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UNIFORMS OF
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

The 40th Foot Regiment served in America from 1776-1778 when it was ordered to the West Indies. It took part in the battles on Long Island and in New York in 1776, Brandywine and Germantown in 1777. The Light Infantry Company is shown here as it appeared in the Battle of Harlem Heights, New York City, on September 16, 1776. The Royal Warrant of December 19, 1768, prescribes white waistcoats for this regiment. The Light Infantry Company, here pictured, had red waistcoats. From the inspection return of May 22, 1771, we learn that this regiment had "a band of music" which was composed of some six or eight individuals judging from what other regiments had.

Drummers and Fifers wore buff coats, faced with red and profusely laced with the striped regimental lace but of a broad pattern. Officers' hats were laced with gold and the King's black cockade. Grenadier officers wore bearskin caps like their men. A Light company was added to every regiment in 1771, wearing short jackets, red waistcoats, short gaiters, and a leather cap, almost as a skull cap, having a large round peak straight up in front; the officers and sergeants of this company carried fusils, and wore pouches. From an inspection return of July 25, 1774, we learn that the officers' uniforms were "plain scarlet frocks, lapelled to the waist with pale buff, collar and round cuffs, buttons numbered, cross pockets, buff coat lining, waistcoats and breeches, gold epaulettes and gold laced hats." The officers of the light company had their pockets same form as the men and likewise their waistcoats the same form and color, both however without lace. The regiment wore this costume through the American War of Independence, for in the next recorded inspection return dated 1784, the description of the uniform tallies exactly with that of 1774.

Light Infantry Company
British Fortieth Regiment of Foot, 1776

Fortieth Regiment of Foot, 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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