Help support TMP

"Splatterdashes at Culloden" Topic

18 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please do not use bad language on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the 18th Century Painting Guides Message Board

Back to the 18th Century Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Ruleset

Featured Profile Article

First Look: Minairons' 1:600 Xebec

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian looks at a fast-assembly naval kit for the Age of Sail.

1,431 hits since 4 Feb 2020
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2020 9:57 a.m. PST

Government troops' splatterdashes during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745/46 are illustrated in a confusing array of white, grey, black and brown leather. Would it be logical to assume that the white ones would have been deemed too difficult to keep clean on the march. Black seems like the most practical, though grey ones were worn in Flanders. Any suggestions welcome!

historygamer04 Feb 2020 10:37 a.m. PST

Do you mean gaiters?

Spatterdashes were the shorter ones, worn during the AWI period.

Gaiters during the Jacobite rebellion could be a variety of colors. They were made from linen, sometimes wool, at least during the F&I period. The black ones were likely blackballed (think of shoe wax) to make them waterproof. I believe brown ones were also issued, at least to Braddock's marching regiments. I'd have to check to see if the material used is referenced.

White ones appear in the Morier painting of Culloden. White (linen) is generally thought to be used for dress occasion, though French soldiers wore white during the F&I period. From an artistic view, white shows up better than black on a painting. I believe the long gaiters with leather tops started to appear during the F&I period. Note that gaiters were usually a seasonal/campaign issue as they wore out quickly.

BillyNM04 Feb 2020 11:01 a.m. PST

Brown looks nice with buff belts as brings some unity to the palette if you use more of a tan colour. It's really personal preference – I went with black as white tends to stand out too much and detract from the redness of my redcoats.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2020 3:02 p.m. PST

historygamer, John Prebble called them "splatterdash gaiters" in his Culloden book. Thanks for the clarification and the information.

historygamer05 Feb 2020 12:36 p.m. PST

Well, if I am reading it correctly, he did that book in 1962. There have been a lot of "refinements" regarding the correct terminology of clothing in the 18th century. The references I have seen differentiate between long "gaiters" and the shorter spatterdashes – that were largely replaced during the AWI period with overalls.

Thanks for the reference. The author's bio is interesting, to say the least.

I think you can't go wrong with whatever color (white, brown, black) you pick. :-)

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2020 4:31 p.m. PST

historygamer, yeah, I guess 1962 was a long time ago. The excellent 1964 BBC Culloden docudrama was based on his work, which was the first time I learned about the Jacobite Rebellion, growing up in the States. Thanks again for the good info and advice. I went with black gaiters as shown in the color plates in the book: Like Hungry Wolves.

Robert le Diable05 Feb 2020 10:05 p.m. PST

Recent distinctions apart, "Spatterdashes" was certainly contemporaneous usage in Scotland for gaiters fastening below the knee and not coming above it; cf. Robert Fergusson's description in his "Leith Races" of the Town Guard in

"Their stumps, erst used tae Philabegs
Are dight in Spatterdashes
Whase barkent hide scarce fends their legs
Frae weet and weary plashes
O' dirt that day".

There's a 1780s watercolour depiction by David Allan in which these short gaiters are white, breeches and jacket being red, with facings of a rather pale, perhaps now faded, blue. Perhaps whatever water-proofing were occasionally done struck Fergusson as being like the bark on a tree, or at least a "stump".

Prince Alberts Revenge06 Feb 2020 10:15 a.m. PST

I've used a mix of colors for the gaiters on my Culloden-era Government forces: dark grey (or faded black), off white and medium grey.

historygamer06 Feb 2020 1:08 p.m. PST

Robert – I wonder then if they weren't referring to a civilian clothing item? Period gaiters (1740 and 1750s) seem to all go over the knee – with perhaps the exception of the leather tops used in the 1750s. I'm not completely clear if the leather was a separate piece )strap, buckle), or the leather top was sewn directly to the gaiter.

By the 1760s, the lower spatterdashes were standard, though long gaiters were often worn during the winter. The Marines were ordered to take both on their way to Boston in 1775. Both were largely replaced by the gaitered (buttons) trousers, often called overalls during the AWI. During 1759, the British Army in North American generally went into wool (Indian) leggins, replacing the gaiters.

Again, don't think you can go wrong with the black, grey, brown, or white.

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore08 Feb 2020 4:04 a.m. PST

In the c18th- spatterdashes and gaiters were just different words for the same item- in all of their various forms. They were not different things.

The contemporary humourist Horace Walpole made a jibe at the Duke of Cumberland's preoccupation in the 1740s-50s with bringing army dress onto regular patterns- "He was as intent on establishing the form of spatterdashes and cockades as he was on taking a town." This was a period when all spatterdashes/gaiters were still the long over the knee type.

There is another reference in CCP Lawson Vol II for the orders of the Royal Artillery in 1742 "white spatterdashes for all NCOs and privates", and in 1749 "The Guard to mount in black spatterdashes". These references too date back to a time when the short gaiters/spatterdashes of the AWI style were not yet worn in the British army.

Lawson and Michael Barthorp 'British Infantry uniforms since 1660' indicates that in this period, the standard gaiters worn eg on home station were white, while the black, brown or grey gaiters were special items issued at regimental level to troops going on campaign.

I think it's quite likely in the Jacobite rebellion, that most of the infantry recalled from Flanders wore these campaign gaiters and the units called up from British garrison duty may have worn white ones. At the time of Culloden, IIRC Barrell's 4th Foot had not yet been to Flanders, but then took part in the 1747 campaign, distinguishing themselves at Lauffeldt.

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore08 Feb 2020 6:47 a.m. PST

Just had a quick look through some of my source material. Not exhaustive but the first reference I can find to the term 'gaiters' (from the French 'guetres') in contemporary British army docs- inspection reports etc is about 1764 referring to troops returning from Germany. Before that, the term spatterdash is used.

Definitely just two different words for the same basic item- whatever the particular style.

historygamer09 Feb 2020 8:32 p.m. PST

Oh, let's geek out about gaiters. :-) Only on TMP. :-)

Okay, take a look at "A Soldier-Like Way. A Material Culture of the British Infantry 1751-1768."

References are all on gaiters (often misspelled during the period). Gaiters are covered on page 43, including period quotes. No mention of the word spatterdashes.

In "Military Illustrated: Past and Present" May 1991, Gerry Embleton and Philip J. Haythornehwaite, page 25, have a section entitled "Gaiter." They note that not all marching regiments had white gaiters, and never used them in Germany(1763). On 22nd September 1767, it was ordered that "His Majesty's regiments of Foot do lay aside their white giaters, and have black gaiters for the future." The section goes on talking about gaiters, including a number of quotes using the same name. Here is one closely relevant to the time period under discussion – In 1744, a regimental order (2nd Foot Guards) for a review specified "the men to be in their regimental stockings, but without gaiters."

Interesting finds though, Really. Good stuff. :-)

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore11 Feb 2020 4:04 p.m. PST

Yes indeed- a very helpful find re the Coldstream Guards. 1744 is definitely now the earliest reference to gaiters I'm aware of- but otherwise the term spatterdashes is certainly used in other 1740s docs as I've indicated above.

If your contemporary references to gaiters in the 1740s and my contemporary references to spatterdashes in the 1740s are both correct- and I'm pretty sure that mine are- it does indicate that gaiters and spatterdashes were indeed just two different terms for the same thing.

Now, I'm intent on taking a town…..

historygamer19 Feb 2020 10:00 a.m. PST

Good luck with the town. :-)

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore20 Feb 2020 3:43 p.m. PST

It fell quickly- the whole spatterdashes and gaiters thing having been nailed- there were no distractions.

42flanker20 Mar 2020 10:41 a.m. PST

3. Whatever Spatterdashes the Men are ordered to appear in, whether long or short, Officers to appear in the same:

'Regimental Standing Orders
of the Sixty-Second Regiment of Foot
Issued by Major General Edward Mathew
April 25th 1781


RogerC21 Mar 2020 3:12 a.m. PST

So after all that my view is Black or Brown, fill your boots (or splatterdahers)

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore28 Mar 2020 11:24 a.m. PST

Or white- see my first post with references to Royal Artillery dress orders in 1742 and 1749. The 1742 order for white was in reference the the troops who had gone on campaign in Flanders.

Oh- and of course the famous painting by Morier of the RA in Flanders in 1748 (Morier was there with the army) shows black- except for one officer in white……


There are primary source options for both white and black therefore- but none for brown that I know of.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.