The NWTA is organized into military units, each representing an actual regiment at a specific time during the American Revolution. Uniforms and accouterments are scrupulously researched, documented and reproduced. You will find rebels, Tories, mercenaries, frontiersmen, townsfolk, farmers, craftsmen, merchants and sailors from America, England, Germany and France.
A printable copy is available for download.
The Uniform of the 18th centry soldier
from G.A. Embleton/ Osprey.
A: HAT– Three cornered hats (called “cocked” hats) were typical with regular infantry, or battalion troops. Small leather caps were more common on skirmishers – rangers and light infantry units. British grenadiers and musicians often wore tall bearskin caps. Other military and civilian hats varied greatly.
B: COAT– Often highly decorated, the regimental coat was the 18th century soldier’s most distinctive feature. Most British regulars wore the familiar red coats. Artillery units of both sides wore dark blue or black, and green was worn by rangers on both sides. White, brown and various shades of blue were also worn, with blue becoming more common amongst Continental regulars as the war progressed.
C: FACINGS– The lapels, cuffs and collars of the regimental coat were usually of a different color than the coat. Color of facings varied between regiments and helped distinguish them from each other.
D: LACE– The tape decoration around the buttonholes and on the pockets was unique in design and placement to each European regiment.
E: CARTRIDGE POUCH– Most soldiers carried a tin canister or leather covered wood block on a shoulder strap. The cartridge pouch held prepared rounds of powder and lead rolled in paper tubes for fast loading and rapid fire. Smaller cartridge boxes were sometimes also worn on the belt.
F: WAISTCOAT– The long vest, or “weskit”, was worn by all decent men in public, the shirt being considered underwear. Regular troops of all participating nations usually wore white “small clothes”, which included the waistcoat and some sort of legwear (see below). Civilian small clothes were a variety of styles and colors.
G: LEGWEAR– “Breeches” were short, full-cut pants which fastened just below the knee. “Trousers” were ankle length pants, and “gaitered trousers” covered the shoe tops to keep out stones and debris.
H: LONGARM– Smoothbore flintlock muskets, the most common firearms of the day, were notoriously inaccurate, but fast loading and deadly in massed fire. Rifles were NOT common, but were employed for their accuracy at long distances by some light troops and frontiers people.
I: HAVERSACK– (Not visible) A linen shoulder bag used to carry food rations.
J: SIDEARM– Musket men carried bayonets, riflemen carried tomahawks and knives. Commissioned officers carried swords on either a waist or a shoulder belt.
K: SPLATTERDASHERS– Ankle-high spatterdashers or tall dark fabric “gaiters” with many buttons were common to European troops. Frontierspeople might employ gaiters or tall “leggins” made of blanket material or buckskin.
L: FOOTWEAR– Buckled shoes were common, though many had ties. Moccasins were not at all unusual, especially with frontier regiments.
In the 18th century the British army was home to some of the best-equipped and best-trained troops in the world. At the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775 there were 8,000 British regulars already stationed in North America. By the end of the war more than 56,000 British and some 29,000 German troops would see service in America and the West Indies – not to mention many thousands of Loyalist troops and Indian allies.
The British regimental uniform was almost universally red and faced with any of various colors, depending on the regiment. Most wore white small clothes and a black cocked hat with their side arms and cartridge pouch on crossed white leather belts. Their primary weapon was the smooth-bore “Brown Bess” musket.
Units are listed chronologically by the period they portray.
Illustrations by Mark Tully, 55th Foot.
1st Battalion Marines, 2nd Company – June, 1775
A red regimental coat with white facings and the usual white waistcoats and breeches, with white cross belts, mark the 1st Marines in their shore uniforms. Aboard ship they would wear more typical sailors’ clothing called “slops” (see Virginia State Navy).
The primary function of Marines was to maintain shipboard discipline, although in June of 1776 they were aiding in the defense of Boston.
4th (King’s own) Rgt. of foot, Grenadier Co’y – November, 1775
Tall bearskin miter hats, as well as the brass match case on the cartridge box strap and the wings on the shoulders of their coats, are typical to grenadier companies, the elite of the British army. Their coats are red faced blue, their small clothes are the usual white wool, and they wear tall black wool gaiters. Their uniform is in nearly perfect condition and in its idealized form, as it was on their arrival to Boston.
The 4th Grenadiers were at Lexington-Concord, at the outbreak of American Revolution, and were almost wiped out recapturing Breed’s (Bunker) Hill at Boston.
55th Regiment of Foot, Captain Trevor’s Co’y – August, 1776
Green facings on their red coats set the 55th apart in the NWTA. The uniform of the 55th reflects the classic British uniform for service in Europe, as yet not adapted to the rigors of American warfare.
The 55th fought at Long Island, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown, before being transferred to the West Indies where it saw heavy action against the French in 1778-1784.
Brigade of Guards, Grenadier Co’y – November, 1776
The Guards Grenadiers have the typical grenadier matchcase and wings on their shoulders, but not the bearskin hat. Their coats are scarlet faced blue and have no lace. They wear white waistcoats and long trousers.
A brigade consists of several regiments acting under the command of a brigadier general, in this case the 1st, 2nd (Coldstream), and 3rd (Scots, pictured) Regiments of Foot Guards. The grouping of buttons on their lapels indicates the regiment.
The Brigade of Guards arrived in America in August of 1776, was captured at Yorktown in 1781, and was eventually released from prison in 1783. At the time portrayed, the Brigade was operating around New York.
42nd Royal Highland Rgt., Grenadier Co’y – January, 1777
The 42nd wear the tall bearskin mitered hat that was common among grenadier units. Their short red coats are faced with blue, signifying a royal regiment. Red and white lace is on the shoulder wings, lapels and cuffs. They wear a belted plaid or kilt and diced hose. The cartridge box is worn at their waist and has a GR and crown on the flap.
The 42nd were active mostly in and around New York state and participated in the battles of New York, Brandywine, Germantown and others.
Brant’s Volunteers – January, 1777
Brant’s Volunteer are comprised of displaced civilian Loyalists. who placed themselves under the protection of Thayendanega, also known as Captain Joseph Brant, a full blooded Mohawks, who commanded a unit of Loyalist Native Allies and non-Natives. Carrying out a protracted guerilla war, they aided in the destruction of large agricultural areas to deny Washington’s army food stocks and other resources. Some men are dressed for “war parties” led by Brant, and others wear their civilian clothing.
New York Volunteers – July, 1777
The green coats and white facings of the New York Volunteers identify them as Loyalists to the British Crown. Five thousand such coats were supplied to the Provincials in spring of 1777, at which time the New York Volunteers were encamped at Kingsbridge, at the north end of Manhattan Island, and actively recruiting from Westchester County and the Hudson Highlands. They eventually became the Third American Regiment, at which time they were issued red coats with blue facings and sent to fight in the Southern Campaign until the end of the war.
71st Rgt of Foot, Fraiser’s Highlanders, Major’s Co’y – September, 1777
Fraiser’s Highlanders wear short red coats faced white, topped by the traditional highlander’s bonnet as they were at the Battle of Brandywine. Trousers were considered more practical than kilts for service in America. Their leather waistbelts with single frogs for bayonet are black, unusual for British troops.
Fraiser’s entered the war in April of 1776 as the largest British regiment that served in the Revolution, but suffered enormous casualties before returning to England in late 1783.
2nd Battalion of Light Infantry
In 1771 each British infantry regiment was required to select good men who were quick, agile and accurate marksman to create a company of light infantry. Today they would be known as special forces. They were adaptable in both dress and tactics. Their madder red coat is short and fitted rather than bulky. They wear close fitting gaitered trousers. Their hat has a narrow brim. All these uniform changes allow for unencumbered movement on the march and attack. The recreated unit represents troops during the Philadelphia Campaign; from the Battle of Brandywine (September 11, 1777) to Germantown (October 4, 1777). The 2nd Battalion earned their nickname, the “Bloodhounds,” after their nighttime bayonet attack on Continental General Anthony Wayne’s troops at Paoli.
Braunschweig Rgt. Von Riedesel, Leib Kompagnie – October, 1777
Regiment Von Riedesel’s style of clothing was typical of most German infantry that fought in North America during the Revolution. Blue and white striped overalls are common as fatigues with Braunschweigers. They wear dark blue coats faced yellow with red turn-backs and white metal buttons. A yellow and white pom-pon tops their cocked hat, identifying them as a Musketier regiment.
The Duchy of Brunswick leased soldiers to the King of England for service in America. The Regiment Von Riedesel was with Burgoyne on his march from Canada, and surrendered with him at Saratoga, NY, on October 17, 1777.
Fort St. Joseph Militia – July 1779
The Fort St. Joseph Militia wears civilian clothing with a wild mix of French and Indian influences: bright colors, moccasins, wooden shoes, fingerwoven sashes, and decorative silver broaches. Weapons and accouterments also reflect their frontier lifestyle and French heritage.
The militia at Fort St. Joseph, in what is now southwestern Michigan, was not an organized “permanent” militia, but rather a group of civilians acting as militiamen. At the time portrayed, they had joined forces with a detachment of the King’s 8th in an effort to forestall an impending attack on Detroit by George Rogers Clark. The French at Fort St. Joseph were deported to Michilimackinac by Governor Patrick Sinclair in June of 1780.
8th (King’s) Rgt. of Foot – July, 1779
Dressed in red coats faced blue, white small clothes, tall black gaiters, and black cocked hats trimmed white, the 8th may be seen with their distinctive goatskin knapsacks. Painted canvas knapsacks were common for troops’ personal articles when on the march, but some German and British regiments chose goatskin.
The 8th Regiment covered the widest range of any regular British unit, from Montreal to the Mississippi River and Canada to Kentucky. They served on the frontier with Indians and loyalists from well before the war, 1768, until after the war’s end in 1785.
1st American Rgt. (Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers), Light Company – October, 1780
The light company, shown here, wears a short green jacket faced green, and a leather cap with a silver crescent symbolizing Diana, Goddess of the Hunt. They wear white trousers with spatterdashers, typical of light troops. Their caps sport feathers of white and black, the black worn in mourning for Major Andréwho was captured and hung for his part in Benedict Arnold’s betrayal.
The 1st American Regiment was originally raised during the Seven Years War by Robert Rogers and were better known as Roger’s Rangers. They were re-raised by Rogers in 1776, and served to 1784. Today they are part of the Canadian Army as the Queen’s York Rangers, 1st American Regiment.
Campeau’s Co’y, Saint Anne’s Militia, Bird’s Expedition – 1780
Campeau’s company wears a variety of civilian clothing that shows their frontier lifestyle and French heritage. Weapons and accouterments are also civilian in nature and vary greatly.
The Saint Anne militia was comprised of men raised along the Detroit River Region. Captain Bird led a British expedition into Kentucky that was supported by the local militia – including Campeau’s Company – and native Americans. The expedition resulted in the capture of Ruddle’s and Martin’s stations.
84th Rgt. of Foot, 1st Bat., Royal Highland Emigrants – March, 1782
The 84th, in their government plaid and short red coats faced blue, look very much like the 42nd. Their blue highland bonnet, the style of lace on their lapels and cuffs, and the absence of shoulder wings are the primary differences. They wear white small clothes and a cartridge box and bayonet on their waist belt.
The 84th was the only highland regiment to be raised outside of Scotland. It was formed in 1775 from the families of the 42nd, 77th and 78th Highlanders, who had settled in Canada after the seven years war. Scottish emigrants from New York and North Carolina were also recruited.
Capt. Andrew Bradt’s Co’y, Butler’s Corps of Rangers – July, 1783
Leather helmets and green regimentals faced red distinguish this notorious loyalist frontier regiment. Their waistcoats are also green, and their leg and footwear reflect the personal tastes and frontier experiences of the individual soldier. Butler’s preferred white neckwear over the more common black military stock.
Based at Fort Niagara, Butler’s Rangers terrorized the patriots of the northern frontier for the duration of the war.
When war finally broke out, the Colonists had no disciplined army that could match the British in open battle and very little military equipment. Militia regiments, despite generally large numbers, were rarely well trained and were usually only active within their own state boundaries. In 1775, Congress appointed George Washington Commander-in-Chief and the difficult task of putting together a regular army was begun.
Regiments were raised and equipped by individual states for Continental service, and color, style and condition of clothing and accouterments was anything but uniform. In 1779 Washington ordered all Continental troops to be outfitted with blue regimentals, faced with different colors to indicate the unit’ s origin. This order was carried out with moderate success.
Units are listed chronologically by the period they portray.
Illustrations by Mark Tully, 55th Foot.
Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion, Capt. Hendricks’ Co’y – August, 1775
This unit wears mostly civilian dress common along the Pennsylvania frontier fringed hunting shirts, leggings, moccasins, slouched hat and a variety of arms and accouterments.
The 90-man company was raised in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in June of 1775 in response to an appeal from Congress for rifle companies to aid in the siege of Boston. In September of 1775, Hendricks’ Company accompanied Benedict Arnold’s expedition to Quebec, where Hendricks was killed and all but 18 men from his company were captured.
3rd New York Rgt., Capt. Lewis Dubois’ 4th Co’y – November, 1775
Short gray regimental coats faced green illustrate one of the earliest uniforms of the Continental Army. Like many other early rebel units, the soldiers of the 3rd New York supplement their incomplete military issue with civilian items and surplus from the earlier war with France.
The 3rd New York served with Montgomery and Arnold on their unsuccessful campaign against Quebec in the winter of 1775-1776, and were mustered out of service in April 1776. The regiment was re-raised in 1776 and again in 1777.
Culpeper Minute Battalion – December , 1775
Green fringed hunting shirts with ” Liberty or Death” across the chest make this unit instantly recognizable. Blue wool leggings and various civilian clothing completes their uniform and reflects the rural counties where they were raised. Their weapons are civilian as well, mostly rifles.
The Culpeper minute battalion was raised in Culpeper, Orange, and Fanquier counties in Virginia. They saw action at Hampton, Virginia and the battle of Great Bridge.
6th Virginia Rgt. of Foot – August, 1776
A short, brown, unfringed hunting shirt trimmed in red, and a narrow brimmed ” round” hat illustrate the diversity of early uniforms of the patriot forces. Their small clothes are civilian or scrounged from the battlefield, and their weapons are whatever they could get.
Formed early in 1776, the 6th tasted success at Trenton and Princeton. The riflemen of the 6th later joined Morgan’s Rifles, while the rest of the regiment, due to their dwindling numbers, was incorporated into the 2nd Virginia Regiment in 1778.
Capt. Alexander Hamilton’s New York Provincial Co’y of Artillery – September , 1776
Dark blue coats with buff facings, buff waistcoats and leather breeches mark Hamilton’s artillery. Raised by the State of New York for the defense of New York City, they are unusually well uniformed, partly out of the pocket of their captain, the young Alexander Hamilton, later to become the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Hamilton’s Artillery is the only U.S. military unit of any type to have an unbroken line of service from the war of the Revolution to the present.
Virginia State Navy, of the Boat “Hero” – November, 1776
Short, very loose pants called ” slops” and small hats, tarred for weatherproofing, were common, sensible clothing for sailors, no uniforms having yet been developed. The Virginia Navy wears red waistcoats as a sort of uniform article. The officers wear blue faced red, styled after the British naval officers’ uniform of the day.
The Congressional navy was woefully inadequate, and depended heavily on state supported navies and privateers operating under a Congressional ” Letter of Marque and Reprisal” for coastal defense. Children as young as six years old served aboard ships as powder monkeys and cabin boys.
Continental Marines, Dean’s Co’y – January, 1777
A moss green coat faced white, and a black round hat trimmed white mark the Continental Marines. Their small clothes are white and there is a green stripe on the seam of their breeches.They also wear tall black gaiters. Dean’ s Company was raised late in 1775, fought as line troops in the second battle of Trenton, served with the artillery, but never saw service aboard a ship. Dean resigned his commission in July of 1777.
Captain Benjamin Logan’s Co’y, Kentucky Co. Militia – March , 1777
The British supplied arms, munitions, as well as occasional British regular troops and officers, to the Natives who launched attacks against the fledgling frontier settlements. By 1777, settlements in Kentucky had been reduced to Boonesboro, Harrodsburg, and Logan’s Fort- and only some 500 colonists. During March of 1777, the Company successfully defended Logan’s Fort against severe Indian attacks.
Logan sent a detachment to reinforce Boonesboro for the Siege in 1778. Some men of fought with Joseph Bowman in 1779 against the Indian town of Chillicothe, and Logan led his men with George Rogers Clark at the battle of Picaway, in August 1780. The men also saw service as “Over Mountain Men”, at the turning-point battle of Kings Mountain , S.C. The men wear traditional garments of the civilian frontier.
1st Regiment of Light Dragoon, Capt Henry Lee’s – 5th Troop – June, 1777
The 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons, 5th Troop, (Virginia Light Horse) was raised in 1776 by Theodorick Bland and Captained by “Light Horse Harry” Lee . Thirty men joined Washington in New Jersey in December of 1776. Under Lee they were very successful in the early years of the war, highly praised by Washington and local press for their meritorious service. They served as Washington’s body guard in the Battle of Germantown.
Uniforms were blue wool regimental coats with red facings, red wool waistcoats, white leather breeches and leather high top boots. For head protection they wore black leather helmets with vertical shields and white horse hair crests.
Capt. Charles Turnball’s 1st Co’y, Proctor’s Artillery – June, 1778
Cocked hats with yellow tape topped by a distinctive bright red plume mark Proctor’s Artillery. Their coats are dark blue with red facings and lining, white small clothes and gaitered trousers. Dark blue or black regimental coats were common with artillery of both sides. Artillery regiments were rarely united in service, but assigned by companies or detachments to support infantry units or defend fortifications.
Proctor’s artillery was formed in October, 1775, and was eventually disbanded at the war’ s end.
2nd Pennsylvania Rgt, Capt. Jacob Ashmead’s Co’y – June, 1778
Brown regimentals faced green, cocked hats, and white waistcoats and overalls give the 2nd Pennsylvania an unusual look. Their canteens are marked ” 2nd Penn”. Brown regimentals faced different colors were actually quite common among the patriots early in the war. The 2nd Pennsylvania was unusually well outfitted, in clothing and equipment, by their resourceful colonel. They look as they did uponmarching out of Valley Forge toward Monmouth.
4th Reg’t of the Massachusetts Line, Libbeus Ball’s Co’y, William Shepard’s Reg’t. – August, 1778
The 4th Massachusetts Regiment also known as 3rd Continental Regiment was raised on April 23, 1775 under Colonel Ebenezer Learned outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Bunker Hill, New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Rhode Island. Their regimental uniforms were blue faced white with the musicians wearing the reverse colors of white faced blue.
Capt. Joseph Bowman’s Co’y, Illinois Rgt., Virginia State Forces – August, 1778
Raised in frontier Virginia for the defense of Virginia’s claimed Illinois Territory, Bowman’s Company served without uniforms. Their civilian clothing reflects the rigors of frontier life, and the ingenuity of early frontier people. Their service took them west to capture and garrison Cahokia on the Mississippi River, then on with George Rogers Clark to capture Vincennes.
4th Continental Rgt. of Light Dragoons (Dismounted service), Capt. John Craig’s – Troop July, 1779
A visored leather helmet with a bearskin crest and green turban, tall boots and a red waistcoat make the 4th Continental Dragoons easy to identify. They may be seen in either their green regimental coat with red facings or fringed frock coats of various colors. Formed in 1777, the regiment served throughout the entire war.
Raised primarily in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, they served in both the northern and southern campaigns. They had both mounted and dismounted troops.
First Continental Artillery, Harrison’s Rgt. – 1779
Uniformed members of Harrison’s Regiment wore dark blue coats with red facings and turnbacks with yellow lace, a black cocked hat bound in yellow, and usually white small clothes. It was common for artillery to recruit or draft regular infantry from other units to assist handling the guns.
These men would wear the clothing typical to whatever unit from which they came, and occasionally wore mixed uniforms. Artillerymen could wear swords, if they were to be had. Harrison’ s Regiment served primarily as a garrison unit defending cities in the north, and saw considerable servicein the south.
Capt. Richard McCarty’s Co’y, Illinois Rgt. Virginia State Forces – October, 1779
Short, dark blue jackets with red cuffs and no lapels, and a narrow-brimmed round hat turned up in back mark McCarty’s Co’y. The sergeant wears a red shoulder stripe. The brown belly boxes with red markings and brass banded muskets were provided by the Spanish, allies against the British. Raised in 1778, McCarty’s succeeded Bowman’s Co’y, and served primarily as a garrison force at Cahokia on the Mississippi River until early 1780, when the company was disbanded.
Capt. Abraham Kellar’ s Co’y, Illinois Rgt. Virginia State Forces – January, 1780
Kellar’ s company wears short, blue coats faced white, white small clothes, and black cocked hats. Note the tri-colored alliance cockade – black for the Continental Congress, white for France, and red for Spain. Kellar’ s carry a variety of arms and accouterments, some of Spanish origins. Kellar’ s Company saw service at Vincennes and the company was garrisoned there through the winter of 1779-1780. Abraham Kellar resigned his commission in 1781.
Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, Captain John Alexanders’ Coy – May, 1780
The regiment wore Blue coats with red facings and buttons of the line when available, but often wore the hunting frocks and civilian clothing that they furnished. The 7th Pennsylvania Regiment was raised January 4, 1776 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania for service with the Continental Army. The regiment would see action during the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Springfield. The regiment was disbanded on January 17, 1781 at Trenton, New Jersey.
Webb’s Additional Rgt., Band of Musick – May, 1780
Five to eight musicians in dark yellow coats faced red, with black cocked hats trimmed yellow, form the Band of Musick. Their coats are British musicians’ coats, captured with a supply ship full of uniforms bound for the British army in America. As part of its effort to uniform the army, captured British uniforms were often used by the patriot forces.
Regimental Musicians typically wore their regiment’ s coat and facing colors reversed. This officer’ s band of two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons played for military ceremonies, dinners, and dances. These musicians were all promoted to sergeant in May 1780.
Capt. Edward Worthington’s Co’y, Illinois Rgt. Virginia State Forces – October, 1780
Worthington’ s wear short blue coats faced white, cocked hats bound white, and carry a variety of weapons and accouterments, many of which were provided by the Spanish. On their hats they wear a black cockade common to Congressional forces. Raised in 1778 of eastern farmers, Ohio Valley long hunters and French from the Illinois country, Worthington’ s were with Clark at Vincennes and saw action against Indiansand French militia as well.
They fought in the engagement around St. Louis and Cahokia in late spring of 1780, and in October of that year, they were at the mouth of the Ohio on the Mississippi River defending Fort Jefferson against Chickasaw Indians.
Lauzun’s Legion – October, 1781
Powder blue regimentals with yellow facings and very tall gaiters distinguish this ally of the rebel cause. The coat is long with short lapels and large pocket flaps, indications of the French origin of Lauzun’s Legion. They carry canteens made from gourds. The importance of the French contribution to American independence cannot be overstated.
After Burgoyne’s defeat in October of 1777, previously half-hearted support became generous, with major supplies of uniforms, weapons, troops, and even ships. The surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, the climactic battle of the American Revolution, could not have been won without the aid of both the French army and navy.
Lauzun’ s Legion defeated Tarleton at Gloucester Point, across the Chesapeake Bay from Yorktown, and thereby closed a possible escape route for the British Army.
Royal Deuxponts, Rgt. 104, Brigade Bourbonnais – October, 1781
Dark sky blue coats with citron yellow facings and tall black gaiters cut a figure similar to Lauzun’ s. Their sleeved waistcoats have blue cuffs and collars. Their hats have three alliance cockades, white for France, red for Spain, and black for America. The red Pom pon, sword, and fringed epaulets identify them as a grenadier company.
This Germanspeaking regiment became part of the French line under a treaty of alliance between Christian von Zweibrucken (Deuxponts) and Louis XV in 1757. They were at the battle of Yorktown and participated in the storming of Redoubt No. 9.
2nd Virginia Rgt. – June, 1782
The 2nd Virginia wears the standard uniform from the 1779 regulations for the Southern Division – blue faced red with white turnbacks, waistcoats and overalls. Their hats are black light infantry helmets, bound white. The 2nd was formed in the fall of 1775, and served from New York to Georgia for the duration of the war.
Commander in Chief’s Guard – September, 1782
Dark blue regimentals faced buff with brass buttons, red waistcoats and gaitered trousers mark Washington’s Lifeguard. Their cocked hats are bound in white with the alliance cockade of black and white silk. All their clothes are in unusually good condition. The officer pictured here has a gorget at his breast, a red silk sash and a silver epaulet on his left shoulder, all symbols of rank, in this case a lieutenant. He also carries a spontoon.
The Commander in Chief’s Guard was formed March 12, 1776 at Cambridge Massachusetts, during the siege of Boston. It served as General Washington’s personal bodyguard, and as a training vehicle for the entire Continental army until June 6, 1783 when it’s duties were taken up by members of the New Hampshire Line.
Women, children, sutlers, and other non-military personnel commonly accompanied 18th-century armies on campaign.. Without the efforts of these trades people and campfollowers,the war machines of both sides would have quickly ground to a halt. In addition,our civilian camp presents aspects of 18th century life away from the military camps, representing people of the towns and farms of the colonies.
Women and Children in the Army
During the American Revolution, it was common for women and children from both sides to follow their husbands into war. This was done by all classes of women from the very wealthy – who just visited their husbands in the field from time to time – to the common, everyday women who had no other means of support and no place else to go.
The British army officially allowed one woman for every six men, or one per tent. The Continental army had similar ratios, but in both armies this quota was often exceeded. They were known as “women on the ration” and received one-half of what ever the army gave a soldier. Useful children received a one-quarter ration. They had jobs in the army, such as mending clothes, taking care of the sick men, doing laundry, and cooking. A few even followed the army out on the battle field to bring water and ammunition to the men.
Baldwin’s Rgt. of Continental Quartermaster Artificers – September, 1780
Civilians and military personnel with skills in manufacturing or procurement were contracted or drafted into various quartermaster companies. Their responsibility was to provide goods and services that the army could not provide. These might include tinware, pottery, cloth and tailoring, carpentry, gunsmithing, ironwork, leatherwork, etc. Many of these same skills and products may be found amongst the sutlers in our camps.
Philadelphia Ladies Association – June, 1780
Thirty-six prominent Patriot women organized a major fundraising campaign for the relief of impoverished patriot troops, urging women to forgo luxuries and frivolities and donate to the cause. Over $300,000 continental dollars were raised and at General Washington’s insistence linen was purchased and 2200 shirts were made to supply the desperate need of the soldiers.
Sandridge Settlers of Albany-Town, New York
Although Albany was still predominantly Dutch, by the late 18th century it had becomea center of international trade attracting immigrants from the British Isles,France, Poland, Germany and Denmark.
The residents of Albany Almshouse demonstratea variety of skills influenced by the Old World traditions.
A civilian unit depicting the daily life of the towns folk and farmers during the conflict. What was it like living in an area controlled by the British if you supported the Congressional forces or the other way around? Members research and demonstrate skills and trades you would find in the towns or on the farm such as weaving, lace making, blacksmith, gunsmith, brewer, processing fibers for cloth, foods available as well as cooking and preserving food. You will also hear music of the era.
During the Revolution, both sides competed for allegiance of the native peoples that lived near the areas where a majority of the battles happened. Their knowledge and skill in tracking, hunting, and scouting these areas was beyond the capabilities of any military groups and made them a valuable asset. Major battles were won due to the assistance of one side’s native allies.
Many times these people served as the first line of combat and sometimes were the last to leave as well to cover a retreat. This group consists of many different nations that come from the region surrounding Lake Michigan or as it was called early on, the Lac de Illinois, or the “Lake of the Illinois” people. Living with them are people of European descent who have either come to live with the natives by choice or by captivity.