Uniforms of the Revolutionary War

January 16, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Anthropology, Mythology
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American Continental Soldiers & British Soldiers Uniforms

Introduction The Revolutionary War was a war with many different battles like the early beginnings of The Boston Tea Party, Battle of Trenton and the Boston Massacre. Throughout these wars were the uniforms that came to define the fight each were fighting. The American Continental Army soldiers were known as Minutemen and the British soldiers were called by many names, such as “Lobsterbacks”, “Redcoats”, “Red Ants” (as written in Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain). The uniforms, like the wars were ever-changing and told a story.

There were many different uniforms, brown was the first official color for Continental uniforms, and was adopted by the Continental Congress on November 4, 1775, after a meeting with Washington and the New England governors. This did not last long, because some of the early regiment started choosing their own preference in uniforms. Early in the war, blue was the officers' favorite color for their own dress, and by the end of 1778, blue was the color preferred by the men, as was shown by the attitude toward a shipment of blue and brown coats from France. It is faced with red and lined with white. Dark blue faced with scarlet was the recognized uniform of the Continental Artillery as early as March, 1777. For the most part, the British soldiers uniforms were based on the French, German and European regiments and remained the same design with few changes. Both countries’ uniforms were complete with hat, long black boots, muskets, canteens and for officer’s, hand guns.

Continental Uniforms: Different Designs

British Soldiers Uniforms: Different Designs

Continental Soldiers The American Continental Soldiers uniforms would vary based on the rank of the soldier. This depended on the whether they were foot soldiers, corporals, sergeants or generals. The picture shows the different uniforms, and as ranked increase, so did the colors of the lapel of the jackets as well as stars, and decorations on the shoulders of the jackets called epaulettes (see below). Major Generals wore two stars, and Brigadier General wore one star, and Commander in Chief wore three stars.

Hats were also different, they showed rank with cockades or knots of colored ribbon worn as badges on hats.

Continental Army Battle Uniform Hat, War Tools and Camp Chest

Continental Army Soldiers This is the typical American Continental Foot Soldier or Corporal uniform. American Uniforms could be a variety of colors, or look like patchwork quilt. Some men were ragged, and other men had the BEST clothes. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War there were no proper uniforms, they were scarce but the Patriots gradually decided. The final color was blue coats. Some states such as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut wore white facing. Other states such as New York and New Jersey wore ‘buff’ facing; Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia wore red facing; North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia wore blue facing with buttonholes edged with white, narrow tape or lace.

Continental Army Officers Uniform Typical Officer Uniform

Commander-in-Chief/General and later President George Washington’s uniform

The British Military was a well disciplined, trained, equipped and well-funded army. The Minutemen in comparison were not disciplined as an army, nor well-funded. Their uniforms were from the very beginning, sharp-looking. They wore red coats and a variety of hats or caps which depended on whether they were grenadiers, light infantry or a battalion company. Their uniform consisted of short jackets with wings on the shoulders, red waistcoats (vests), breeches and stockings, calf-length spatter dashes also known as half gaiters, cuffs and lapels. General officers wore on their shoulders a dark blue velvet falling collar on their coat during earlier designs, but then it was changed to red. The decoration included gold lace on a dark blue velvet background. The war uniforms worn by the British cavalry included brass helmets with a flowing red horsehair crest that fell to the shoulders. At the front of the helmet, black painted plates in white metal included death's head and the words "or glory". Coats and cloaks were red and lined with white. Uniform breeches were made of buckskin and were worn with black top boots with spurs. Loyalists were Americans who were known as Tories, sided with the British soldiers, and they were also given uniforms by the British government. They were thousands, so some still had to wear civilian clothes. Those without uniforms wore red coats.

British Soldiers Uniforms Cadence Regiment

Corporals, Sergeants and Officers

British Officer’s Uniform

British Soldier’s Uniform

Weaponry: Muskets Canons were a major part of weapons.

Muskets were a part of all uniforms.


The uniforms of the Revolutionary War were functional and purposeful and provided a chance for both sides to fight for what they believed was right. Even today, in all militaries the tradition of the uniforms is a symbol of dignity, courage, and freedom for their country. I am proud to say that all uniforms have their unique way of showing what the soldiers are representing for their countries!!

Sources  http://pics.tech4learning.com  www.wikipedia.org  www.flickr.com

 smithsonianlegacies.si.edu  wn.com/continental_congress

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