Montcalm's Cross

Massachusetts Provincials

As historically significant as the 1758 campaign is, the trail of documentation for Massachusetts provincial soldiers is not as clear as in previous or subsequent campaigns. This is the result of the incredible number of soldiers raised, the speed with which they were raised, and administrative decisions on the part of Governor Thomas Pownall of Massachusetts. While Governor Pownall had ambition to fully clothe and equip all 7,000 Massachusetts soldiers, he quickly had to rely on the previous model for raising soldiers in the Bay Colony. A contractual idea of soldiering in the Bay Colony meant that the soldiers themselves could be financially and practically responsible for their own equipment and supply. To meet these needs some articles were issued to soldiers out of Royal or Colony of Massachusetts stores.

Before officially joining the service, every recruit had to pass muster, meeting the standards of both regimental inspectors and a British officer known as the “muster master” who inspected all soldiers joining the King’s service. Upon passing muster each recruit received a thirty schilling bounty. Each provincial soldier was entitled to thirty-six schillings of pay per month, and ten pounds at the conclusion of the campaign season. In 1758, each recruit would also receive an additional bounty of fifty schillings and a blanket for providing themselves with clothing. With both the initial pay for the campaign and this clothing bounty it was expected that each provincial soldier would thoroughly equip himself for that campaign season. This contractual and business-like arrangement between the soldier and the Colony of Massachusetts, as represented by the officers, allowed for entrepreneurship in supply. By 1758 Massachusetts merchants maintained a thriving trade in clothing articles specifically catered to military service. Individual soldiers sought out the best quality and prices for their necessary campaign clothing or simply used what they already had. Merchants worked to tailor and advertise their wares to this potentially lucrative market. The officers themselves had in previous campaigns turned the supply of their men into speculative sales in their own right, buying up large lots of clothing and selling it to the men in lieu of a portion of their pay. This practice by officers, however, was expressly forbidden by the colony in 1758.

In 1758, the Colony of Massachusetts both promised and successfully delivered many camp necessaries and pieces of equipment such as knapsacks, canteens, blankets, camp kettles, provisions, &etc. The massive number of soldiers raised outstripped all available sources of firelocks: Royal stores, Massachusetts stores, and even recently captured arms. Accordingly, personal arms, which were compulsory for able-bodied males subject to militia regulation, were invited into provincial service by considerable weapons bounties. It was with this combination of personal and public military stores that the men of Captain Job Winslow’s Company would serve in that famous Battle of Carillon, July 8th, 1758.

 

Shirts

Shirts were not issued to Captain Winslow’s men in 1758. They brought shirts from home of typical styles available at the time or purchased shirts for campaign with their clothing bounties. Linen was the primary shirt material of the time, in various colors and qualities, from fine white linen, to coarser checked, and tow linen. In addition to common linen shirts, the men of Winslow’s company may have had woolen shirts, as can be documented in Captain Thomas Lawrence’s company.

Best:Hand-stitched checked, striped, Druget (or other woolen) or white 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.

 

 
 

Hats

By July 4th,1758 every member of General Abercromby’s army had been ordered army to let down the brims of their hats and cut them into round hats with two and a half inch brims.  Even Connecticut provincial soldier Lemuel Lyon noted that day, “This day I cut my hat.” Every member of Captain Job Winslow’s company needs to have a black felt round hat with a two and a half inch brim.

Best: Black felt Round Hat with a 2.5” brim.

 

Shoes

The men of Captain Winslow’s company were almost exclusively from Dighton, Massachusetts and the surrounding area.  Black leather shoes were the norm for civilian life in this coastal town which was about as far from the frontier as you could get in 1758. Some men of this company certainly brought shoes from home, but merchants offered strong and common shoes to provincial recruits as well.  

Best:Hand-finished, short or long quartered, round toe, shoes with black waxed calf uppers, fitted for buckles.

Acceptable: Pucker-toe mocassins.

Discouraged: Shoe boots, half-boots high-lows, of black waxed-calf.

Socks and Stockings

Best: White or grey wool yarn or worsted stockings or socks seamed with back seams.

Acceptable: White, grey, black, brown, blue, or green stockings or socks of wool yarn, worsted, linen or cotton.

Unacceptable:Red, yellow, or polyester stockings.

 
Coats

We believe that the men of Captain Job Winslow’s company wore blue coats with red facings in 1758. Even without a specific uniform regulation for Massachusetts provincial soldiers in 1758, Merchants stocked blue uniform coats to sell to soldiers. The Colony of Massachusetts gave a clothing bounty to each of their soldiers in 1758 with which to purchase regimental coats for service. Based on officer’s portraits these provincial coats were similar to contemporary British military coats. On the front of these blue coats, distinctive red lapels ended just above three buttons which close the coat at the waist. Partially or fully-lined in red, the coats probably had functional turn backs, as with British military coats.. Sleeves, fuller and shorter than later silhouettes, terminated in a red cuff with some style of mariner’s placket. While these details appear to be consistent in officer’s portraits, merchant advertisements show a wide variety and quality of woolens used in these coats. 

ONLY OPTION: Well-fit, hand-finished, blue-faced red Massachusetts provincial coat made in broadcloth, kersey, duffel, or other woolens partially lined with red serge, bay, flannel or other lining wool, white domed metal buttons.

 

Jackets and Waistcoats

Much like shirts, the men of Winslow’s company brought a variety of waistcoats, jackets, breeches and trousers from home. Typical colors and materials available in Massachusetts in 1758 were supplemented by merchants’ offerings, geared towards military service.  While a variety of colors and materials are acceptable, hard wearing woolen waistcoats, woolen breeches, and leather breeches should be the majority in the company. Double-breasted red waistcoats were a favorite merchant offering, as were red and blue breeches of any number of stout woolen fabrics. 

Best:Hand-finished, well-fit, single or double breasted, with sleeves or sleeveless, waistcoats of, red, blue, drab, brown, or green broadcloth, kersey, flannel, or serge.

Acceptable: Well-fit, single or double breasted, skirted waistcoats of linen, linsey-woolsey, cotton, cotton velvet, wool plush or silk, in solid colors or simple patterns.

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

Breeches and Trousers

Best: Hand-finished, well-fit , breeches with buckled knee bands in red, blue, black, brown, drab, or green kersey, linsey-woolsey, serge, cotton velvet, wool plush, broadcloth, leather breeches trousers of linen or hemp canvas or checked linen

Acceptable: Well-fit breeches or trousers with minor visible machine stitching.

Unacceptable: Regimental breeches, fringed trousers, overall trousers, baggy breeches.

Leggings, Leggers, or Indian Spatterdashers

Captain John Knox of the British 43rd Foot described leggings in detail in the early winter of 1759. He noted his disdain for them as well, “I think them clumsy, and not at all military; yet I confess they are highly necessary in North America; never-theless,” Based on general orders, which survive in a New York provincial orderly book, it appears these woolen leggings were the responsibility of captains to issue to their companies. Every company was to be reviewed wearing them, prior to the army marching on Carillon in 1758. This interpretation of this general order is corroborated by the French Captain Francois Pouchot, who described the combined British and provincial army in 1758 noting, “all the officers and soldiers were supplied with a kind of gaiters like those worn by the Indians and Canadians.” He also accurately described of cut down hats, lending credence to his account. The inventory of Captain Thomas Lawrence indicates that Massachusetts Provincials, like Job Winslow’s Company were subject to this order regarding leggings as well.

Best:Leggings based upon the Knox description of green or blue Broadcloths, Duffels, Half-thicks and Frizes.

 

 

Cartridge Pouches

The majority of Captain Winslow’s company probably carried shot pouches and powder horns to carry their ammunitions. General Abercromby recommended this early in 1758, and the following year Massachusetts issued a horn and shot pouch to every provincial soldier. The Colony of Massachusetts procured a very small number of proper cartridge pouches. Dispersed over 7000 Provincial soldiers, they were scarce. The minority of soldiers carrying stands of arms from Royal stores may well have had 9 or 12 round government sets. Provincial stands of arms may have included these same government sets, but all indications are that shot pouches and horns were the majority with so many firelocks brought from home.

Best:Small, simple leather shot pouches with narrow leather shoulder straps for those carrying fowlers, civilian arms, contract muskets or old military muskets. 9 or 12 round government set cartridge boxes for those carrying British Board of Ordnance Pattern arms.

Unacceptable:Anything Else.

Powder Horns

Best:Plain, empty, powder horns with narrow leather straps.

Unacceptable:Native styled powder horns, or black powder filled horns.

Arms

The soldiers of Captain Job Winslow’s company carried a mix of muskets and fowlers. Massachusetts provincial soldiers received some British Long Land Pattern muskets and Dutch muskets out of Royal and colony stores. Some commercial made muskets were issued out of colony stores.  Even a few captured French muskets made it into Massachusetts provincial service in 1758. However, only 10,000 stands of arms were issued out of Royal stores for all northern colonies. Massachusetts only issued enough arms for about one-fifth of each regiment. Bounties encouraged Massachusetts provincials to bring weapons from home. The majority of these firelocks brought from home appear to be fowlers of local or English origin. To portray Captain Winslow’s company this mix of military and civilian firelocks is appropriate.

Best: New England style fowlers, English fowlers, plain or fitted for bayonets. Old Pattern British and Dutch muskets or commercial muskets.

Acceptable:Old pattern French muskets.

Unacceptable: Virginia or Pennsylvania styled long rifles, later French model muskets.

Sidearms

Along with leggings and cut down hats, Abercromby’s army laid aside swords before they marched on Fort Carillon. A shipment of cutlasses to Massachusetts provincials encamped near Albany probably stayed there. While small axes and tomahawks are popular icons of the French and Indian War, Massachusetts issued a, “small or light Wood-Ax for each Mess, six men to a Mess.” For Winslow’s men, these axes were no more weapons than the camp kettles issued with them. However, many of Captain Winslow’s men carried bayonets. Royal and Colony issued stands of arms seem to have included bayonets. A 1758 addendum to the Massachusetts militia law required half of militia arms to mount bayonets. On muskets and civilian firelocks, a significant number of bayonets should be carried as we recreate Captain Winslow’s company. 

Best:Bayonet with Scabbard, set into a government set frog or a waist belt.

Acceptable:No sidearm

Unacceptable:Anything Else.

 

 

Canteens

Whether, “a Tin Flask or Wooden Bottle,” the Colony of Massachusetts issued every member of Captain Winslow’s company a canteen. Recreating this company, kidney shaped tin canteens, and cheesebox or staved wooden canteens are great.

Best: Wooden Cheesbox or Staved canteens, Tinned Iron Kidney Shaped Canteens

Unacceptable: Anything Else

 

Knapsacks and Tumplines

The Colony of Massachusetts resolved to issue, “a good Knap sack” to every provincial soldier in 1758. It looks like they fulfilled their promise. At least Colonel Doty’s regiment received 1000 knapsacks in May of 1758. Soldiers in Captain Thomas Lawrence’s company carried both, “snapsacks,” and, “knapsacks.” We believe this may represent a distinction between single and double-strap bags, as inventories from the early American Revolution seem to indicate as well. In recreating Captain Job Winslow’s company both styles are acceptable. Members of Winslow's company also probably used tumplines. Whether by the example of Lord Howe, or just common practice, many Massachusetts provincial soldiers used tumplines to carry their blankets and other gear.

Best:, Single-Envelope, Two-strap Knapsacks, or Draw-string Canvas Snapsacks, carried in conjunction with hemp tumplines or blanket rolls.

Acceptable: Hair-on Calfskin Snapsacks

Unacceptable: British painted or goatskin knapsacks, Benjamin Warner Knapsacks.

 

Blankets

Every recruit who passed muster to join Captain Winslow’s company was to receive, “a good blanket and fifty shillings,” from the Colony of Massachusetts. No evidence has surfaced about what types of blanketsMassachusetts issued to their soldiers, but the colony’s House of Representatives voted to purchase blankets. Merchants offered a wide variety of blankets, which the colony may have purchased. While blankets were an issue item to Winslow’s company, we are going to allow a mix of commonly available styles.

Best: 2-3 Point, Check, Dutch, Rose Blankets, Civilian Center-Seamed Blankets.

Acceptable: British Army Blankets,Plain White or Hudson Bay blankets.

Unacceptable:Civil War Grey Blankets.