Festivals

Battle Of The Boyne Weapons

The standard musket, particularly in the Jacobite army, was still the matchlock. The Williamite English infantry regiments had as many-or perhaps more-of the newer flintlock weapons, called firelocks, fusils or fusees. The French Huguenot infantry regiments were armed entirely with flintlocks, as were most, if not all, of the Danes. The Williamite cavalry carbines were all flintlocks, as were their grenadiers’ muskets and of course the weapons of their fusiliers; but one of the Jacobite soldiers, speaking of flintlocks and infantry swords, said ‘we had but few of those sorts of arms’.
The Jacobite special service companies were armed altogether with flintlocks, and they had at least two units called fusiliers, part of whose duty was to guard the artillery, for which service, not having matches which might blow up powder supplies, they were particularly suited; but the bulk of their infantry muskets were matchlocks. Most of their arms, of all types, were French. Eight thousand firearms had come from France by the beginning of 1689, when Tyrconnell asked for 6,000 more matchlocks and 5,000 flintlocks. King James asked later for 12,000 or 15,000 muskets, matchlocks or flintlocks, ‘the more firelocks the better’; D’ A vaux, conveying the request, made it 12,000 mousquels and 3,000 fusils. Ten thousand grenades with charges and fuses were among the munitions sought.
The clothing of the soldiers in the earlier wars was far from uniform, although red coats, as we have seen, were a mark of English troops by the late sixteenth century. A hundred years later soldiers, as a general rule, all wore uniform. James’s troops and William’s British troops alike favoured red coats, red being the colour of the livery of the British monarchy. Difficulties of supply, however, made strict uniformity impossible in the Jacobite army and coats of other colours and of white or grey French cloth, and homespun coats which must in colour have been like the American Confederate butternut seem to have been more numerous than red ones. The infantry had broad-brimmed hats, full-skirted coats with wide cuffs, breeches, stockings and shoes; their shirt sleeves, extending to the wrist, were visible below their cuffs. The musketeers wore both waist and shoulder belts, and they carried their ammunition in pouches on the right hip. The bandolier, with its dangling cylinders-never a safe piece of equipment for men with lighted matches-had all but disappeared, the word bandouliere, as used in the French documents-une bandouliCre pour soMal, garnie de ses fournimens aussi-meant seemingly the contemporary shoulder belt and pouch. The dress of the cavalry was like that of the infantry, save that boots were worn when they could be got. Cuirasses had been discarded except by the Life Guard and helmets remained only as iron skull-pieces worn under the hat. The distinctive Irish dress of earlier days had quite disappeared. Later on, it is interesting to note, these Jacobite soldiers were to bring with them into the French army the red coat of the king for whom they had fought. The regiments of the French Irish Brigade wore red coats during the whole century of their existence.

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