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"American Volunteers Uniform?" Topic

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Bill N16 Sep 2021 11:20 a.m. PST

The American Volunteers also known as Ferguson's corps was formed in late 1779 out of detachments from several Loyalist regiments, and sailed south soon afterwards. Is there any evidence indicating that they were issued new uniforms, or did they continue wearing the uniforms of their original units until they were destroyed at Kings Mountain?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 11:41 a.m. PST

I would go by regiments getting a new clothing allowance every year. What was available for them when it was time for a new issue?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 11:47 a.m. PST

Probably red coats, maybe green facings and a slouch hat.

PDF link

Kings Mountain was fought in October of 1780. If they sailed south in 1779, they almost certainly got a new draft of clothing.

historygamer16 Sep 2021 1:06 p.m. PST

Katcher says there were 132 of them in green coats. Chartrand says they were picked me drawn from other Loyalist units elite armed with short rifles (Tower rifles I would guess) and wore the uniforms of the units they were drawn from.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 2:27 p.m. PST

No, they were armed with Ferguson's breech-loading rifle. link The "Tower" rifle didn't come about until well after the American Revolution.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 3:22 p.m. PST

I'd bet against a distinctive uniform, and I'd be cautious about an assumption of the breech-loaders. (1) the unit seems to have been formed up out of detachments who didn't lose their original regimental connections. Read stuff on the King's American Regiment, and Captain de Peyster is still one of theirs--not someone transferred to a new regiment. This looks like the same arrangement as Ferguson's 1777 command. (2) There's no hard and fast reference to those breech-loaders, and King's Mountain is well documented, and fought by people who would appreciate the difference.
Mind you, I'm talking as a one-time military historian and OOB analyst. If it makes someone happy to clothe and arm such a unit for a wargame table, that's between him and his opponent.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 4:00 p.m. PST

Yes. It's definitely one of those "as the Colonel shall decide" decisions. You, the painter, are the Colonel.

Everything I've read about the Ferguson Rifle indicates that it did fine service at Brandywine. Then the unit was disbanded, and the men returned to their patent units. The rifles were then put in storage. They worked well, but we're fragile and not reliable in unfamiliar hands.

I actually think that the men were in the South long enough to be issued new uniforms. The Crown was not supplying green uniforms any more. Both the Queen's Rangers and the British Legion had to dig in their heels to retain green.

Now, I'm planning a Kings Mountain game "soon". I already have both generic red and green units in "campaign dress", so I can go either way.
At this point, I would go with red coats, slouch hats, and muskets with bayonets. Don't forget that this unit made bayonet charges towards the Patriot forces. But they just melted away and had to fall back to avoid getting cut off. I realize that Ferguson's men COULD have had his eponymous rifle that could mount a bayonet. However, I don't really think those weapons were available. Basically the army didn't like Ferguson's rifle.

You may of course use green coated Loyalists in your game, and arm them with rifles mounting bayonets. Your game, your figures.

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