Captain John Mortimer’s Troop of Dragoons

Whilst technically a Confederate troop of dragoons, Mortimer's did their soldiering in Scotland as part of the Irish Brigade. But as I apply a fantasy football league style approach to the composition of my armies, I'm having them!

There once was a troop o' Irish dragoons

Cam marching doon through Fyvie-o

And the captain's fa'en in love wi' a very bonnie lass

And her name it was ca'd pretty Peggy-o

The Bonnie Lass o' Fyvie

Raised in March 1645 from Colonel Manus O’Cahan’s Regiment of Foot they weren't exactly dragoons as we know it. They were musketeers put on horseback. Captain John having served as an officer in O'Cahan's.

As with so many Irish units from the Wars, we know very little about them. Mortimer is believed to have been a Scot, rather than an Irishman.

They fought at Aberdeen, Kilsyth, and Philiphaugh. At Philiphaugh it appears that they fought as a troop of horse; Mortimer is thought to have been captured following the battle and executed. The troop appear to have fought on, after Mortimer's demise, and are believed to have fought at the siege of Inverness, although that is not certain.

Other than that their main documentation is the traditional folk song The Bonnie Lass o' Fyvie.

As we don't have any recorded clothing issues I have clothed them according to Sir J T Gilbert's (History of the Irish Confederation and the War In Ireland 1641-1643) description of the Confederates fighting at Kilrush being almost indistinguishable from the bog due to the dark colours they wore.

Rather a lot of headswaps here, including a morion for the officer. The figures themselves are from pack 6, dragoon horseholders and horses; command from packs 73 and 74 (not 100% sold on the officer, I've given him a buff coat but it doesn't look quite right); and the fighting men from packs 71 and 75. The men on foot would struggle walking as a number have been sculpted with thigh high riding boots rather than short boots or shoes and gaiters. 

Not totally happy with the officer, leaving aside my shonky painting of his collar, I just don't think the buff coat works. Might be repainted at some point...

A number of Irish Confederate flags, including a dragoon guidon, are described in a variety of sources (Blount's "The Art of Making Devises"; Hayes-McCoy's article "A Battle Flag of the Irish Confederation 1643"; Stuart Reid's numerous works;  and Young's "The English Emblem Tradition Vol 3 Emblematic Flag Devices of the English Civil Wars"), all of which are helpfully collated and illustrated in Fahnen Und Standarten Vol 5. So I'm using it.

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  1. Lovely work. There's an old debate about whether individuals like Wellington or Montgomery would see themselves as English or Irish or something else. And there is an element of that in the three regiments MacColla led and commanded in Scotland. Mortimer, as with the O'Cahan's may have identified as neither Scots nor Irish but, instead, looked to some remnant of the Lordship of the Isles. McDonnell/ Antrim certainly wasn't funding them just for the King; there were older rivalries at play here. Conjecture of course but I am sure researching the Confederates is rewarding and frustrating in equal measure and conjecture is often what we are left with.

    1. Thanks Dex. Irish and Scots do appear to have had their own agendas (mostly settling old scores) rather than just the cause that led them to war.


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