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Light Infantry Drummers Uniforms

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  • seanrmcd@aol.com
    I was wondering what the drummers in late war Continental Light Infantry would wear. I m assuming they would have the leather caps and also the short coats,
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 1 6:24 PM
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      I was wondering what the drummers in late war Continental Light Infantry
      would wear. I'm assuming they would have the leather caps and also the short
      coats, just in reversed colors. I'm also assuming that there were Light Infantry
      drummers -- am I wrong? Being that they were specialized units, would they not
      have drummers? I know so little about LI and am trying to get a bearing on
      them.

      Thanks in advance.

      YMH&OS

      Sean Russell Dermond
      3rd Regt. N. Jersey


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • ju_rees18938
      Given that supplies were sufficient, yes, light infantry musicians would have worn reversed color coats. Now that is assuming that regular musicians would have
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 1 7:29 PM
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        Given that supplies were sufficient, yes, light infantry musicians
        would have worn reversed color coats. Now that is assuming that
        regular musicians would have served with the light units, given that
        the preferred light infantry instruments were horns; would all
        drummers or fifers have been proficient on horns? Some enlisted
        privates may have been, and may have served in that role. We must
        remember that the light battalions were ad hoc units, their men taken
        from their parent regiments and put into battalions for the campaign.
        So early light battalions (say 1777-1779) must have been a motley
        looking crew. By 1780 there was more standardization, and it seems
        that light troops from the same region were banded together (so blue
        and buff coats would have been together, etc.).

        And, to make matters more complicated, light infantry sometimes wore
        hunting shirts, or, as in 1782, the uniform coats of some units were
        totally out of the norm, such as the captured British coats, dyed
        brown (still with the lace on) and worn by Massachusetts and New
        Jersey troops.

        Oh, what a tangled web they wove.

        John Rees



        --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, seanrmcd@a... wrote:
        > I was wondering what the drummers in late war Continental Light
        Infantry
        > would wear. I'm assuming they would have the leather caps and also
        the short
        > coats, just in reversed colors. I'm also assuming that there were
        Light Infantry
        > drummers -- am I wrong? Being that they were specialized units,
        would they not
        > have drummers? I know so little about LI and am trying to get a
        bearing on
        > them.
        >
        > Thanks in advance.
        >
        > YMH&OS
        >
        > Sean Russell Dermond
        > 3rd Regt. N. Jersey
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Todd Post
        Sean, You really need to document your impression to your specific unit at a specific time of the war. Late War can mean several things...for instance in
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 1 7:46 PM
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          Sean,

          You really need to document your impression to your specific unit at a
          specific time of the war. "Late War" can mean several things...for
          instance in 1781, some Massachusetts light infantry were wearing
          regimental coats and then hunting shirts, while in 1782 they were
          wearing captured British regimental coats which had been dyed brown.
          Both are "late war".

          Most people mean 1781 when they say "late war", which would kind of put
          you at a disadvantage since the 3rd New Jersey Regiment ceased to exist
          January 1781, being incorporated into the 1st and 2nd New Jersey
          Regiments. There was a single company of New Jersey light infantry
          which accompanied Lafayette into Virginia in April 1781 which was
          brigaded with five companies of New Hampshire lights during the
          Virginia Campaign. I can only say that the Massachusetts light
          infantry were ordered to first cut their coats down and then some time
          around June they got issued hunting shirts and overalls, which kind of
          bucks the traditional Continental "light bob" impression.

          Todd Post
          2d Virginia Regiment
          www.secondvirginia.org

          On Apr 1, 2004, at 9:24 PM, seanrmcd@... wrote:

          > I was wondering what the drummers in late war Continental Light
          > Infantry
          > would wear. I'm assuming they would have the leather caps and also the
          > short
          > coats, just in reversed colors. I'm also assuming that there were
          > Light Infantry
          > drummers -- am I wrong? Being that they were specialized units, would
          > they not
          > have drummers? I know so little about LI and am trying to get a
          > bearing on
          > them.
          >
          > Thanks in advance.
          >
          > YMH&OS
          >
          > Sean Russell Dermond
          > 3rd Regt. N. Jersey
        • Andrew De Lisle
          Sean, Which campaign are you refering to? I ask because the light infantry under Anthony Wayne in 1779 at Stony Point looked quite different form the light
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 1 10:35 PM
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            Sean,

            Which campaign are you refering to? I ask because the light infantry under Anthony Wayne in 1779 at Stony Point looked quite different form the light infantry down here in VA in 1781. In 1779 most of the Light Infantry Corps were wearing the contract uniforms recieved from france in 1778. There were also a number of them in hunting shirts and many did not have appropriate caps. This forced Wayne to issue an order shortly before the assault on Stony Point telling the men to place a piece of white paper in their hats. To get an idea what most of the lights probably looked like in 1779 check out the 2nd VA's website at www.secondvirginia.org

            Now the Light Infantry Division under Lafayette in 1781 operating in VA look a little different. Most of what I have found describes them as being clothed almost entirely in hunting shirts and overalls. There were some exceptions to this. For example I believe the New York lights had stable jackets (NY people please correct me if I am wrong). From what I have been able to find they all had caps and new black and red feathers in them courtesy of the Marquis. Lafayette also purchased swords for his NCO's and a few other things as well. It is important to remember that these lights were not the same bunch that Wayne had commanded. For example there were a fair amount of Virginia troops in Wayne's command but Lafayette's lights were mostly New Englanders and some New Yorkers.

            Now as for musician's uniforms, I have seen no references so far indicating any thing different from what the rest of the troops were wearing. No reversed colored musician's coats were purchased with the contract uniforms form France, so any distinctive uniform if it happened would probably have been on a regimental or brigade level. I have also seen no reference to distinctive uniforms for musicians in the lights in 1781 either. As for the question of having drummers, yes the lights had fifers and drummers. In fact, Sam Dewees a fifer in the Penn. Line and part of the Light Corps under Wayne in 1779 recalls being at Stony Point in his memoirs if I am not mistaken. I hope this long rambling post is of some use.

            Andrew De Lisle




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