The area covered in this entry in the Men-at-Arms series is vast - all of Central America, Cuba, Hispaniola, Mexico, Texas, Florida, California and from 1763 Louisiana. After a shaky start Spanish armies performed surprising well in this area (often against the British), so this is largely a look at a successful army. The book covers three distinct types of troops - regular soldiers sent out from Spain, regular soldiers from the Americas and the various forms of militia raised across this vast area. The troops covered in this book fought off British attacks, and took part in the American War of Independence, playing an important role in keeping the British busy in the south, so these armies are of some significance.
The text is supported by illustrations from a wide range of archives, from Mexico to Spain. These include a large number of contemporary illustrations of uniforms (many from manuscripts that could have been produced with just this sort of book in mind! A 1780 document showing the uniforms and colours of a whole series of regiments must have been a particularly welcome discovery).
Chartrand includes a chronology of the major military events in Spanish North America, complete with a list of the regiments involved in each battle or siege. He then moves on to look at the history of the Overseas Army, both regular and militia and the main Spanish army. About half of the book is taken up with the study of uniforms and equipment, which for this period is inevitably mostly a look at uniforms (although some of the militia units had some varied equipment). This structure works well - the sections of the armies, how they were organised and what they did are the most readable, and are kept nicely separate from the uniforms and equipment section, which is much more of a reference work. The book should be useful for anyone war gaming this period.
The Overseas Army
The Metropolitan Army
Uniforms & Equipment
Author: René Chartrand