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115404Re: Maintenance and Cleanliness on 1776 Campaign

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  • John U. Rees
    Mar 1, 2009
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      Steve, What you are failing to see (I think) is that they did what
      they could, when they could. For the 1781 references, Richmond was in
      the midst of the campaign, not at the beginning, and the same goes
      for the Williamsburg reference. It was not till they reached
      Portsmouth that they could stand down and be considered at campaign's

      The 29 November 1776 reference for the 17th Regiment was in the
      middle of the pursuit of GW's forces. It looks as if the 17th went
      all the way to Trenton, so, no, they were not yet in winter quarters.
      We in the 40th do a campaign impression; we are dirty, but we do what
      we can to "clean up" at times. The original troops did pretty much
      the same. So, it was not yes or no, black or white, but as usual,
      varying shades of grey.

      Here is an officer's letter that goes far to show what campaign
      conditions did to apparel and equipment, but still the men did their
      best (visions of Continental soldiers looking like scarecrows but
      with powdered hair come to mind ...)

      William John Hale, lieutenant, Grenadier Company, 45th Regiment,
      Philadelphia, 20 January 1777.
      "I am extremely concerned at being obliged to inform you that I have
      not received a single article of my baggage, excepting my bedstead
      from the Regt. Whether taken, driven to the West Indies, or not sent
      is impossible for me to say, the want of it, however, reduced me to
      the same distress as if totally lost; six shirts were my Campaign
      stock, and by unavoidable bad usage they are now barely serviceable
      for lint. My jacket (an old coat turned) cannot now be resembled to
      any earthly clothing … In this distress I have been forced to borrow
      from Bellew the sum of twenty guineas, which with my pay have barely
      sufficed, to get me a suit of clothes and six shirts. Could you form
      an idea of the misery of the Army you would envy a common sailor. My
      epaulets cost a guinea and a half each, my linen, 6/- the exclusive
      making, scarlet cloth six dollars, white 25/- sterl[ing]. … Let me
      add the enormous price of every article of life; meat for a
      considerable time before the taking of Mud Island 3s/6d Currency a
      pound, common brown sugar a dollar …"
      Lieutenant William Hale, Grenadier Company, 45th Regiment,
      Walter Harold Wilkin, Some British Soldiers in America (London, Hugh
      Rees, Ltd., 1914)



      --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "raynersteve" <steverayner@...> wrote:
      > Hi John;
      > Thanks for this item, too. Can you or anyone fill in for us where
      > 17th were? It's not clear from the orders whether they were at
      > or another location. Were they on the march or in camp (campaign) or
      > where they in quarters or barracks (garrison)? If this reference
      > the pattern I proposed, they might have recently arrived at
      > Marching again might throw a wrench into their cleaning program.
      > Typically, troops are entering winter quarters around December. If
      > this is what is going on, the orders fit the norm and the orders are
      > given to resume cleaning accoutrements.
      > This is part of what makes your humble servant question whether
      > cleaning of accoutrements was done in the field. If it was being
      > routinely in the field, why the orders to resume? It's the
      > intermittence and timing.
      > I hope that we can locate more references related to the activities
      > a range of regiments.
      > Best Regards,
      > Steve Rayner
      > --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "John U. Rees" <ju_rees@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Yet another reference, this time early war ... John Rees
      > >
      > > "General Orders Newark 29th Novr 1776 …
      > > Regimental Orders
      > > The Quarter Master will appoint the waggons to the Grand
      > > Divisions that Each may know their Own and the Companies to draw
      > > provisions for the Drivers.
      > > The flour to be made into bread and Baked this Evening.
      > > The Men to Clean their Accoutrements and set about washing
      > > Linnen. … If the Regiment Should not march tomorrow the Men [are]
      > > parade at a 11 O'clock as Clean as possible."
      > > Order Book, 17th Regiment of Foot [British], Lt. Col. Charles
      > > Mawhood, 11 October 1776 to 28 December 1776, New-York Historical
      > > Society (transcription by Gilbert V. Riddle).
      > >
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