Militia wear for1812
- "Major" Tom
Were there any Rifle Regiments from New York State?
(original question: "We are getting together a militia kit and are finding differing opinions about the style of hat worn by The New York militia.")
When researching the 27th United State Infantry Regiment at Carlyle Barracks they stated that all New York Militia Units were to be issued Regimentals of blue faced red.
Fort Malden (Amherstburg Ontario) displays a New York Militia Officer's tail coat and Chapeau Bras, the coat is blue faced red. Peter Twist now owns a reproduction of this coat.
Many re-enactors wear Rev Hunting Frocks when doing 1812. A learned tailor who supplies uniforms to museums has shown me the difference, one difference between a Rev Hunting Frock and an 1812 Hunting Frock is in 1812 the USA Rifle Regiments wore a collar similar to a Regimental coat.
I do agree with you of a "... militia company made up of people wearing the common dress of the village they purport to come from. Say the owner of the local newspaper wears a tailcoat of good quality, the farmer's son wears trousers and worker's jacket of homespun stuff, the judge/magistrate is the officer and dresses as the educated fashionable gentleman he is ..."
There was a re-enactor who was going to raise such a company but alas he has left the hobby.
The original question was "We are getting together a militia kit and are finding differing opinions about the style of hat worn by The New York militia."
The answer is "Mr. Thurston a US style shako"
--- "Tom Hurlbut" wrote:
Dare I mention that the US rifle regiments are documented to have worn hunting frocks ... What might be really interesting is to see a sedentary militia company made up of people wearing the common dress of the village they purport to come from. Say the owner of the local newspaper wears a tailcoat of good quality, the farmer's son wears trousers and worker's jacket of homespun stuff, the judge/magistrate is the officer and dresses as the educated fashionable gentleman he is, etc.. Now I'd like to see that! ..."
- ---The hunting shirt or riflemans frock is probably more correct as a rule for the Militia units from the Western States. We know with out a doubt the descriptions given the men from Kentucky who fought at the Battle of Tippicanoe in 1811, quite savage in appearance wearing hunting shirts, some even leather, wide belts with knives and tomahawks etc. Then again later at the River Raisin descibed the 600 or so militia as wearing riflemans frocks of a variety of colors, well worn slouch hats, long hair and unshaven, leather belts with enormous knifes and tomahawks, RIFLES... and the officers dressed the same except some had shorter rifles and daggers of some value. When Col Johnson went up to the Thames he took one thousand of the best riders of the 3000 man force and rode ahead to engage the Indians and the 41st. They were described as in a motley garb. Some say black riflemans frocks with red trim. The dragoon units wore top hots with cockades but the
majority of the mounted riflemen wore wide brim hats and carried rifles. They were ordered to dismount when they attacked the Indians. The officers were dressed the same.
When the 2500 men from Kentucky marched to New Orleans they were in a ragged state. The women of the local areas scrambled to put together blankets and extra clothes. One thousand showed up with out weapons at all. Andrew Jackson was quoted to have said," I have never met a Kentuckian with out a rifle, a deck or cards and a jug of whiskey!"
There has not been very much first hand descriptions of Kentucky Militia men wearing anything other than riflemans frocks... some perhaps, but not much.
So if you're fighting in battles that involved some of the 22,000 men from Kentucky who fought in their States Militia from the beginning of the war to the end you would likely be seeing many riflemans frocks of a variety of colors. Not much uniformity.
The terms of service for the men when they mustered up were about six months or so. The mustering papers told the men to provide their own cloths, gun and powder horns and sometimes even horses. They didn't require much because they weren't going to be gone for long. When they returned they would quite often muster back out again with the next Regiment being called out.
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