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"Continental's Uniforms at Guilford Courthouse" Topic

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the brushlicker22 Jun 2007 3:39 a.m. PST

I am about to start painting some Continentals to represent the Virginia & Maryland regiments at Guilford Courthouse. Would their uniforms be consistent by this time (blue with red turnbacks etc) or was there still the odd 'ad hoc' trouser/jacket etc?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2007 4:15 a.m. PST

First, Continentals did NOT have red turnbacks. For them and the British, the turnbacks were white or in the lining color.
Collars, cuffs and lapels, yes. Turnbacks no.

By this time the uniform would be pretty ragged, so I recommend the Eureka and Dixon "Ragged Continentals" for these units.

doc mcb22 Jun 2007 4:21 a.m. PST

Virginia State Line DID have red turnbacks, but were not at GC.

the brushlicker22 Jun 2007 4:25 a.m. PST

Ooops, sorry John. I've located an Osprey (not always 100% accurate I know) in which the illustrations show trunbacks to be white as you say, with red collar,cuffs & lapels.
I already have the figures (Perry Miniatures) so was wondering if I should slip in the odd different coloured trouser, patches etc.
I'll probably pick up some of the excellent 'Ragged Continentals' from Eureka at some point, but I'm afraid Dixon just doesn't do it for me.

Thomas Mante22 Jun 2007 6:48 a.m. PST


The Second Maryland Regiment would be in brown coats faced red as it was formed of the rank & file of the Maryland Regiment Extraordinary. However the officers would most likely have been in in blue faced red as the MD Regt Extraordinary's officers were sent home and surplus officers from the Maryland division were placed in command of the rank & file.

Supercilius Maximus22 Jun 2007 7:05 a.m. PST

The following is taken from Katcher's "Uniforms of the Continental Army"….

The Delaware/Maryland Light Infantry Company, under Kirkwood, are supposed to have worn hunting shirts with striped one-piece gaiter-trousers, issued to them by North Carolina. The artillery were generally well turned out, so regulation uniform for them (maybe patched or scruffy) would not be out of place.

The Maryland Line didn't receive its 1781 clothing issue until June, so they were almost certainly wearing the uniforms issued in March 1780, at GCH. The latter comprised lots of hats and overalls, but not very many coats, so a reasonable guess for their uniforms might be all in cocked (tricorne or "slouched") or round (ie floppy) hats, perhaps a lot of hunting shirts and only officers and NCOs in regulation coats of blue, faced red.

An interesting point on turnbacks is that the June 1781 uniforms saw officers with blue coats faced red, but lined in BROWN linen (ie their turnbacks would have been brown); the white shalloon issued to them was apparently used to make light-weight waistcoats and breeches for the Southern summer.

IMO, one shouldn't overdo the "ragged" look – there were very few times in the war when the Continentals were that badly off and, unlike their British opponents, most of the men would still have some civilian clothes to fall back on, and there would have been one or two previous years' clothing issues to cannibalise (which obviously didn't exist in 1776, when the Robinson Crusoe look was a la mode).

pancerni22 Jun 2007 11:38 a.m. PST


I'm not sure about the brown coats on the 2nd Maryland line…


phililphall22 Jun 2007 11:45 a.m. PST

Maximus, I'm going to disagree with you on the ragged look. Most of these men didn't have a change of clothing and wore the same clothing day after day. Having been a re-enactor of the period I can tell you it doesn't take much time to start looking pretty shabby, particularly the small clothes. And we weren't operating 24/7 under all kinds of weather conditions in varied terrain, and using machine made cloth as opposed to hand made. Shoes were a particular problem since you got about a hundred miles out of them before they started falling apart. Our shoes were made with the same leather and in the same fashion as the shoes made then and it was far better to tie them up and go barefoot if possible.

vtsaogames22 Jun 2007 12:00 p.m. PST

I read accounts of Continentals in the South using twisted vines to hold up their cartridge belts. Sounds pretty ragged to me.

I painted up Kirkwood's Delawares in hunting shirt and striped overalls.

vtsaogames22 Jun 2007 12:01 p.m. PST

I read accounts of Continentals in the south using twisted vines to hold up their cartridge boxes. Sounds pretty ragged.

I painted my Kirkwood's Delawares in hunting smocks and striped overalls.

vtsaogames22 Jun 2007 1:29 p.m. PST

Oops. Sorry.

Thomas Mante23 Jun 2007 2:39 p.m. PST


I'm not sure about the brown coats on the 2nd Maryland line…



On the brown coats for the Maryland Regiment Extraordinary see p.35 of General Washington's Army: 2 1779-1783, Osprey MAA No 290, author Marko Zlatich.

I quote:

"Maryland Regiment Extraordinary, raised for Continental service in 1780 for one year, was clothed in brown faced red, acquired from Continental stocks in New Jersey by Lieutenant Colonel Edwrad Giles."

Unfortunately it being in an Osprey Zlatich does not get to footnote his sources.



Thomas Mante23 Jun 2007 3:02 p.m. PST

SM, Vincent

The suggestion that the Delaware companies were in the hunting shirt and overalls seems to originate with an article and accompanying CMH plate by H Charles McBarron. McBarron maintained that the hunting shirt and striped overalls were issued from stores in North Caroline in October 1780. However, McBarron usually a very meticulous worker, does not source his statement. Katcher quotes the same information but attributes it to a book by John Elting ‘The Era of the American Revolution' p.80. I have not seen the latter so cannot comment further.

Zlatich in MAA290 p.34 only records only records an issue of 196 coats and 225 hats to the Delaware Regt in 1780. More interesting is a party of 68 recruits dressed in hunting shirts and ragged overalls on the way south who were diverted to the Siege of Yorktown before heading on to join Kirkwood. McBarron references an 1881 paper in the Pennsylvania Historical Society as the source for his information.

Thomas Mante23 Jun 2007 5:17 p.m. PST

Some links to images from Don Troiani's Image Bank

TRW21- Continental Infantryman of 1780-1781.


TRW50-Maryland Continental Officer, 1780 as he would have appeared at Camden, Guilford Court House and Cowpens.


TRW64-Continental Infantry: Maryland Extra Regiment in 1780 which later became the 2nd Maryland Regiment.


the brushlicker24 Jun 2007 6:14 a.m. PST

Thanks a ton guys!

Some great info & links. The thing with AWI as opposed to say the Nap Wars or ACW is that definitive sources seem scant.

Thanks again.

Supercilius Maximus24 Jun 2007 11:46 a.m. PST

I said that he shouldn't overdo it, not that it didn't happen. There are numerous accounts of the British being in similarly dire straits in the Southern campaigns – Simcoe remarks on many of his men being barefoot on the march to Point of Fork, for example – yet nobody ever portrays British troops in this way.

zippyfusenet24 Jun 2007 12:18 p.m. PST

Thomas Mante: The suggestion that the Delaware companies were in the hunting shirt and overalls seems to originate with an article and accompanying CMH plate by H Charles McBarron…Katcher quotes the same information but attributes it to a book by John Elting ‘The Era of the American Revolution' p.80.

Elting 'The Era of the American Revolution' is a collection of CMH plates on 18th century subjects. P.80 is the McBarron plate and article 'Colonel David Hall's Delaware Regiment, Continental Line, 1777-1783'. So Katcher is citing McBarron.

Thomas Mante24 Jun 2007 5:43 p.m. PST


Thanks for that clarification I had not picked up on it despite having copies of both Katcher & Elting! Must pay more attention ;-)I tend the think of the latter as the CMH plates book rather Elting! The Hall's Regiment plate is certainly the one that has a private in stripey overalls, cocked hat and hunting shirt. Reading McBarron again it may be that he is drawing on the 1881 Pa Historical Soc article. It would be nice to be able to source the original issue documents at some point to confirm or refute this.

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