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Uniforming of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment

The following should be used as your guide for putting together and maintaining your uniform. We are depicting the regiment as it appears in the Fall of 1778. Each item is followed by a ranked preference and while all types under each heading are correct, the closer you stay to the top of each list, the more militarily uniform the 8th will appear. Remember, this is an 18th century army, where uniformity is desired. Individualism in dress is not what we are trying to achieve. You can express yourself in that way when we dress in civilian attire. Also, this guide takes precedence over any earlier guide, as there have been changes made.

Generally, we want to portray the unit as it look after receiving the French Contract clothing in late 1778. Each soldier would have been issued a Contract, or "Lottery" coat, a pair of white wool breeches and white wool waistcoat lined with linen, and lead grey hose. The breeches have a place for buckles at the knees, but the buckles were not issued, and should be replaced with buttons.

Leg Wear
  1. White wool breeches, with buttons on knee bands (part of the French clothing issued).
  2. Overalls; white, of wool or linen
  3. Breeches; white linen or buckskin
  4. Trousers; while linen or wool
  5. Breeches; colored linen, wool or ticking (basically civilian clothing)

*** with breeches it is appropriate but not necessary to wear some form of leggings or gaiters


Shirt
  1. White linen or cotton
  2. Print (blue, black or brown check preferred) linen or cotton

Waistcoat
  1. White wool (part of the issue of French Contract clothing)
  2. White linen with "P" buttons
  3. Colored or printed linen, wool or other material approved by the B.A.R. (civilian clothing)

Coat
  1. Regimental coat of French Contract or "Lottery" patttern. Blue faced red, 9 buttons on lapels, working pockets on outside of coat, domed or flat-faced buttons with turret shanks.
  2. Older, worn regimentals; blue faced red are acceptable, but no new coat should be made to any pattern but the French Contract coat.
  3. Hunting shirt, white or natural linen
  4. Waggoner's shirt of natural or colored linen or wool. Remember these are working man's clothes, so it should not be of bright material.
  5. Hunting shirt of colored linen (preferably green or brown)

Hat
  1. Military cocked hat, with or without white tape, black with silk cockade or black silk. (There seems to be no documentation for "alliance cockades" ever being worn by the unit).
  2. Round hat, black, with or without white tape
  3. Rifleman's flop hat
  4. Caps cut from cocked hats (ask unit commander) A buck tail may be work in any of the above headgear. Hats of the unit should appear well-worn, since they had great difficulty obtaining them during the period we portray.
  5. Common linen workman's cap (recommended for camp wear)
  6. Liberty (or stocking) cap, various colors

*** The barracks cap, or pokolem, worn by many other units, primarily British, is not appropriate for our unit since no documentation exists.


Stockings (Hose)
  1. Lead grey wood stockings were issued with the French Contract clothing
  2. White or colored linen, cotton or wool. Patterns, such as stripes, should be avoided.

Long Arms

The unit has no preference regarding long arms, as to type. From inspection reports in the Pennsylvania Line, it is apparent that a mixture of long arms was common. The only qualification is that they should be appropriate to our period, no matchlocks or wheel locks being permitted. The 1777 French musket is also not appropriate, since not even all the French troops were armed with this weapon. The 8th had many riflemen, and all forms of European muskets are acceptable. The unit commander suggests that if you are purchasing your first musket that you try to obtain a British 2nd model, or short land pattern musket, commonly referred to as a "Brown Bess" since this weapon is very versatile.


Cartridge Boxes

There are two choices in this area for musketmen. You may use either the leather "Congressional" box, or a tin canister. Both are black. Do not make the box pictured in "Sketchbook 76". Although it is a correct period piece, it does not do a proper job of securing the cartridges. Riflemen should carry an appropriate leather pouch and an empty powder horn.


Canteens

Wooden, tin, leather-covered bottles, and gourd canteens are all acceptable. This is you personal preference, but talk to unit members about which they find most serviceable.


Shoes
  1. 18th centure reproduction shoes (straight last not necessary) in black, rough-side out.
  2. Center seam woodland Indian moccasins

*** Boots are appropriate for field officers only

Due to foot or ankle problems some men may not be able to wear 18th century reproduction shoes. Any black, plain square or round toed shoe will work if they are hidden by overalls, half gaiters, etc... (Army boots work very well for this occasion)


Buttons
  1. For French Contract clothing, turret-shanked domed or flat faced buttons
  2. For other military waistcoats use "P" buttons
  3. Horn, bone, wooded or cloth buttons are good for shirts Horn was the plastic of the 18th century, and horn buttons are appropriate for use on breeches, overalls, trousers, waistcoats, shirts, and common coats, jackets, etc.
  4. Metal "USA" buttons can be worn on regimentals (blue faced red) that are not of the French Contract.

Things to Remember...

It is important to note that just because an 18th century sutler, even a B.A.R. approved sutler, is selling and item, it doesn't automatically make it correct. It is ALWAYS recommended that you consult a veteran unit member, the unit commander, or another knowledgeable source (i.e. the B.A.R. inspector) for correctness of an item before you purchase or make it. You may save yourself money an anxiety and remember, it doesn't cost any more to do things right the first time. Your unit commander and NCOs are all familiar with what you need and what to help you become authentically correct. Use their help.

For a VERY GOOD reference source for the period, get a copy of Collector's Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, by George Neuman. Also, please be aware that for nearly everything you need there is a B.A.R. pattern available at minimal cost. Any patterns other than B.A.R. patterns should be checked out by the unit commander or cadre before you use them. Not ALL outside patterns are bad, but there are enough bad ones to cause you trouble if you use one that has not been approved. The aforementioned Sketchbook "76 also have much good information, but again, talk with the unit cadre before you make something using this information. You may obtain patterns, a guide to fit of clothing and equipment (no cost for this), and information on 18th century eye wear from your unit commander, NCO's, or B.A.R. inspector.



updated 4/20/11 DJH
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