Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Volunteer Battalion of Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada

The Volunteer Battalion of Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada.... whew, now that's a mouthful!

During the War of 1812, there existed Embodied Militia and Fencibles. The former were liable for service at the discretion of the Crown and, theoretically at least, included all able-bodied male inhabitants between the ages of 16 and 60. However, most militia units in Upper Canada formed flank companies, who served on a more regular or full-time basis than the ordinary members of the militia.

Fencible regiments, such as the Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada, unlike the Embodied Militia, were to be raised by the ordinary mode of recruiting in the Regular army and like the regiments of the line, the officers were to be appointed, and their commissions signed by the king. Fencible units were  liable for service only in North America and the Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada were no exception to this.

By the by, an excellent new volume on the Incorporated Militia:

Having already added some Embodied Militia to my War of 1812 collection (see here), I thought it time to try some Incorporated Militia.

Last year I ordered some of the lovely new Front Rank British infantry figures with the original intention of adding more British regulars. Once I had decided to use these for the Incorporated Militia, several issues cropped up.

1) The Incorporated Militia wore stovepipe shakos with the standard light infantry bugle shako plates in all the companies, including the centre companies.. The figures I had purchased were standard line company and had the larger shako plates. Could I go back to the Front Rank site and find centre companies (with no light company shoulder wings) with bugle shako plates? Nope. The bugles only come with the wings. Ok, more research. A couple of sources mentioned that some of the Incorporated Militia companies had no shako plates. Ok then... carve off the shako plates! No worries.

2) Green coats faced red with blue-grey trousers or red coats faced green with grey trousers. For some time in the battalion's existence, both uniforms were present. Excellent, I thought. I'll do one group in the red coats and the remainder in the green. 

3) Flags: Flags of War offer an excellent stand of colours for the Incorporated Militia. Quite beautiful, in fact. Small problem though... the colours, although ordered when the battalion was raised, were not issued and received until 1816... two years after the battalion was disbanded. I'm not one to let a small historical fact get in the way of aesthetic improvement.

4) Not an issue of historicity but a problem did crop up during the painting process. I was working on the last few figures and this happened on a recent Saturday morning....

...started the morning painting 14 figures on my painting rack. Up and down a few times for coffee. Finished basing some other figs. Back to painting the 14 figures. More coffee. Some uniform research. Back to the painting rack. 13 figures. Huh? Combed the room. Nothing. Called my lovely wife down to be sure I can count. Yup. 13 figures. She searches. More thoroughly than I did. Nothing. 

Sigh... I have no replacements in the lead pile and I don't want to order from Front Rank just for one figure (not that that's ever stopped me before... but one figure typically turns into many!). But I did have an extra British sergeant figure and he was hurriedly added to the paint rack. Crisis averted!

Thus, the Volunteer Battalion of Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada, in all its historically  ambiguous glory!

Three centre company groups and one skirmish group (with bugle plates and wings!), commanded by various Big Men (the officers in traditional red/scarlet coats etc).

The controversial standards, missing only the flag finials and cords
 (currently on order from Warlord Games).

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