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"2nd Canadian Regiment Drummer" Topic


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847 hits since 19 May 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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two4slashing19 May 2018 6:46 p.m. PST

On page 62 of An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the American War of Independence it says that " musicians of the 2nd Canadian Regiment maintained the practice of 'reversed colors'" and yet it shows the drummer in white faced light blue. Is this correct. Or should it be white faced brown.

95thRegt Inactive Member21 May 2018 12:52 p.m. PST

That book is wrong on so many levels. I wouldn't pay attention to it. Get better reference material.

Bob

Brechtel19829 May 2018 4:19 a.m. PST

By 'regulation' the drummer's uniform coat should be white faced brown. However, that wasn't always possible.

Deserter reports from the 2d Canadian Regiment show that white coats faced with light blue were used by the regiment as were other colors.

The regiment also wore brown coats faced with red, light gray coats faced with dark blue, white coats faced black, and also blue coats, for example.

The regiment, or at least some of the troops, also wore hunting shirts and coveralls.

Continental Army uniforms were not always what they were supposed to be, even after the uniform regulations of 1779. And a regiment turned out properly at the beginning of campaign season might be in rags by autumn.

Two excellent references are The Continental Army by Robert Wright and Uniforms of the Continental Army by Philip Katcher.

A good rule of thumb on uniforms that is very useful for the study of uniformology is the following by Roger Forthoffer, an excellent uniformologist:

'There are three sorts of uniforms for every period of history: those described in the uniform regulations; those shown by the artists of that period; and what the soldiers really wore.'

That is an excellent guide for the study of uniforms and is as true today as it is for past armies, especially the Continental Army.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 6:39 a.m. PST

I would be extremely cautious relying on deserter descriptions, particularly if they go against what the soldiers SHOULD be wearing.
There's a famous deserter description of a man wearing a purple velvet dressing gown and orange trousers. I certainly would not use that as license to paint an entire regiment that way, as some have.

If I were to desert my Regiment, I doubt I would desert in my uniform coat. I realize that Lefferts published a massive collection of deserter descriptions (which I have in my library) but some (many) strain credulity as to actual uniform.

If the official uniform was brown/white, and if they regiment reversed colors for the musicians, than I would go with white/brown. Not some illogical deserter description. Did a deserter wear that coat? He probably stole it to desert.
And yes. I have read deserter descriptions of "6 men wearing regimentals of…." Those I would rely on. Not something that contradicts what we know.

Brechtel19829 May 2018 6:47 a.m. PST

I disagree, but then have you read Katcher's book? You cannot rely on what the Continental were supposed to wear because of the general shortage of clothing, not to mention regulation uniform.

Forthoffer's observation is absolutely correct.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 6:50 a.m. PST

Kevin, if you are going to call a uniform book "an excellent guide for the study of uniforms" shouldn't you be ethically required to say that YOU wrote it?
link

Celebrity endorsers of products are ethically required to indicate if they actually use that product.
Financial analysts on tv shows also mention if they own the stocks they endorse.
Recommending a book you wrote without mentioning the fact that you wrote it, brings up some questions.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 6:55 a.m. PST

Yes. I've read Katcher. Of course I have.
I have a more jaundiced view of deserter descriptions than others.
A deserter description is a description of what a deserter is known to be wearing. I find it a hint, at best, of what he wore when he was actually wearing as a soldier in that unit. Helpful, but not definitive.

Brechtel19829 May 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

What it does show, if they are still in uniform, though, is what they were wearing at the time they deserted. And that is relevant. Many Continental units did not wear what was prescribed, but what was available, including hunting shirts.

Brechtel19829 May 2018 7:02 a.m. PST

Kevin, if you are going to call a uniform book "an excellent guide for the study of uniforms" shouldn't you be ethically required to say that YOU wrote it?
Celebrity endorsers of products are ethically required to indicate if they actually use that product.
Financial analysts on tv shows also mention if they own the stocks they endorse.
Recommending a book you wrote without mentioning the fact that you wrote it, brings up some questions.

I didn't endorse my own book here. I don't promote my own books on the forums, it is a practice I don't agree with.

You apparently have misrepresented what I have written on this forum and on this thread. You should either clarify or qualify your above statement and probably should withdraw the posting as it is both falsely accusatory and incorrect.

Just for clarification, where did I recommend the book I wrote?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 7:21 a.m. PST

That is an excellent guide for the study of uniforms and is as true today as it is for past armies, especially the Continental Army.

My bad. I thought you were referencing your own book there.
I thought you were responding to 95thRegt above.
My apologies.

Brechtel19829 May 2018 7:25 a.m. PST

The 'excellent guide' that I was referring to was the previous sentence in the posting regarding Forthoffer's observation on uniforms, as it is excellent advice when dealing with any uniform research or uniformology in general.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 7:30 a.m. PST

But getting back to the main point, I really believe that a "deserter description" is just that. It's a description of what a deserter is believed to be wearing. He is as likely, if not more, to be wearing clothing he stole, as he is to be wearing his uniform.
I've read descriptions of a dozen deserters wearing regimentals, and I consider them reliable. For one thing, a dozen men are more able to resist the Provost than a single man.
Deserter descriptions should be taken with a grain of salt.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 8:06 a.m. PST

My 1st Canadian is Brown faced white.

Bill N29 May 2018 10:33 a.m. PST

I think we can get in just as much trouble by not relying on deserter descriptions enough as we can from over relying on them.

Sure it is possible the description reflects the disguise the men wore when they deserted. I suspect it is more likely the descriptions reflect what the men were last seen wearing before they deserted. An exotic description is unlikely to reflect a unit uniform. It can tell you that men in the unit were wearing civilian clothing, either because they had not been issued uniforms or because their uniforms had worn out. It can tell you what small clothes the men were wearing. It can also tell you whether units had adopted non-traditional military attire as part of their uniforms. I am becoming more convinced based on deserter descriptions that in addition to regimental coats and hunting shorts, that Continental and State units were outfitted in "jackets with sleeves" and "sailors jackets". The problem with deserter descriptions is that we frequently don't have enough of them to do a reasonable analysis.

Now I am not sure how this relates to uniforms of drummers. I can't recall many deserter descriptions which specifically labeled the man as a drummer.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 12:51 p.m. PST

I'm just saying that if deserter descriptions are flat out weird, they can be discounted.
Like the famous purple velvet leisure suits.
He stole that jacket and stuck it in his pack for later.

Isn't wearing a Regimental and being 50 miles from where you should be prima facie evidence of desertion?
Having said that, I fill in the ranks of uniformed troops with hunting shirts and civilian figures all the time.
That's one of the advantages of single figure basing.

95thRegt Inactive Member02 Jun 2018 4:49 a.m. PST

Preach it Winston Smith!!
Just like that guy in the peach colored trousers in Mollo.I've seen people paint up this whole unit!
As you said,what ONE guy was wearing when he took off is NOT a reliable source. 4-5 guys wearing the same thing I almost always go with unless I find other period documentation or sources. I use the Katcher book as my number ONE reference. If that book can't give you a reliable source,nothing can.
Also remember,not ALL Continental units reversed musicians coats. A lot did,but not all. Case in point,NY Line early in the War just added facing colored tape to the drummers coats. As to the 79 regulations, there is pretty much ZERO evidence NY was ever outfitted in them. Yet I see artists depictions or plates constantly.
RESEARCH!!!

Bob C.

Leadjunky Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 8:14 p.m. PST

Wouldn't it be possible that a blue dyed hunting shirt might fade out to purple?

Brechtel19804 Jun 2018 7:31 a.m. PST

Sometimes a redyed coat, specifically captured British uniforms, might come out purple from the new dyeing process.

I would highly recommend the use of the uniform plates from The Company of Military Historians for reference.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

In some cases, Webb's Aditional Regiment, the coats were red. I don't know if this was a captured coat or not. At least one shipment of uniforms was captured by privateers.
In other cases, attempts were made to dye the red coat with blue indigo, resulting in a "sort of brown" coat. I'll bet it was ghastly, but at least not red. As Kevin said, that could well be the source of some "purple" coats that were supposed to turn out brown.
I've always wondered if the facings were removed for the dye job. Or the lining for that matter.

Coats were never (hardly ever) taken from captured prisoners because they were the property of the men. We've all read about the "generous" pay of soldiers being reduced to virtually zilch through various stoppages, like for food and clothing. Brass hats after Trenton? Legitimate souvenirs that were probably discarded along the line of march for being heavy and stupid looking.

Brechtel19804 Jun 2018 5:20 p.m. PST

Webb's Additional Continental Regiment, later the 9th Connecticut Regiment (as of 2 July 1780). The regimental commander obtained Washington's permission to uniform the regiment in captured British uniforms, taken at sea by in November 1776 by John Paul Jones. The uniforms were scarlet faced yellow, and apparently the regiment kept up this uniform for the balance of the war.

95thRegt Inactive Member08 Jun 2018 5:42 a.m. PST

In some cases, Webb's Aditional Regiment, the coats were red. I don't know if this was a captured coat or not. At least one shipment of uniforms was captured by privateers.
In other cases, attempts were made to dye the red coat with blue indigo, resulting in a "sort of brown" coat. I'll bet it was ghastly, but at least not red. As Kevin said, that could well be the source of some "purple" coats that were supposed to turn out brown.
I've always wondered if the facings were removed for the dye job. Or the lining for that matter.
>>
I know some reenactor friends tried to dye red coats brown,and yes,it was ghastly! Turned into what one friend calls "baby poop" brown!
From what I've red,facings and linings were removed prior to doing it.

Bob C.

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