In January, 1776 Maryland resolved
to raise a battalion for the defense of that Province. William Smallwood
was appointed to be Colonel of the battalion. Three companies from
Baltimore and six companies from Annapolis were combined to form the battalion.
It was organized as eight battalion companies and one light infantry company.
The first company organized was
the Baltimore Independent Cadets formed in December, 1774 under Captain
Mordecai Gist. The Cadets adopted for their uniform a red coat, turned
up with buff, with yellow metal buttons. This dress was also adopted
for the other Baltimore companies; and this distinctive uniform is shown
on three of the figures in our illustration.
A service dress consisting of
a hunting shirt was adopted for the Maryland troops in January, 1776 and
this uniform is also shown in our plate.
The battalion was assigned to
the brigade of William Alexander, Lord Sterling, along with the Delaware
Battalion of Colonel John Haslet. This was the start of a close association
between the troops from Maryland and Delaware that was to last through
the entire war. Smallwood's men were in action first at the Battle
of Long Island and won great praise for their repeated charges against
the British forces. They were largely responsible for the successful
withdrawal of the American forces across Gowanu Creek to the main forces
in Brooklyn. The many battle honors earned by this battalion are
now carried by the 175th Infantry Regiment (Firth Maryland) Maryland Army
[REFERENCES: The Regimental
Colors of the 175th Infantry (Fifth Maryland). Harold R. Manakee. The
Delaware Continentals, 1776-1783. Christopher L. Ward. "Military
Dress in Maryland". Military Collector and Historian. Anne S.