Thursday, July 4, 2013

American Revolution Heraldry

I've said it many times before, and I'll probably say it many times in the future: "You can find heraldry everywhere!"

In this case, I was reading the Boston 1776 blog which is about, you guessed it, Boston, Massachusetts in and around the year 1776.  And there, big as life, was a bit of heraldry on my computer screen.

The post was about a demonstration at the Paul Revere House by Fred Lawson, a founder of the Royal Irish Artillery reenacting group.  (The full post can be read at  Accompanying the post was the above photograph of an officer's button with the arms of the Royal Regiment of Irish Artillery, dated 1785-1801.

According to the post, seventy men from this unit were transferred into the Royal Artillery to accompany General John Burgoyne's expedition down from Canada in 1777.  They were captured by American forces following the battle of Saratoga.

The button (which is available for purchase from The Military Campaign at shows the arms of the Royal Regiment of Irish Artillery.  I have not found a color emblazon of the arms anywher, but I would assume that the field is azure (blue) with the golden harp of Ireland; the cannon would be either gold or silver, as would the chief, which has the Royal crown (normally gold) and two roundels representing cannonballs (probably black, which are sometimes blazoned, appropriately enough, as gunstones, though they have also been blazoned as pellets and as ogresses).  Were I to guess at a blazon, I believe it would most likely be: Azure, in pale an Irish harp Or stringed Argent and a cannon Or [or Argent], on a chief Argent the Royal crown Or between two gunstones [or, roundels Sable].

Whether my speculative blazon is correct or not, it was still a neat bit of historical heraldry that played a role in the American Revolutionary War.

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