Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The Uniforms of Flower's Regiment of Artillery Artificers, 1777-1780

In conjunction with my work at the Museum of the American Revolution, where we periodically conducy living history events, I've sporadically conducted research into a group of soldiers and contractors operating in Philadelphia and Carlisle during the Revolutionary War known as the Regiment of Artillery Artificers. 

The regiment was led by Colonel Benjamin Flower (1748-1781) and included dozens of craftspeople. Primarily dedicated to the production and maitenance of armaments and ammunition, the Regiment also included carpenters, blacksmiths, nailers, stonecutters, brass founders, shoemakers, armorers, wheelwrights, tailors, file-cutters, harness makers, sawyers, tin men, accoutrement makers, drum makers, painters, saddlers, coopers, coopers, clerks, curriers, turners, buckle filers and finishers, boat men, millwrights, wheelwrights, and laborers. 

But what did they wear? Did their uniforms (if they had them) match what we know about Continental Artillery uniforms, or did they vary?

Here are all of the sources I've gathered about the appearance of Artificers in the Regiment.

Charles and James Peale's portrait of Benjamin Flower, with a detail of the view of the enlisted soldier in the background, which now belongs to the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and Museum.

A miniature portrait of Benjamin Flower which sold at auction at Freeman's (Philadelphia) in 2014).

The Pennsylvania Packet, November 14, 1778.

The Pennsylvania Packet, January 26, 1779.

The Pennsylvania Packet, February 16, 1779.

The Pennsylvania Packet, July 20, 1779.

The Pennsylvania Packet, July 27, 1779.

The Pennsylvania Packet, October 12, 1779.

The Pennsylvania Packet, November 27, 1779.

The Pennsylvania Packet, January 29, 1780.

The Pennsylvania Packet, March 28, 1780.

The Pennsylvania Packet, June 13, 1780.

A receipt for hats for the Artificers, June 29, 1780.

The Pennsylvania Packet, September 30, 1780.

The Pennsylvania Packet, December 9, 1780.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

A Twenty-Year Anniversary

Time is a curious thing, especially when you spend part of your life dressing like people from the past. It’s been over twenty years since I started reenacting, but the most peculiar part about that is that I can so clearly remember excitedly waiting for the summer of 2012 to write my ten-year anniversary post. And it’s been eleven years since then??

As I wrote in 2012, reenacting has influenced my life in profound ways. My closest friends are reenactors (or at the very least they wear costumes at work). I can directly trace the path I took to graduate school and my current job at the Museum of the American Revolution back through a chain of mentors and museum professionals that I met through reenacting. That path goes all the way back to a newspaper article that appeared in my hometown paper in 2002 about a Civil War reenacting unit that was forming in town. I called a phone number, starting going to meetings, and in June of that year my parents let me go off with a bunch of people who spend weekends dressing like Civil War soldiers. It all worked out ok.

Here's is just a sample of where reenacting has taken me since my last recap in 2012:

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, July 1863
Here I am standing at the High Water Mark at Gettysburg on July 3, 2013, holding a federal officer's sword carried there on July 3, 1863.

Royal Navy Marine, 1812-1815
A film shoot for Maryland Public Television, 2013.

4th Connecticut Private Soldier, Spring 1778, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
A National Park Service living history event in 2014.

Royal Navy Able Seaman, Caulk's Field, Maryland, 1814
A blurry photo taken in the evening as we stood with our boarding pikes, but a crystal-clear memory from 2014.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, April 1865
The 150th anniversary living history event commemorating the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Gettysburg, 1863
A tintype photograph.

Philadelphia Associator, January 1777
A January 2017 event that I wrote about here.

Alexander Hamilton, December 1778
From a film shoot for Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia, a special exhibition at the Museum of the American Revolution.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Crampton's Gap, Maryland, 1862
From an event in 2018.

Tyler, New York City, Summer 2019
2019 was a busy year at the Museum, and it included both a summer-long collaboration with the New-York Historical Society that I regularly commuted up for AND me getting hit in the face by a door at the Museum, as you can see here.

Tyler, Riverton, New Jersey, Summer 2020
Like most people, I spent a good chunk of 2020 online. I still got to dress up occasionally.

British-American Sailor, Chesapeake Bay, 1776
Part of a film shoot aboard the Schooner Sultana for our True Colours Flag Project.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Circa 1863
A lower-res image of as long as my hair ever got, in 2021.

Commander-in-Chief's Guardsman, Philadelphia, 1778
Part of our 2021 photoshoot for the Virtual Tour of Washington's War Tent.

Grenadier, 5th Regiment of Foot, British Army, Philadelphia, 1777-1778
My best impression of an 18th-century satire, 2022.

Philadelphia Scotsman, circa 1778
A made a lot of kilts (though not quite all the ones you see here) in 2022!

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Gettsyburg, 1863
With some old friends at Remembrance Day in 2022.

South Jersey Citizen, 1778
Just last weekend at the Hancock House!

Monday, October 3, 2022

There Can Only Be One? Revolutionary War Highland Soldiers, Part One: Visual Sources

With the help of some real experts, I've been beginning to research and make components for a 1770s British Army Highland Regiment impression. In the context of the Revolutionary War in the American theater, Highland regiments included the 42nd/Royal Highland/Black Watch, 71st/Fraser's, 74th/Argyle, 76th/MacDonald's, and the 84th/Royal Highland Emigrants, Regiments of Foot. 

I'll have more to say about kilts, diced hose, sporrans, and bonnets later, but for now I'm just posting all the pertinent period images I've been able to find that are informing this project, for ease of reference by me and anyone else who might follow along. A key note: the images below are just of Highland soldiers and officers in the British Army in the late 18th century, and just ones that are full-length portraits, so I've left out some famous paintings of kilted (non-Army) Highlanders, images from before about 1750 and after about 1790, bust-length portraits of officers, and so on. But let me know if I've missed anyone!

1751-1760: "Grenadiers, 40th Regiment of Foot, and Privates, 41st Invalids Regiment and 42nd Highland Regiment, 1751," by David Morier. This is a single figure in a large series dating to the 1750s in the Royal Collection Trust.

1750s-60s: A portrait that has circulated online as "The Pinch of Snuff" attributed to William Delacour. I've been unable to find its original source or further history, though some suggest it shows an officer in the Seven Years' War version of the 78th/Fraser's.

1759-1763: A portrait of William Gordon, Sutherland Regiment of Fencible Men, by Allan Ramsay, shared online by Peter MacDonald.

1758? 1763?: This portrait is difficult to trace but is supposedly of John Campbell, 42nd Foot, killed at Ticonderoga in 1758.

1768/71: This is one of a series of unsigned depictions of British soldiers. The two known copies are dates 1768 and 1771.

1770s: A portrait supposedly of an officer of the light company of the 73rd Foot (which did not serve in America during the war), without further provenance.

1778: This later copy is based on the series prepared during the war by Hessian Captain Friedrich von Germann, from the New York Public Library.

1778-1783: Until 1945, an exceptionally rare uniform associated with the Northern (Gordon) Fencibles existed in the Zeughaus Museum, Berlin. This image and diagram below were shared online by Peter MacDonald.

1770s/1780s: This uncited but period portrait of a 74th Regiment grenadier officer has been shared online by Al Saguto.

1780: "Portrait of Hugh Montgomerie, Later Twelfth Earl of Eglinton," by John Singleton Copley. This first version is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the second in National Galleries Scotland. Montgomerie raised a fencible regiment in Scotland but did not serve in America, despite this painting.

Post-1786: This watercolor is from some time shortly after 1786 (based on the marker stone and the style), but I've been unable for find further provenance. Shared by R. Scott Stephenson.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Things They Carried, 1762

 Longtime readers of this blog will know that in the everyday material culture of military experiences, including things like what Union soldiers carried in their pockets and the interior decoration of Civil War soldiers' winter huts. A passing reference in May and Embleton's classic Ospery volume, Wolfe's Army, led me on a hunt for a 1762 document detailing the weight of a soldier's equipment. I found a transcription of this document with help from R. Scott Stephenson and John U. Rees in The Papers of Col. Henry Bouquet (1942, Series 21648, Part II / Volume 10, 77-78), a transcription series from the mid-20th century undertaken by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and based on original manuscripts in the British Museum.

The document was prepared by Lt. Alexander Baillie, 1st Battalion, 60th/Royal American Regiment, in the summer of 1762 and documents the weight (in pounds and quarter pounds) of every piece of equipment officially carried by a British grenadier on campaign in America in the Seven Years'/French and Indian War. It's detailed enough that you could recreate everything a man carried except the small things that made him unique (personal mementoes and idiosyncratic objects). 

David Morier's "Grenadiers, 46th, 47th and 48th Regiments of Foot, 1751" (part of a larger series, from the Royal Collection Trust) gives us a glimpse of British grenadiers in full marching order shortly before the date or Baillie's report. Note that these grenadiers are shown wearing their distinctive embroidered caps while Baillie's report notes (felt) hats.

In the interest of making this document more widely available (as far as I know, it hasn't been published or posted outside of the printed Papers), I've included it in full below. I should note, though, that this is now a transcription of a transcription, and I've made some minor formatting alterations below, and so it would be well worth a serious researcher's time to revisit the original (undigitized) manuscript and its context.

Lieut. Alexander Baillie to Col. Henry Bouquet

Return of the Weight of the Cloathing, Arms, Accoutrements, Ammunition, Provision, Necessary’s &Ca. of a Grenadier, upon a March.

                                                                                                    Augt. 28th 1762


                                                                                                    Lbs. Qrs.

A Regimental Coat, with Hooks, Eyes, &ca.             5. 2.

Waistcoat                                     2. 1.

Pair of Breeches                                     1. 2.

Hat with Cockade, Button, Loop, & Hair String             1.

A Shirt with Sleeve Buttons                                             1.

A Stock with a Buckle.     

A Pair of Knee Buckles.

A Pair Stockings & Garters                 3.

A Pair Shoes with Buckles                               1. 2.

A Regimental Firelock, with a Sling 

& Buckle / Hammer Cap & Stopper                    11. 1.

A Waist Belt with a Buckle                 2.

A Hanger, Sword Knit, and Scabbord             2. 2.

A Bayonet and Scaboord                          1. 1.

A Tomahawk, and Cover                          1. 3.

A Cartridge Pouch with Belt, Buckles, 

& Match Case                                                                     3.

Containing 24 Cartridges                             2. 1.

Brush & Wire, Worm, & Turnkey.

Oyl Bottle & Rag

2 Flints, & a Steel.                         1.

A Knapsa[ck] with Strap, and Buckles               1.   2.

Containing 2 Shirts. 2 Stocks. 2 Pair Stockings.                        2.   3.

A Pair Summer Breeches                               1.     1.

A Pair Shoes                                       1.     1.

A Clothes Brush, pair Shoe Brushes, 

        & Black Ball                                                                       1.

A Pair Leggins & Garters / A Handkerchief                         1.     1.

2 Combs, a Knife, & Spoon                     2.

A Haversack, with a Strap                                 3.

Containing Six Days Provisions                 10.         1.

A Blanket with Strap & Garters                 3. 2.

A Canteen with a String, & Stopper, full of Water           3.         1.

                                                     63. 3.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Part Two: A Survey of Extant American Revolutionary Regimental Coats

This two-part post documents the basic details of 31 known eighteenth-century American military regimental coats. Though it is focused on coats used during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), it also includes 17 uniform coats from the period immediately following the war because of their potential to provide useful contextual evidence both now and in future study and to help avoid future citations of these garments as true Revolutionary War uniforms. This survey does not include coats made and worn in the late 1790s or those worn by French, Hessian, or British regular army officers and men, in order to focus on coats known to have been both made and worn in American (including Canadian) contexts. Nor does it include various other upper body garments worn by Revolutionary soldiers, such as hunting shirts (see the work of Neal Hurst) and civilian coats and jackets worn into battle or violent situations (see, for example, posts about the Obadia Mead jacket on this blog).

These posts are a starting point for conversations rather than a comprehensive survey. Most of the details discussed here were gleaned from photographs and catalog records rather than personal study, which would allow for expanded conclusions and connections. The author would welcome correspondence with anyone who knows more about the coats documented here or other examples. 

Several of the entries benefitted from a systematic survey of museum collections conducted by historian Norm Fuss, published in The Brigade Dispatch (August 2010 and Winter 2010). Thanks especially to Keith Minsinger (whose initial research inspired this survey), Henry Cooke, Neal Hurst, Michael McCarty, John U. Rees, and Matthew White for comments.

Part Two: Loyalist Coats

Jeremiah French Coat

This coat, in the collection of the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa), is associated with Jeremiah French, a New Yorker who served (after 1781) in the King’s Royal Regiment of New York (raised in Montreal). French was born in New York about 1737 and fled to Canada in 1776 or 1777, joining the Queen’s Loyal Rangers shortly afterwards. The coat is red with blue facings, with functional facings, cuffs, and cape. It is cut short in the style usually called a coatee, with small white turnbacks from the front with blue hearts and vertical false pocket flaps. It features bone buttons wrapped in gilt metal stamped with a crown, KRR, and New-York, surrounded by a wreath. These buttons are set in pairs behind gold metallic embroidered buttonholes. The appearance of the coat adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion.

Munson Hoyt Coat

The coat, in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society Museum andLibrary, is associated with Munson Hoyt, an officer in the Prince of Wales American Regiment. Hoyt, from Norwalk Connecticut, likely wore this coat during his service as a Lieutenant in the regiment (raised in Connecticut) between 1777 and 1783 in New York, New England, and South Carolina. The coat is red with blue facings, with functional facings, cuffs, pockets, and cape. It features plain yellow metal buttons set in pairs on the facings behind metallic embroidered buttonholes. The appearance of the coat adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion.

Andres Ten Eyck Coat

This coat, in the collection of the Missisquoi Museum (Quebec), is associated with Andres Ten Eyck. Ten Eyck was born in 1727 in New Jersey, served in the colony’s militia in the Seven Years’ War, and moved to New York in 1770. Arrested there in 1776 while recruiting soldiers for a Loyalist company, he was imprisoned and eventually escaped to Canada. The coat is red with functional red facings with bastion tops currently buttoned over the cap. It has plain round cuffs with no buttons, and current photographs suggest there are no turnbacks or pocket flaps, though the sides of the coat are obscured. It features plain yellow metal buttons set in pairs on the facings behind sewn buttonholes. Despite theories that this may have been Ten Eyck’s Seven Years’ War regimental, its appearance adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion.

Penn Weekes Coat

This coat, in the collection of the Bayville Historical Museum (New York), is associated with Penn Weekes, a resident of Oyster Bay, Long Island. According to Museum records, in at least 1779, Weekes was a sergeant in a Loyalist cavalry unit commanded by Captain Israel Youngs. The coat is red with blue facings, with nonfunctional facings, a functional cape trimmed with metallic lace, and nonfunctional cuffs trimmed with metallic lace that rise to a point in the front and open via a functional, buttoned slit along the rear seam. It is cut short in the style usually called a coatee, with vertical false pocket flaps. Current images do not indicate the presence of any turnbacks. What appear to be plain, white metal buttons are evenly spaced down the lapels. The cuff buttons have been replaced by later military ones. The appearance of the coat adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion.

Charles Langlade Coat

This coat, in the collection of the Neville Public Museum of Brown County (Wisconsin) belonged to Charles Michel de Langlade (1729-1801), a resident of Michilimackinac and Green Bay. Langlade had an impressive career in the fur trade and military service in the Great Lakes and served during the Revolutionary War in the British Indian Department wearing this coat. The coat is red with blue facings, with functional facings, cape, and cuffs, trimmed throughout with white piping. It is cut relatively short, with vertical false pocket flaps and small white turnbacks from the front with blue laced hearts. What appear to be plain, white metal buttons are evenly spaced down the lapels. Two epaulettes of red cloth with gold lace and fringe are on the shoulders. The appearance of the coat adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion.

Daniel Servos Coat

This coat, in the collection of the Niagara Historical Society and Museum (Ontario,Canada), is associated with Daniel Servos (1743-1808), a Loyalist in the British Indian Department. Servos was born in Tryon County, New York, and was commissioned a lieutenant about 1779. The coat is red with red lapels and green cape and cuffs. The functional red lapels extend only down to the belly, in a style most often associated with French uniforms, and have bastion-shaped tops buttoning over the cape. Below the lapels, three buttons with false buttonholes are on either side of the coat front. The coat has full white turnbacks with small green hearts at the corners. The cuffs appear to be nonfunctional; the deep pocket flaps are functional. The coat features plain red tabs at the shoulders and large, evenly-spaced plain yellow metal buttons. Besides the strange lapels, this coat adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion. 

Jacob Schieffelin Coat

This coat, in the collection of Fort Ticonderoga (New York), belong to Jacob Schieffelin (1757-1835). Schieffelin was born in Philadelphia, served as a lieutenant in the Detroit Volunteers (Loyalist), and was captured at Fort Sackville in 1779. Later in the war, after escaping, he served in the Queen’s Rangers and British Indian Department in Canada. The coat is red with black velvet lapels, cape, and cuffs. It closes at the chest with hooks and eyes. The collar is relatively high, almost stand-and-fall, and the buttonholes are all worked with metallic lace. The coat has full skirts without evidence for turnbacks and false pocket flaps with laced buttonholes and buttons. It retains a gold metallic epaulette on the left shoulder and features plain brass coin buttons. Fort Ticonderoga dates this coat, stylistically, to 1783-1784. 

John Leggett Coat

This coat, in the collection of the Nova Scotia Museum, is associated with John Legett. Leggett was born in North Carolina in 1742, Leggett served as a provincial officer through the Revolutionary War before emigrating to Canada. The coat is red with blue facings, round cuffs, and cape. Gilt “RP“ buttons are set in pairs behind buttonholes worked with metallic lace. The coat retains two gold epaulettes and has full skirts. No photographs are online.

Washington Crossing State Park Coat

This coat, in the collection of the State of New Jersey and on display at Washington Crossing State Park, has no known provenance. The coat is red with matching functional lapels and slit cuffs and a dark blue wool functional cape. The lapels and cuffs are trimmed with a narrow strip of dark blue wool and the coat features buttons of gilt metal over bone cores. The coat has small, white, false turnbacks from the fronts with decorative multi-colored hearts at the corners. It has two welt pockets inside the skirts and no exterior pockets or pocket flaps. This coat adheres to late 1770s-early 1780s fashion.

William Jarvis Coat

This coat, in the collection of the City of Toronto Museums (Ontario) belonged to William Jarvis of the Queen’s Rangers in 1791. Jarvis was born in Connecticut and joined the Queen’s Rangers in 1777 before eventually emigrating to Canada. The Museums’ catalog suggests that an original receipt for this coat may survive. The coat is green with dark velvet facings, cuffs, and stand-and-fall collar. Its lapels are functional and extend only to the lower chest (with laced buttonholes below) It features two silver epaulettes, silver laced buttonholes and trim, and white metal buttons set in pairs. It has long skirts but the single photograph online does not include a rear view or information about pockets.

Other Fragments and Future Research

At least two other likely Revolutuonary War regimental coat fragments exist. One, probably the sleeve cap of a blue regimental coat with hand-sewn stitches still present, was found in a cartridge box and is in the collection of Don Troiani. The other is reportedly a complete brown wool sleeve from the coat of a Philadelphia Associator, complete with a red wool cuff and retaining large pewter buttons at the top of the cuff and up a false slit, in a private descendant collection. In addition, various unsubstantiated reports and collector lore hint at the existence (or past existence) of more coats and fragments in private collections, discarded by button collectors, uncovered in shipwreck salvages, and so on. It is quite likely that more coats survive in public and private collections awaiting identification. Such examples have the potentially to greatly expand what we know about the coats made and worn in the Revolutionary War.