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UNIFORMS OF
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

This regiment of infantry was under the command of Colonel John Bull from November 25, 1775, to January 22, 1776, when Colonel John Philip De Haas took command. The first battalion, still under the command of Colonel De Haas, was the nucleus for the formation of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line, Continental Army, October 25, 1776.

This battalion should not be confused with the battalion of Riflemen formed in June, 1775, under Colonel William Thompson which was the 1st Regiment of the Continental Line in 1776, and became January 1, 1777, the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line under Colonel Edward Hand. Their uniform was brown faced with green, for full dress, but hunting or rifle dress for service.

The dress uniform of the 1st Pennsylvania Battalion was brown faced with buff, pewter buttons with "No. 1" stamped on them, waistcoat of swanskin or soft fine-twilled flannel, buff breeches, white yarn stockings with black garters, and black half-gaiters. Later they wore hunting shirts and long overalls of linen or deerskin for service.

The dress uniforms of some of the companies of the 1st Battalion, 1775-1776, were brown faced with green, or blue faced with white, or whatever uniform coats they could procure, until 1779, when we find them all dressed in blue faced with red, as Washington ordered for all the regiments of the Pennsylvania Line.

The drawing shows the dress of a sergeant of the 4th company (Capt. Josiah Harmer's), in 1776, and also the manner of carrying the musket. Sergeants when on duty or parades, always held their muskets at the "advance," when the men were at the "shoulder" or "support." In dress, they were at first distinguished from the men by a small red cloth or worsted epaulet, as well as by the finer cloth of their uniforms. This epaulet was worn on the right shoulder. Later they wore two white shoulder knots, and a red worsted sash. They also carried a short saber in addition to the musket and bayonet.

[Editor's Note: Lieutenant Lefferts based this drawing on a description of two deserters from Capt. Harmer's company, who wore brown faced with buff. That combination may have been worn by that particular company, but a study of a larger number of descriptions (see post) shows that brown faced with green was the recognized uniform of the 1st Pennsylvania Battalion.]

[REFERENCES: Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line, vol. 1; Thacher's Military Journal (Boston, 1823), p. 38, under August, 1775; "Memoirs of Brigadier-General John Lacey," in Pennsylvania Magazine, XXV, 192; Pennsylvania Evening Post, March 18, 1777, printed post; General Order of July 23, 1775, printed in Force's American Archives, 4th series, II, 1738; General Order of May 14, 1782, printed in Whiting's Revolutionary Orders, p. 201.]

First Pennsylvania Battalion, 1775 - 1776

First Pennsylvania Battalion, 1775 - 1776

[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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