AFTER arriving in Boston in 1775, the 40th Regiment of Foot participated in the Battle of Long Island and, as an integral part of General Howe's army, had major roles in the Philadelphia campaign of 1777-1778. Both Battalion and Light Infantry companies fought in Pennsylvania at the Battles of Brandywine, Paoli, Germantown, and Monmouth, New Jersey. The 40th was reassigned to the West Indies in 1778 but returned, much depleted by disease, to North America to participate in the British raid of New London, Conn. in 1781, including the bloody assault on Fort Griswold. The Regiment was then garrisoned in New York City until departure for England in 1783. It should be noted that, though the 40th regiment would become one of the most highly decorated British regiments over its lengthy unit history, neither it nor any other British regiment received any battle honors during the American War for Independence. However, the 40th, a motley regiment of Scottish, Irish, English, and German soldiers, was awarded the coveted "Germantown Medal" for its remarkable valor in single-handedly thwarting the Rebel advance during that major battle in 1777, a rare and well-deserved honor.
Often cold, ragged and half-starved, and 3,000 miles from home, the British armies fought so well because of their strict training and loyalty to their officers. The 40th Regiment of Foot has been reformed to commemorate the role of the British soldier who served in the colonies during America's struggle for independence, 1775-1783. Through camp life and battle reenactments, the membership of the 40th Foot relive, with exacting authenticity, the everyday life of the British soldier in this turbulent time.
The 40th was founded in 1989 by several veteran reenactors who wanted to recreate a British unit as it appeared during the war with a level of authenticity that had not been seen in the hobby heretofore. With attention to detail and authenticity, the uniforms and equipment have been carefully reproduced. In the field the 40th Foot demonstrates the physically demanding, quick, responsive tactics that were developed by the British to meet the challenges put forth by terrain and the American Continental Army.
The 40th Regiment of Foot participates in major living history/reenactment events throughout the eastern United States and Canada. The Regiment is a member of the British Brigade and the Brigade of the American Revolution, two of the largest and most respected living history organizations in the United States.
Some ask us why we choose to portray the British, the "enemy." It is certainly not because of some deep-seated residual love for Britain, though some of us are certainly Anglophiles, or some desire to rewrite history. It is much more because we feel the best honor we can pay to those who fought and died to gain this country's independence more than two centuries ago is to more accurately portray their adversaries: a battle-hardened, well-equipped, highly disciplined and expertly trained professional army - by most accounts, the most potent military force of the 18th Century - the British armed forces.