In the Canadas
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History Uniform Reenactment Unit Newsletter
The King's Regiment in the Canadas is a group of historic reenactors headquartered in the Toronto, Ontario area who are dedicated to accurately recreating the 8th or King's Regiment of Foot as it appeared during the War of 1812.
In 1685, the King's Regiment was raised by Lord Ferrars of Chartly during the Monmouth Rebellion. The regiment at times was known as "Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment of Foot", "the Queen's Regiment", until 1716 when the "King's" title was adopted in honour of King George I.
Its first service in Canada came in 1768, when the regiment arrived in Quebec to take up garrison at the small posts around the Great Lakes. During the American Revolution, the 8th Regiment saw action during the American invasion of Canada at Cedars, and the attack on Fort Stanwix. The rest of the war was spent in barracks at Forts Niagara, Detroit, and Michlimackinac. The regiment remained in Canada until its was relieved to return home in 1785.
With tensions raising between Great Britain and the United States, the regiment was ordered back to British North America in April 1809. When tensions turned to war, the 8th Regiment was moved to Montreal to protect Lower Canada from an expected invasion from Lake Champlain. This did not materialize.
February 1813 marked the first action for the King's Regiment during the war with the successful assault of Ogdensburg, NY by a daring charge across the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence. More battles were to come. The King's Grenadiers alone attempted to stop the landing of the US Army during the battle of York (Toronto) in April 1813, but were unsuccessful. In May, several companies of the 8th were present at another invasion spot, this time Fort George on the Niagara frontier. With fixed bayonets, the 8th repaid the US for York and Fort George, during the surprise night raid of the US encampment at Stoney Creek in June 1813. Later that month the Regiment's light company was present at the surrender of the 14th US Regiment of Infantry at Beaver Dams. By the end of 1813, the 8th Regiment reoccupied Fort George from the Americans and made two raids across the Niagara river at Lewiston and Black Rock.
The King's Regiment service in war did not lessen in 1814. In July 1814 the regiment were lightly engaged at the battle of Chippawa. Later that month, the 8th regiment fought long into the night in the most intensely contested battle of the war, Lundy's Lane. During this battle, which ended in a stalemate, the regiment was in the thick of the fighting, emptying their cartridge pouches, retaking positions with the bayonet, and struggling inch-by-inch in hand-to-hand combat. The last engagement the 8th were involved in was the failed seige and assault of Fort Erie. In June 1815, after six years of service, the King's Regiment left Canada for England. For their extensive service, the Regiment was given the battle honour "Niagara". The regiment would return but only briefly in Halifax in 1830 and 1839.
Other Articles of Interest:
"A most elegant and superb ball" Hospitality of the 8th Regiment's Officers at the Opening of the War of 1812 by Robert Henderson
"In the name of God remove us..." The King's Regiment at Fort Niagara, 1814 by Doug DeCroix
The focus date of the recreated 8th Regiment of Foot is 1813-1814. In those years the regiment had been issued with the new 1812 regulation grey trousers and gaiters and the 1812 pattern 'Belgic' or 'Waterloo' shako. The rest of the clothing included the regimental red coat, leather stock, linen shirt, white fatigue jacket, and period shoes "which come high around the ankle". The regimental distinctions on the red coat included blue collar and cuffs, single square-ended loops of lace containing blue and yellow stripes. Distinctive of the grenadier coats are the shoulder wings of cloth trimmed with lace and white woolen fringe. The accoutrements consist of buff leather bayonet belts with the regimental crossbelt plate, and cartridge pouch and belt. All are made after originals. The King's Regiment, being one of the old corps, was permitted to wear the badge of the running horse of Hanover which was displayed prominently on the regiment's shako and belt plates.
Image of an 8th Officer's Shako
Today our reenactment group enjoys an affiliation with the current King's Regiment, and its allied regiment, the Royal Regiment of Canada, a Canadian Armed Forces (Reserves) Infantry Regiment based in the Toronto area.
The recreated Grenadier Company of the King's Regiment works hard to ensure the authenticity of their appearance. Therefore high uniform standards are maintained. Members are to appear at events without moustaches or beards (unless as a pioneer). Tentage to display an entire company for public programmes is maintained with proper street sizes, campfires only in the cooking lines, and so on. All the aspects of an officer's or soldier's life in the army is portrayed as well as sutlers, women and children of the regiment.
The recreated King's Regiment attends most of the major 1812 reenactments each year and also arranges special educational programmes at schools and museums. As well members of the 8th volunteered their time to organize the 1995 Battle of Waterloo trip for the majority of participating North American reenactors.
The following link will take you to our newsletter. While it is intended from members of the organization, all are welcome to read it.