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"Continental Artillery Uniform Question" Topic

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LeftHook10 Jun 2021 10:22 a.m. PST

I am working on some 40mm S&S Continental Artillery figures and they seem to have a similar uniform to the one I saw at a Mount Vernon reenactment here:


Does the uniform not look pretty close to the British Royal Artillery uniforms? These reenactors were portraying troops from Connecticut, I think. Question is: Did the Continental units in this paticular uniform just adopt the Royal Artillery uniform or I am missing some key uniform details? I find color research on this topic to be…less than fun. Also, would it be fair to assume, an American unit this well dressed would have been pretty "veteran"?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 10:33 a.m. PST

It looks fine. Artillery uniforms at the time were rather generic for all nations.
Unless they were a "special" unit (Rhode Island, Knox's), the uniform was usually dark blue, with red facings and turnbacks.
One difference I have seen is that American artillerists did not usually have lace.
Your reenactors look more like British artillerists than American, because of the lace. Far too fancy.

historygamer10 Jun 2021 11:35 a.m. PST

Wat John said. The guns pictured there are associated with the 1st VA Regt and the 7th VA Regt – re-enactment units. The uniforms are very similar to the Royal Artillery uniforms, though they may have varied year to year depending on what was issued.

You can google Lamb's artillery, which is a very good re-enactment unit as well.

You can also google Troiani Continental Artillery, click on images. You should get a good range of pictures there as well.

LeftHook10 Jun 2021 11:48 a.m. PST

Thanks. I think am going to copy the guys above as the sculpts look really close. I already have dozens of crews in rags and vests firing my guns. I am going for a nice well dressed crew for this one.

historygamer10 Jun 2021 11:57 a.m. PST

At least some of the art work of the period suggests that, at least for the British, waistcoats were ditched during hot weather, but not the regimental coat. Not sure about Americans.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 1:45 p.m. PST

I have crews in the variety of uniforms that did exist, but mostly have the blue and red that can serve for either side.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 3:43 p.m. PST

By the 1779 Continental Army Uniform Regulations the artillery was to be uniformed in blue faced red. The lapels had yellow lace and piping as did the cuffs. Sergeants wore two yellow silk epaulets, corporals yellow worsted epaulets. Officers had gold lace and gold epaulets. The hats were bound with yellow tape for enlisted men, gold for officers.

The Rhode Island 'train' of artillery wore brown faced red with the Rhode Island 'style' of light infantry cap.

Sometimes the Continental artillery, especially before the 1779 regulations, wore blue faced red without the lace being in yellow.

Hamilton's New York Continental artillery company of 1776 wore dark blue faced buff with blue waistcoats and buff breeches. The lapels and cuffs were without lace.

Some sources give the color of the coats as black, but apparently blue was more common.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2021 4:06 p.m. PST

In my case, I have a handful of artillerists who fill in where needed. They're like mercenaries almost.
Hessian gunners, being German and wearing long queues tend to not associate with the English speakers. Ditto the French.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2021 1:25 a.m. PST

In a pinch I will use British crewmen for Americans and vice-versa. It only works if your British crewmen are wearing tricornes. Saratoga and Southern British headgear is different. But only if that sort of thing matters to you.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2021 2:17 a.m. PST

And don't forget the Royal Irish Artillery…😊

I have an excellent current British Royal Artillery field piece and gun crew. Highly recommended.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2021 2:19 a.m. PST

In the picture above it appears that the gun crew is too close to the piece when fired. Good thing they were shooting blanks…🤦‍♂️

historygamer11 Jun 2021 10:39 a.m. PST

I am led to understand that the Royal Irish Artillery were volunteers who came over and were eventually incorporated into one of the regular establishment artillery battalions (e.g., Third, Fourth), thus meaning their uniforms were have changed at some point. The RIA did not serve in North America as a unit though.

The men behind the gun in the photo appear to me to be in the correct positions whether firing live or blanks. The man with the slow match is off to the side, and is the other fellow, on the other side of the gun. Having fired a gun with rounds, they tend to both hop up in the air and go back a bit, but not as much as you think. The thing to keep away from are right behind the wheels.

historygamer11 Jun 2021 10:40 a.m. PST

Here are some larger guns firing live rounds:

While somewhat out of period, of interest to the topic of artillery recoil:

YouTube link

historygamer11 Jun 2021 11:30 a.m. PST

I'm going to amend what I said earlier. Now I am not sure what crews those are, as there are three guns in the photo. At the event at Mt. Vernon this year there were only two American guns. The photo posted here is not from the recent May 2021 event.

LeftHook11 Jun 2021 4:15 p.m. PST

Thanks all for the in-depth information. Much appreciated.

HG, this was from 2019. The pre pandemic event had way more reenactment folks than this year. I attended back then and these guys told me "Connecticut", I think. Anyway, I attended this years also and there seemed to be way less artillery and soldiers for that matter. I think I read they were limiting reenactment participation, however you could have filled 2 football stadiums with the number of spectators they actually let in. I remember coming up the path and thinking it would be lightly attended and…no. People obviously were ready to get outside.

historygamer11 Jun 2021 7:03 p.m. PST

You are correct. We try to limit participation to around 100 men per side, one or two guns per side as well. The Crown side (my guys) seemed to have a few more muskets than the Americans this year but they had two guns to our one.

Virginia Tory22 Jun 2021 11:37 a.m. PST

And we had to get creative with open order, thanks to COVID. Here's to doing it "normally" in 2022…

LeftHook22 Jun 2021 4:56 p.m. PST

I am not a re-enactor, but I attend this almost every year and love what you all do and the attention to detail. I do dress in 18th Century clothing regularly, because when not at work, I basically live in that century:) I don't know if you guys like putting on "public" displays, but I appreciate seeing them. Its definetly amazing to think of that event taking place on George's lawn. I think if he could see that event and the extra large soft pretzels, he'd be very happy he crossed the Delaware:)

historygamer23 Jun 2021 5:54 a.m. PST

As VA Tory said, this year was a challenge. We just held our AAR meeting with notes for next year and future years out.

I have to admit that when we form up the men on the Bowling Green I feel a little guilty. But George did try to join the British military twice, so not too guilty. LoL

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2021 5:15 a.m. PST

The uniform of the Continental artillery arm shown by a French officer is dark blue with red facings and no lace.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2021 6:40 a.m. PST

What does it say about linings, or turnbacks?
I only recently noticed that a large number of sources indicated red turnbacks. I had always assumed (and we all know what happens when you assume…) that they were white, like almost every other uniform.
I may or may not go back and "fix" that, except with such obvious cases as some with buff facings.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2021 9:23 a.m. PST

The references I have seen have the Continental artillery regiments with red turnbacks.

Bill N27 Jun 2021 1:39 p.m. PST

I believe the button hole lace was supposed to come in with the 1779 regulations. I have no idea the extent to which it was carried out. If it would likely only be for uniforms issued in 1780 or lager.

As to linings I believe the 1779 regulations did indicate they were to be scarlet for artillery. Again that may not have applied to the artillery uniforms issued before 1780. While artillery deserter descriptions indicate the coat's facing color, they seldom mention the lining color.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2021 2:22 p.m. PST

Yeah, I thought so, Kevin.
Such a multi decade oversight. grin I try to get the facings for the 5th Foot correct, I agonize over how to do the fur cap of a Grenadier, I shop for the proper blue for Lauzun's Legion and… I miss the red turnbacks.

LeftHook27 Jun 2021 2:25 p.m. PST

I just completed my crew to match the gunners above. The S&S figures I have had lace sculpted on crews for both Continental & British. I certainly appreciate this thread continuing on as I have additional artillery from a different sculptor in the mail on the way. Thank you all for the excellent information.

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