Uniforms of the Revolutionary War

American Continental Soldiers & British Soldiers Uniforms
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
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
Muskets were a
part of all
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!!
 http://pics.tech4learning.com
 www.wikipedia.org
 www.flickr.com
 smithsonianlegacies.si.edu
 wn.com/continental_congress

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