"Redjackets" An odd nickname- in that it could, on the face of it, apply to any one of dozens of infantry corps, until one considers that it derives from the story of Lieutenant Macpherson of the 45th, at Badajoz on 6th April 1812.
MacPherson, having already been shot once off the top of a scaling ladder, bleeding, with two broken ribs, made it over the battlements on the second attempt and found his way to the tower where the French garrison flag was flying. He struck the French colours and for lack of a British flag, so the story goes, ran his own jacket up the halyard thus proclaiming victory, and the Lincoln green facings claiming the laurels of the day for his regiment.
Next day, Macpherson delivered the French flag to Picton, his divisional commander, who directed him to present it to Wellington, which, after some hesitation, he duly did. We are told Wellington thanked MacPherson and invited him to dinner, but he declined because of the state of his wounds. (History does not relate whether he was, at that moment, improperly dressed).https://archive.org/stream/historythstn ... 4/mode/2up
Good story. I wonder how long after the event the nickname was in fact coined. In the 1902 history cited above, written by Lt Col P.H. Dalbiac, there is no mention of it. The author cites the nickame of Picton's 'Fighting Third' division on virtually every page of the chapter on the Peninsula. He mentions the 45th's adoption of the subsidiary title "Sherwood Foresters' in 1866 and at the end of the book he makes a brief reference to the regiment's being dubbed 'The Green Marines' in the mid-C18th, but on the matter of 'Wellington's Red Jackets,' he is mysteriously mute.
The not-entirely reliable list of Regimental Nicknames compiled by John Cook and Robert Burnham for the Napoleonic Series
offers the 'Old Stubborns'- 'Because of service at Talavera.' Dalbiac does make one oblique reference to the casualties suffered by the "gallant 'stubborns' "
that day and another to the stubborness of Wellesley's troops in general. Make of that what you will.https://archive.org/stream/historythstn ... 2/mode/2up