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UNIFORMS OF
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Previous to the year 1779, there was no regulation laid down for the dress of the Massachusetts regiments in Continental service, but we find from contemporary journals and newspapers, where uniforms uniforms are mentioned, that the greatest proportion of Massachusetts soldiers who had uniforms, wore blue coats faced and lined with white. The regiments were distinguished by the numbers stamped on the pewter buttons.

In 1775, short brown or drab coats with facings of white or red were furnished also, but the prevailing color of cloth throughout the war for Massachusetts regiments was blue faced with white, and lined with white or red. The waistcoats, or jackets with sleeves, and the breeches, were generally of white linen or wool, though we also find many of brown or green cloth. In the field, after the campaign of 1776, coarse white linen overalls or buckskin hunting trousers, cut as shown in the drawing, were for the most part worn in summer, and the same of blue or brown cloth in winter.

It is not to be supposed, however, that all the men were properly uniformed in the clothing mentioned. This general description, as given above, is from contemporary evidence, and is given merely to show that the prevailing color of the uniform issued to Massachusetts soldiers was blue faced with white.

The drawing is that of a private in Captain Jacob Allen's company, of Colonel Bailey's Regiment, from the captain's own description, and it might well answer for the typical uniformed Massachusetts soldier of the Revolution. The 2d Massachusetts was formed from the 23d Continental Regiment of 1776, of which Bailey was also colonel.

Washington's general order of October 2, 1779, prescribed that the dress of the Massachusetts Line should be blue, faced white, buttons and linings white. This remained in force during the rest of the war. The officers and men added a white center to the cockade on their hats, after the French Army under Rochambeau arrived.

[REFERENCES: Journals, Provincial Congress of Massachusetts (Boston, 1838), 456, for resolution of July 5, 1775; (Boston) Independent Chronicle, July 3, 1777. A piece of fawn-colored cloth, sent out to the towns as the standard of color and quality for the coats ordered by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress in July, 1775, is preserved in the Boston Public Library, attached to a broadside which is pictured in Bolton's The Private Soldier under Washington.]

Second Massachusetts Regiment of Continental Infantry, 1777

Second Massachusetts Continental Regiment of Infantry, 1777

[SOURCE: Uniforms of the Armies in the War of the American Revolution, 1775-1783. Lt. Charles M. Lefferts. Limited Edition of 500. New York York Historical Society. New York, NY. 1926.]


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