In July, 1775 when General George
Washington arrived at Cambridge to take command of the Continental Army,
he found a force of some 16,000 men scattered over ten miles of lines.
Washington organized the army into three divisions of two brigades each.
Artemas Ward was given the command of the division at Roxbury, Charles
Lee the division at Prospect Hill and Israel Putnam the division at Cambridge.
Each of the brigades were divided
into six regiments. To further develop the organization of the troops
Washington ordered that Major-Generals were to wear purple ribbon across
their breasts; Brigadier-Generals were to wear pink ribbons; Aides were
to wear green ribbons. Washington, as Commander-in-Chief, wore a
light blue ribbon.
In June, 1780, epaulettes were
prescribed for the officers as follows: Major-Generals, two epaulettes
each with two stars; Brigadier-Generals, two epaulettes each with one star;
Colonel, two plain epaulettes; Lieutenant-Colonels and Majors, the same
as for Colonels; Captain, one epaulette on the right shoulder; and for
the Subalterns, one epaulette on the left shoulder.
Our illustration shows the dress
for General officers in 1799 wearing epaulettes adopted by the War Office
in January, 1799. The regulations were very similar to that of 1780
but specified that Generals would wear gold epaulettes with silver stars
in the number prescribed above. No change was made in the Colonel's
epaulettes. Majors were to wear an epaulette on the right shoulder
and a strap on the left shoulder. No change was made for Captains
and Lieutenants. The blue faced buff was still the same as specified
during the American Revolution.
[REFERENCES: The War of the
Revolution. Christopher L. Ward. "Military Collector and
Historian". Vol. II, No. 2, June, 1950.]