Posted today in the Facebook group MHAU 1600-1788 (less images)
A wish-list of coat attributes that seem to indicate some of the drawbacks of apparel made prior to 1779.
“Estimate of Articles to be imported in the Department of the Board of War & Defence,” June 1779"
“Cloathing for Ninety Eight thousand and forty Eight Men of Substantial Cloth of the same quality with the present uniform of the French established Army –
The Suits to consist of one Coat, one waistcoat and one pair of breeches, sized as the French Uniforms, except that the skirts of the coat are not to reach farther than half way down the thigh. The cloaths to be completely [finished?, but with a proper quantity of Cloth laid in at the seams that they may be altered, if too small for particular soldiers, to be cut in such fashion, and so full about the Arms, that the soldier may have the free use of his limbs. The greatest proportion to be of the largest Sizes. The coats to be made to button as low as the waistband, the lapells … to button over & the coats not sloped away so as to be incapable of covering the belly in cold or rainy weather, let the fashion of Europe be what it may. To have a piece of Cloth neatly sewed on each elbow & cross pockets opening on the inside. The white buttons to be of Block tin or other white strong Metal the yellow ones of Brass, and cast solid with a Strong eye or Shank And USA in Roman letters on each button. The Serjeants Cloaths to be of a better kind of Cloth as in Europe.”
“All the buttons to be well fixed with strong leather thongs -
The capes [i.e., collars] of the coats to button down with the facings, but made so as to be taken up [if needed?] with hooks & eyes snug about the neck in Cold & Rainy Weather –
The skirts of the Coats to have hooks & eyes to fasten them together –
The Cloth of all the Coats to be soaked I clean water before made up to prevent their shrinking afterwards –“
“Estimate of Articles to be imported in the Department of the Board of War & Defence,” June 1779, The Papers of the Continental Congress 1774 1789, National Archives Microfilm Publications M247 (Washington, DC, 1958), reel 158, pp. 417-434.
Image 1 and 2. Soldiers of the 4th Connecticut Regiment, 1777-1779. The coat has a working cape (collar), but the facings and cuffs are sewn to the body. The tails also sewn on, and the front of the coat lapels angle out at he bottom, all attributes the June 1779 "wish-list" seem to want to correct.
Image 2. Soldiers of the 1781 Delaware Regiment. Their coats have all the working features mentioned in the June 1779 "Estimate of Articles ..."
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