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UNIFORMS OF
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

The 42d Royal Highland Regiment (or Black Watch) Uniform is shown here as the men appeared at the battle of Harlem Heights, New York City, September 16, 1776. The Royal Warrant of 1768 provided scarlet waistcoats for this Regiment, but in 1769 the men received white waistcoats, and the badger skin purses were replaced by others of goat skin, and buff leather. In 1773 the Royal authority was given for the officers to continue wearing the sash across the left shoulder. In 177S recruits were supplied with muskets and bayonets, by the government, broad swords and pistols (iron stocked) by the Colonel. The regiment embarked for America in 1776, landing at Staten Island, remained in New York until 1780, then to Charleston, S. C., returning to New York the same year and embarked for Halifax in 1783. The pistols and swords carried by the privates had been laid aside during the campaign of 1776; the former were considered of no advantage, the latter impeded the progress of the men through the thick woods, by becoming entangled among the branches. These weapons were not afterward resumed, the musket and bayonet being considered superior to the sword. In Rivington's Royal Gazette, January 16, 1779, we find a deserter from the 42d Regiment (a waggoner) described with a duffel coat, white waistcoat and red breeches. Another deserter wore "a short jacket (private's Uniform, 42d Regt.), red waistcoat and brown trousers." This indicates that the Highlanders changed from their national dress to one more suitable here.

In an annotated "List of the Officers of the Army, serving in North America" 1783, which contains contemporary manuscript notes on the Uniforms, it is stated the dress of the Highland regiment in America became "the same as the British Regiments of Infantry that have short coats, except that they continue to wear the Bonnet."

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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