Montcalm's Cross

British Regulars

General Abercrombie’s army in the 1758 Campaign against Ticonderoga, was unprecedented both in size and the modification of clothing and equipment for fighting along the Lake Champlain corridor. Dr. Richard Huck described this army assembling in Albany in a letter to the Earl of Loudon on May29th, 1758.

The Art of War is much changed and improved here. I suppose by the End of Summer it will have undergone a total revolution. We are now literally an Army of round Heads. Our Hair is about an Inch Long; The Flaps of our Hats, which are wore slouched about two Inches and a half broad. Our Coats are docked rather shorter than the Highlanders, determined Napier says, that the French shall not stick in our Skirts. The Highlanders have put on Breeches and Lord Howe's Filabegs. Some from an Affection to their Gorgets still wear them. Swords and Sashes are degraded; and many have taken up the Hatchet and wear Tomahawks.

It is unclear how far these modifications extended initially, whether to merely Lord Howe’s 55th foot and the 42nd Highland regiment. Hats appear to have been uniformly modified for the whole army by the time they headed for the heights of Carillon. Private Lemuel Lyon, a Connecticut provincial noted in his journal on July 4th, “This day I cut my hat and received my amanition and provisions for 4 days and made radey for to go on.”On the eve of the July 8th battle, General Abercrombie’s General orders included a note that,“The whole Army to have their Hats cut as Colonel Bradstreet's is, that they may know one another from the Enemy.”

Much like hats, wool leggings appear to have been adopted across the whole army. An orderly book from Colonel DeLancey’s New York Provincial Regiment includes the June 30th, 1758 general order, “It is expected that the Commanding officers of Compys will take care our men Be provided with Clean shirts & properly drest with their Indian Stockings &ec In order to be Reviewed by a GenerallOfficer.” We can assume that these leggings were made with the combination of Indian and army styles recorded in the dairy of Captain John Knox in December of 1758.

Leggers, Leggings or Indian spatterdashers are usually made of frize, or other course wollencloth; they should be at least three quarters of a yard in length: each legging about three quarters wide (which is three by three) then double it, and sew it together from end to end, within four, five, or six inches of the outside selvedges. Fitting this long narrow bag to the shape of the leg, the flaps to be on  the outside, which serve to wrap over the skin, or forepart of the legs, tied round under the knee and above the ankle, with garters of the same color by which the legs are preserved from many fatal accidents…The army have made an ingenious addition to them by putting a tongue or sloped piece before, as there is in the lower part of the spatterdash, and a strap fixed to it under the heart of the foot, which fastens under the outside ankle with a button.

These Indian Stockings or leggings appear to have been blue, red, and green, based on officer’s letters describing attempts to purchase wools of these colors in Albany stores.

Taken all together, the British and provincial army in 1758 had a formidable, uniform appearance devised for fighting in a densely wooden environment for long periods. French Captain FrancoisPouchet described his enemy in his Memoir of the State of War in North America.

induced the army to cut their hair short, leaving it not more than two fingers’ breadth long, and all the officers and soldiers were supplied with a kind of gaiters like those worn by the Indians and Canadians and called Mittuzes. Their haversacks were rolled up in a blanket, which they carried as did the Indians and Canadians. They had each 30 pounds of meal, a pound of powder, and four pounds of balls, besides their cartridge boxes foll, so that an army thus equipped would need no magazine for a month. Their canteens were filled with rum . . . The officers and men had only shirt a piece, which was doubtless of cotton, and well made. Lord Howe set the example by himself washing his own dirty shirt, and drying it in the sun, while he in the meantime wore nothing but his coat.

Hats and Caps

Best: Black wool felt round hats with 2.5” brims.

Acceptable: Black wool felt-round hats or cocked hats.

Unacceptable: Fur caps, Voyageur caps, straw hats, slouch hats, glenngarry caps, green scotch caps

Shirts

Best: Hand-stitched white or checked linen shirt with short collar (under two and a half inches) narrow band cuffs with thread Dorset buttons or made for sleeve buttons (cuff links).

Acceptable: Machine stitched checked, striped, or white linen shirts.

Unacceptable: Cotton calico or plaid shirts.

Neckwear

Best: Silk, linen, or cotton neckerchiefs; linen neck stocks, or linen rollers, well-tied around the neck.

Acceptable: Machine hemmed neckerchiefs or linen rollers.

Unacceptable: Military horsehair or leather neck stocks.

 

Coats

Best: Hand finished, well-fit,  british regimental coats, either laced or unlaced, full length or cropped short.

Acceptable: Well-fit,  British regimental coats, either laced or unlaced, full length or cropped short with little visible machine stitching.

Unacceptable: Hunting shirts, Blanket shirts, Fur skins.

Jackets and Waistcoats

Best: Hand-finished, well-fit regimental waiscoat with or without sleeves.

Acceptable: Well-fit, regimental waistcoat with or without sleeves with minor visible machine stitching.

Unacceptable: Cotton canvas, upholstery fabric waistcoats, extremely long or baggy waistcoats.

Breeches

Best: Hand-finished, well-fit red regimental breeches, leather breeches, or coarse linen breeches, with buckled, buttoned or tied knee bands.

Acceptable:  Well-fit red regimental breeches, leather breeches, or coarse linen breeches, with buckled, buttoned or tied knee bands with minor visible machine stitching.

Unacceptable: Fringed trousers, baggy breeches.

Legwear

Best: Well-fit wool British army indian leggings of green, blue, red broadcloth, or other stout woolen cloth. Garters made of the same material.

Acceptable: Black or white canvas gaiters.

Unacceptable: Buckskin leggings, or baggy wool leggings.

Footwear

Best: Civilian black waxed leather buckled shoe.

Acceptable: Pucker toe or vamped mocassins

Discouraged: Half-boots

Unacceptable: Officer’s boots on non-officers; Dyer, Arrow, Minnetonka moccasins, Shoepacks

Cartridge Pouches

Best: British 20-hole cartridge pouche on a buff strap.

Acceptable: Nine or Twelve round Government accoutrement sets. Shot bag carried on a shoulder strap.

Unacceptable: Possibles bags.

Powder Horns

Acceptable: None or plain, empty, powder horns with narrow leather straps.

Unacceptable: Black powder filled horns.

Arms

Best: Long land pattern muskets.

Acceptable: Dutch muskets, military fusils.

Discouraged: Short land pattern muskets.

Unacceptable: Canoe gun, blunderbuss, long rifles.

Sidearms

Best: Sheathed bayonet carried on a buff waistbelt.

Acceptable: Sheathed bayonet carried on a government set frog. Small axe carried in a buff-waistbelt.

Unacceptable: Pistols, daggers, dirks.

Knapsacks and Tumplines

Best: hair-on calfskin or drawstring canvas snapsacks carried in conjunction with or without hemptumplines.

Unacceptable: Revolutionary war british painted or goatskin knapsacks, Benjamin Warner Knapsacks.

Canteens

Best: Kidney-shaped tinned-iron British army canteen on a hemp cord.

Acceptable: Similar tinned-iron canteens.

Blankets

Best: British Army Blankets.

Acceptable:, 2-3 point check, Dutch, Rose blankets, Civilian center-seamed blankets.

Plain white or Hudson Bay blankets.

Unacceptable: Civil War grey blankets.

Cook-wear and eating utensils

Best: Tinned iron camp kettles or mrass trade kettles, wooden bowls, pewter or horn spoons.

Unacceptable: Modern cook-wear, or anything that cannot be carried on the march.