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What the Virginia Militia Wore to War?

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  • Bob Vogler
    List- I have an inquiry from someone doing research on the Virginia militia and he wanted to know what they wore to war. I know they probably wore to war the
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 23, 2013
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      List-
      I have an inquiry from someone doing research on the Virginia militia and
      he wanted to know what they wore to war.

      I know they probably wore to war the same outfits they wore to farm the
      fields or work day to day in their crafts. I also am sure that hunting
      shirts were also the order of the day.

      Can anyone provide me with any first hand accounts of what a militiaman
      (especially from Virginia) had on his back when called up to active duty?

      Secondly, unless, he was a former Continental officer, how likely was it
      that a militia officer would have a formal army uniform? I would assume a
      militia officer might possess a sword, but otherwise probably dressed much
      like the militiamen that he commanded???

      And so it goes,
      Bob V.

      .L



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Michael Gillman
      Good luck with this topic, I asked about Va militia once on here and never really got a straight answer. Michael Gillman ... [Non-text portions of this message
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 23, 2013
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        Good luck with this topic, I asked about Va militia once on here and never really got a straight answer.

        Michael Gillman

        On Jun 23, 2013, at 4:18 PM, "Bob Vogler" <bvogler@...> wrote:

        >
        > List-
        > I have an inquiry from someone doing research on the Virginia militia and
        > he wanted to know what they wore to war.
        >
        > I know they probably wore to war the same outfits they wore to farm the
        > fields or work day to day in their crafts. I also am sure that hunting
        > shirts were also the order of the day.
        >
        > Can anyone provide me with any first hand accounts of what a militiaman
        > (especially from Virginia) had on his back when called up to active duty?
        >
        > Secondly, unless, he was a former Continental officer, how likely was it
        > that a militia officer would have a formal army uniform? I would assume a
        > militia officer might possess a sword, but otherwise probably dressed much
        > like the militiamen that he commanded???
        >
        > And so it goes,
        > Bob V.
        >
        > .L
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Art Kenney
        What time period are you looking for? Va was involved for the whole length of the conflict and the uniforms changed quite a bit. Early war you see lots of
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 24, 2013
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          What time period are you looking for? Va was involved for the whole length of the conflict and the uniforms changed quite a bit. Early war you see lots of hunting shirts. Check the deserter ads and note the colors.



          Mid war you see a lack of references for militia. They were called out and used but the clothing was not often described. I would not assume that civilian clothing would work for each instance of Va militia being used mid war because they were employed in ways that would require the soldier to be easily identified as a soldier; garrison duty or guarding POWs.



          Late war you get a lot of different things. There was a linen canvas coat made in early '81 out of Point of Fork Arsenal. They got French made Contract coats in mid '81 and those were issued to militia and line units alike. IIRC, there were complaints about militia units getting them and there not being enough for other units. But contrast all of that with descriptions of Gaskin's Battalion who had next to nothing in the way of issued clothing.


          Art Kenney

          Fluvanna County Militia




          To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
          From: bvogler@...
          Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2013 16:18:29 -0400
          Subject: [Revlist] What the Virginia Militia Wore to War?






          List-
          I have an inquiry from someone doing research on the Virginia militia and
          he wanted to know what they wore to war.

          I know they probably wore to war the same outfits they wore to farm the
          fields or work day to day in their crafts. I also am sure that hunting
          shirts were also the order of the day.

          Can anyone provide me with any first hand accounts of what a militiaman
          (especially from Virginia) had on his back when called up to active duty?

          Secondly, unless, he was a former Continental officer, how likely was it
          that a militia officer would have a formal army uniform? I would assume a
          militia officer might possess a sword, but otherwise probably dressed much
          like the militiamen that he commanded???

          And so it goes,
          Bob V.

          .L


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Todd Post
          Art, ... Cool! What s the documentation for this? Kochan s work on contract coats states that the last known documented issue of the French coats were brown
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 24, 2013
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            Art,

            > They got French made Contract coats in mid '81 and those were issued to militia
            > and line units alike. IIRC, there were complaints about militia units getting them
            > and there not being enough for other units.


            Cool! What's the documentation for this? Kochan's work on contract coats states that the last known documented issue of the French coats were brown coats to the Maryland Extraordinary Regiment (best regimental name ever...later became the "new" 2nd Maryland Regiment) in September 1780.


            > But contrast all of that with descriptions of Gaskin's Battalion who had next to nothing
            >in the way of issued clothing.


            I'm not sure I would characterize Gaskin's Battalion as militia. Like Green and Hawes' regiments in 1780-1 which saw service with Greene's army in the Carolinas (later to become the "new" 1st and 2d Virginia Regiment) and later Posey's regiment in 1781-2, I have always been under the impression that these regiments were levies on Continental service. They were formed out of the ashes of the Virginia Line after Charleston, the Waxhaws and Camden and were on long-term service for 12 to 18 months.

            They're kind of a weird beast because almost all of the officers I've encountered for these regiments had Continental Army commissions but were deemed supernumerary at one point (Febiger, Gaskins, Green, Hawes, Campbell, Posey, etc.) and yet I don't think they were ever officially made Continental, nor were they state troops or militia. So like I said, I think they are best described as 18-month levies on Continental service. An excerpt from a write up I'm doing on this can be found at http://secondvirginia.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/the-decline-of-the-virginia-line/

            Cheers,
            Todd
          • Art Kenney
            Completely agree about Gaskin s et al. They were not militia but it does make for a nice comparison. What are the chances of militia units getting good
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 24, 2013
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              Completely agree about Gaskin's et al. They were not militia but it does make for a nice comparison. What are the chances of militia units getting good equipment and uniforms when the line units are going without shoes and shirts?


              Art Kenney




              To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
              From: todd.post2@...
              Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 09:43:19 -0500
              Subject: Re: [Revlist] What the Virginia Militia Wore to War?





              Art,

              > They got French made Contract coats in mid '81 and those were issued to militia
              > and line units alike. IIRC, there were complaints about militia units getting them
              > and there not being enough for other units.

              Cool! What's the documentation for this? Kochan's work on contract coats states that the last known documented issue of the French coats were brown coats to the Maryland Extraordinary Regiment (best regimental name ever...later became the "new" 2nd Maryland Regiment) in September 1780.

              > But contrast all of that with descriptions of Gaskin's Battalion who had next to nothing
              >in the way of issued clothing.

              I'm not sure I would characterize Gaskin's Battalion as militia. Like Green and Hawes' regiments in 1780-1 which saw service with Greene's army in the Carolinas (later to become the "new" 1st and 2d Virginia Regiment) and later Posey's regiment in 1781-2, I have always been under the impression that these regiments were levies on Continental service. They were formed out of the ashes of the Virginia Line after Charleston, the Waxhaws and Camden and were on long-term service for 12 to 18 months.

              They're kind of a weird beast because almost all of the officers I've encountered for these regiments had Continental Army commissions but were deemed supernumerary at one point (Febiger, Gaskins, Green, Hawes, Campbell, Posey, etc.) and yet I don't think they were ever officially made Continental, nor were they state troops or militia. So like I said, I think they are best described as 18-month levies on Continental service. An excerpt from a write up I'm doing on this can be found at http://secondvirginia.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/the-decline-of-the-virginia-line/

              Cheers,
              Todd






              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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