- Event Photos
- Uniforms and Equipment
- Following the Troops - Women on the Ration
- Dragoon Standing Orders of 1782
- Primary Sources
- Contemporary Artwork
- 17LD Facebook Page
- Period Light Dragoon Items
- Non period artwork
- Uniform, Equipment and Tack requirements for the unit.
Following the Troops - Women on the Ration
Camp Life -
Very rarely does the group have the opportunity to stay in dwellings. Usually we camp as the original troop would have during their active campaigning. If the regimental wagons were able to keep up with the troop, then the men (and campfollowers) would have sheltered at night under canvas. As do we. If the wagons were not able to keep up, or there were material shortages, or if we are portraying the troops on piquet, then no tents are used and the men roll up in their cloaks.
*who would really want to? Lice infestation, dysentary, small pox, etc., are things that need not be truly experienced to understand that they were bad . . .*
Although some officers were accompanied by their wives and children on campaign, most men in the ranks were discouraged from marrying, but many of them apparently made less official arrangements. According to regulations, they were allowed six women per company to be carried on the army’s ration rolls. Commanders of both armies tried to limit numbers of ‘unofficial’ camp followers because they and their children were fed (officially or not) from the supply wagons. There are also references to women and children encumbering baggage wagons and slowing the march of the army.
However, the presence of women had beneficial effects, as well. They sometimes served as nurses on campaign and also did more mundane work such as laundry, cooking and foraging. Their effect on morale was also important, if less empirical. There is at least one reference to a transport ship delaying its departure due to “mutinous behavior” of the men, demanding that their allowed quota of campfollowers be allowed on board.
The hardships, which these families endured, can not be fully imagined. Like their husbands and fathers, these families traveled hundreds/ thousands of miles on foot – all the while suffering from malnutrition, lack of adequate shelter, clothing, and basic medical care. In friendly areas, they could hope to find charity from the people. In those areas in arms against King, they could hope for very little. In either community, they found themselves being treated as the lowest in society. If a soldier was among the refuse of society, what could those that followed him possibly be?
Other Civilians -
A regiment was not self sufficient and required the skills and talents of those from without. Such manpower/skill shortages were overcome by contracting civilians for specific periods of time or projects. Typically, the regiment hired wagons and teamsters to carry the regimental stores. Carpenters, masons, and smiths were hired to build shelter, fabricate equipment, maintain the regimental animals, etc., etc.