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GERRY

SERIES EDITOR: LEE JOHNSON
THE BRITISH ARMY IN
NORTH AMERICA
1775·1783
I ..
TeXT BY
ROBIN MAY AND
GERRY EMBLETON
NEW COLOUR PLATES AND
TEXT REVISION BY
GERRY EMBLETON
t!mm
MILITARY
()
Ueuten.nl Gene....
John Burgoyne - 'Gentleman
Johnny' - ptaywright, politician
and 'tne soldiers' friend',
THE BRITISH ARMY IN
NORTH AMERICA 1775·1783
INTRODUCTION
he British have rarely disliked a war more than the American
Revolution and ha\'c nc\"cr been less eager to serve in the armed
forces of the CroWll. If it had not been for Scotsmen, who joined
the ann)' in considerable !lumbers. rccmiling would have been an e\'cn
bigger fiasco than il was.
The Whig Opposition W"dS againsl the war to the ex:tCI1l of sometimes
glol")ing publici), in British defeats, and. as history was mostl)' ",,'nnen b}'
Whig his.arians in the following cenllU)'. the nOlable achievements of
the redcoats in AmeriGt were played down. When b;ul1e honours were
distributed none al all were aW"drded for the Revolution, a sh'lIllcful
omission. )'el the mal"'..el is nOI tllal the troops foughl so badl)'. bm so
well. Al American textbook Ic\"cl. the redeo.us h;I\'c been made illlo
ogres. lhough to balance this. many of the more s)'mpalhctic commClllS
on thcm ha\'c becn \\'rillcn by AmeriC::llls,
Courage \\':LS nC\'cr in shon suppl)" For shccr gulS, the r(:<IcoalS'
beha\'iour at Bunker Hill. Saraloga and olher blooc:l)' cncounters has rarely
been excelled. The faci lhat some commanders rcfused to <;ef\'e againsl
Ihe Americans hardly helpc."(! to achie\'(.' \iClOry. while Olhers. including
I-lowe and Clinton, onl), crossed the AlI:llllic out of loraIt)' to the king.
So did Burgo}11e. lhough, unlike the othel' t\l'O, he had 110
\\'ilh llle Americans, and later called them a 'rabble
in arms'. He simply did llot want to ser\'e in America. though
in the evellt hc was ambitious enough, Much ma)' be forgivcn
'Gcntleman .Johnny', howe\'er, for he was 'lhe soldiers' friend' and \\':IS
loved b), them.
Ilowc - 'Good-natured Bill)' I-lowe' - iswiddy regarded as a sluggard
who coillillually leI slip chances of finishing oll'tlle war ill 1776. [II fact,
though no military genius and a lo\'er of :1 t"]uiet life, thanks 10
American historians. we can now see him holding out an olive branch
to his enemies, ne\'er hilting lhem lOO hard. bUI hoping to CllCOLlr<lg"e
Ihel11 10 make peace. And, as we shall see. he was also cOlllinuall),
short of supplies which mostl), had to be shipped across the Atlantic.
a fact buried under slOries of lroops living ofT the land, plundcl
and rape,
I""'- b-,. The difficulties of campaigning in America and gross ineffi-
cicncy and cOITuplion at hOllle werc far morc deadly cnemies of
the rcdcoats than the gencrals' conduct. blundcring as it
somctimes \'<lS.
Thc Americans won, but onI}" just. and then thanks to foreign inter-
vClltion and a small number of piltriots dcdicatcd, \.thant and
continually let down by their own people. Washingtoll and a hard core
Sir Hen..... Clinton, Howe"
succeuor •• Commandaf'ln·Chlet
1nAmeric.a.
or always loyal, always dependable regimentS Sland in magnificent
contrast to a meall, bickering Congress. alld part-time soldiers
almost coming and going as they pleased. The standard gcnerali-
s<ttion about the American Revolution \\'<IS lirSI made by John
Adams, the second President, who claimed lhal a lhird or his
coullIrpnen wallled a revolutioll, a lhird were againsl il and a
third were neutral. Ir lhat so, only a small proponion or
the Rebels were prepared 10 be militallt in the true sense or
the word.
As ror George Washinglon, 1051 as he sometimes seems
under it mountain of legend, because he so let down by
his counu-pnen and lx:callsc he no gre:u gener-II. his
achie\"emenl was all the more extraordinary. 111is complex
man, 10 whom dut), and p:ltriotism were not mere words,
deserves more rrom his compatriots than a halo. Hc a giant,
and Britons can be proud that he, too. Blitish.
The redcoat, having won \ictory after victory cxcept when vicwry
most mallered, finall)' left ror home in Novcmber 1783. his humour
undimmed. The \'ery lasl man to go, having 10\\'cred the Ilion flag on
St:llen Island and CUI the proceedcd 10 grease the staff. As Ihe)'
rm\'ed al\'aY, thC)' \\'ere able to enjoy Ihe sight or Iheir laiC cnemies Irying
to mise the Stars and SLripcs ,md not succeeding UllIil cleats had been
hammer<.-d up the pole and the flag nailed into place.
Some redcoats ma)' ha\'e also chuckled a liule at Ihe final peace
U"eaty. ror though Britain lost her AmeriCOIll colonies. she did nOt come
Out or the war so badly considering th,ll she had Fr,lIlce, Spain and
Iioliand a&",inst hcr ,IS well by the end orit. 'li'lIe, the gloriolls dap; orthe
\'Car or Miracles. 1759, were no more and the preSlige or Bril<lin, so high
in 1763, had slumpt.,<1 badly. lim Rodney's \;cLOry over de Gr'asse in 1782
had saved the West Indies, Gibr'ahar had nOt raUen, France almOSI
bankrupt, Spain had probkms at home and in Nonh Americ<l, and,
lhough it was not re;:llisc..-d al the t.ime, lhe who settled in Canada
were a magnificelH im'estmenl ror lhe fUlllre. A few rears hueI'. they and
the redcoats would help to throw the Americans Ollt of Canada in lhe
War or 1812.
The book which rollows is not all aCCOllnl of the war and its strategy,
hIll olTen; a short examination of the org-aniS:lIioll of the British Army in
America and Britain at the time of the Re\'oILltion, with pardcular
emphasis on the redco;H and his war.
RAISING AN ARMY
When the Seven Years' War ended in 1763. Greal Brilain proceeded to
decimate the army which had done so Illuch to \\'in her an empire. All
inrantry or lhe line were disbanded <lhove the 70th FOOL, and all c,mJ.lry
abo\'e lhe 18th Light Dmgoons. The est<lblishmenl \'o'aS thel"dore a mis-
emble 17.500, 3,000 of whom were the emergenc), force so aptly known
as the 'Corps or Invalids'. There were also 1,800 gunners and sappers,
and 12.000 men on the Irish establishmCIll.
The colonies were allowed 10,000 men. excluding 4,000 rOI" Minorca
and Gibmhar. and. though the East India Company had its own rorces,
this meant that the rest of the empirc was pitifull}' under,policed. llatl'ed
of standing armies at home and abroad could hardly be laken fllnher.
The leading up to Ihe American Revolution are not the
concern of this book, bIll points must be stressed where the
redcoats wcre concerned. Firstly, though many Britons were not con-
,inced that Canada was wonh possessing, none doubted the importance
of the American colonies <lnd the sugar-ridl West Indies. The gov-
mcthods in this period were bluudering in the extreme. True,
Britain had spent a fortune to win Canada from the French and to nmke
the 13 American colonies safe, so therefore felt obliged t.o extract money
from Americans to help pay the cost of keeping troops in America, and
also 10 ease the National Debt. But 10 use sledge-hammer tactics instead
of lact to gel the money from the independent-minded Americans was
fatuous. Yet only the most Elr-sighted could foresee an actual war
breaking oul between the mother country and her own people in
America so soon after the bells had been ringing for the destruction of
New France.
81llthe government, even if it could not foresee a revolution, should
have realised the folly of Cllllillg down the ;lf1ny because of what
happened the \'cry year the war ended. Ponti;lC's dramatic rebellion, the
last real chance the Indians ever had of driving the whites back 10 the
Atlantic. should have made ministers at Ollce aware of the f()lly of as
me beller of two white evils, not least because POll1iac was pro-French.
Mter scnsational successes elsewllerc. his nlain Glmpaigll against Detroit
just failed. and perhaps bec<luse of Ihis, Ihe Hritish did not grasp the
lessons of his rebellion.
So whcn the Revolution started in 1775. the Army was only
48,647 strong, with 39.294 infantry. 6.fl69 cavalry and 2,484 artillel'}'. The
breakdown below of their locations comes 10 slighlly fewer because it
ka\'cs out the artillery, plus 20 independent companies of im'<llids on
garrison dllty, thOllgl1 it does include thc 41 st. a regiment of im'alids,
LOCATION OF THE ARMY IN 1775
Infantry Cavalry
""'"'
19 regIs. 11.396 16regts 4.151
""-
1regt.
'"
Isle 01 Man
3""',,,
'"
....,.
21regts. 9.815 12,egts 2.718

'·9"
'.385
7regts 3.339
Wesllndies
3"","
"909
""""'"
t8regls 8.580
-.
'''"'' '"
38,254 6,869
This makes a grand total of 45.123 men 10 guard an empire, plus
gunners, some invalids. and the soldiers of the LlSt India Company,
IOgelher with a Royal Navy at almost the lowest ebb in its history under
the Earl of Sandwich. who was 'Too infamous to ha\'e a friend. Too bad
for bad men to commend.'
A private 01 tne PIcket Company
of tne 11th Foot, In about 1771,
These companies were the fore-
runners of the regimental light
companies which appeared very
shortly afterwards. The cap
appears to be f1.lr-trimmed; the
crown, royal cipher and regi.
mental number are in brass. The
red coat of the 11th was lined
White and laced dartl. green, with
red and green stripes In the regl-
mental lace, (Reproduced by
gracious permission of H.M, The
Queen)
A priva" 01 tta Pleket Company
01 the 13th Foot, In that
regiment's yellow-Iaeed eoat; the
eap ornament" bra.., and the
eapltaellapartlculare.empleol
the wide lIarletyol Impl"OIIiHd
light Inf.ntfyeepa. (Repro6l>c:ed
by grKkH.t. pennl••lon 01 H.M.
TheQueenJ
Six rears aflcr this, I\'hcll the military ......ar was ow:1" ill/\Illcrica cxn'p'
for skirmishcs and Ihc formalilies, Ihe ann... had reachcd the 110,000
mar"- £)7.000 of Ihem stalioll(..d in AmeriC;I and the We" Indies. This
dOl'" llOt include the 70 or SO Loyalist regilllelll'l ;\lU\ formations, the
;lO,OOO German mercenaries and the fluctuating !lumber of Indians \I'ho
fought on Ihe British sidc,
Rt.'(Tuiting had never been morr difficult Lhan for this war. Apart
from the unpopularity of the conflict, the 1770s were tht' last \'ears
before till' lndu.:>trial Rt.'\'ohllion imrodllced a l;lI-ge numl)('I' of Ihe
working to a fate \\orse than taking the King'., Shilling - the
nightman: world of prbon-lil.e facton n,e" \lere the last H:ars when
Br;tilill \\,15 lIlore an agricultur.tl than an indusu;al mllion, "hen {'\'cn
the poorest coumn'men could expect to rat well, and \lhen {'nc1osurcs
had not \'t"I wrecked the rural \\";\\ of life.
So 11ll' temptation tojoin up \I<lS minimal: poor p::.'. sa'";\ge disciplinc
and bild food. combined ,,'illl me prospect offighting fellO\\ Britons.
enough 10 put off <111 blll born fighters and 3<,h-enturel"'S, Forllinaleh.
Scotland. al leas!. WilS full of bOlh.
Thc p;w of a pl;\,atc soldier \IdS eighlprnce a cia,. but of il was
1;lken aw;w from him. Sixpence allrgMIv "'ent for
though some of Ihe precious pennies \I re pUL aside (0 J><l\ for c1Olhing.
medicine and Ihe repair of arms. Much or the remaining {\I'opence was
deducted 10 pa\ the Pa\'masler--C<-neraJ, the Ilospitai. <I place a
fccruit was "0 unlikdr to rc;lch, the regimental ag ill, eLC. The ,S\"Slem of
pa\ and stoppages \\,IS unhdie\<lbh compliclLM, but me result \\'as the
- the Mlldier gOt next 10 nOLhing.
Harracks were lew in Britain in the J so me rr-cn.it was likeh to
be under Gun'lS. or. more probabh. in Iodg;ngs \lhere his prescnce
grcatl} rescllted. DiloCipline \1";\) 18th-eellLun tr.lditional, Lhe onh dif-
lCl'encc frolll earlier times being Ihat Ihe lash "<lS !he uni"el-";:Il penalty
for most crimes. Other tortures like the 'hone' and 'f1l1lning Ihe
gauntlet' were not being phased Olll for humanilarian rea_"Ons, but
simpl)' because was simpler: 1,000 or more lashes II,IS still a
frequt.'llt senlence,
Food \\,IS gellcr;llly appalling. and continued to be so \\hen llle
soldit.'l" reached Al11t.'1"ica. Lcgend Ims it that m rrdcoots li\cd com-
fortOlhl}' olT the land: legend is wrong. Recnliu in Britain were often so
llllCkrfed in lheir ding)' billets that lhey \I'cre scarcely able lO endure the
drill that lllrned thcm into remarbbly good soldiers.
MI)S\ of the battles of the Rt'\'Olution \\ere fought Oil European
p;llterns, so the uniform red coats of Lhe men \\ere not in tlH:lllse!\,es a
lllellacc to safet),. c\'cn though the American from tile Slan pickl.-d off the
ofliccrs. As the w<lr progressed dress regulation \I'ere relaxed. making it
casier lor the soldier to fight. The stock \I<lS not )et a tOrtuous high Icalher
collar, but more often nmde of \-eh'et or horsehair, and gaitcl"S had
been black since 1768. it still look Ihe a'-er.lge soldier up LO Lhree
hours 10 g"cl himself read)' for a parade, \lherr a s1ighl 1Il00"e1llCill or a
1J<ldl\' an,mged head of hair (cO\ered in unh\'gienic grrase and pon'der
according to regulalions) could get him 100 lashes Of" more.
As for equipl1lelll. it might weigh as much as 60 pound ,lhough some
ha\e claimed - probabl\' wrongl} - that it sometimes weighed almosl
lwice as milch. Burgoyne considered 60 pound too much. and lhe fol-
Io....;ng rl....·ealing repon ;:lbOlIl equipment. dated 15June 1784, soon aner
w·d.r was o\'er. shows that notice was taken of complaints if senior
officers made them. It is a Report of me Procecdings ofa Committee
of Gcner.tl Officers Rt.·garding the Equipment of Soldiers. and the
li.stl"t! recommendations received approval:
1 Ordnance Cartridge Box at present in use found to be
inconvenient.
2 Powder-Horns and Bullet-Bags of Light Infantry were never
used during the late war.
3 Matches & Match-Cases of Grenadiers are becoming obsolete.
4 Grenadiers' swords were never used during the last war.
(It was proposed that all these articles be abandoned.)
5 The whole battalion to be accoutred alike, with the addition of
two articles for the Light Infantry, e.g., Hatchel & Priming Hom,
which may be carried either with the knapsack or as the
Commanding Officer shall think most convenient.
6 Shoulder-belts to be of equal breadth, and to have the Ammunition
divided; to cany the Pouch on the right side, and the Magazine on the feft.
7 Pouch & Bayonet-Belts 10 be of Buff leather & both to be 2 inches
broad, the Bayonet-Carriage [frog] to slip on & off the belt with two
loops.
8 A leather cap worn by some of the Light Infantry during the late war is
strongly recommended.
9 Propose a black woollen cloth gaiter with white metal buttons & without
stiff tops in place of the black linen gaiters at present in use.
So somclhing had been learnt from the campaign ill America. Back
in [775, it must have seemed 10 sollle thaI there would be no campaigns
from which to learn. for recruiting was practically stationary. In
December. Ed\\';.u·d II;:u"\'ey. the A{ljll\am-Gcncral. lamentcd: 'Sad wo,'k
nenwhcre in recruiting. In these damned limes we must esert zeal.'
Ill' was right, for apa.n from the many reasons fOT not joining lhe anny,
mere were other disa<!\'antagt.'S. Scnice was nonnally for life and postings
abro:ld could go on for de<:adt.'S. Notoriousl)'. the 38th Foot was trapped in
the Wcst Indies for 60 rears! And the deep unpopularity of soldiers was as
rnlllpant as at any time in the ccntlllY. At least the s"lilor, pressed, flogged
and wretched, could - and oflet 1 did, evcn at lhis dismal dille ill
the thoughtlhat he was the nation's pride.
Vol unreel's joincd up for lhree rears or lhe dur.nion, OUI. except for
in Scolland, Ihere were pilifully few of lhem in 1776. Some re<:ruiting
parties in their despair le\ied and pensioners, and ("'en Roman
Cuholics. unwelcome before 1775. were recruited.
Less successful ....'as an attempt to enlist 20.000 Russian mercenaries.
or to entice a Scotch brigade back from sen;ce with the Dutch. This led
10 lhe hiring ofGcnnans from 11t.-sse-Cassel and elsewhere. Ilowe...er. the
Ilighiands proved good ground for recruiting panics. man)' clansmen
coming forward lO gel away frolll grim conditions a1 home, or 10 seck
glory, or bOlh. Lowlanders also carne forwMd, somc C"clI refusing
boullty. and in certain towns. lhe families of those who wellt were sup-
pont.'1:\ by those who slared behind. The English. h;sh and Welsh showed
no such ardouI".
Gene..t Sir Guy c.rteton, UYlour
of C.nada and Lat..., •• Lord
first lIOfttnO"'"
.......,.
f-:; .. P, .. .. I, .. ,' ...'·ul tI"t- j' ,t .. ,,,
i .. .I .. " .. " li.•·(f, .. "
Iv.... lt.· 1·,lttel",,;). 17(,',•.
J
Until I i:":-.. \dum rfieiH'd one-and-a·half
guineas. but 0l.!I there ""tre far tOO few of them.
pardoned crimUla] and deserters were
welcomed. tnt fL . Ifl. "'i.S the required height.
though '''OlIn .00 looked as if they miglll
grow .....ere enli'led, .... he..eas the lame, the
ruptu..ro and tho prone 10 fitS .....e..e not.
After 171 ..... hen b..oughlthe French
into Ihe .....ar, ..ecruiling became mOi'e urgent.
Volllllteel"S gOl thrtt pounds and. as in 1775, a dis-
charge in or al the end of ihe war: and
in Scotland and the London area. thc 'able-
l>o<lied idle and disorderly' were pressed for al
leasl fi\'e )'ears or until the end of hostilities. The
agc limits .....ere 17 10 45, The 'idle' persons
elsewhere in Britain .....ere left to work Ihe land.
This scheme. 100, railed, so in 1779 \'ohmLCcrs
gal three-and-a-half guineas and the righl 10 set
up in business .sen;cr where"er Ihev chose.
whatever local corpor:uions might sa)'. The
wounded .....ere to gel similar pri,·ileges. The
prcssed men, mean.....hile. could now be as shot1 as
Sf!. 'lin. and as old as 50. New sorts of rogues
could be taken, and thr whole countr)' could be
scoured for them. The only eSGlpe was tojoin the
militia, a EliI' ploy as Britain secmed to be in danger of invasion.
Despite desertions, scll:[l1aimings and fightS with the prcss-gallgs.jtlSl
enough men were loulld - 1,463 in southem Britain betwecll and
Ocl0!>cI' Ii79 - but what sowed the anny was the fact th;:lt man)' now
came forward 10 \'oluntecl" 10 ;I\"oid being pressed and to bendil from
the verv fair tenus.
In I i78. 12 new H:gilllents off001 were raised and 17 marc had been
I»' 1780. FOUl" rc.:gimcnts of lighl dragoons were raised bet\,'een
1778 and 1781. Old n.-gimellts were enlarged. a tllC king pre-
felTed as he suspected (rightl)' in man)' cases) thai colonels of the ne'"
regimcnL'i would placc 100 many relati\'es in them. To.....ns. 100, raised
regimenL'i - the BOth (Rapt Edinburgh VolullIcers) was one - and also
ga\'c generous boulllics. Less happily, the s)'stem of dmfting much in
evidence, a badl), mauled regiment being forccd 10 send its oflit:ers,
NCOs amI drummers home to recruit whilc its surviving privatcs trans-
ferrcd lO another regimelll also in Heed of mcn, bm not deslillltc. This
seriously interfered with PS/Jllllll' corps. Somc draflees of the mack Walch
mutinicd rmher than join the 83rd and be forced 10 abandon thcir kills.
and 30 ,,"ere killed in a pilched haule.
The recruillo the infantr)' found himsclfin a regiment of some 477
men divided inlo len companies forming a single baualioll. One
comp.1.n)' consisted of grcnadiers, who no longer hurled btTenade:.. but
were the !:llIest and strangesl men in the regiment. Another was made
lip oflighl infalllrpnell, wir)' Iroops who were the regiment's crack shots.
Thesc choscn men werc placed 011 Ihe flanks.
Recruils were subjected to cndless arms drill. oflen a rugged ordeal
011 inadequate rations. The basic infantry weapon was lhe '(\rowlI lless'
.'
A Brltlllh1I0idierlItatlooed In
Canada 10 1778-oot, as the
picture's cilptioo auggests, 1766.
tAli Friedrich _ Germaoo's
othet" drawings in this series
be.r tne late.. date.1 He wea,. a
wIllt. blankatcoat, Ol" capote,
with a hood; it has light blue trim
.t cuff and Mm, a light bl....
rosette on tne hip, and is
fast.ned with bpes of the ..me
colau... Long blue ovenlls, or
"alt.r tJOusen. are wom, and ao
underjacketwlth slaeves 01
Itron" white corduroy would
h.v. b.eo typical. The red·
,kulledcap has browofu.. trim
and tall. (New Yorte. Public
LIbrary)
8
An aerial view of Fort Niagara,
which eould kIIrdly be less like
the log 'Iockade of Hollywood
legend.... ,tlning history
,trekhe, from t1579 to t8t5,
when It wa, handed back to the
USA -It had been taken from the
French In 1759. The redoubts
oatefrom tnG-1,whikthe
,t_ bIockhou.... each
mounting two c:annon on the
gun-deek, "'... wall, five feet
thick.. In the foregr'O\l'f>d are the
and the south blockhouse;
on the righl b the north b1ock-
hovH; In the fa, blIckground Is
the 'caslle' with Ita bakehouH;
Isolated on the left I. the
magazl...; and to the left of the
blocktlQu'. in the foreground is
a range of ,lore buildings. (Old
Fort Niagara Association
Incorporated)
Fort Nlapra - the south
blockhouse I. shown - was not
only very .trongly built. but was
'tnteglcally important. During
the Aevolution It we. the main
base for Loyalist and Indian
g_nilla.. notably
Rangera and the lroquoi' led by
Joseph Brant. (Old Fort Niagara
Anoclatlon Incorporaled and
Grove McClellan)
muskct. with a carbine for thc Gl\'alry. while fusiliers carried a fusil. The
finest Ikilish firearm of the war. thc Ferguson invcllled IJ}'
thc dashing ratrick Fcrguson. was only used by 100 or SO picked
marksmen in America.
Rcgimental doctors. as recruits found. \'aried from good to ghastl\'.
And as for the consolations of religion. it was an irreligiolls age, and
though each r<:giment officialh had a chaplain. few evcr appearcd.
Scrgealll Lamb, thc diarist and 'iurgeon's matc of the 9th. c1aimt.:d he
kncw matl\ piolls soldiers. and thcre was no rcason for him to lie.
Dcspitc the origins of many mcn. and thc brutish li\'cs thcy had endured,
thc average redcoat cannot havc been so vcrr different from his suc-
CCSM}rs " Celltlll)' or more later. William Cobbett. thc grcat radical
politician and writer. thought highly of soldiers. I-Ie joined thc army
in 1784 and became a sergeant-mitior. lie once \\TOte: 'I like
soldiers, as a class in lirt:. beller than allY othcr dcscription
of men. Theil' convcrsation is morc pleasing 10 me;
lhcy havc gencrally seen morc than other 111en;
they have less vulgar prejudice abOlll Ihem.
Amongst soldiers. lcss Ihan amollgsl all}' other
description of men. ha\'c I obsern'd thc \'ices of
lying and h)pocl'isy,'
Wrillen permission from an oniccr was needcd
for Cobbell's admired pri\'ate soldiers 10 man)'.
The reglliations for wh'es and women on
campaign belong to the ncxt chapu'r. In harr-lcks
at home - though true barracks onI)' date from
the 17905 - husbands and win"s \\'ere cmitled to
scl"cencd-off beds in barrdck rooms.
As for the $landard of officers. it was
perhaps higher than il had been in lhe Sc\'cn
10
'ears' War, in which so many of them had pre-
\;ollsly fougln. This is nOl the book to argue the
few pros and m.m)' cons of the purchase S)'Stem
of commissions which restricled so many
officers ....ithOul primle means to junior ranks
and allowed mere YOllths to command them.
There was no general in the Rcvolution quitc
so ineffcctivc as Abercromby of Fon
Ticonderoga (I i58), but nor was there a \\'olfe.
And Sir William Ilo\\'c, regardless of his feelings about the war, ....~ d S not
the equal of his incompal,lble elder brother, Lord George Augustus
I [owe, ki[led at Ticonderogajllst before Abercromby did his worst, which
included allowing the B[ack Watch to be massacred. [ronically, Howe,
BurHoyne and Clinton were all r-.lernbers of Parliament and it W'<!S not
considered wrong for a general-politician 10 relurn to London in the
winter and speak in lhe I louse.
One often fOl"llinale factor at this lime was that no onicer was forced
to 1>eI"\'e overseas. This not only meant Ihal lunalics and infants were not
obliged to take Ihe field, but Ihat the ambilious mighl rise fasler because
many officers prefern:d 10 stay at home 011 half-pay rather than serve, To
readl the lOp in the I iiOs it "'as beSt 10 be in the Guards or the ca''alry.
bUl thai was to hold good for m'lIl)' )'c.u'S to come.
The real slumbling-block \ \ . \ . ~ the number of scl'villg soldiers who
simply did not lI'ish to fight Americalls. Lord Percy, hiler Duke of
NOl'lhumberhllld. whose conduct on tile lirst day of tile Revolution helped
save the retreating Ilritish AmlY. was Olle of lIIallY officers who could not
Slomach thc \1<11'. After disunguished sen'icc in [ii6, he I'Clurned hotTlc.
Fortunately for Ilrilish arms, there were plclll)' who could, plelllY of
c:arccr onicers who gOt 011 with the job along with it hard core of finc
NCOs. And undcl' thcm \\<lS that Illuch-'lbused, sorely tricd. usually
valiant and humorous man 01' ....<11'. lhe redcoat.
RECRUITING
Two contrasting methods
M,yor l\orle Roche in action in Ireland in Allgust I7iS. as reported by
lhe J)1Ib/;'ljar/nwl. First he organiSl.,,<1 a procession:
Major Roche. bearirlQ a large Purse of Gold.
Captain Cowley
A great number of likely re<:ruits
An elegant Band 01 Music. consistirlQ of French
Horns, Hautboys, Clarionets, and Bassoons,
p1ayirlQ 'GOO Saye the King'
A large Brewers Dmy with five Barrels of Beef, the
Horse richly capansoned and ornamented
with ribbons,
Two Draymen with Cockades, to serve the Beef.
The Recrultlng 5efjeant,
Drums and Flies.
Anotllef- Division of Recruits,
The RecruitirlQ Soldiers,
A prodigious concourse of Spectators
Englllved powder hom of
unusual Interest. rnSC:ribedwrth.
detailed map and the legend:
PER ROBERTSON / CORPLL IN
CAPT PEYTONS COMP:Y/IN THE
9TH REGT./1ST AUGUSTlNE /
MARCH 11 17457. and: THE CITY
OF HAVANNA ILLUMINATED AT
THE EMBARKATlON OF THE
BRmSH (slc:) TROOPS JULY THE
7TH 1763 (Metropolitan MUHUm
0'''''
Insldeofa reconstructklnofa
late 18th-century British Army
knapsack. The light tan blanket,
with two brown stripes woven In
oneslde,andabroadarTOwand
royal cipher stamp, Is copied
from an orlglnal from HMS
Jersey of 1783 vintage, now In
the New WindllOr, N.Y.,
Cantonment Collection. (P. R. N.
KatcherCollectkln)
The following spcech was then made by i\ol'!.ior
Rochc to thc Populace.
'Gentlemen and Fellow Countrymen-
'Being appdnted, through the Favour of our most excellent
Governor, to raise a Body of Men for the Selvice of his Majesty, I
think it the most happy Cin::lMnstalce of my Ufe to be the
TnstnJment of leading you forth to Honour and Renown.
'The Laurels fought for and obtained in all Parts of the Globe
last War, ha.... e procured us a Fame so glorious as not to beequalled
by any Peopie i"l any Age ( a FOO'Ie not to sullied by the A$auttsof
Prejudice nor the Effects of Tme. Not an .bdion i"l which we were
not victorious, not a SIege i"l which we were not honoured. Will you,
my dear Countrymen, permit those Laurels to fade or those ktions
to be forgotten? No, forbid it Hea....eo.let us nowthat we have it i"l OUI" Power, to latest
Posterity a Renewal of our Fidelity, and a Confirmation of OUI" Loyalty. A more critical Period
nelJer presented itself, nor had we e\IeI" a fairer Opportunity of shewing OUf Attad1mef1t to the
illustrious House of Hano.... er, than the present, as his Majesty's deluded subjects in America
are in open Rebellion, and, like unnatural children, would destroy their ever indulgent Parent,
forgetting the Torrents of Blood spilt, and Heaps of Treasure extended for their Presef'\lation,
'His sacred Majesty now calls us, and our Fidelity obHges us, and I hope your Inclination
prompts you, to obey the diclates of so good and Ienieot a Master. let us then, my bra.... e and
loyal countrymefl, join Hearts and Hands, and cheerfully step forth in the glorious Cause of
our Creator, our King, and our Country. 'We have it in our Power by Unanimity and inex-
haustible Resources, to reduce those daring Rebels to a due Obedience to their Sovereign,
and Submission to the Laws of their Country, which will give a fresh COO\Iic1ion to all Europe
that Hibernian Laurels ha\19 not faded by Time, but on the contrary are increasing in BOOm
and Verdure.'
Barrels oroccr and grandiose specches might suit the Irish, but IlOl thc
Black \-\latch, whose 2nd ba.ualion I'Wi raised again in 1779 arlcr having bccn
disbanded for somc rears. Stern Highlandcrs expcctcd, and got, stern
recruiting poslers. llere is ,Ill cxcerplclcarly aill'led at men ol"iron: -You who,
uncorrupted by the univcrsal depr.wilY ofyollr soulheJ1J coulltrymcn;havc
ullmoveablc a rock, alllhc as..<;<UlILS of Surrounding Luxul)' and
You who, while others, dfeminated hy voluptuous
and ilTL'Covcl,lbly 10Sl to honour, lolling in tbe anns of can sec the
dallger or their counuy Wilh a criminal indifkrence. .' elc.
THE PRICES OF COMMISSIONS IN 1776
Lisled helo\\' arc lhe most expensive commissions and the leasl
expensi\'c, those omil1ed being those ror lhe Dr;tgoon Guards and
Dragoons, ;tnd the FOOl Guards. Artillery commissions I,·cre nOl pur-
British Infantry officer's sword,
now In the City of Lancaater
Museum, of the type commonly
carried just before and during the
Revolution. A crimson and gold
swordknot was usually attached
to the guard. IPeterW. Joslinj 11
LEFT A Roy.1 Artillery c.rtrldge
pouch; the I.rge pouch conce.l•
• wood.... block drilled for nlM
CIlrtri6ge•. The frog .t the front
of the be" held fISt the coni of •
prlmlng '11Ik .nd m.y h.ve held
Hf'It prlcke... (Chlr1eston
MuHYm)
RIGHT The blldge Of! the Roy••
ArtIllery powch lIIultrated lett is
mlde of b.....nd bM:ked with
red Ie.ther. M.ny Inf.ntry reg..
!menU: hid specl.1 bIdgeI of
their own. (Cherieston Museum)
chased. When it is rcali.)Cd that an infanu-y gO{ a mere 17 shillings
a da}' less hea\"}' stoppagcs. and how much it cost him to buy his com-
mission, it am be sc..-en how important pri\'ate means were. 111e whole
purchase s}'Stelll was a highly org;mised and profitable business, the kc)
figure being the colonel of a rcgimcnt who, ha\lng oought or
his cOlllmand, could do what he liked with it. recouping his expcnSt."S by
selling and llsing his annual allotment of funds to the
benefit of his mcn or 1.0 line his own pockets. The nation acceptcd the
purchase !»'Sicm. it was a cormpi age, but because il was
fell that well-heeled oOicers ,,'ould havc a sLakc in thc slatus (IUO and IlOt
be menace to the sl:lte.
FIRST AND SECOND TROOPS OF HORSE-GUARDS
Fl'Sl: LioutElOll'l!-CoIore £5.500
8eco'ldLiouten!ll1t·CoIore £5,100
Comet 8lld Ma,or £4,300
Go.Id:nlndMa,or 1:4.100
Exerr4lt 8lld Captoo 1:2.700
BogadIef8lldl..ieoJtEllla1tOf'Adjutant
IndLioutenant CI,m
So.b.8rigadief8lld Cornet 1:1,200
MARCHING REGIMENTS OF FOOT

-
Cllptain
Captan-l.JeoJlenant
"""""'"
'-
C3,m
1:2,600
C1,5OO
£llOO
C500
"00
THE REDCOATS' WAR
When thc 'shot heard rOllnd the world' .-angolll 011 LesingLOIl Green on
12 19 April I i75. some redcoats at IC<ist must ha\'e sighed with relief. For
Snowshoes, dating from c:. 1780
-theessentlat requirement for
all troops In tne North Americ:an
winlef'. (Court"I/,Cltyof
lJ¥erpooI Museum.)
Thomas Bootnbll Par1l<yns. 15tn
light Dragoons, 1718-81.
Ahhough tne 15th Dragoon. did
not ........ in Amerk:a, the
da.hlng style 01 helmet, the c:ut
of the unIform end the horso
fumlture are tl/plc:al of the period
and of this c:l••• of troop••
(National Arml/ Mlneum)
most of the previous se\'en or so )'ears, life in Boston (or unwelcome
British troops had been nOI unlike their successors' life in Ulster in the
late 20th cenlu'1', Ihough eo.'en more unpleasalll.
The food in the 1770s was worse, billets were \\'orsc,
resuictions on an)' sort of action were ",orse, to 5<1)' nothing of
lhe harsher discipline and the distance from horne. TIle
classic confrontation, the 'Boston Mass.'lCrc' of 1770, found
nine men of the 29th drivcn be)'ond endurance 10 shoot
at a murderous mob, whose victims were promptly
C<U1onised. TIle soldiers were saved from being comicted
of murdcr on the most tainted eo.idcnce by the hon-
ourable law}er. John Adams, cousin of the reo.ulutionar}'
propagandist and hale-monger, Sam Adams. The one
officer imulvcd and si.... of his men were found innocent, twO
others were branded on thcir thumbs for rnanslauglHcr.
There was no reason for Bostonians or. indeed, an)'
Americans 10 lo\'e the redcoats, eo.'en though the)' were the
soldiers who had freed them from the French menace, hut il
was hard that they should become the whipping·boys for their
country's mistakes. After Lexington the redcoat found himself
transformed by the New England propaganda machine into a
monster. the machine ensuring that sto';es of rape, arson and
murder reached Englilnd before the official accounL
The flood of trOOpS needed to fight in America. once the scope of
the \ \ ~ I r \\"IS realised aftcr Bunker (Breed's) Hill. created a m , ~ o r
transport problem. Cork \\'as lhen the main embarkation pon for NOl'1h
America, and ships used as t1.lllsporlS ''<lried from line East Indiamell to
old al](1 ullscawonhy llulks, Convoys of lip 10 12 ships. sometimes more,
crossed the Allanlie, am!lhcre was an cmllcss Oow ofviClllaliers as well.
Officers seelll to have made real cOons 10 keep their men happy 011
the tr.lIlspons. bUI il ......IS uphill work. The situalion was candidI}'
Slimmed lip by a Guards officer on his \,"'}' 10 join
I-lowe in New \01'1.:. who wrOle, "There was continued
destruction in Ihe forclops. the pox al)()"e-boanl, Ihe
plague lX:lween dcrl.:s. hell in lhe forecastle. Ihe
deo.'il at the helm:
The loss of horses could be l.CITible if a \'oyage
went on longer than expeclcd. and their destructioll
undoubledly aOccted lhe rcsults of certain banles,
I-lowe could havc lurned his \'iclory at Ilrand)'wine in
Ii77 into a total rout if he had cOllnllanded a ....·cl1-
mounted corps of light citvalr)'. and ;:IS for Glimon.
on his expedition frOIll New York 10 CharieslOll in
17i9-S0. he losl eWI)' single horse.
Sailors were in shon supply to man the tl<lIlsl)()rts
and victuallers. and there \\';:IS usually a shortage of
ships. 100, made worse becausc Ihe authorities ill
America failed 10 lUi'll lhc 1l.IllSI)()I"lS round and send
thClll home qllicl.:lr CllOllgh, Add briber)', cornlprion.
gross inefficienC)' in many quarters and inter·dcpart-
mental quarrelling. and il is hardly surprising Ihal tht:
redcoats were llsually short of food and (:<Iuipmelll. 13
The tr;mspon sim.lliOIl in America was !>Iightlv beller than in the
French and Indian War when Bmddock and other Ilrilish commanders
sometimes despaired of getting hold of wagons. Everything from four-
horse wagous to sledges were Llsually hired during Ihe Revolution.
Special vchicles were lI'iCd as ammunition carls. others as hospital
wagons and forge carts 'compleat with :unils and beIlOl\'s'. Ilorses. too,
were bought 01" captured. ·rhe drivers of the \"I'.'hicles w'ere hired ci\'ilians.
A single statistic will shm\ the scope of the problem: from December
1776 to March 1780, I-Iowc and Clinton continually lI'>Cd an average of
739 ,,'agons, 1,958 horses and 7f'lO dri\·crs.
Rivers and lakes were a vital fonll of tr;mspon in the cspeciall) as
good roadswcre in almost short sllppl) as Ihe)' had been ill Wolfe'sda)',
and fleets of llatboats, IXllmux, sloops and other \'cSSl'I" were in conSI;U1l
IISC, some from lIlan)' lIlore bought. hired or Sl'i/ed locally.
The organisation, 3,000 miles from hOllle, needed fur !ouch emcrprises
was so vast that the wonder is that the worked as well as it did.
There was so Illllch incompetence In the administration of the anl1\ at
home Lhat hOIlt.'SL. efficient llIen often desp<lired, vet evcn a good adlllin-
iSlrati\'e machine would ha\-e been hard pili to org;:misc the conquest of
the Americans in a coulltry of such vast and where so little food
could be obwined - usual" b\ fair mon..:\' - from the lanel. 111c redcoats
offen stan'cd and sometimes f;'ole in their ragged ullifonns, Washington's
valialll men al Valley Forge rnay have beell the champions in the misery
stakes, but ther..: wae plellty of British <:hallcngers.
Starvation could sometimes be warded 00' by plunder. Vet the record
of British troops, cspecialh \,'hCII compared with contincntal armies of
14 the day. W;:IS good in America. as e...en reputable American has alwavs
The of General Frazar at
Saratoga, 1777: an e"llralling by
W. Nutter after J, Graham, pub-
lished In 17i4.Although.tytl.ed,
the co.tume. of the figure. In

details of campaign dress In
North A1neric.a. Kneeling and
kissing Frazef"s hand Is ItIs
nephew, wtto MfVed In a bat·
talion from reglmenUll
light companies. He _a.. a ¥er)'
IohortjllCket rwalstcOllt7) and
IndIan legllln;s. Other fl;ures
_Ilrshort/ackets and Ion;
olleraUs.Ontheleftlsa
;rernldter, the malch and bra's
;renade' 1I1,lble on the bllCk of
his pouch beh:. (National Army
MUMYmI
ABOVE, LEFT T1Ml regulation
bellrskln up ofth8 period, T1Ml
p111tll I• ...nltll met8l. five inchon
hlgh,wIttlth8bKkground
IllP8nn«! bUIck to the motif
.tand 0\It. T1Mlcap Is t2 inchfl:
hl.gh th8 fur. Sometime.
ttNt bllCk. w ornamented with
cord. and ta I., T1Ml plat. Wll.
mo... or I... tM urne design for
both dNmm.,.. and glllnadi.,..,
the dNmm.,..' being .mbellished
with dNm, lind trophit!s of fla9S,
(National Anny MUlHlum)
ABOVE, RIGHT BlICk vl.w of a
grenadl.r" cap ofth. 97th Foot,
179..·8,Onth.backwasanoval
red patch u.u.lly bearing the
reglrnent81 numbei"••nd badge if
llny, na.....ape.ndde<:oratlon
Vlllied, _ regimenta adding
sped.1 blldgeS. tassels and
cords, or ft'ont plat.. of apecilll
reglment81 dealgn, lNatiotYl
AnnyMuaeum)
agl'ccd. lllis was parll)' due 10 Ihe anitude of the British commanders,
I lowe, and others demanded high siandards of conduct.
.....hich naturally could nOi alw.ws Ix: maintained - 1'01)' 'co,,'bo}'S' sold
slolell li,·cstOck. to Burgoynt·'s anll\', BtU beca.u.sc Briton "'<LS figluing
Bl'ilOll it W'LS regarded as vilallhat thit:,t:s, rapislS and m,lraudefs should
be discouraged. Pri''<lle MacMahan of the 43rd gOt 1.000 I'LShes
for receiving stolen goods in Iwston in 1776 and his wife gOt 100 hLShes
and Ihree months in prison; and 1"'0 pri''<lIes of the 591h WCft: hanged
for robbing a store,
There was no slOpping crirne, of course, especiall)' with so man)'
criminals ill the ranks. Thc Gt.'I'III;ln IlIcrct.'llaries naHlI,ill}' had no great
interest in Ihe sensibilities of the local population and, though nor the
monsters of legend, wert.' notorious for lht.'il' plundering: ill New York
and on Long Island ano around Tl'CIllOIl. I [owe simply could 1101 StOP
this. nor could he control sollle of his newly arrived and more
thirsty officers. The hild a reputation as blllchers of
sun-enderc.:d troops in 1776, but they were sometimes put lip to it b)' the
One officer \''I"Ot('; 'We lOOk. care 10 tell the Ilcssian.. that the
Rebel.. had rcsoh'cd to give 110 <Iuarters LO them in particular. which
made them right despcratel\' and put all 10 death th'lI fell into their
hands, 'Iou know all str.ltegems are lawful in war. cSp<'Cially against such
vile enemies to their King and cOlIllLn':
After sllch a brmal senti melli, it ma' seem optimislic to claim lhat the
ArIlCI'ic;lIl Re\"olution was a 'Gentlemen's War', )'et except whctc it was a
ci,il war lX:lween PatriOis and I.o\"alists in remoter areas. tlml is eXiled)' 15
what it often was. Occasionally, in the heat of battle or thc mornent of
surrendcr, rc\"enge and misunderstanding might pro\"oke a near
atrocity. But this was a where Colonel Simcoe. the brilJiaru Brilish
commander of the Loplist Quccn's Rangers. could send a me5s:"lge
to an enemy' senuy telling him that he would be shot if he did not
retire, and shout to an American officer 'You are a bra\"e fdlm,'. blll
yOll must go away.' Americans etll dte the tough tactics of B:mastre
Tarleton in the South. but b\ the <;tandards of warfare in that or
any age, the Amerietll Rt."\olulion was mainly unbarbaric.
The frontier S-."lW raids by Torics and Indians out of NbS'I"'.
but Ihis was the chil war situation referred to abo\"e. It \''<IS also
good t:lctics, for by devastating thc Valley', Buder's
Rangers and Joseph Branl's Iroquois reduced Washinglon's
ann}' to a slate of near-"t:lf\':.ltion. Both sicks tried 10 usc
Indians, but few sided with thc land-hungr}' colonisL<;. As allies
they ''<lricd in uscfulncs.<; and quality, but the}' would havc said
the same about thc British as allies. Thcir lISC innamcd public
opinion in America and in Hritain, but they could ncvcr ha\'e
rcmained ncutral. Thc fahulous. \\'cll-educated Joseph Br;:ll1t, a
f\'lollawk who knew Boswell, GCOl'gC III and thc Prince of Wales,
\\'<IS their linest leader. I-Ie was rcviled thanks to Rebel propaganda
and nalllral enmity, hut had nothing LO reproach himsdf with at
the end of the war exccpt a terrible NO\'cmhcr day when he and
Waher Butlcr lost control of their Indian followers at Cherry Valley,
As for the alleged mass:tcre of "'\oming, it was a str:tight \icIOI'}' hy
Walter's father, John Hutler, with no women or children kilk-d. Brant,
execnHt:d for his pari in it. was not even present!
Redco<us often fought alongside Indians and continual" wilh the iO
or so LOY'alist regiments. Being Britoll'i and ordinal"' humans, they' had
mixed \iews on their Somc soldiers who detcsted scalping -
encouraged by whites as C\'idence of death - were quite prepared 10 view
or administer 1,500 lashes. Each 10 hi<; own atroeit\': the burning al
the sL;lke, the flogging 10 (kath...
E\'cn discounting Rebel propaganda, there were plenl), of instances
of rape, for which redcoal.'; could be court-martialled. The I lessians were
less subjeci to military for the crime.
The mosl famolls quolation on the was penned by Lord
Francis Rawdon. It defies comment except to 110le Ih;tl lor once the
were being properly fed: 'The fair rt}111phs of this isle [Staten
Island I arc in wondcrful tribulation, as the fresh meal ollr men ha\'e got
herc has made them riotou" as satyrs. A girl cannot step into the bushes
to pluck a rose withoul funning the most imminent risk of being
I,wished. and they arc so liule accustomed to these \'igorous methods
they don'l bear them with the proper resignation, ;md of consequence
we ha\'e the most entertaining courHnartials e'·el")' day:
Women followed the nag in disputcd numbers. Ilowc allowed six 10
e\'cry company in lii6 and Iiii, while Burgoyne had three per
company for his expedition. lie alwa''S denied that thcre were 2,000
women on that campaign. Uke I lowe, he had a mistress to console him
(.md, according to the wife of the Ilessian commander, Baroness \'on
Riedesel, in her m:lf\·ellous "ccount of lhe ill-fated m"rch which endt.-d
16 'Il. &lratoga, he h"d the bottle as w'ell to\'':t.rds the t.'nd). BUI few 18th-
Coat of the tOtst Foot, 1781-5.
This ....Iu.bl••nd .Il-toa-rare
relk:of t8th-<:enturymilitary
dreudisplll1Sthec:ulof.
typic:1l1 c:Ht of the cia" .nd the
c:rowned l'eiIi....ntal number on
the buttons, Not. th. poc:kets in
the tails, .nd the unusUilt button
I.,outon the c:uffs. (Nallonat
Arm, Muaeuml

the otfie'-l sanction for a Ifght
compeny In .a<:h regiment wa.
the 'Highland Company' _ tNII
pIele lllu.trates a privllte of the
Highland Company of the 215th
Foot, a Lowland Scottleh
regIment. The men ofthl.
company evidently hed their coat.
cropped to the length worn by
Highland regiments. The uniform
Ie ecartet lac.:! yellow, with rwd
and blue .tripes In the lace. The
cap Ie of blacll furwltha red front
ftap-tlectwitha whltedevk:e.
(Reprvduc:ed by gracloue per-
mlMIon of H.M. The Queen)
celuury cOlllmanders wcre more loved by their men !.han 'Gcllllcnmn
johnny', not least, perhaps. becmse he was no great Dogger and was
known to mention common soldiers in dispmches.
Women, whemer \\'ives or '\\;\,es', acted as laundry'maids and
somctimcs as nurses on campaign. They and meir children were fed
from thc public stores, and domed as well. There was at leasl one ncar
mminy at Cork when a ship without women did nOt set out because thc
rcdcoatS abo.ard threatencd to desert unless the maller was pUI right.
SadI)' little is known of the ordinary women who went to America.
Ironically, the best-known woman of the Re\'olution on the British side
was the utlforlunatejane McCrae, famous because she was murdered by
some of Burgoyne's Indians, who neither knew nor cared that she was a
due to many a officer, Her cruel death was IUmed 10
maximum admllt::lge by the Americans, with justification; yet the worst
incident of the entire Revolutionary period ....'as committed b), Americ.m
frontiel' militia who, system:llic.,II)' and in cold blOCK!, butchered some
100 Christian Delawares. men.....·omen and children.
A worse fate th:m being bUlchered awaited many prisoners on both
sides. just as in the Ci,il War one is confronted by the nobilil)' of Roben
E. Lee and thc hOITor of Andersom;lIe prison C<llnp. SO in the RC\'ohuion
the dece-nC}' of many British leaders is in striking contrnst to the terrible
prison hulks olT New \brk, where perhaps 7.000 Americ.l.Ils perished in
uUCI' squalor and miser)'. And lhe redcoats (and especially the
suflcl'ed almos! as badly. The Americans imprisoned sollie of Ihe British
in the nightmarish Simsbury copper mines. FOrllltlalely, the redcoats
suflcrcd less because the Americans had fe.....er prison bcilities.
NOI that thaI can excIIsc the shameful treatment accorded to
BurgoYllc's surrendered arm)'. His dctor's "ery generous terms ,,'cl'e
quashed by Congress. bUl it has since come to light that Ho\\'e was eager
to use the men again r.uher than, as the treaty specified. have them sent
back to Britain. which pUIS bOlh sides in the wrong. But Congress did llot
know of Ilo.....e·s secret letter 10 Burgo}1le. Burgoyne's men first endured
harsh treaUllellL in New England. were then marched south. pal'll)' to
make the men desen - which m:lll)' Hessians did - and were finally
quartered in Virginia. like Sergeam Lamb. escaped. a few redcoats
descned. and the rest remained loy'lluntil. in 1781, Ihey were scl)anllcd
frOI11 their oflicers and froll1 history. Ilow lIlany of the original
3,000 redcoats disappeared is uncertain.
Mau), of the Ilcssians alld some of the redcoats who did descrt 110
doubl sculed down to a new life in America. The war saw hundreds of
deserlel1i. onI)' a small perccntage of them rcdcoats. bUI nOI so many
lraitors in lhe conventional scnse. Naturally, the Lo)'alistS regarded all
Rebels as lr.lilors. and "icc versa. and it could be argued that man)' of tile
0pl:wJsilion in London were trailors! But in lhe full sense of the word, of
men who betrayed their side as opposed to changing sides in the manncr
inC"itable in a ci,;1 war. there wel'e few. Ihe most notable being the
Rebels' best general. Benedict Arnold.
Hospitals on the American side were much \,'01'Sot: than British Olles.
Not all can have been as bad as Ticonderoga's in 1776. which 'oc'gbrars
description and shocks hlllnanily', as Anthony Wayne wrole. But the
general standard must have been in stark contl":ISl to the British ones. 1)1
Rush, a signalOry or the Declar:ltion of Independence. paid a fulsome 17
18
'Offlc.r', by O,lnsborough. A
fI'nk comp,ny Officer of th. 4th
Fool,c. 1770, Is shown In
d..... In ltloIs
now In the N3t1onal G.tt.efy of
VIctoria, G..-.dier.nd light
lnf,nlry officen wore be,rsklns
'nd caps or hel",.ts ..ely.
but the normal cocked h,t seems
to h.... been wom edensl... ty,
presumilbly to ....e the more
...penslve specl,t he.dg••, from
hard_arlnttMlfleld.The
uniform MS dar1t blue facing", iI

sIlver gorvet, .nd • silv.r
swordbelt pl,te.ngre..ed with II
crown8nd 'IVth', Nolethetthe
I.pels.re p.rtty buttoned across.
tribtlle in a leller to John Adams about Ilowe's
hospitals and his doclors, C"en stressing that
wounded American pdsoners were much beller
looked aftcr b)' the Brilish (before going to the
hulks?) than thc wounded in American hos-
pitals. The nritish 'pay a supreme regard to the
cleanliness and health of their men', \\TOle the
doctor after his inspection, and contr.tsted
Americ-.m hospitals most unfa\·our.tbly.
Ofcoursc, LCmpor.u)' hospitals on campaign
111USI have been akin lO bmchers' shops, and it
mUSI 110t be supposed thaI Ihe chances of
reco\'ery from serious wounds could cver be
high in the 17705 and 1780s: bUl this tribute is
significant, nOI least becausc il sho....'S lIowe's
concem for his men, which made him such ;:1
popular commander. Rush C"en '>did a tribute
10 the for filling their men wilh \'eg-
embles. Regimental doctors, many of whol11
were most dedicated, were paid so badly that
some bought an extr.l commission and tought
as well as healed.
Disease ....':.IS a greater killer in the war than
baltic, though, str-,mgdy, Bdtish casualties are
110t known. The Amcrican ligures are Illerc
guesswork, perhaps I killed, which llIay bc
not so different to the number of British deaths
in action. It was not a ,"cry sanguine war,
When the ......Ir finall)' ended the redcoats had
the roue ;:lIld unpleasant expedence of sailing
,1\\'01)' defeated despite many \'ictodes, in
contrast to the 1110re usual I\ritish technique or ultimate victories after
disastrous early campaigns. Their record was good, for honours could
have included Long Island, White Plains, Fort Washington, Br.lnd),wine.
GcrmantO\.'n, $;:l\'mnah. Charleston, Camden and Guilford. $;:lratoga
and \'Qrklo....·n, thosc crud;11 defeaLS, were lost becausc str.negy. commu-
nic.ltions and liaison were at fault. Though the war was frequentl)' fought
on lhe European patlern. rigid formations often gave way to looscr,
morc opell tactics.
The \'cry linest uniLS were both Loyalist formations led by British
Regulars: Simcoe's Queen's R.-lllgers and T;u-lcwn's British u:gion.
mounted lroops as dashing as have e\'cr sen'l.-d lhe crown. The infalllf)'
fought in twO r-.mks, in open order. In the pitcht.'(\ batt.lcs of Brand)"\'o;ne.
C.'llllden and Guilford, lhe r<.'(\coaLS, infantry and gunnel'S excelled thelll-
selves, while all four leading British commandet'S, I-lowe, Bll1l:"0)'ne,
Clintoll and Cormy,lllis, \\'ere usually (alier Bunker Hill) able, if not
inspired.
As for the redcoat, 200 )ears 011, and despite Sir John Fortescue's
Hi.s/ot), of 11" Briti.sh AmI)'. and the ....'fitings of friendly Americans and
understililding nath'e historians. his achit.·...elllcnt, cour.tge and famous
discipline in adversity in the RC\'olution will probably Ile\'er get iLS due.
lt was nOt he who losl Gcorge [II his American Colonies. I'Ikmorials to
Moote'sOeek Bridge. North Carolina. Severe Loyalist deleal.
BntlSh evacuate Boston
Reloef 01 0ue0ec. Carleton ind his men havng saved Canada.
Battle 01 the Cedars, defooted by Indtaro, Wllh someCanadi<Wls and redcoats
Carleton trees northern New York. bul does not nsk attacking Ticonderoga ind retires fO Sf
JoIYl's tor the Wlnter.
Meticulous reconstruction ofa
llrenadierof the Hesse-Cassel
Fusilier Regiment Von Oltfurth
showinll the Prusslan style of
unlformandfullmarchinllorder.
Photo C GA£ UnlfonYl Seams
Historic
him are rew, bUt there is one near the spot where the war began, which
commemorates those who rell at Concord Bridge. It is quaint, perhaps,
but none ,he worse ror that - and it was ...,.riuen in sincerity and by the
t:llcmy:
They came three thousand miles and died,
To keep the paSl upon the throne;
Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
Their English mother made her moan.
A DIARY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
1775
'QApr. Banle ofl.el\ngton ind C::rooord. mdr1g inf9ltrlg I9ITeef bVlhe E\ntIshto Boston.
17JLoe
haverunedllS.·
3 July WMOOgton takoocorrmand of ArnEw1can /vm.j.
A Sept..
3Nov 5legeindossofStJct1ll·s
10 OCt s.. Wilam Howe succeeds Gage as C-in·C in America. Carleton gNen
corrmand inQnOOa
nocl. FalofChatrtJlyatlerashortsleQe.
t3Nov.
A Dec ........-nencan beslege Quebec.
QDec. Great8odge.Vrgoroa.Br1t1Shtroopsdefeatoo
1776
27 Feb
nMar,
5""
"...,
-
Oct.
,-
21Jliy
4 July Dedwallon of 1ndepencIeoce.
Aug,-Dec BntlSh 111 New Yorl< ind New Jersey,
27 Aug. Bnt!ShYICtcwyonLoogtslaod
15 Sept Battle 01 HiW1em l-lEIqlts. Bntlsh YlCtcwy. but I1l:la"Y casua/l.es. Howa 0CClJP08S New York.
11 Oct Battle on Lake Champlain. Brave tiglt by BenedIct Arnold ind a scrald1!\ae1 ends in
Bnt.snl'lClcwy,
180ct Silarpdela'j'WlQactoonbyArnenc!nsatPel'sPoWlt.NewYorl<
280ct Battle oflMule PlaIf1S. NewYorl<. IndecISM:llflCtory.
16 Nov. Fort Washngton. New York. tails to BnMh.
25-26 Dec. Washington crosses the OeIawareind deteats Hesslans at Treoton. one of the RevolullOl1'S
lurrvng'jX)Iflts, because It mpresses Europeans, besides raISIOQ his own men's rT'IOf'ale
1777
3 Jan Amencans IaI<e Pmceton, New.Jersey.
1 Feb·
9 May Minor ClWflllltgnrlQ on New .Jersey.
t.uy BegorilgoiBurgoyne'scampal!)"l
5..u1y Rebels evacuate TKXlO(leroga.
6 Aug. FeroC!ous battle at Qriskany betwoon Bnt,sh, Loyalists and Irldlansversus Rebels. A bloody
VlCtory.lnd<¥\SUI"lderJosep/)8fam
22 Aug SIege 01 Fort Stanwu< (Schuyler) endS on fiIJUe. thus firoshong Sf le9Br's sweep from the
WOOl along the Mohawk 10 as&St Burgoyne
16 Aug Germ<ns deleafed at 8lnw1gton.
11 Sept Howedelootswashongtonat8randyYAneCreel<
t9Sept Battle 01 Freeman's Farm. BnlishWll1costly/Vlt.
20 Sept Amencans attacked at Paoli
26 Sept Howe takes
7 Oct Banle oIBEms Helghts (Of secood battle of Freeman's Farm). Arnlher naar-ctisastrous
BriIlshaetJ;Jn,AmoIddistr1gulshostwosalf
IlOct.
""""'m
22 Oct. Bn\lShlailtocapl....eFortMeroer.
15 New. Fort Mifl'rllakenbyBrtbsh.
8Oec- Wastw1gtonI'l'm1l9lquBrl9lsalValefFoge.
A surviving He..lanFu.lll.rellp.
(Drawlng GoA. Embleton)
Falol MobIle toSpanards.
BribshcapllnOlar1eslon.
Frenchtroops_alNewpor!,FbxJeIslinj.
e.m.ofQlmden. TotaIoefeat oIArnln:ans I.nt9f Ga1flS.
Treasonof Benedcl:Amokl
H<w1gIngolMapAnlWl
BrilishendLoyalistsl."ldefFEWyU5Of1de1aated
at Krog's Moultal'l
1778
6 feb Fr.J:w:::o-.6metica'l aIance sqoed.
24 May Clflton takes t:MYI from Howe as C-in·C.
28.)..ne BalllcofMonmouth.
"''''''''.
4»i

29 Aug. F!iUe of French end Amencans to lake FbxJe IsIinj
11 New. Che!ry"*'!Massacnt waller Butlel' and Brall failtooonlrOllherhdians.
2900c. I3nlJshtakeSav.n1a'1
1780
14 Mar.
"...,
"....,
'6",
25Sop<.
20«.
7 Oct
1779
Jarl.
23 Feb.
""""""""'
Ma"-.krIe BottarcMW8InthaSouth.
8May SpandeclarosW81onElritain.
15 oM; Wayne capllSOS Stony from BntlSh
13Aug DisastrousMassach.lsattsattaekonPooobscot6ay
29 Aug. Sl*M1'sexpeditxn,sanllodBstroylhetownsdIheSlxNllbals
(n;qDsj. dMeIlsthllm at Newtown. NewYOOl, and b..ms lhDroops
""""""'-
9 Oct, French and Amencans IaiII to lake SlMrn:lh.
26 Ooc Bn\lSh IaeI salstoanackQwlooton.
Sir John C.ldwellln Indian _tume, e. 1780. ,",I. otfleet-,
wno HrVed .t Detroit with u.. 8th (King") Regiment of Foot,
Kquired thl. m89nlfleent e..mple of Ojibway ehlef" dr...
wtIen hoe 'P4ftt _ time among the Indian.
them for raid. on the Ameriean. and leading them In aeOOn.
Dyed ottrk:h and peaeock plumea (trade Item.' erown hi.
turb.ened head, and .I....er brooc:hea.nd 'tinkling eo","'
decofate head.nd ahoulden. The and shot1
aword were both popul.aIr trw. It WId the ahir1 ele.arty
eeme from the Breech doth and IeWlng. a..
red,the latter with a light blue tape, and the blank.t ta red
and blue. He wea.. four al....e. IifOrvet., and .llver.ar and
no.. omament.; In hi. hand I. a belt of wampum. W. h..,.
....-y IIWe' Informatlorl on nat..... Amerlean eolltume of thi.
period. The peintinea 01 8eflIamin Weat - and thi. _ - a,..
our prineipal-..re... and.VIIlfI they ",i.-.tlnt-
They a,. lIMIally formal portntits of Indien eh;efa or 1ncI1...
vidual. who _ In....,. e!oM eontaet with the Indian., and
who be wearing netlve Am.rlean 'eo.tume' for
the po'Iint.r. In faet, Weat ...ma to have u.ed prop. from hi.
OW"eOUec:tlorl.
(Cour1..." City of LIv.rpooI MUMUms)
20
1781
17J<n
15 Mar Gn:Iene ald Comw3Iis IiltIl nct8c:IsIY8 '*til at GlA:lrd Qut Hwoo. Hoovy casuaItle6.

Jt.n8
8Sepl. 8al:tIedE!AawSpmgs.Gn:ll:INOlIIIMs!hllh.1lhg __
28 Sepl aldFkldBntx-.l
6 Od Bnb&h t-Igud.
19 Od Ccm.<oaIs:unn1ers.
1782
23 Feb. C8rIIIIIIon become6 C-fl-C. repIiIong ar.n
MCll".'Avg
'2Ap Aodr"oIIydet8atsFmnctlllooln'N8stntia
11-Uy S8YarnItlablrdoroedbyBr1blih.
30 f'ob.'. Fnl peace treaty sql8d n PlQ.
14Dec BntlSfleYaCUaleCharieston.
1783
End ol hostitiesprod;:wned by Congress.
3Sep! FnalpoocelrOOlySlQOlld.
25 Nov. Maio Britistl evacuation 01 New York.
23Doc GeorgeWas/lingtonstmdsdo'Nn.
The ReglmenU Which Served


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7777.rd\tlrldl:>Wrl,I781
SOME FOOD FACTS
As described earlier. most of the food Calcn by the rcdcoalS in Amcricd
had to be shipped across the Atlantic: 2,032,538 lb. of bread were
reech'ed b)' Daniel Chamier. Colmniss:H)'-General in North Amcric.1
bel\,'ccn 6 Febm:l'1' 1775 and 9 J:1Il1l3'1' I i78 (and 10,739 gallons of
\illegar, CIC. Here is one account in full:
Account or provisions received by Comml •••ry·Qenera' Danle'
Weir at New York between 7 Oct. 1774 and 5 Sept. 1781

...... 512,182b.
'.020
.6
.....
42.656_ 5.687 7 0
.... 42.832b
,.....
, ,
"'"
63269b. 3....
"
..
"'"
164.884b .....
"
,
-. 2,5141b
.,
"
3
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1.1"8bu1h.
'"
.
,
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12.007gol1.
'"
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"'"
91,557b. 017
,
"
'"
2,385 gals.
'"
>5
"
14,S16lb.
'"
..
'" a- 251 lb. 3
" "
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4.618gals
'"
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,
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1,052 tuns

12,233 1,778
,
-
3.99'
'" " ..... ..
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............ 123bEWT ,>5
9
<22.000
Quoting a soldier's dail), ralion is morc hazardous than rceiling a pro-
,;sions' Iisl, for the Ob\;OllS reason lhat Ihe deli"cl)' of provisions 10 annies
or regiments or detachments was bound 1.0 be CIT<\lic. Nalhaniel Da)',
Commissar}'-ecneral in Canada, wrote 10 llurgO}11e on 31 Mar 1777 Ulat
24 the Treaslll)' Board had ordered one man's rmions pcr da}' to be as follows:
1: F'riYIIle, light c.omp.ny, 38th Fool
2: PrfQte, s.tt.Iion c.omp.ny, 64th Fool
3: Corponl, ~ Company, 47th FOOl
,,& 5: ~ 29th -.:I7OItt Regiments
.. ,-
______1.
B
1; C o r p o r 1 I ~ 8;1ttalion Comp;ony, 52nd Regiment 01 FOOl,
marehingOfder
2: Grenadier, 49th Foot, marching order
3: Private, Ballalion Companr. 37th Regiment of Fool
4: Ensigns, 55th Foot, with Regimental and Kiog's colour
c
D
I: Corporal, Foot Jaljlltrs, Hesse-COl'''' Foeid
Jlig.... Corps
2: Captain fLieutenant Fraser's Company 01

3: Briti$hOl1icer, 1777
4: Sergeant, 62nd Foot, 1777
1: Britishlnlantryman in Canadian winter d..,s
2: Ught Infantryman, 8;lttle of Germantown, 1717
3: Officer,5thFoot. 1771
4: ButIer'1I Rang<tr$
5: Sergeant. 2nd Battalion Delancy's Brigade
G
H
1 lb. Bread or Flour
1 lb. Beef or 9 and one-seveoth oz. pork
Three-sevenths pints pease
Six-sevenths oz. Butter or in lieu lone-seventh oz. Cheese 2 two-sevenths oz.
flour or in lieu 1 one-seveoth oz, Rice (J( 1 OIl&-seventh Ol. Oatmeal.
Like the ROFtl Navy, the redcoats a rum ration, usually
dihlled. It was up 10 commanding generals what other drinks were
issued. These included claret, porter and spruce beer, the lauer being
most popular as it did not email pay Sloppages. As for patients in hos-
pitals, here is an official menu for 1778-81:
Full Diet
Breakfast
Rice gruel. or Water Gruel, with Sugar (J( Butter
Dinner
One Pound of Fresh Meat: Viz: Beef, Mutton, or Veal, with Greens
Supper
Two ounces of Butter, or Cheese
Half Diet
Dinner
Rice, and Pudding, and half a Pound of Fresh Meat: four times a week
Breakfast & Supper, as Full Diet
low Diet
Breakfast, and Supper, Rice or Water Gruel; Milk;
Porridge, Sago or Salop
Dinner
Broth & Pudding
One Pound of Bread: each Man per Diem, with three
pints of Spruce Beer in Summer and a Quart in Winter.
Rice Water: for common drink in Fluxes; and Barley in Fevers .
It cannot be stressed tOO strongly once again that for all the lalk of
rations per man there was a constant shonage of food and that much of
it was rotten uneat<lble cven in those tOllgh times and llnlhinkablc 10
us today. Sur\'eyors checkcd the food when it left Cork and when it
reached America and kept finding such items 'IS 'w:ry old I\read, Wea\'ile
Eaten, filiI of Maggots, mouldy, musty and rotten and entirely unfit for
men to eat'. To cnd with, here is a classic quotation of life aboard 'I
transport. All honour to redcoats, Hessians and Loyalists who fOllghtlike
lions e\'en on empty bellies, alld to those who s<liled to America under
conditions like these:
'Pork and pease were the chief of their diet. The pork seemed to be
four or five rears old. It was streaked with black towards the outside and
was yellow 1:lrther in, with a liule white ill the middle. The salt bccfwas
in 1lluch thc sallle condition. The ship biscuit was SO hard that they
sometimcs brokc it up with a canonball, and the story ran that it had
bcen laken from the French in the Se'·en Years' \-Val" and lain in
POrl;;mouth e\'er since Sometimes they had and barley, or. by 33
wayofa u'eat a pudding madeofflOllr mixed half with salt v,'atcr and half
with fresh water, and with old multon fal.'
ARMY ADMINISTRATION
During the American RL"\'olution tile army \\-as still IClr-lliSl.'(! .mllllally by
a Mutiny Act passed by I'adi:ullcnl. The following is a brief brcakdown
of the English esulblishmctll.
- TIle King
Vacant I ii2-iS
Sir JcfTrc)' Amherst 17i8-82
&emury al U'ur- ViSCOlllll
Lord Barrington's thc key pOSt. especially. of course, before
AmhCl'St was appointed. An ablc man, his duties werc manifold. It is
intercsting that, like so many othcrs, hc sympathised wi1h thc Americans.
The War Office
Sl'rrf.lm)' fI/ H'C/r- Viscount Barrington
D/1JU/)' Secretll')' Ilnd First Cl"rk - Matlhew Lewis (.... huhad lell
Pa)'Ilw.fll'TojWiliows' Pmsionj -lion, Ilclll)' Fox
DI'/Jll/y - John Powcll
F.xt/1/lillI'To! Anil)' Accounts - William Smilh
A$S;s/(lIIt- Z. R. Taylor
The Paymaster-General's Office, 1775
PnJ"'astl':'t"-CmeraJ- Rt. Hon. Richard Rigby. MP
lHJmty P(l)'master-tL'lnal- Anthony Sawyer
AUoIUltml/-John Powell
Compllt"oJ0jJ-rnJwllings- Charles Bembridge
Oishi" oj Half Pay - Robert Randall
Kf'fjH'T oj Stures - r. Burrell
Also eighl clerks. There \I'cre eight subordinate pa)'inaStCl's abroad.
The office of payma.sler-gcncl'al the cquimlclll of being givell a
licence 10 print money.
Civil Branch of the Office of Ordnance
Ma.!i/er-G(mem/- Rt. I-Ion. Geo. Viscount Townshend
Li/'l/lellf/lll·Geneml- SirJenl'ey Amherst, K.B.
SurveJor-GeIleml- Sir C. Frederick, K.I\ .•'.R.S.
Cll'Ik oj/he OnillflllU- Sir Chas. Cocks, Ban.
SIQukrefw"- Andrew \Vilkinson
Cln'k oJ/helniivnies- Lomglois, Esq.
T".asuffY (lIId pO)'JrUlster- John Ross Esq.
&crttlJry to MflSll'I-GmtmJ - John Counne)', Esq.
Ullller-S«I?tnry to the f\lluter-Ceru'm/- T. Masterson, Esq.
Mimlli'lg am - 1-1. Simmonds
There were also eighl clerks.
Military Branch of the Office of Ordnance
34 Chi'JE"gitl«rlJlld Coio"d- Lielilenant-General \V. Skinner
Dirrclors and Lil1ltl'aant-ColQ/1Lls - ColonelJames MonITess(W,
lieutenam-Gokmel Arch. Patoun
51th. Dirutors alld Majors- Four
Engilll't"fS ill Ord. alld ulptains- 12
f;"l,rillttrS EXira. lind Gal,'oills mull.kulLnants- 12
Pmr:litioIlN'E"bri"eers ami Designs- 16
The Ordnance Deparunelll was in charge of f'\'eT},t.hing from arms
and ammunition to prisons and maps. and controlled the b>1.lIlners,
So"lPpers and Wool\'o;ch Military Acadelm. Both the ann)' and na\1'
depended on ilS efficiency and rul . Tmnuhend was the thom in
Wolfe's nesh at Quebec and Amherst the fma! conqueror of Canada.
Among other functionaries were the Judge Ad\'Ocat.e-General, the
Apolhecary-Gencr'll and the Comptroller of Army AccounlS, and there
were variOIlS other boards, nOl;lbly the Treasury which fed and equipped
the army. and the Admiralty Board. There was also a 3(krrong board of
officers to advise the King and the Secretary at War. h sat when required
and discusscd commissions. abuses, pa)', courlS mania! and man)' other
m;ll(ers. And the clothing board Imd, as ilS name suggests, to decide on
uniform patterns and inspect lhem. Though the general officers did not
make COnll<1ClS - this was lefl to colonels and regimental agents - they
approved thertl. There \ \ ~ I S also a board which ran Chelsea Hospital.
Troops were affected by the Navy Board and victualling boards when
they sailed on 1r';.lIlsports.
AI first glance. these lists ilia)' seem impressive, but there \ \ ~ I S far too
much o\'crlapping and not enough centrdl authOlit)'. The rcsuh was
orten a shambles.•md this affected the outcome of lhe \\<11'.
THE ROYAL WARRANT OF 1768 FOR
INFANTRY CLOTHING, COLOURS &C.
GEORGE R.
Our will and pleasure is. lhat the following regulations fo.. the colou..s,
c1olhing, &c. of Our marching regimenls of fOOl, be duly obse.....ed and
put ill execution, al such times as the paniculars arc or shall be furnished.
No Colonel is 10 pUl his arms, crest. device, 01" li\'el")', 011 ;lllY pari of
the appointments of the regiment under his command.
Colours
The King's, or first colour of e\'eT}' regiment. is 10 be lhe Greal Union
throughout.
The second Colour l.O be lhe colour of the facing of the regimen!,
with lhe Union in the upper canton: except those regiments which arc
faced with red. whitt:, or hlack. The second colour of lhose regimt:lllS
which are fdced with red or white, is to be the red cross of SI. George in
a white field, and lhe Union in the upper C"dnton. The second colour of
those which are faced ,,;tll black. is to be Sf. G<'orgc's cross throughout:
Union in the upper Glllton: the three Olher c;:mlOllS. bhlck. 35
In lhe celHre of each colour is to be IXlil1ted, or embroidered, in gold
Roman ch:lr<teters, the number of the rank of the regimelll, wilhin lhe
wreath of ro...es and thinles 011 the same stalk; except those regiments
which are allowed 10 wear :lily royal devices, or ancient badges; on whose
colours the rank of the regimellt is to be painted, or embroidered,
towards the upper corner. The size of lhe colours to be six feel six inches
nying, and six feel deep on the pike. The length of the pike (spear and
ferril included) to be nine feet ten inches. The cords :md tassels of the
whole to be crimson and gold mixed.
Drums
The drums to be wood
The li"Ollt to be paint.ed the colour of Ule bcing of the regiment,
with Ule King's cypller and crown, and the nUlnber ofLlle regiment under il.
Bells of Arms
The bells of arms to Ix: painted in the S<Ulle manner.
Camp Colours
The camp colours to be eiglltecn inches sqllare, alld of the colour of the
facing of the regiment, with the number of the regiment upon them.
The poles to be seven feet six inches long, except those of lhe Quartel
and rear guards, which are to be nine feet.
Uniform of Officers
The llUmber of each regimell1 to be 011 the buttons of the Ilniforms of
lhe Ollicers and men. The coats lO be lappelled to the waist with the
colour of the regiment, and the colour not to be varied from what is par-
ticularly specified hereafter. They may be without embroidery or bee;
but, if the Colonel thinks proper, either gold or silver embroidered or
laced bulton-holes are permilled. To have cross pockets, and sleeves wilh
round culTs, and 110 slits. The lappels [sicl and cuffs 10 be of Ihe S<HHe
36 breadth as is ordered for the men.
Regimental simil;..ities and
differenees. Offieers' dress, hat
and hair styles. Left to right: 4th
King'S Own Regiment, lieutenant,
38th Regiment, e.1770;eaptaln,
Marines, e.1780; 20th
Regiment of Foot e.1775.
{Illustration
Embleton)
Epauletles
The Officers of grenadiers to wear an epauleue on each shoulder. Those
of the baualion to wear one on the right shoulder_ They arc 10 be eilher
of cmbroidery or lace, \\ith gold or sih'C.r fringe.
Waistcoats
The to be plain, without either embroidery or lace,
Swords and $word·Knots
The swords of each regimenI LO be Wlifoml, and the S\','ord-knolS of
lhe whole to be crimson and gold in suipes. The hilts of the swords 10
be either gilt or sih;cr, according to the colour of the buttons on thc
unifOllllS.
Hats
The hats to be laced eilher with gold or silver, as hcreaflcr specified, and
to be cocked uniformlr-
Sashes and Gorgets
The sashes to be of crimson silk, and worn round the \Il<list. The King's
arms to be cngr;wed on the gorgcts: also Ihe number of Ihe regiment.
The)' are to be eilher gill or sil\'cr. according to the colour of the bUllons
on the uniforms. The badges of those regimellts which are enlitled to
an>', are also 10 bc cngraved.
Caps. Fuzlls, and Pouches. for Grenadier Officers
The Ol11cers of Ihe grenadiers 10 wear black bcar-skin caps: and to have
fllzils, shoulder-bellS, and pOllches. The shoulder-bells 10 be while or
bufl", according 10 the colour of Iheir waistco:ll.s.
Espontoons
The battalion officers to ha\'e CSP0Il100IlS.
Gaiters
The whole to black linen with black bUlIons, and small sliff
lOpS, black gancI's, and uniform buckles,
SerJeants' Coats
The coalS orthe Selje:ll1ts to be Iappelled to lhe waist, 1\'iLh Lhe colour of
the facing of Ihe regimenl. The bUll on-holes of the coat to be of white
braid. Those on lhe waiStCOals 10 be plain. The Scljeants of grenadiers
10 have fuzils, pouches, and caps, Those oflhe ballalion 10 have halberts,
and no pouches.
SerJeants' Sashes
The s,'1shes 10 be of crimson worsted, \\ilh a stripe of the colour of lhe
facing of the reghnel1l. and ,,'orn round the waisl. Those of the regiments
which are faced with red, 10 h;we a slripe of while.
Corporals' Coats
The coalS of the Corporals to have a silk epaulel.lc on lhe right shoulder.
37
Grenadiers' Coats
The coaLS of the grenadiers to have Ihe usual
rOllnd wings of red doth on the point of the
;houlder, with six loops of the S:lIne son of lace as
on the button-holes, and a border round the
OOllom.
Private Men's Coats
"111e men's coaLS to be looped ,,'ilh \\'orsled lace.
bUI no border. The ground of the lace 10 be while.
wilh coloured suipes. To ha\'e ",hite bUllons. The
brC;ldlh of the lace which is 10 make Ihe loop
rOllnd the hUlIon-hole. to be abOlll half an inch.
FoUl' loops to be on the and four on the
pockcts, with rwo on each side of Ihc slit behind.
Lappels, Sleeves, and Pockets
The hreadth of all the lappels to be three inches,
to reach down 10 the waisl, and not 10 be wider at
lOp than at the bOHom. The sleeves of Ihe coats to
havc a small round cun', Nithollt all}' slit. and to be
made so that Ihe)' lila)' Ix: unblilloned and leI
do\\'n, The whole 10 ha\'c cross pockets. bUl no
naps to those of lhc waistcoal. The cuffs of the
slee\'c which tUnlS up. to be three inches and a
half deep. The flap on the pockel of the COatlO be
sc",(.'(! dO\\11. and lhe poeketlo be CUI in the lining
of the coal.
Shoulder Belts and Waist Belts
The breadth of the shoulder-belts lO be twO inches
and Ihrc(."-<]uaners: that of the waist-belt to be two
inches: and those regimcllts which have buff
waistcoats, arc to have bulT-coloured accou-
tremenL... Those which have while waistcoaL.. , are
to have white.
Drummers' and Flfers' Coats
The coats of the drummers and filCrs of all the ro)'al regiments arc to be
red, faced and lappelled with blue, and laced with lace. The
breeches, and lining of the coats, to be of the sallie colour as
that which is ordered for their respective regimellLS. -l1lc coaLS of tile
dnunmers and lifers of those regiments which are faced with red, are to
be \\'hite, faced, lappcllcd, and lincd with red: red and
bn.. -eches, TI10se of all the other regiments are to be colour of the facing
of their regimcnts: faced and lappelled with red. The waistcoats.
brecchcs. and lining of those which havc buff or white coaLS. arc to be
red. Those of all the others are 10 be of the same colour as that which is
ordered for the men. To be laced in such manner as the Colonel shall
think fil. The lace 10 be of the colour of that of the soldiet"S' coats. The
38 coats to have no hanging sleeves behind.
Ojibway garters and moc:<:aslns
dating from about 1780, ..ot-
tec:ted byColonet Arent De
Deyster, <:ommandant ,t
MI<:hltlma<:klna<: In 1774-g. This
attra<:tllle quill and bead deco-
ration, with bra.. or <:opper
'tinkling <:ones'typl",t of frontier
_menllltlon of 1\81., dolne.
and equipm&rlt, m....t surely kalla
<:aughtth<l sokIie..' eyes, lfonty
as souveni.., We I\8l1e been
UNIble to find <:ontemporary
evidenc:e that It was adopted to
decorate th<I equipment of
.. lnth<lfield.
(Courtesy, City of Llllerpool
Museums)
Drummers' and Flfers' Caps
The drummers and fifers to have black bear-
skin COIPS, On the front, me King's crest. of
silver pl:ued metal, on a black ground, with
trophies of colours and drums. The number
of the regiment on lhe back P;lrl: as also thc
badgc, if entiLkd to an)'. as Ol'den'd fOl' thc
grenadiers.
Grenadiers' Caps
The caps of me grenadiers to be of black bear-
skin, On the front. the King' crest, of silver
plated metal, on a blade. ground. the
mOllO, N« asfJtm InrmL A grenade on the
back part, with Ihe number of the regiment
on il. The roy;tl rt.-giments, and the six old
corps, are to have the crest and grenade, and
also Ihe other particulars :IS hereafler
specilicd. The badgc of lhe ro)'al regiments is
10 be l... hilC, and St;1 on ncar the top of Ihe
back part of lhe cap. The height of the c:.tp
(\\'ithoUl the bear-skin, which reaches be)'ond
lhe lOp) to be lwelve inches.
Ueut_t ThomIo. Aut!Ny of the
4th Foot, c.1771 -. portntt by
N.thanlel Hone, The .urtet co.t
laced d8r1< blue Is trimmed wtth
UIYer""-taI',NQletheeort-
strvctionofthe_tiIIefted
.psulflte - • llet llnot of .u-r
lace bnlld. permls.lon of the
N.tion.1 MuMum of w.les)
Hats of the Whole
The hats of the Serjt....nlS to be laced with silver. TIlOSC of the Coq)()rals
anrl pri\'OHC men 10 have a while lape binding. The breotdlh ofthc wholc
10 be one inch and a quaner: and no mort: 10 be on Ihe b,;"lCk p;lIl of IIIC
brim, Ihan whal i.. llecessan 10 'iCW it down. To ha\'e black cockoldcs.
Caps for the Officers and Men of
Regiments of Fuzlleers
The regiments of fmjleers 10 have black I>t'ar-skin caps. Tht.1' arc 10 be
madt., in the .s;:lIne manner as lhOSt' which arc ordered for the grclladiers.
bUI nOI so high: and nOl 10 havc the grcllade on the back parI.
Swords
AlIlhe Scrje:111IS ofthc regimellt. and lhe whole grenadier company, 10
ha\'e s\,'onls. The Corporals and primlc men of the battalion companies
(excepling Ihe rcgimcllI of highlandcrs) to have no swords.
AlIlhe drummers and lifer'S to have a shan sword with a scimit:u' blade.
Gaiters
The Sc'icallls. Corporals. drummers. lifers. and privale men. to ha\'e
black gaiters of Ihe same SOil as is ordered for the Officers: also black
garters and uniform buckle!>.
Pioneers
Each pioneer 10 ha\'e an .I.-':C, a saw. and :m apron: a cap \,';Ih a Iealher
crown.•md a black bear-skin front, 011 \\hich is 10 be the King's crt.ost ill
white on a red ground: also an a.-.:c alld a s,,"l.W. TIle of me
n:giment 10 be on the back p:lrl of the C;:lp. 39
THE PLATES
A: MQULATION UNIFORMS
"'1: Private, Ught Company, 38th Foot
The 38th, later the South Slaffoo::lshire Regiment.
had yeIow facings, and silver lace lOf oflicers. h
served ttwoughout the War of Indepeodeoce,
notably at Lexington. &eed's Hill, long Island,
Fort Lee, Chestnut Neck, Brandywine.
Germantown, and Monmouth Courthouse.
Ughl troopS had been used n America during
the French and Indian Wars, and some regiments
had 'picket' and 'Highland' companies; but in
1771 a light company was officiafty added to each
regiment. Active and agile men were preferred,
and their training laid some stress 00 initiative.
The light companies of a number of regiments
serving together were often detached Inlo a
separate light ballalion: sometimes the light and
grenadier companies of several regiments would
be grouped In an elite formation. Light company
men were to wear short jackets with shoulder
wings, red waistcoats, and short black gaiters. A
black leather cap with three chains fOUnd it and a piece of
plate upon the centre of the crown, like a skull-cap, was dis-
tinguished by the regimental number and the royal cipher
beneath a crown 00 a large round peak standing straight up
in Iroot. Alarge variety of caps were made or cut down lrom
cocked hal$: some had peaks in front, others at the back,
some had horsehair crests, others were made 01 leather and
brass like dragoon helmets. The meo were supposed to carry
a small cartridge box on a tan leather waist belt, a powder
hom and bullet pouch. and a hatchet and bayonet in a frog;
sometimes the hatchet had a SIITlple case buttoning round
the blade. Some light companies kept the same equipment
as !tie rest 01 the banalioo. OffICers and sergeants carried
lusUs muskets) and pooches.
A2: Private, Battalion Company, 64th Foot
The 64th, lat6l" the Prince of Wales's North Staffordshire
Regiment, wore black lacings and regimental lace with one
red and ooe black stripe in it; officers' metal was gold. The
regiment loughl throughout the war, taking part in the occu-
pation 01 Boston and the fighting at Dorchester Heights,
Long Island, Brandywine, Germantown and in the New
Jersey and Southern campaigns.
Winter gaiters are shown here, long, with black bone or
pewt6l" buttons; summer paltern were mid-calf length ooly.
The battalion companies - I.e. all the companies of a bat-
talion except lor the grenadier and light companies - were
known as 'hal' companies because their cocked hat
guished them Irom the special headgear of the elite
companies. (The hats and caps of aN companies were often
too small, and were kept in place by sewing two pieces of
tape, as near as possible to the man's hair colour, to the
lining of the hat, and fasteoing them with a hook and ¥
under the plait of hair at the back..) Linen had to be changed
on Wednesdays and Sundays, and shoes were changed
from loot to foot daily to prevent them 'running crooked'! On
40 American service gaiter trousers or overalls were worn in the
An 18th·century vl_ of Americ8n troop.: '. riflem.n' .nd '.
.........1'. (MIchael D. Robsonj
field, perhaps over the breeches and stockings, Records
show that blue, brown and white wooDen cloth, striped
ticking and old tents were aD used to make leggings and
overalls.
The bayonet was carried i'l a frog on the waist belt. but
this was frequently worn over the nght shoulder instead,
leading eventuaDy to the official issue of two crossbeIts.
From the left shoulder hung the cartridge-box, ' •••of stoutest
blackened calfskin, with an inner nap 01 thick wetl painted
linen.•: The box itself was a wooden block drilled with 36
holes, each lor a paper cartridge.
For confirmation of other details, see the 1768 Warrant
quoted in teXl.
A3: Corporal, Grenadier Company, 47th Foot
The 47th, later the Loyal Regiment, wore white facings. Two
black lines were added to the design of the regimental lace
of corporals and men, in mourning for General Wolfe. The
regiment fought with Burgoyne's army, and was Interned with
the rest of that unlucky command in 1777.
The Grenadier Company, though no longer issued with
actual grenades, was composed of the largest and strongest
men In each battalion, and provided a shock force. It was
often detached and formed into separate grenadier bat-
talions (see above), to the disgust of many officers. who held
that to draw off each banalioo's best men in this way was a
distortion 01 their proper fooction and weakened their parent
unit unreasonably.
This corporal's lank is distinguished by the knot worn on
his right shoulder, although corporals in some regiments
wore a white silk epautelte, He wears a uniform which
conforms to the 1766 Clothing Warrant. The distinctions
peculiar to the Grenadier Company of the battalion are the
fur cap, the decorated with regimental lace
loops, the brass match-ease 00 the crossbell,
and the sword which was ooly carried by
grenadiers. sergeants and officers by this dale.
Sometimes a tightly coiled and pipe-clayed
match was fixed to the CtOSSbeh behind the
shoulder, as another reminder of the original
function. These can be seen i'l several contem-
porary inustratJons and were also on a set of
CoIdstream Guards equipment. formeffy In the
Zeughaus. 8ef1in. and lJflfortooately lost in
Work:f War II. The eXpensIVe fur cap was
covered on the mardi WIth a pamted canvas
cover; when not in use these could be rolled up
and suspended by a smaI loop from the nght
hip coat button, coooeaIed wl1hlO the tuck of
the skirts. In peacetime the coat skIrts were to
be sewn permanently up in the turned-back
position illustrated and fixed with a striP of reg-
Imental lace and a button. Oflen the lips were
decorated with 'grenades' or hearts 01 cloth or
brass: on campaign they were secured with
hooks and eyes.
A4 & AS: Drummers, 29th and 70th
Regiments of Foot
These drummers are dressed according to the
Royal Warrant of 1768, with coats of facing
colour decoraled with regimental lace 'as the
colonel shall think fit'. The beilf"Skln caps had a
SImilar plate to that of the grenadiers but incor-
porahng troptlles of flags and drums III the
motrf and there were regimental variations.
Officially. the regiments had only drummers
and fifers: extra musicians fOf a band were
unoffICial and supported by the officers out of
t ~ own pockets. Often they were magnifi-
cently and fancifully uniformed; Negroes were
popular in this capacity, and the f\ounshes of
the modem drum major may have denved from
the tricks and 'capers' performed by these
men. The usual infantry band might consist of
two each 01 bassoons. horns. clarinets, and
possibly oboes: the trumpet might also have
appeared. Although the bugle horn was
mtroduced during the Revolutionary War,
mfantry regiments usually used the drum for
signalling.
PLATE B
81: Corporal, 8attalion Company, 52nd Regiment of
Foot, marching order
The 52nd. later the Oxfordshire and Bucks Ughtlnlantry (2nd
Baltalion). like all regiments with buff facings. wore buff
breeches and waistcoats, and buff betts. ThIS corporal. dis-
lIoguishecf by the knot of white lace on his shoulder. wears
short gaiters with pewter bultons. HIS foldmg 'wallet'-ijke
knapsack is made of painted canvas contaJ01OQ his blanket
and 'necessaries', which included two white stlXks. one
black horsehair stlXk. brass clasps Of buckles IOf these,
three paIl'S of white yam stockings. two pairs linen socks
dipped in oil (to be wom on the march under spatterdashes.
•.e. short gaiters), one pair long black garters WIth tops. one
A typical example of the variations from regulation dress 10
be found In.n Inf.ntryregiment, In this c.se the 61h,
sketched .t W.rte, C.mp In 1778. The two muslcl.ns In
j.untll, Cocked hats .re from. cartoon print of the 5th
made .t eoktleeth near Ryeln 178'. (lliustr.tlon cop,right
G.A.EmbletOfl)
pair spallerdashes, one red fornge cap, black leather
garters, cleanlOQ mateoals, combs, brushes, ammunillon.
and musket and bayonet. ThIS musket has been immor-
talised as the 'Brown Bess' -the weapon in seMce with the
British infantry, WIth only minor changes, from well before the
Seven Years' War untU well aftel'" the NapoleonIC Wars. The 41
A I•• c.p, _ forage c_p, with _ sm_1I visor or
pe_k which could be blmed clown to protect eyes.
Fonge c.ps _ ....cte _t .-g;.......m.l or company level ...cl
".ned.--..., In m.teriM...cl unifonniTJr.
(NrionIllArnl)'MuMumI
llintlock and land service musket, a .75-callbre smooth-bore
weapon weighing about ten pounds, Without the socket
bayonet, could, in the hands 01 sleady and well-trained men
l.Wlder perlect condlllons, oewar one shot every 15 seconds
or SO. HIS rations were carried in a haversack of greytSh linen.
worn on the left hip with a tlfl canteen 01 water. Note the
large flap 01 the cartridge-box, to protect the other loads
when the pouch was opened in wet weather,
B2; Grenadier, 49th Foot, marching order
The 49th, later the Royal Berkshire Regiment, wore green
lacings, and lace in 'bastion' loops decorated with red and
green lines, This soldier is shown in normal winter dress with
long blado; cloth gaiters. The pewter buttons and white
gartElfS are typical "arialJOns lrom regulalJon, as is the large
brass grenade on his cartndge-box and !he dl3gOfl3llace on
!he shoulder' wmgs on hIS coat. Note that hcs hU is plaJIed
and the pIalt secured with a comb under hIS cap. The tape
holdll'lQ his bearsIon .... place passes under thIS plait.
83: Private, Battalion Company, 37th Regiment of Foot
The 37th, later the Royal Hampshire Regiment, served in the
WaJ lrom 1776 to 1783.
This soIdief is dressed for the march in bad weather. He
has buttoned his lapels across hIS chest. turned up his collar
and lKlbuttoned and turned down hIS cuffs. The regiment's
yeIlowfaclOQS and white lace With red and yellow stripes are
barely visible.
His knapsack is brown goat skin. HIS gaiters are heavily
polished lineo With stiff leather tops, secured by black
garters, the ends, accordillQ to regulations, passed through
!he brass buckles, cut 011 at one Inch, and the ends tumed
under, In winter no overcoats were issued, although 30
caped 'watch coats' per regIment were kept lor !he use of
sentries in cold weather, The sentry on duty .... Boston on 5
42 March 1770 probabfy wore one, He was pelted with snow-
bans by a Ialge and ttnatenng mob 01 Bostonians, and the
guard. COI'lSISting of an ollicet and eight men, was caJIed out.
The rabble continued 10 harass them, and in the confusion
shots were fired. F..... 'patriots' died. Thlwlks to their Arne-
ncan lawyer, all except two of the soIdl8f'S went acqurtted at
the subsequent trial, and the two - rightly - were not
punished severely for their part in the so-called 'Boston
Massacre',
64: ensigns, 55th Foot, with Regimental an<! King's
ooiou,
The two cololKs, the King's and Regmental, 01 each inlantry
battalion, served as a rallying-point and a statJon.keeping
device In battle, and all standards tIYoughoul military
history, W8ftl an important psychok)gical factor in the monlIe
01 the regment. Their design is described in the Royal
Warrant quoted in the body 01 the lexl. They were carried by
ensigns, the junior commissioned rank; while in theory these
officers might be 01 any age they were usually very young,
sometImes only in their mid-teens.
The OtrlCefS illustrated wear the regulation umfoml pre-
scribed in the Warrant, wrth the green lacngs and gold lace
of the 55th Foot. later to become the 2nd Battalion, the
Border RegIment. Commissioned ranjc; is indicated partic-
ularly by a gilt gorget, bearing the royal arms and regimental
number and suspended !rom the coat coItar buttons on a
ribbon 01 lacing colour; a sword, with gold and red
sword-koot; and a crimson silk waist-sash. The colours,
which must have been a considerable burden, were 6 It, by
6 It. 6 in, on a pole 9 It. 10 Ins. high.
Betlind the ensigns their regiment marches by. led by the
grenad_ company weanng painted waterproof covers on
their bearsklns and unfashionable red breeches made !rom
old coats. a dying practice i'l thefT'lld-l77Os.
PLATE C
Cl: Officer, Royal Welch Fusiliers
Based on a conternpomry portrait, this may show the
regiment's lusilief cap, or the slightly taller bearskin worn by
the Grenadier company. Each regiment had its 'metal' colour
- silver or gold - governing the colour 01 officers' epaulettes,
sword-hilts, buttons. lace, gorgetS and so forth. 0lf1l*S of
the grenadier comparues wore two epaulettes, while bat-
talion company officers wore one on the right only. Grenadier
OtrlCefS, their men, wore bearskin caps; the caps, distin-
guished by a Roman regimental number on the crown, It is
not clear If the regiment wore bearskins during the war; they
still had cloth mitre caps in 1770 and no bearskins in 1794 as
'the cap maker had disappointed them, they all therelore
&ppeafBd in pIPl hats with leathers in the lorm 01 his Royal
Highless's [The Prince of Wales] crest, which had a very
pretty effect', a practice already noted in 1788.
His bull breeches, low, highty polished spattetdashes,
pouch, and tusil with short bayonet atlI typicaJ campatgn
equipment.
C2: Officer of Royal ArtJllery
The Royal Artillery already had a high reputation for profes-
sionaJ skIll, cleanliness, and Wnposing appeaJance; !he
largest and best-built recn.uts were pICked lor this service,
wNch requrecI a good deal of bnrtaIy hatd work .... handing
guns.
From 1771 to 1775 the 4th Battalion replaced the RA units
which had previously been servJOQ in America; four com-
panies of the 3rd Battalion Iat.. came out as remfort:ernents,
and four companIeS drawn frcm the 1st and 3rd Battalions
are known to have accomparlled Burgoyne's army on its
doomed march to Saratoga in 1777. They wore cut-down
uniforms - as did the whole army - and altered their hats,
adding a red crest. The 4th Battalion are known to have worn
a black feather in their hats, and an undress uniform of blue
)acket and brown trouSElB.
This offICe!" wears the blue undoml coat of his corps, faced
with red and laced with gold. He wears the usuaJ crimson
sash and a sword; the use of fusils and pooches by artillefy
offlCefS was discontinued in about 1770. Officers and men
wore white stocks, and the hair was clubbed when on duty.
C3: loyalist Officer
This well-turned-out American officer wears one of the first
uniforms issued to the loyalists. By December 1776
uniforms for the provincial troops were sent out lrom
England, consisting of green coats faced while, blue and
green, followed later by orange, buff and black. Appateotly
the men wore regimental laces but the designs are not
known. By autumn 1777 it was decided to put all the
provincial units into red coats, like the regulars.
C4: AIde de Camp to a General Officer
The first orders for the uniforms of staff officers specified red
coats, faced blue and embroidered with silver, allowing fash-
ionable gentlemen plenty of latitude. By the 17705
gold-laced button holes spaced singly, and two gold
epaulettes were speciflEld for aides..Qe.canlp and the same
uniform, but wIth silver instead of gold, for brigade-majors.
C5: lieutenant-General
An order of 1767 prescribed two coats for British general
officers. The uniform coat, richly laced with gold, was worn
on state occasions. The scarlet 'frock' faced with blue was
ornamented with goId-embroidered buttonholes, set in pairs
for major--geoerals and threes for lieutMant-generais. There
seems to have been no unHormily in the wearing of
epaulettes - one or two, in gold, are believed to have been
worn by both these ranks. The coat ~ n j n g was buff until
1772, and white thereafter. A third style 01 coat, the 'undress
frock', similar to the frock but lacking the gold buttonholes,
was worn for some time before being officially sanctioned in
1786. A gold-laced cocked hat would have been worn, and
a privately purchased sword.
GeoeraIs dressed and lived like the gentlemen they were,
ollen taking enormous Quantities of pet'SOflaI baggage and
paraphernalia into the field, and reproducng as closely as
possible the conditions of country-house IHe.
PLATE D
01: Musketeer, Regiment v. Triimbach
More than 30 per cent of the British forces in North America
were hired from the German states - a mercenary
arrangement dignified by the close links between the British
Crown and various Getman royal houses.
Hesse-Cassel provided 17,000 officers and men; less than
two-thirds returned home and many settled in the New
Worid. Because of their numbers, aU German troops in
America tended to be called 'Hessians' by British and
colonists alike, but III fact units from Brunswick, Hesse-
Hanau. Waldeck, Anspach-Bayreuth and Anhatl.-Zerbst also
served the Bntish Crown. The Hessians were by far the best-
organised, uniformed and equipped. Many were experieoced
regular soldiers. The unifOlTTlS were based on Prussian ones
and in the field the officers soon abandoned their
embroidered buttonholes and finery, carrying slung fusils
and rolled cloaks around their shouldefs.
The Regiment v. Triimbadl was raised in 1701, arrived in
America on 12 August 1776, fought on long Island and in
the southern campaign with distnction, and returned home
in December 1783. This private wears the canvas overalls
adopted by most German troops, and is armed by the Bntish
with a Brown Bess musket.
02: Grenadier, Hesse-Hanau Infantry Regiment
Erbprinz, 1776
Another of the regiments which accompanied Burgoyne to
Saratoga. the 'Erbprinz' proVIded its grenadier company for
lieutenant-Colonel Breymann's 'German Reserve' of
grenadier and light companies. (This renowned tyrant was
shot by his own men after he sabred four of his fleeing
grenadiers on the flElld of Bennington.)
This grenadier wears the regulation white breeches and
long black gaiters, and is distinguished by his tall mitre cap:
the fuslliers of the regiment are also thought to have worn a
metal·fronted cap, but of lower profile. The white shoulder-
knot or aiguillette seems to be the regimental distinction of
the 'Erbpmz', worn on the right shoulder by all ranks. In
action. a small black cartridge-boX, decorated with the
monogram of the Erbprinz Withelm of Hesse-Hanau, would
be worn centrally on the front of the waistbett. All types of
troops in this unit are thought to have worn side-arms.
03: Ensign with Regimental standard, Brunswick
Infantry Regiment von Rhetz, 1776-77
A German regiment might be known by the name of its chef,
its kommandeur, or its fteld commander. The chef was a
colonel-in-chief, usually a member of the royal family or a
prestigIOUS general granted the title as an nonour, The kom-
manderJr was a senior officer, who might well not actually
command the unit in the field, in which case it might be
known by the name of the officer woo did. Sometimes all
three positions were held by one and the same man, but
ollen not; and the constant changes in command, internal
reorganizations (and differences of contemporary spelling)
make it extremely difficult to identify some units.
This regiment was first raised in 1748, and received this
designation in 1773; its chef was Major-General August von
Rhetz. It was secured for American service by the British
Government in 1776. and landed near Ouebec on 27
September of that year. It took part in Burgoyne's 1777
campaign. Alter suffering a hard winter at Fort 5t Anfl6 when
'Gentleman Johnny's' 1st German Brigade disappeared into
limbo with the rest of his army, such small details of the 'von
Rhetz' as had been left in Canada (sic, etc,) were incor-
porated into the Regiment von Ehrenkrook, and finished the
war as garrison troops n the Trois Rivl9fes area. The
regiment's muster roll of OCtober 1776 records one lieu-
tenant+Colonel, one 1Tlajor, five captains, live first- and five 43
second-lieutenants. five ensigns; one each adjutant, quarter-
master, chaplain, paymaster, surgeon-major, clerk and
drum-major; five company surgeons, and four buglers; 50
sergeants and corporals, 15 drummers. 41 officers' valets,
and 529 soldiers. (The Grenadier Company was on detached
service at this time, but otherwise this may be taken as a
fairly typical establishment.)
The Brunswick contingent was the second largest but the
worst dressed and equipped among the German forces in
America. On their arrival in Portsmouth en route for America,
the British Government had to spend £5.000 bringing their
clothing up to standard - although even then they were
cheated by rascally English contractors, receiving shipments
of ladies' slippers instead of soldiers' shoes! The coarse cloth
of the uniforms was of the cheapest type, the lapels could not
be buttoned across. and in the absence of overcoats there
were several deaths from cold. Once a proper system of
supply was established. the whole army received special
winter clothing: loog cloth overalls, woollen caps. mittens.
under-jackets, and Canadian blanket coats. The summer
overall trousers were often made of striped 'ticken'.
The regimental unilorm of the 'von Rhetz' was as illus-
trated here, although this ensign has certain rank
distinctions. The hats 01 the men were bound with white and
bore a red pompon and red tufts. The ensign is also distin-
guished by his cane. and his gold-iace trim at the cuffs. All
ranks wore side-arms, and buttons spaced one-two-one
down the lapels. The layout of the common soldier's
personal equipment was very similar to that of the redcoat of
the day. although a knapsack of brown fur was worn slung
from the right shoulder and hanging behind the left arm, over
the haversack. canteen and sword and bayonet frog
Soldiers also wore white shoulder-straps on the left shoulder,
over the cartridge-box crossbelt.
D4: Musketeer, Anhalt-Zerbst Infantry Regiment, 1781
This imposing figure. described by an eyewitness in New
York in 1781, displays the Austrian influence which contrasts
markedly with the Prussian-inspired uniforms of the other
German contingents in America. The felt hussar-style cap
was certainly replaced by a cocked hat in the field, and the
breeches and top-boots by linen overalls. There is also
evidence that the red waistcoat was replaced by a linen item.
The white coat is faced with red on lapels, cuffs and
shoulder-straps, and lined with the same colour. The coat
buttons were yellow, those of the white-lined red waistcoat
were white. The red cloak and red-and-yellow sash would
certainly have been discarded except when on formal duties
The Anhatl-Zerbst contingent did not have an easy
passage to America. The principality, which lay about 20
miles south-east of Magdeburg, had only some 20,000
inhabitants, from among whom their absentee ruler blithely
promised Britain a regiment of two battalions of 550 men
each. He had to recruit outside his own domains. and then
had extraordinary difficulty getting his regiment to the sea.
Frederick the Great of Prussia refused him passage through
his territory, and the troops had to take an extremely devious
route to the coast, through seven other states. Desertions,
and keen-eyed Prussian recruiting officers. reduced the force
by about 40 per cent en route. Some 600 men finally sailed
in April 1778. to be followed by'reinforcements in the three
44 following years. The troops were used as garrisons in
Canada and in New York until the end of hostilities, and
never saw action.
D5: Private, Brunswick Dragoon Regiment Prinz
Ludwig Ernst, 1776-77
Raised in 1698. this regiment was designated a dragoon unit
in 1772. Its kommandeur was Major-General Friedrich
Riedesel. commander of the entire Brunswick contingent, so
it was commanded in the field by Lieutenant-Colonel
Friedrich Baum, who was mortally wounded at Bennington.
The regiment reached Quebec on 1 June 1776; it mustered
20 ollicers and 316 men organised into four troops each of
three officers and 75 men, with a staff of eight officers and
16 men. Although completely equipped for mounted service,
the regiment sailed without horses and was expected to
mount itself on arrival in America. In fact it was never
mounted. and served on foot with Burgoyne's army, wearing
gaiters instead of the heavy boots usual for mounted service.
(This would hardly have been an insurmountable hardship lor
dragoons, whose function had been that 01 'mounted
infantry' since the 17th century.) They fought with great
courage, and nearly all were killed or captured at
Bennington
Officers wore a silver aiguillette on the right shoulder. silver
lace on their uniforms. silver sword-knots and a silver-and-
black sash. All ranks wore white plumes for parade
occasions. The drummers were Negroes. and wore reversed
colours - yellow lined and faced with light blue. The drum
major must have looked extremely splendid in this unilorm,
which was heavily trimmed with silver lace.
PLATE E
E1: Corporal, Foot Jagers, Hesse-Cassel Field
Jager Corps
The German jagers were the elite marKsmen of the British
armies in America. The Hesse-Cassel jagers had fought
against the French in Europe in 1758. Recruited from the
huntsmen, game-keepers and foresters of the principality,
they were every bit as at home in the woods as their
American counterparts. By the summer 011777 there were
five foot companies and one mounted squadron in America,
officially assembled in a corps with an establishment 01 just
over t ,000 men - although it is doubtfui if actual strength
was even half that, and the 'corps' was invariably broken up
into small detachments. The jagers saw action in ail the
major campaigns of the war. but always in small units, in
keeping with their role.
The uniform consisted of green coats, waistcoats and
breeches, the former laced and cuffed in crimson. with
paired white metal buttons; the white cull lace illustrated
here identifies corporal's rank. In summer white or buff linen
breeches would not have been uncommon. (The green
clothing associated with foresters of many nationalities since
the earliest times - one thinks immediately of Robin Hood
and his men clad in 'Lincoln green' - was the natural choice
for jagers' uniforms; in this specific connection it had been in
use since 1744 by Prussian jagers, and has recurred again
and again in the uniforms of riflemen of many nations, up to
the present day.) On parade green cockades and tall green
feathers were added to the hats. The heavy, short-barrelled
jager rilies were often personally owned weapons which the
men had used in the woods of their homeland. The barrels,
which were lr8QlJ(Ifltly octagonal. did not take bayonets, and
!he men carried short hooting swords as side-arms, with tra-
ditiooa.l decorations at hih and pommel, and decorated
shell-guards. ArlvnuniIion was carried in a pouch slung on
thewaislbe/l.
E2.: Captain I lieutenant Fraser's Company of
Marttsmen in 1776
Two men from each company of the Line Battalions of
Burgoyne's army W6fe sent to torm a company of special
skirmishers under Captain Alexander Fraser of the 34th Foot.
They seemed to have given valuable S61'Vice until the battle
of Bennington when they suffered very heavy casualties.
This private, from the 21st Regiment, is based on a sketch
by an artillery officer. Close examination of the origioal
reveals a shortened regimental jacket, a plain cap made from
his cocked hat (31 conforming to the orders already affecting
all of Burgoyne's army) and leggings of buff cloth trimmed
with red tape.
Since !he size of the company fluctuated and men were
transferred to and from their battalions, they had little chance
to develop a special company uniform.
E3: British Officer, 1777
This shows !he extnlmely plain dress, based on his own
hunting or riding clothes. that might be worn by a British
offlC8f in !he field. We must 10000t the loppish, bewigged
caricature beloved by HoIywood - most British company
olficefs were experienced prolessionals and lived hard lives
on campaign.
This one wealS a severely cut-down regimental jacket with
lapels and lace removed, an unflapped cocked hal, very
fashionable 'sportswear' at the time. and his own powder
horn and shot bag brought from home.
E4: Sergeant, 62nd Foot, 1777
In 1775 the 62ncl Foot Oater the Wiltshire Regiment) were
inspected at Cork, Ireland. and the inspecting general
obsefved 'uniforms very short and hats very small ... coats
CUI so short that I must cal them jackets. Hats too small.
Poor Regiment'. (It is pIeasar1t to record that the inspection
report of 1787 calls them a 'smart, pretty mgimerJt'.) II seems
that Ihe 6200 were anticipating the oroars issued to
Burgoyne's army in 17n, and earned that time-hallowed
military rebuke, 'Wait for itt' All the regiments under
Burgoyne's command, including the artillery, were to reduce
their coats to jackets and their cocked hats to caps, so that
the whole force would look like light infantry. Roaches of fur
and hair, dyed in different colours. were fixed to the caps.
The pocket flaps on this figure, wtlich is based Ofl a con-
temporary sketch, are vertical instead of horizontal as was
more usual. They were false pockets, and it may have been
thought that they looked 'prettier' this way. The lacings of
the 62nd were pale yeDowish buff, and as with 31 regiments
with buff facings, the small-dothes are of the same colour.
The device on the front of the cap is unclear. The 20th, 21st,
24th and 47th Foot all wore similarly cropped uniforms.
PLATE F
F1: British Infantryman In Canadian winter dress in 1776
General Howe ordered that the whole army be provided with
warm clothing for the coming winter and a contemporary
drawing exactly matches !he description in Howe's papers.
Woollen blanket coats lined with sheepskin. and cloth
leggings. 'capacious undetjackets with sleeves of strong
while corduroy', mittens and fu" or woollen caps, the Ianer
'Canadian toques'; long knitted caps with tassets or shaped
like pointed hoods, helped keep out !he biting cold.
F2: Ught Infantryman, BaWe of Germantown, 1777
It is highly probable that British uniforms W6fe adapted to
campaign conditions to a far great6f extent than we usually
accept. The only contemporary drawings show much altered
clothing, and this is backed up by Ieners, diaries and the
descriptions of deserters circulated at !he time. Hats were
cropped. or 'uncocked' and worn in the popular round form.
This uniform is based partly on a painting 01 the Bailie of
Germantown. reputedly prepared from the description of an
officer who was present. The light infantryman wears a short
jackel or sleeved waistcoat without lacings or lace, and linen
trousers. His hat is decorated with a feather and his
crossbell is black. Gait8f-trousers or overalls CUI wide 'like
sailors' were in common use.
F3: Officer, 5th Foot, 1777
This officer of the 5th - later the Northumberland Fusiliers -
is partly based Ofl !he same painting of Germantown. His
'regimentals' are laced 'gosling green' and laced silver. His
uncocked or round hat is decorated with a cockade and
feathers. His hair is dressed accon:hng to contemporary
fashion. and would have been p:>Wdefed for parade. He
wears the popular jockey boots and spurs. Officers' swords
were supposed to be of a regimental paltern, chosen by the
colonel. and of the regimental 'metal' colour, according to
the Royal Warrant. In practice many officers seem to have
pleased themselves, and curved swords with half-basket
hitts were popular weapons. He is comfortably dressed, but
manages to be both fashionable and dashing. It was
important for officers to maintain their position as 'gen-
tlemen'.
AI fusilier regiments were supposed to wear smaller
versions of the black bearskin grenadier cap (see 1768
Warrant quotation), but a variety of caps of different panems
appear in contemporary sources. Some were peaked, and
had transverse fur roaches.
F4: Butler's R a n g e ~
In September 1776 Maior John Butler of the Indian
Department was authorised to raise eight companies of
rangers. two of which were to be recruited from men who
spolte the Indian language and were accustomed to frontier
warfNe. A ninth company was raised in 178t and the wt'IOIe
disbanded in 1784. The Rangers wore Ql"een faced red and
are often depicted weamg a brass-fronted cap - we have
found no contemporary evidence lor it.
In t 778 Buller's Rangers and Indians won a vicloty at
Wyoming, Pennsylvania. which was built up by propaga'lda
and rumour into 'the SlKprising horror of the revolution'.
Joseph Brant shared the blame for ii, although he was not
even present at the battle.
F5: Sergeant, 2nd Battalion Delancy's Brigade in 1776
Oliv6f Delancy, a New York loyalist, raised this regiment of
three baltalions (called a 'brigade')lrom loyalists of his state 45
Two cartriclog<l-boll ••llc:.....ted in North Americ:e -
__ of the 45th 01 Foot. M.ny edopted
unotllc:le' devlc:_ like (C09Yright G. A. Embleton)
lor the defence 01 loog Island. They originally wore greerl
uniforms, but were later Issued red faced blue with white lace
arranged in ones, twos or threes according to the battalion.
The third battalion remarned In New York, but the first two
took part In the southern campaign.
This sergeant is properly dressed for a parade in summer,
with sash and sWOfd. and a broad-brimmed white hat
commonly worn in the south.
In winter the battalions wore blanket coats. leather caps
and red, blue or brown woollen overalls. They were dis-
banded In New Brunswick In 1783.
PLATE G
G1: Private, 17th Light Dragoons, on service with
Tarleton's British Legion
This regiment, later the 17th/21 st lancers. was raised by the
officer who brought the king news of Wolfe's victory and
death at Quebec. and its death'Head badge - still in use
today - commemorates that victory and death. as did the
black line in the regimental lace. At various times the skutl 01
the crested helmet was brass, at other limes black. The 1768
Warrant describes the coats of the regiment as red with
white facings, white metal buttons In pairs. and white linings.
Small-clothes were also wttite. Officers' silver lace had a
black edge at the buttonholes. and officers at an inspection
in 1771 '...carry their cloaks 01 Mazarine blue. lined with
white.. : (Mazarine blue was a deep. rich blue shade).
The 17th left Ireland for America In 1775. and landed In
Boston just before Bunker (Breed's) HilI. A small detachment
took part in the fight, and detachments served In most of the
46 important engagements throughout the war. Short cloth
gaiters were worn for dIsmounted service. ThIS dragoon, 00
service WIth Tarletoo's famous ptOVInoal cavalry, has - like
hIS comrades - preferred to keep and patch his regimental
jacket nsteacl of acceptmg the dress of the leglOO: although
worn-out brooches and boots have been replaced by gaiter
trousers and shoes, and the red silk turban 00 hIS helmet by
sheepsklll. Dunng hot weather in the southern campaigns
the men wore wttite bnen 'frocks' or smocks In the fielcf fin
background).
Equipment recorded as shipped lor American service
included four filled carbines per troop, corn sacks.
nosebags. haversacks With leathElf straps. water-bottles.
lelling IDles. iron kettles with bags, hatchets. bell tents, camp
colours and 192 billhooks lor dismounted men. The normal
armament of the trooper was the heavy straight sword and a
pair of pistols.
G2: Corporal, 16th (Queen's) Light Dragoons, 1776-78
The second of the two British cavalry regiments which
served in America was the 16th light Dragoons. General Sir
John Burgoyne was their colonel in 1766. when they wore
black lacings: blue came with the change of title to 'Queen's'
late in that year, as all Royal regiments wore blue lacings.
The men had white lace, the officers and sergeants, silver:
corporals had a narrow silver edge round the top of the blue
coat cuff. sergeants were further distinguished by the usual
waist·sash with a central stripe of the blue lacing colour. The
white metal buttoos were set in pairs; the small-elothes were
white. The black helmet had a blue turban. and a red plume
rising from a crest With brass trim. The frontal device was in
white. The officers' sash was knotted 00 the right hip. as with
all mounted regiments.
The 16th transferred its effective horses and men to the
17th Ught Dragoons and returned home after the British
retreat !Tom Philadelphia in 1778. No doubt these troopers
cootmued 10 wear thelf blue·laced coats. at least until they
wore out and could not be replaced. A light infantry or dis-
mounted troop was added to the tegimeot for service in
America. They wore leather hI!IImeIs like !he light infantry,
brown cloth gaitefS instead of boots, and carried cloaks and
hatchets. Broadswords were not carried.
03: British Legion
In 1777-78 a mixed cavUymlantry company called the
Caledonian Volunteers was raised In Philadelphia under
Colonel Lord William Cathcart which, in July 1778 was amal-
gamated with three other companies to form the British
legion. They served under Cornwallis in the south whefe
their efficiency and rutNessness made them feared by their
enem'"
They were badJy CUI up at the banJe of Cowpens and sur-
rendered to tile FnIOCh. The surviVors in Chaneston and New
Yon.: meJged into the King's American Dragoons. The com-
mander was BanastRl Tarteton who may have invented the
helmet of that name (shown here), but we cannot be
absolutely sure that it was worn during the American War.
Like the British cavallY they seem to have worn white during
the southern campaign.
PLATE H
H1: Private, 4200 Royal Highland Regiment, 1783
The Black Watch distinguIShed themselves in the French and
Indian War, and returned to America in May 1776. They
served throughout the War of Indepeodeoce, and then
moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1783 before returning to
England in 1784.
This soldier wears a unifOlTIl confOlTIling to the 1768
Regulations; the coat is faced dark blue and laced and
looped while with a red stripe, with a white lining and
waistcoat. The kilted plaid of 'government sett', and the
stiffened Kilmarnock bonnet are the most obvious dis-
tinctions of the Highland soldief. The latlef has a diced band
and a red tuft or 'touri' on top. and is decorated with a black
ostrich feathel'". (These became thicker, taller and rTlOf"e
numerous on the bonnets of officers and men alike as the
years passed, eventually deveklping into Ihe leathered head-
dress stil worn with musK:ians' C6f8ITlOfliaJ dress.) He carries
the Highland bfoadswon:l or a shoulder bell, a waistbell with
cartridge-box and bayonet, and a deerskin spclf1an.
H2: Private, 42 Royal Highland Regiment, 1783
An inspection return filed after the regiment arrived In Nova
Scotia stated that '...the 42nd could not appear In their full
uniform for want of plaids, etc.. which the CO thought proper
annuaUy to dispose of during the later War, to purchase a
rTlOf"e commodious dress for the American service, with the
approbation of the Convnander-in-ehiel.
The regiment appeared ~ dean dressed - the
men had on white sUong ticken trousers with short, black
cloth gaitefS'.lt has not been established whether this aban-
doning of the plaid was due to shortages and supply
difficulties. or to a desire for a rTlOf"e practical campaigning
dress. At any event. this private is shown as he would have
appeared on campaign, with overall trousers and no gaiters,
but retaining his bonnet and short Highland jacket faced
blue, and with the 42nd's bastion-shaped loops with a single
red line in the lace.
Leather equipment was black; it seems that a cartridge-
box wom centrally at the waist began to give way to the con-
ventional pattern in about 1780. Contemporary reports
speak of the shortages of broadswords, and their unpopu-
larity among the men in combat - most apparently pmfetT8d
the bayooot, and even the grenadkn appeared on pwade
without swords. This soIdief uses the frog to carry a cased
hatchet.
H3: Officer, Flank Company, 42nd Royal Highland
Regiment, 1783
Based on a contemporary portrait, this figure Illustrates the
appearance of an OfflCef In the field after the regiment had
given up the kilt for trousers. His breeches are worn with
ordinary black Infantry gaitefS with leather tops. He retains
the sash and gorget of rank, and his broadswon:l, but carnes
a soldier's CMteen and a cartridge-box on his waistbelt with
loads for his fusjl, or light musket. These were usuaIy carried
by offICerS of the flank (grenadief or light) companies, and
sometimes In !he field by battalion company OfflCefS as well.
On parade the latter carned espontoons. light steel-headed
half-pikes about seven feet long with a small cross·bar
below the blade. These were useful for making a graceful
salute and signalling evolutions. but hardly practical as
weapons under American conditions. Battalion officers wore
a single epautetle, usually an unstlffened strap 01 gold Of
silver" lace with a fringe; flank company officers wore two
epaulettes, or the lace shoulder-omaments - 'wings' - ~ I u s ­
!fated here.
Frazers High\a<1ders were red-raised dunng the war as
was the 71st, and wore a unifOlTIl similar 10 the 42nd, with
the 'government sen' plaid, but with white jacket facings.
47
48
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An unri\-'3J1ed source of information on the unifortn'i, insignia and appearance of the ,",orld's fighting
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ROBIN MAY wu born in 1929. An accor for many he became a wricer and journalist
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GERRY EMBLETON left. hu Men a leadin, historical iIIustrlltor sinn che early 1910s
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Avec annotadonl en kancall lur Ie. planche. en couleur
Mit Auh.elchnunllen auf Deuuch llberden Farbtafeln
ISBN 1-S5532-735-X

9 781855 327351