Thursday, January 10, 2019

Clothing for the Highland Regiments, 1757

The official tartan worn by the 78th Foot remains a mystery; however, many historians believe it was the Black Watch plaid, same as the 42d FootIt is suspected this was also the tartan worn by Colonel Montgomery's 77th Foot, and researchers conclude any striking changes by Colonel Fraser would have probably been noted.

Colonel Fraser's army agent, George Ross, was most likely responsible for procuring uniforms for the 78th Foot [then - the Second Highland Battalion] on the colonel's behalf. Typically, the agent was responsible for handling the  administrative and financial matters, including ordering uniforms through a hired army clothier, who would employ the various trades (weavers, tailors, cordwainers, lace and button makers, etc.) to fulfill contracts and ship goods. As there were numerous army clothiers supplying the regiments, identifying the specific clothier used might assist in locating the exact cloth Colonel Fraser and his men would have worn.

Army Clothiers
Two known army clothiers during the war were James Mann (St. Martin in the Fields), brother to Galfridus Mann (d. 1756 - who originally inherited the business from his father, Robert), and William Wilson (The Strand), both of Westminster, UK. Coincidentally, George Ross also maintained an office in that city on Conduit Street, along with other prominent army agents, including John Calcraft. Following the death of Galfridus Mann, it is strongly suspect his brother James petitioned the Earl of Loudoun to maintain current company army clothing contracts. In a letter dated 7 Jan. 1757, John Calcraft, agent for both the 42d and 77th Foot, tells Loudoun: "...Now my Lord let me tell you Mr. Mann is dead which you will I suppose hear from his Brother & receive also a sollicitation (sic) to be continued clothier - you will too receive a letter from Fisher and many others on the same subject."

John Calcraft (1726-1772) operated an army agency in Westminster, England, handling the administrative and financial affairs of numerous regiments. His agency appears to have transferred to Thomas Fisher about 1761. [LAC, John Calcraft fonds description; microfilm A-1101].

1759 Kent City Directory, Westminster:
Fisher & Pearse: Blackwelhall-factors, Lothbury.
James Mann: Woollen-draper, near Durham-Yard, Strand.
William Willson: Woollen-draper, Strand.

Army clothiers, James Mann and William Wilson, and the office of Mr. Wilson, military agent for the 43rd Regiment of Foot, Westminster, UK, 1759.
Offices of British army clothiers, James Mann and William Wilson, and of Mr. Wilson, military agent to the 43rd Regiment of Foot, in Westminster, UK, 1759.

Army Clothiers Petition
The following letter is a petition of clothiers to the army asking for payment of 'off-reckonings' and complaining about backwardness in payments.

     To the Right Honourable The Lords Commissioners of his Majestys Treasury. The Humble Memorial of the Clothiers to his Majestys Army - Shewith:

     That throughout the whole Course of the present War, your Memorialists have been greatly distress'd by the Backwardness in payment of Off Reckonings, at times when Money could not be borrowed on any Security, the price of Labour near double, and Materials 10p Cent: higher, than they had been at breaking out of the War.

      That the same Circumstances of Distress in many Respects still continue, And your Memorialists have at this time the Clothing of the whole Army to put in hand; which it is really out of their power to do till they shall be enabled by payment of some Off Reckonings, no payment having been made since April last and that, only till June 1761.

     Your Memorialists therefore humbly prays your Lordships to take their Case into Consideration and to order payment of a years Off Reckonings to 24 June 1762.

Fisher & Pearse
Jno. Hankins
Wm. Wilson
James Mann

Cover sheet:
To the Right Hon'ble
The Lords Commissioners of
His Majestys Treasury
The Humble Petition of
the Clothiers to the Army

7th Jany. 1763
Read 1 Mar. 1763

Letters of the Clothing Board
London, 10 December 1759

Mr. Ross agent to Col. Fraser's Battalion having represented to His Excellency Field Marshal Lord Viscot. Ligonier, that there having been no Lace last year upon the clothing of the said Battalion, and that there is not Time at present for making the Quantity requisets to lace the cloaths, according to the Directions of the General Officers of the Clothing, His Lordsh. orders me to acquaint you, that he has consented to that Battalion's Cloathing being made up (for this Time only) without Lace, with which I am to desire you will be pleas'd to acquaint the Cloathing Board.

I am
your most obedient
humble servant
[signed] Robt. Napier Adjt. Genl.

To Wm. Fauquier Esqr.

Note: William Fauquier replied to Robert Napier eight days later with the following below response.

Comptrollers Office, Horse Guards, 18 Dec. 1759

I am order'd by the Cloathing Board held here today, to acquaint you, that as they apprehend the case of want of time to lace Col. Fraser's Battalion, has been misrepresented to his Excellency Field Marshal Lord Viscot. Ligonier; and Lord John Murray's Patterns, which were under the same circumstances, and therefore postpon'd at the last Board, were this day produc'd properly laced and lapelld; and Mr. Mann the clothier having engag'd to the Board, that Col. Fraser's shall be laced and lapell'd in time; They desire you will represent to his Lordshp., that as the Reason for not complying with the general order is thereby removed, They imagine his Lordshp. will think it proper that they should see His Majesty's orders comply'd with; and have order'd the Patterns of cloathing properly laced & lapell'd to be exhibited at another Board to be held on Monday next. I am with the greatest Respect,

your most obedient
humble servant
[signed] Wm. Fauquier

To Lieut. Genl. Napier.

Note: It can now be definitively stated that James Mann was, in fact, the official clothier for Colonel Fraser's Regiment, at least during the first few years of the war. Additionally, in the original letter of 18 December, "want of time" is underlined.

[Clothing; TNA, WO 7/26].

Early Scottish Manufacturing
The British Linen Company was established in Edinburgh by royal charter in 1746. The Company was empowered to 'carry on the Linen Manufactory in all its branches' and was granted limited liability. The word 'British' in its title was an attempt to deflect the suspicion aroused by all things Scottish, after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The Company's key promoters were the 3rd Duke of Argyll; Lord Milton; the Earl of Panmure; and George Middleton, a London banker.

As the production of Scottish manufacturing grew slowly in the 1730s, the commercial output of linen doubled from an annual average of 3.5 million yards in 1728-32 to 7.8 million yards by 1748-52. The British Linen Company's prospects brightened in the mid-1750s as war promised to disrupt German competition, and internal correspondence indicates an eagerness to secure clothing contracts with Agent George Ross, as he represented a number of British regiments at the time. 

10 April 1755
To William Tod, London
"My Lord Milton desires you would wait on Mr. George Ross who is agent for the Earl of Home's and sundry other regiments and Make Lord Milton's compliments to him and let him know that if proper samples were fixed upon 'tis believed this Company could supply most of the regiments [at least in time] with their shirting linens and that if Mr. Ross thought it fit a trial might be made of supplying Lord Home's regiment which is now in Scotland & if that pleased others might be contracted for hereafter. And likewise the Company could engage to supply them with their linen for splatterdashes."

Mr. Tod was a sales agent for the British Linen Company operating from an office in London. Although it is unclear if he was successful signing George Ross to contract for clothing any of his regiments, including the 78th Foot, the amount of cloth needed to outfit a large army in such a short period of time (over 10 miles of material) would have definitely required the services of a company with considerable output capabilities. 

Clothing for a Highland Regiment
From the document entitled, A State of Clothing for a Highland Regiment at first raising, 1757. 
For each man, 1st year:
- 1 Coat
- 1 Waistcoat
- 1 Plaid
- 1 Bonnet
- 2 Shirts
- 2 Stocks
- 2 Pairs shoes
- 4 Pairs hose

For each man, 2d year:
- 1 Coat
- 1 Bonnet
- 1 Shirt
- 1 Stock
- 2 Pairs shoes
- 2 Pair hose

N.B. The plaid to last two years, the Shoes & hose to be deliver'd half yearly, Viz, one pair of Shoes & two pairs hose in June, and one pair Shoes wth. the other two pairs hose in December. The old Coat makes the vestcoat after the first cloathing.

From the document entitled, Regulation of Cloathing for a Highland Regt. of Foot, c. 1757. 
For a Serjeant:
- A Plaid of good tartan Cloth to be delivered once in two years at 1s/6d p. yard
- A Short Coat of Red Cloth every year
- A Waistcoat made out of the coat of preceding year
- A Bonnet every year at 1/2 a piece
- A good Shirt and Stock once a year
- A Pair of Short Hose every 3 Months at 1/5 p. pc
- A Pair of Shoes at 3/4 every 6 Months or money

For a Drummer:
- A Plaid of good Tartan Cloth once in two years containing 12 yards at 1s /p yard
- A Short Coat of good Cloth every year
- A Waistcoat made out of the Coat of the preceding yr
- A Bonnet every Year at 9d apiece
- A good Shirt and Stock once a year
- A pair of Short Hose every 3 Months ¾ yd. each at 10d p yard
- A pair of Shoes every 6 Months
- A belt and Sling once a year if wanted

For a private Soldr: as a Drummer:
Memoranda for Coll. Montgomery
- One of the Selvages to be Twiled
- Prices to be like Lord John Murray's
- Commission to Scott 2½ p cent
- Regimental buckles are got
- Regimental Garters to be bought at Glasgow
- Belts for Kelting Men provide
- Plaids, Bonnets, and Hose provided for the officers and charged to Paymaster

42d Foot
Lieutenant John Robertson, 42d Foot, gazetted 21 July 1758, paid James Scott, merchant in Edinburgh for the following goods prior to his departure to the West Indies. Scott operated a shoppe in the Canongate District near St. John's Cross to the foot of St. Mary's Wynd. Dated 23 August 1758. [NAS, GD132/395].

- 4 yards scarlet and white tartan [presumably for the diamond pattern leg hose]
¾ yards superfine scarlet cloth
- 4 yards tristian
- 4½ yards tartan for phealbeg
- 2 yards broad linen for drawers
- Bonet 
- Ribbons, cockade
- Black feathers
- 1 pair broad rib'd silk hose

Additionally, the lieutenant discharged an account to Jean Murray, merchant in Blair [Atholl], for tartan, ribbons for cockades, etc. Dated 27 March 1759. [NAS, GD132/397].

July 30, 1758
- 4 yd fine Tartan
- 2 yd best red & white tartan
- 3 yd garters
- 3½ fine tartan
- 2 yd Ribban for Cockads
- 3 oz thread

Aug 2.
- 11 yd tartan
- 4 yd Ribban for Cockads
- 1oz thread
- 3½ yd tartan
- 1 oz thread
- 4 yd fine tartan
- 9 yd tartan
- 4 yd fine Ditto
- 8 yd Ribban
- 1oz thread
- 1 yd fine red & white tartan
- 6 yd tartan
- 2½ Broad black Ribban
- 3 yd fine garter
- 19 yd Ribban for Cockads
- 2¼ fine tartan red & white
- 3 yds Coarse Ditto
- 5½ of Linnen
¼ of Cambrick
- 2 oz thread
- 2 quare post paper
½ Pound of Candy Bread
- 6 yd Ribban

Sep. 6th.
- 3½ yds tartan
¼ p gun powder
- 15 yd Ribban
- 4 yds fine tartan
- 4 yd Ditto
- 3 yd Broad black Ribban
- 2 yd Ditto
½ gun powder
- 2¼ Cambrick
- 3 yds Broad black Ribban
- 3 yds Red Ribban
- 6 yds gartar

Oct. 2.
- 3 yds fine Cambrick
¾ tartan red & white
- 6 yds red & bleu [?] Ribban
- 4½ best black Ribban
- ? Pound Rasons & Almonds

Blair, March 27, 1759
Bill for £11. 2. 0½
Recived the above in full of all Demands Preseding this Debt
[signed] Jean Murray

An excerpt from the book entitled, The Red & White Book of Menzies suggests the following: "The hose of the 42d Black Watch were of Clan Menzies tartan, 'red & white' check, worn in compliment of the Menzies originators."

The diamond pattern leg hose was usually a red and white check which was called cath dath (pr: kaa dah) - war pattern.

77th Foot
Alexander Grant, 77th Foot, had an account due with Peter Leith for his military uniform. Dated 24 January 1757. [NAS, GD248/83/3]. Leith may be the same man recorded as journeyman tailor in Edinburgh's South West Parish, Oct. 1754.

A list of accoutrements issued to the men of the 78th Regiment can be found here.

The article was last updated 13 June 2019.

"Army Clothiers Petition." Received by The Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury, March 1763, London, UK. TNA, T1/424/412-413.

Calcraft, John. Regulation of Cloathing for a Highland Regt. of Foot, c. 1757. James Grant of Ballindalloch papers, 1740-1819, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Calcraft, John. Discussion regarding the death of Galfridus Mann was extracted from a letter to Earl of Loudoun dated 7 Jan. 1757, contained in Vol. 1, Register of private letters of J[ohn] C[alcraft], Army Agent, to the officers in the army and others; 24 Oct. 1756 to 18 Jan. 1765; British Library (Western Manuscripts); Add. MS 17493.

A State of Clothing for a Highland Regiment at first rising, 1757. James Grant of Ballindalloch papers, 1740-1819, Library of Congress.

“British Linen Bank.” Lloyds Banking Group. Accessed 10 January 2019.

Menzies, D. P. The 'Red and White' Book of Menzies: The History of Clan Menzies and It's Chiefs. Glasgow, 1894.

Richards, Frederick B. The Black Watch at Ticonderoga. Fort Ticonderoga Museum Library, 1920. Lt. John Robertson to the West Indies.

Durie, Alastair J. The British Linen Company, 1745-1775. Scottish History Society, 1996. Internal company letter written to William Tod, 10 April 1755.

“Ancient Highland Dress.” Ancient Highland Dress: The Highlander Leg Hose | Scottish Tartans Authority, Accessed 10 January 2019.

©  Jeffrey Campbell, Fraser's 78th Regiment of Foot, 2019. 


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