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Description ~ Revolutionary Officers Uniform

In connection with these several rolls of revolutionary officers, a description of the uniforms worn by the several corps of the continental army is appended, as of general interest, it is extracted from a letter from George Washington P Custis, Esq. to Gen. John Spear Smith, President of the Maryland Historical Society, to whose kindness the author is indebted for its appearance here. It has, he believes, never before been published.

The General Staff

"Blue and buff (the ancient Whig colors of England) were adopted by Washington, as the uniform of the company that he first commanded, in the dawn of our troubles with the mother country. Buff lining to coat; buff under-clothes; black stock; black boots; cocked hat, with black ribbon cockade; white plumes for the general officers; yellow buttons, and sword mountings. Washington always wore a white stock, and, never, a plume."


"Blue coat, red facings and linings; red waistcoat; white breeches, half leg black gaiters; black stock; cocked hat, with black cockade; plume, red and blue, red uppermost; and yellow buttons."


"Blue coat with red facings, white lining and white under-clothes; black gaiters and stock; cap with blue and white plumes. Light Infantry. Short coatees, with blue and white plume, white buttons, and silver sword mountings."

Life Guard

"Blue coat with white facings, white under-clothes, white lining; black gaiters; blue and white plume: officers, cocked hats, blue and white plumes. Washington's Life Guard was a major's command, 180 picked men, commanded by Gibbs and Colfax, the crack corps of the army."


"Hunting shirt and leggins, picturesque costume of the woodsmen, and the veritable emblem of the Revolution. Morgan's riflemen wore, in winter, blue and white uniforms; hat turned up at the side with buck's tail; belt, tomahawk and knife."


"Lee's Legion, same as Tarleton's German Rangers, green and black, green buttons; buff under-clothes.

Washington's horse

"Blue and red, white under-clothes, white buttons and silver mountings."
"N. B. On the colors of the rifle corps, was the tomahawk, instead of a spear."

Maryland AHGP

Source: History of Maryland, by James McSherry, Baltimore, printed and published by John Murphy, 1849.


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