Private, 57th Foot, 1811


II Infantry Uniforms of the British Army 1790-1850

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The 57th were raised in 1755 and from the first were associated with Middlesex. In 1811, at the battle of Albuhera, obeying Colonel Inglis’ injunction to ‘die hard’, they were shot down as they stood, in their ranks, ‘every wound in front’, and lost twenty officers and four hundred and twenty men. The King’s colour received seventeen shots, and the Regimental colour twenty-one. The same colours were carried through the Crimea, and ¬∑when they were later laid up in St. Paul’s Cathedral the government stipulated that ‘no expense was to fall on the public purse’ so the ceremony was paid for by the officers. Since 1881 the regiment was known as the Middlesex Regiment but now forms part of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. This is the dress in which the infantry fought the Napoleonic Wars. Here is a private of the light company of the 57th, with yellow facings and the numeral 57 on the cap plate and belt plate. As a member of the light company he wears the wings on his shoulders – white wool replacing the gold bullions of his officers – and a green plume in his cap instead of the white over red of battalion companies or white of the grenadiers. On active service the plume and white cords were removed and the cap covered with a waterproof cover. The trousers were originally overalls pulled on over the white breeches and black gaiters (which can be seen below them) but soon became trousers with small spats over the boots.

Additional information

Dimensions24 × 37.5 cm