Saturday, 7 January 2012

War of 1812 "Guide Books" review

War of 1812 Guide Books review
I purchased these War of 1812 Wargamer Guide books from On Military Matters recently. They are published by them (c.1997) ISBN 1-900688-30-1

Two books in the series : The King's Army by Charles Glenn and Stephen Manley; and The American Army by Richard V. Barbuto.

Both are about 30 pages long, printed in an old photocopy style. I did not get much additional information from these than what I have achieved from other sources (notably from Chartrand's excellent book on the American forces recently republished and amended with some new color plates)
The British army is that of the Napoleonic wars with the same uniforms and regulations (with only some special units which were local or brought in only for the American campaign (the West Indies regiments at New Orleans, for example) So if you study the British and have the Osprey books on the topic or access the Company of Military Historians, you pretty well have all the necessary information to have it correct. 

I noticed some notes on several units which I found interesting or did not know of, but would like to confirm with other sources. But with the vulgarities of supply during that era, the collector has much “wiggle room” to justify use of older uniforms, unique costumes or mixture thereof. The authors also seem to use this concept in many of their assumptions. True enough.

At $12 per (with shipping extra) I don't know if they are good value. Good to have on the shelve perhaps; if you loan it out it is not invaluable, however. Found it interesting that each book would have a full page index for only <30 pages!

If you need any specific unit uniform information please feel free to contact me.


  1. Hi DougH,

    Great blog, always a good read.

    Regarding the headwear of the striking uniform of the British 19th Light Dragoons, were the epaulettes and the tape around the top of the shako white or yellow? I've seen/read several conflicting versions.


  2. Looks like a lot of uniform info, just what like!! Great post!

  3. Matt, I am glad you find it a good read. I will endevour to keep it informative and interesting.

    For the tape, etc. it would be yellow (and gold for the bloody officers of course!).

    The 19th HAD white/silver lace with the OLDER uniform (changed in 1812). Some references have the troopers still in the old uniform. And perhaps they did very early in the war, but those would be changed to the shako and lapels as quickly as those in other campaigns. While Canada may be away from the main efforts of the British Army at the time, it was not the backward, end of the world which some writers have assumed (the colonies and all, what!) and thus they must, of course, have had all but the oldest rags to wear! Nonsense. This is true of the change of shako to the "Belgic" style which I believe, as I have found no literature to define they were not, to have issued in short order. Remember this was the era of 'proper-ness' and thus all efforts both by the authorities and the men to be properly attired.

    Oops, there I go on again.

    Umm, so short answer: yellow :-)

  4. Hi DougH,

    Thanks for the answer (both long and short versions!). I was tending towards yellow but had doubts due to several illustrations in various Osprey books.