Lieutenant Jacob Brunt, Adjutant, 83rd Regiment of Foot - Jamaica, Maroon War, 1795.

Adjutant, 83rd Regiment of Foot - Jamaica, Maroon War, 1795
Adjutant, 83rd Regiment of Foot - Jamaica, Maroon War, 1795 - watercolour by Dan Green

Colonel Fitch (founder of the 83rd Regiment of Foot) had placed Captain Legh, one Sergeant, two Corporals and thirty Privates of the 83rd Regiment in a small pallisaded enclosure guarding a ravine. Captain Legh reported he was under heavy fire from the Maroons from some heights and wished permission to go forward to seize the high ground and hold it. On 12 September 1795 Colonel Fitch, attended by Lieutenant Brunt, Adjutant of the 83rd, and several other officers and men, went forward to Captain Legh's post. On arrival there he at once decided that Legh was quite right, and he himself proceeded to select another place in advance for the post.

In the engagements that followed Fitch was killed, and Legh and Brunt were wounded, the former dying four days later. Brunt had been transferred from Quartermaster 55th Foot to Lieutenant in the 83rd Foot, appointed Adjutant 28 September 1793, promoted Captain 1796, Major 1805 and Lieutenant Colonel 1811. He retired in 1821.

Artist's notes: Specific instructions had been issued in about 1791 regarding the dress of the troops in the Caribbean to take into account the tropical weather conditions. To be accurate to the time and place of the Maroon War either officer or private soldier would have to be like this.

Officers often ditched the cumbersome swords for shorter dirks and armed themselves with muskets or fuzzily. Bicorn hats and black gaiters and breeches were not worn in this theatre. I have armed him with a musket which, on campaign in these less conventional theatres of war, was quite the norm - a trend started during the American War of Independence, and being so armed they were then equipped with a cartridge pouch and belt and bayonet which was attached on the sword belt. The officers would also have equipped themselves with a water bottle and canvas haversack.

As to Adjutant markings at this time, regulations were very lax and open to wide interpretation between Regiments, even to he form the officers' markings on Gorgets and e palettes took. As an Adjutant the only thing that would have really distinguished Brunt from other junior officers was the requirement that he be mounted and hence would always wear boots, whereas other junior officers would have worn gaiters. However all this went by the wayside on campaign, particularly in the West Indies, when most officers would have worn boots.

Story by James W Taylor; watercolour by Dan Green of Novus Art.

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