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"AWI Field Signs" Topic

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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2019 4:32 a.m. PST

Does anyone have a clue here? The Carolina backcountry especially cries out for them. I'm hitting engagements with a few hundred people a side--i.e., too many to know everyone on your side--and few or no uniforms. How did they tell which side a group of armed civilians was on?

(Yes, I know it's handier for the miniatures player if he can use them for either side. Very much not my point.)

mikec260 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2019 5:37 a.m. PST

Local units in Miss. Used red handkerchief in their hat. Corporals wore one on the left sleeve, sergeants two on left sleeve, lieutenants one on right sleeve and the captain two on right sleeve. Knowing in earlier conflicts many militia wore a sprig of greenery in their hat too. Maybe this will help jog someone's memory.

William Warner02 Jun 2019 1:55 p.m. PST

In Missouri the Union enrolled militia often wore white armbands or white bands around their hats to identify friendly troops when out hunting Rebel guerrillas.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2019 3:45 p.m. PST

Regarding the AWI….

Slips of paper or springs of local greenery (boxwood, pine, etc) are recorded on both sides.

The handy bit about that is one could say today's Loyalists, wearing white armbands, are tomorrow's Patriots…


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2019 3:54 p.m. PST

As above, I have read about pieces of paper stuck to hats.

historygamer14 Aug 2019 6:48 a.m. PST

This is an interesting question. My quick take on this subject is that many of these field signs were "day of" modifications, and not permanent uniform modifications.

A bit off period, but during the F&I War, prior to attacking the Fort Duquesne at night, the Crown troops put their extra white shirts over their coats. Likely took them off the next morning. Springs of whatever, would die within a day or two, so long likely a long term thing to wear. The paper in the cap was perhaps used during the American night attack (something white seems to be a recurring night field sign) during the attack at Stony Point.

I assume that the OP was asking about field sign to differentiate forces that either wore no uniform, or were attacking at night, etc. as opposed to badges of rank.

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