I am currently researching the uniform worn by the Provost unit commanded by Captain Bartholomew von Heer to create an impression for our reenactment program. Source descriptions of their uniforms are almost non-existent.
A Hessian officer, Captain Wiederholdt, who was a prisoner of war and on parole described the uniform of the Provost at their winter quarters [1779-1780] in a letter home thus: "A squadron of light dragoons under a German Captain v. Heer, a Bayreuth man. Their uniform is blue coats with yellow facings and vest, leathern breeches, and a casket." Casket is undoubtedly a "casquett," a visored leather cap or light helmet. This helmet is sometimes described as one with a horsehair crest.
We know that the Hessian version of blue was almost black, and a light shade, a very light blue was used by the Brunswick Infantry, but their uniform is always described as "light blue." One wonders if the Provost Guard uniforms could have been captured Hessian, but if that were the case, the arrangement of the lapels would have had a different cut, i.e. connecting in the lower chest area, with sweeping curves both above and below the connecting
point. Also the Hessians were fond of yellow vests, as some of their regiments wore them. I don't think you can dye a yellow vest into anything other then green, brown
or black. If the regimental coat seen by Captain Wiederholdt was of Hessian design, one would think he'd have mentioned it in his description, particularly if it had not been modified.
I would greatly appreciate any help with source information or photos of articles of the uniform in any collection. In the book "Uniforms of the Revolutionary War Era" published by the Company of Military Historians, there is memtion of a Company member, Waverly Lewis, who found an original example of the helmet worn by the Provost. I would very much like to study photos of it for reference if available.
Thank you in advance.
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