, use of the number “84” was scrupulously avoided. All correspondence, payrolls, and reports were
headed “14 th New York State Militia”, while the regiment commonly referred to itself, and was commonly
known throughout the army, as the “14 th Brooklyn”.
The Chasseur uniform was adopted in 1860, and the regiment first paraded in it on 18 th April 1861. These
uniforms had been furnished by the city of Brooklyn. From this date until its men were mustered out in
1864, the Chasseur uniform was worn on virtually all occasions except fatigue.
They received their nickname, the “Red legged Devils”, during the First Battle of Bull Run.
Referring to the regiment’s colourful red trousers, as the regiment repeatedly charged up Henry House
Hill, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson yelled to his men, “Hold on Boys! Here come
those red legged devils again!”
After the Battle of First Bull Run, there was a short period when it seemed that the Fourteenth would be
obliged to go into the regulation blue uniform.According to its Colonel,
“... the red pants being worn out.... The army blue had to be substituted until others could be supplied by
contract and, although the blue looked neat and comfortable, the men were not pleased with them as they
would not be found dead without red pants on. The government soon supplied the distinctive uniform of
the regiment and continued to furnish it during its term of service.”
14th Regiment, New York State Militia
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WELLINGTON IN INDIA
THE BATTLE OF ASSAYE 1803
MADRAS NATIVE INFANTRY
A Sepoy was originally the designation given to a professional Indian infantryman, usually armed with a
musket, in the armies of the Mughal Empire.
In the Eighteenth Century, the French East India Company and its other European counterparts employed
locally recruited soldiers within India, mainly consisting of infantry designated as “Sepoys”.
The largest of these Indian forces, trained along European lines, were those that belonged to the British
East India Company.
The term “Sepoy” is still used in the modern Nepalese, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh armies, where it
denotes the rank of private soldier.
In its most common application, sepoy was the term used in the British Indian Army and earlier in the
army of the British East India Company, for an infantry private.
A cavalry trooper was known as a “Sowar”.
The term Sepoy came into common use in the forces of the British East India Company in the eighteenth
century, where it was one of a number of names, such as Peons, gentoos, mestees and topasses, used
for various categories of soldier.
Initially it refered to Hindu or Muslim soldiers without regular uniforms or discipline. It later generically
referred to all native soldiers in the service of the European powers in India.
Close to ninety six percent of the British East India Company’s army of 300,000 men were native to India
and these sepoys played a crucial role in securing the subcontinent for the company.
The East India Company initially recruited sepoys from the local communities in the Madras and Bombay
Presidencies. The emphasis was for tall and soldierly recruits, broadly defined as being “of a proper caste
and of sufficient size”. In the Bengal army however, recruitment was only amongst high caste Brahmin
and Rajput communities, mainly from the present day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regions. Recruitment was
undertaken locally by battalions or regiments often from the same community, village and even family.
The commanding officer of a battalion became a form of substitute for the village chief or “gaon bura.”
There were many family and community ties amongst the troops and numerous instances where family
members enlisted in the same battalion or regiment.
The izzat (honour) of the unit was represented by the regimental colours, with the new sepoys having to
swear an oath in front of them on enlistment.
These colours were stored in the quarter guard and frequently paraded before the men, and formed a
rallying point in battle.
The salary of the sepoys employed by the East India Company, while not substantially greater than that
paid by the rulers of Indian states, was usually paid regularly. Advances could be given and family
allotments from pay due were permitted when the troops served abroad. There was a commisariat and
regular rations were provided. Weapons, clothing and ammunition were provided centrally, in contrast to
the soldiers of local kings whose pay was often in arrears. In addition local rulers usually expected their
sepoys to arm themselves and to sustain themselves through plunder.
This combination of factors led to the development of a sense of shared honour and ethos amongst the
well drilled and disciplined Indian soldiery who formed the key to the success of European feats of arms in
India and abroad.
In the days of the East India Company, infantry companies in native regiments were commanded by
British or Indian officers. The rank structure was the same for native officers as british counterparts, but
with different names. A Subedar was a captain, and a Jemadar was a Lieutenant.
The 1/8 Madras Native Infantry were originally raised as the 9 th Battalion Coast Sepoys in 1760,
becoming the 1/8 th Madras Native Infantry in 1796.
They retained this title until 1902 when they became the 8 th Gurkhas until they were disbanded.
During the years that Wellesley was in India, they took to calling themselves “Wellesley’s Own”.
The 2/12 th Madras Native Infantry were to become the 10 th Battlaion 1 st Punjab Regiment.
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