Rats

Uniform colors?

258 posts in this topic

Now I know the local militia men wore every day clothes.

However if someone was to focus on a single uniform style for a garrison guard or marine unit.... Let's face, everyone can't be the damn pirates or things look lop-sided and silly. (Kind of like a volley fire and no one falling down.) So someone has to put on the uniform or we can't play.... Hence my questions.

Typical and timeless red coats?

Rats

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It's not a primary source... but here is an artist's rendition of what a historian told him... This is from the "Canadian Military Heritage" web site...

British Red Coat circa 1697

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Wow!

Thanks Michael!

That's basically the kind of pics I wanted!

I really like this one. http://www.cmhg.gc.ca/cmh/image-168-eng.asp?page_id=215 Probably because it dosn't look like a typical "red" coat. And that's a laid back "Rats" pose if ever I've seen it! (ask the crew or any of the grunts I've served with.. They'll tell you!)

But the second is probably what is needed for simple impressions.

Thanks again!

rats

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Osprey books aren't always the most reliable sources, but a good starting point for your researches might be their series of 3 books entitled "Colonial American Troops 1610-1774". Volume 1 covers Virginia, New Netherlands, and New Sweden; Volume 2 covers Mass. New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey; Volume 3 covers North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Hudson's Bay.

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Dang, Ed beat me to the punch. I was going to offer the same. Only thing I can add is, you'll see me in two or three of the color plates in those books!

:lol:

And Rats, I do agree, we need more govt troops. I've been lucky in that there are some ex-ECW guys doing later stuff in my neck of the woods. But I think we need more.

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Time to bring up the inevitable question -- how "uniform" were uniforms? We know for a fact that our Rev War units are better equipped and better dressed than the real thing. In our time period, when the idea of issued uniforms was just coming in, just how many soldiers would have been identically dressed?

Was it the case back then that officers used their personal funds to have their uniforms made by local tailors? When did "enlisted men" start getting issued uniforms, and was that date the same in the Colonies as in the motherland?

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An excellent source for documentation on military clothing and equipment is The Company of Military Historians-

Check out the list on the bottom of the page for examples.

http://company.military-historians.org/pla...sbysubject1.htm

Also, Peterson's "Arms and Armor in Colonial America" contains portions of colonial laws regarding equipment and arms.

Yours, Mike

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If your going to suggest Osprey as a starting point, there are these two books as well for the time frame...

British Army 1660 to 1704

Marlborough's Army 1702–11

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There's also one for Louis XIV's Army which is pretty nice. Also worth picking up is the Historical Arms Series No. 18, The French Soldier in Colonial America.

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This is exactly the discussion I was hoping for.... Especially since there are often different groups attending said events.

As Black John has said, there are occasionally folks from Rev War at events. However if guards are needed for a senario and there are no others, someone needs to "toe the line" and play the part. And therefore if a simple uniform can be agreed upon by all, a hand full of jackets will present a better image for the spectators.

I suppose equipment and arms were sent from the motherland. But a side from the officers who probably comissioned a local tailor to have the uniforms made.... In the far reaches and the colonies, I doubt there was much uniformity with the uniforms. For the common troops, a jacket and some leather gear would probably be the extent.

But then again, I'm sure it was a matter of pride to look as military as possible, even in the styx...?

Any other pics someone can scan and post???

Rats

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Rats,

I'm going to be in Toronto visiting again this weekend... I've been considering a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum while I am there visiting... If I make it to the museum, I will make sure I bring my camera and snap some pictures of any colonial military uniforms/clothing they may have.

I visited Historic Fort York last time I went to Toronto, but the few uniforms they have on on display (I beleive they are extant peices) are from much later time frames (War of 1812 or later).

I'll also be checking out some of the book stores while I am in Toronto... You'd be suprised at how many more "British-centric" books are readily available in Canada than here in the US. If I find anything really good I will definately buy, and send any pictures that may be of use.

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Time to bring up the inevitable question -- how "uniform" were uniforms? We know for a fact that our Rev War units are better equipped and better dressed than the real thing. In our time period, when the idea of issued uniforms was just coming in, just how many soldiers would have been identically dressed?

Was it the case back then that officers used their personal funds to have their uniforms made by local tailors? When did "enlisted men" start getting issued uniforms, and was that date the same in the Colonies as in the motherland?

After re-reading Kass's post a few times... I just have to ask...

I know this information could be heavily questionable, but I have been told that soldiers during both the American Revolution and during the North American War of 1812 were required to provide their own uniforms and that they were not issued, and it was the soldiers wife that made the uniform more often than not (not a sexist comment, just stating what has been posed to me as history). Also, that while the uniform had to match the criteria of the military unit, there often was slight variation in the colour (different fabric suppliers and/or variable dyeing results) and to a lesser degree variation of cut as well to the uniforms.

Have I been mis-informed? Or possibly only half informed and is there more to this? If what I have been told is true, would it not hold for earlier history as well?

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Yeah, that's why I'm asking, Michael. You see, I've heard stories about uniforms being supplied to the common soldier during the Revolutionary War. I don't know the answer and I'm disinclined to believe hearsay. And since uniforms aren't my interest, I don't have the resources to look this up.

As late as WWII, British officers were having their uniforms made by tailors and this tradition was long-standing. In another discussion, Foxe posted some information about Naval officers of small means buying second-hand jackets and having them remade rather then footing the expense of commissioning new garments. But that is officers...

The first inkling of "uniforms" for common soldiers happened in the English Civil War when garments were ordered for certain regiments. But these were not uniforms per se, but rather garments constructed from the same cloth by the same tailors at the same time. When the same regiment reoutfitted a few years later, their "uniforms" could be very different indeed.

Does anyone know the first instance of specifications for uniforms for common soldiers? And when did uniforms start to be issued to soldiers?

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Unfortunately one of the best qualified person to answer this, Henry Cooke, just left here. Sorry. :D That being the case you might want to check-out Military Uniforms in America: A series for collectors, published by the Company of Military Collectors & Historians. They have wonderful colored plates.

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Unfortunately one of the best qualified person to answer this, Henry Cooke, just left here.

Henry Cooke from MA? I can contact him if that is the case...

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Excellent!

Thank you everyone again for their assistance.. I see the wheels of creativity as well as productivity are turning!

Rats

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Early in our period, I would expect little uniformity amongst the rank and file of the colonial militia, and decent attempts at uniformity amongst colonial "elite units" such as cavalry and artillery.

I know the recreated 1690s Baltimore Rangers wear green turned back with red. I have not yet found the regulations calling for those, but I trust Machate did his research. I have been going through Maryland's archives looking for info. I have not yet found details on any particular uniform for either militia or rangers, though I have found a ton of other information.

At this early date, the British have evolved into a uniformed army, with deductions taken from a soldier's pay.

This is interesting. Soldiers were allowed to keep uniforms items purchased from their 'off-reckonings.'

"That the non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers be permitted to carry away with them their cloaths belt and snapsack, and the Sergeants likewise their sword; and that each private soldier, corporal, and drummer be allowed 3s. for his sword."

While off topic, since the question was raised, during the Rev War supply was chaotic. At the beginning moreso than at the end, but there seems to have always be a want of uniforms. Resupply, as I recall, when it did happen came from a variety of sources, either through the State or through Congress.

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Unfortunately one of the best qualified person to answer this, Henry Cooke, just left here.

Henry Cooke from MA? I can contact him if that is the case...

Yes that's him. I only met him for a few minutes but he seemed a really nice guy. He was out here fitting some guys for Revolutionary War British army unifroms up in Sacramento and asked to come down here to look at an orderly book we have. He is also a friend on the of the botanical voluteers here who does stuff for Colonial Williamsburg.

Herny is suppose to be the man when it comes to 18th c. tailoring and dress. He does things for Colonial Williamsburg and the Smithsonian. I would have liked to have talked to him more.

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An addendum to my post above. While uniformity exists within regiments, uniformity isn't on a national level. That is, while the British usually wear red, there are many variations between regiments on such things as turnbacks, lace, etc.

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There is another question one must ask - what time period do you want to do? 1690s or 17teens?

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That is the question..

Like I said, the object it to provide some uniformity when providing assistance with the military aspect.

I'm looking for ideas and suggestions??

Rats

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Well based upon Blackjohn's question, if one went with the 90s how quick were changes made or would some of the older stuff still be hanging around?

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About 30 years ago, when I was involved in Rev War reenactment, current wisdom held that the enlisted men wore uniforms of a less expensive fabric, and that the color was more of a "brick red", rather than what would be considered a true red color, and the officer ranks wore a better grade of material, and it was a true bright red color.

What is the current knowledge about this color variation ? Capt. Sterling ?, Blackjohn ?, Foxe ?.......

>>>> Cascabel

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I know the 10th regiment of Foot up in MA area, and the Royal Welsh still follow this rule... but Delancy's were the only troops I ever saw actually wearing a muted brick red colour... I don't even know if any of them are still about... I know that the 10th has what they believe to be crimson from the time frame that is very orange in colour...for their officers.

But with age I wonder, and maybe Kass can elaborate on this a bit more, how many "True" colours we are actually seeing on display in museums, or if the colours have faded too much over the years...perhaps if one was to rip open a lining that would help to judge better...

We followed the rule of better fabrics for officers but unfortunately the current 17th/21st Lancers were actually looking to us for information as no one in their ranks was ever interested in following the history of their regiment... When I went to Beaver castle to meet with the Lt. Colonel and discuss matters, the first thing he asked was that we donate some of our kit to the museum... what they had for Rev. War period was actually one of their Napoleonic period coats... The only helmet that still exists is in France... George Neuman went and took detailed pictures of it for us.

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Off topic, and my RevWar knowledge is about 10 years old, but at the time the IMR had gotten a big batch of wool from an English mill dyed in what was supposed to be correct colors. The mill was producing cloth during the time, and, according to someone's research, produced wool that found its way into American coats, via the Dutch, who purchased it from the British and sold it to the French!

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