Showing posts with label Uniforms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uniforms. Show all posts

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 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 worn by the regiment. Two known army clothiers during the war were James Mann [St. Martin in the Fields], and Richard Lowe [King St., Covent Garden], both of Westminster, UK. Coincidentally, Ross also maintained an office in that city on Conduit Street.

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 titled "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 titled "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

Note: It's worth mentioning, Lieutenant John Robertson, 42d Foot, gazetted 21 July 1758, paid James Scott, merchant in Edinburgh, for the following goods prior to his departure for North America. Scott operated a shoppe of eleven windows 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
¾ yard superfine scarlet cloth
- 4 yards trustian
- 4½ yards tartan for phealbeg [sic]
- 2 yards broad linen for drawers
- Bonet [sic]
- 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 29 March 1759. [NAS, GD132/397].

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

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

"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.

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

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Letter from Colonel Simon Fraser, 2d Highland Battalion, to General Forbes, Feb. 25, 1758

Dear Sir

I hope you are Satisfied before now that I am not so much to blame as you Imagin'd with regard to the Returns but to prevent a poſsibility of mistake I send inclosed the Return for this Month, & have sent one also by this bearer to Genl. Webb.

The 35th, 44th, & 48th have kept the vests the drafts from our Regt. had on, the reason assigned is that those Regts. have no vests to give them, however that be, I fancy you will think it unreasonable that so many Men of our Regiment shoud go about without vests, while those Regts. wear the vests bought for our Men and paid for by me - the original price will not be an equivalent, because if those vests are not return'd, I must buy new ones at a leas'd rate than those cost at home, & yet perhaps those Regts. may grudge paying the Reginal price; I beg you may be so good to Advise me what I shoud do in this Matter, which I have mention'd to Genl. Webb, but without making any demand.

Serjt. Fraser was tried for the death of Corporal McKeye by the Superior Court yesterday, the indictment was laid for Murder, of which the Jury brought him in not guilty & the Court acquitted & dismissed him; I must do them the Justice to say that the Court & Jury behav'd with such moderation decency & propriety as Surprized me. The Colony of Connecticut & the 2d Highland Battalion are hand & glove & we are the only old countrymen they believe capable of performing great exploits, not but they hold themselves as the great Warriors, & suffer us only to follow longo intervallo.
My Lord preſs'd last Sunday in great health - your warm room was ready, but I own I was not sorry you did not apear for such a jaunt in rich weather coud hardly be Salutary.
                                                                                I am with great regard
                                                                                Dear Sir
                                                                                Your most obedt. & most 
                                                                                humble Servant
                                                                                S. Fraser

Cover sheet:
Stratford Febry 25th 1758

Col. Simon Fraser, "Letter of Col. Simon Fraser to Colonel Forbes, Adjutant General, at His House in the Broadway or at the Fort, New York." NAS, GD45-2-29, pp. 18-19. 

©  Jeffrey Campbell, Fraser's 78th Regiment of Foot, 2017.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Accoutrements of the 78th Regiment of Foot, May 1758

Captain John Nairn's Journal, 78th Regiment, 1762Albeit nothing official has ever been located in describing exactly which tartan the 78th Regiment Highland Dress uniform consisted of, this author has discovered an accounting ledger among the personal papers of Major James Clephane, dated May 1758. The ledger's purpose was for tracking expenses for each soldier in his company, including accoutrements issued, and the monthly pay received. Considering the date of the ledger and the items listed, we believe these to be of initial government issue.

1. 1 - Pair Shoes
2. 1 - Napsack
3. 1 - Haversack
4. 1 - Cocade
5. 1 - Pair Garters & 1 Sett Buckles
6. 1- Kilt & Small Belt 
7. 2 - Cheq’d Shirt 
8. 1 - Turn Key Screw, Brush & Wire 
9. Proportion of a Cooks Frock 
10. Leather Frock

The major's sister, Betty Clephane [wife of the chief of Clan Rose], discussed some of these items in a 1757 letter to her brother, John, updating him on the recruiting efforts taking place: "We are already in such order, that we have our men received everyday with a stick on his shoulder and a good sack on his back, and a philibeg about his loup." Her jubilant thoughts expressly conveyed women were involved in the raising of the 78th Regiment.

3. Multiple men throughout the Major Clephane's Company are recorded as having received two haversacks; one prior to departing Kilraick, Inverness for North America, the second while en route at Cork, Ireland.
6. Some accounts lists small belt as pistle belt.
7. Issued by Major Clephane.
8. Used in maintaining and repairing the firelocks.
9. Each soldier was charged proportionally.
10. Only one soldier charged for this item; quite possibly the company blacksmith.

The Public Advertiser Newspaper
Thursday, February 3, 1757
Glasgow, Jan. 24. On Wednesday an Order was received from London, to provide 2400 pairs of shoes and also Shoulder-Belts for the two Highland Regiments now raising.

Order Books 
Saturday, 11 May 1762
"...Every soldier to be provided with a Brush weir, worm stopper, Turn key screw & rag for his arms, a hammer Stale [?] & flint case of proper Leather never to be taken off except when under arms, or on duty, 4 good shirts & stocks, one night cape, an Ivory & horn come for the hair, Black ball & Shoe Brushes, the men for guard allways to be well sheav'd have Clean shirts their hair ty'd behind & Clubb'd. Their arms very clean shoulder belts & Cartridge Boxes well Blacked, & shoulder Belt Buckles Brisk, every soldier whether he is on duty or not to have his face hands & knees well wash'd his hair well com'd cut short on the top of his head & his locks short, his Bonnet proper so as to reach his Brues before, & as high as possible behind with the Cockard fix'd so as the haf of it may stand upright above the Bonnet, his plaid never to be worn but kelted, the fillibeg or little kelt to be allways worn in summer or harvest except when upon duty."

See our article titled Clothing for the Highland Regiments, 1757for a discussion on regimental clothing in Scotland, including the 42nd, 77th and 78th Regiment of Foot.

Major James Clephane, "Military Accounts at Halifax, 1758." NAS GD125-34-5.

Captain John Nairne, "Order Books, 1762." LAC, R5991-0-3-E, MG23-GIII 23.

Betty Clephane, "Letter to 'Dear Brother', 1757." NAS GD125-22-2, pp. 5-7.

© Jeffrey Campbell, Fraser's 78th Regiment of Foot, 2018.