GLIThe Glengary Light Infantry Fencibles
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:40 pm 
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**The following is taken from:
A HISTORY OF THE UNIFORMS OF THE BRITISH ARMY, Cecil C. P. Lawson. A.S. Barnes and CO., Inc., 1967. pp.108 - 111.

" The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles were raised in 1812 largely by the inspiration of Father Alexander Macdonell, Padre to a previous Highland unit in Scotland, and who in 1812 sent the fiery cross through the settlements of the Highlanders. Mostly old soldiers from former regiments, and Roman Catholics. The regiment was commanded by Col. George Macdonell, nicknamed ' The Red', who was a near relation to the priest. The regiment, although entitled Fencible, was taken on the Establishment of the British Line.

The jacket and waistcoat of an officer and that of a rifleman still exist. The uniform, closely based on that of the 95th Rifles, was dark green with black collar and cuffs. The portrait of an officer shows three rows of buttons and black braiding down the front. The same braid appears at the back of the neck in a series of pointed loops as well as on the seams at the back. The black shoulder belt carries a whistle and chains. It will be noticed that the sash is worn over the shoulder according to the custom of Highland regiments. The Glengarries, considering themselves a Highland Corps, wore it according to Regulations. The men's jacket is similar with three rows of buttons down the front, but without any braid, and it had cloth wings. Wide black braid appears to be laid over the seams at the back, but this part of the jacket is somewhat damaged. The breaches and trousers were green, but no doubt were at times replaced when worn out on service with any materials obtainable. There appears to be no evidence of the headdress, but as the whole uniform was based on that of the 95th they would likewise have worn the cylindrical 1800 pattern cap with green tuft and the same bugle horn badge, in Winter replaced by a fur cap. The regiment had a very distinguished career and took part in many of the engagements of the war, including Lundy's Lane, where they were on the right wing. They were disbanded in 1816."


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:44 pm 
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pud wrote:
The men's jacket is similar with three rows of buttons down the front, but without any braid, and it had cloth wings.


Cloth wings... interesting.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:37 pm 
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The following is a letter recently sent to:

1) Donald Graves - Canadian Military Historian and Author
2) Clark Bernat - Managing Director Niagara Historical Society Museum
3) Ron Dale - Project Manager Parks Canada
4) Réné Chartrand - Canadian Historian and Manager of Muséoplume Inc., Gatineau, QC

These fine gentlemen have been assisting me in my quest for proof of a "second Glengarry tunic". Recent discovery (re-discovery) of a "GLIF Tunic from War of 1812" by Bill Longo in the NOTLake Museum has fit into my research since January quite well. What I have since learned is that the tunic in NOTLake is not a GLIF tunic, but is Glengarry Militia from 1839, and we have no other evidence of a cast-off 95th Rifles tunic being in Canada,.not yet anyways.

<<Gentlemen,

Although I originally went through Don Graves with the question that has started all this wonderful dialogue concerning the Glengarry tunic in the NOTL museum I thought I would respond to all of you at once concerning my thoughts on what I have learned from the flurry of email that I was sent and cc'd on over the last few weeks.

First, my sincere thanks to each of you for your individual efforts. I am humbled that professional historians, curators, and novelists of your individual calibres would make my quest for the holy Glengarry grail ( an original war of 1812 tunic) seemingly such a high priority.

Now that I have finally seen very close and detailed pictures of the "GLIF" tunic in the Niagara On The Lake Museum (courtesy of other friends: Bill Longo and Richard Feltoe) it reminds me very much of an 1830's Glengarry Tunic that I studied about 10 years ago in the small site museum operated by the SDG Highlanders Regt. at their armoury in Cornwall, Ontario. In fact, it looks almost identical except that the lace isn't in as good shape as the tunic in Cornwall is/was.

I have always believed, because of the Cecile C. P. Lawson book (A History of the Uniforms of the British Army. A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., Cranbury, N.J., 1967, pp.108-111) that the second uniform of the 1811-1816 GLIF were cast-off 95th Rifles jackets/tunics/coatees. The first, of course, were white barracks jackets. Then by 1814 the Glengarries had their very own: dark green, pewter/lead buttons (12 per row and three rows), black facings, black tufts (not wings) on the epaulettes, white lace and a battalion cut, not rifle cut (or so popular consensus would have it).

Réné has assured me that the ones mentioned and sketched by Lawson in 1967 are, in fact, Voltigeur Officer Tunics. Both Don and Réné have, in their own words, told me that research done in the 60's had author historians wanting to discover things so badly that they sometimes saw in something what they wanted to or needed to see instead of what it actually was or is. I can see this type of thing happening, so perhaps this is what Lawson ended up doing (aside from playing with my delicate amateur Canadian Military historian mind :^)

Ron, I like what you said: < "Like so many others I want so much for it to be a GLIF coattee that I totally accepted the idea of this being one. Of course all this begs the need to have a bit of look into the military associations of Donald McDougal after the War of 1812." > Many of us within the re-enactment unit that I founded in 1993, the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles, have been very excited about this 'find' in the NOTL museum, especially since it was only just this past January that I renewed my quest to find out once and for all if there were actually cast-off 95th uniforms used by the 1812 War Glengarry Light Infantry.

Clark; you've given me the information that I've been needing the most: the original owner's/wearers name. My office is currently 'awash' in photocopied documents and booklets relating to GLIF that I've collected over the past 24 years. As Réné pointed out there is at least one Major McDougall on the roster for the GLIF in 1813. What I'm sure all of you are aware of is that during the 1812 war there were Glengarry Militiamen as well as Glengarry Fencibles. The GLIFencibles were supposed to represent the best men of the Stormont and Dundas and Glengarry Militias. However, between the GLIF and the Glengarry Militia there are several "McDougalls". The name you provided, Clark, was: "Donald McDougald". As Réné pointed out, the tunic in NOTL does look like an 1830's tunic. It has wings on the shoulders. It's more of a rifles- jacket cut at the back, although the front cut is screaming 1830s/1840s. The buttons are actually cloth-covered when I look very closely at them. There are buttons on the cuffs (very rifle-like). And, white piping has been used. There are no D. McDougalds that I can see on the GLIF roster or the Glengarry Militia roster for the war of 1812 years. BUT,.

.when I looked at an extract from the Militia Registers in the National Archives (Township of Charlottenburg) the owner of the NOTL tunic seemed to jump right out of the paperwork at me. It shows that a Donald McDougald (Lt.), of the 2nd Regt. of Glengarry Militia was taken on strength and in-service as a Lieutenant as of September 1st, 1839. The roster I found his name in covers the years of 1837 to 1840 for the 2nd Regt GM.

What do you think? Is the mystery solved? I welcome, naturally, any feedback from any of you. It seems, though, that my quest for an original GLIF tunic is on once again.

Sincerely thanking each of you,

Jesse Pudwell
Cavan,
Upper Canada >>


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