Defiance & Independence

British Regulars

The appearance of General Burgoyne's Army underwent a tremedous overhaul prior to their arrival at Ticonderoga in the summer of 1777. Their clothing was alterred due to events of the previous fall. In the fall of 1776 Captain John Paul Jones, patrolling the waters off the coast of Nova Scotia, captured the British merchant ship Mellish, destined for Canada and carrying much of the British Army's 1777 clothing supply. The capture of the Mellish would have profound effects on the appearance of the British Army in the following year. By the time General John Burgoyne assumed command of the army in early 1777, the regiments of his army were wearing clothing that was over a year old and had already seen an active season of campaigning. With no new clothing arriving for the troops by February 1777, steps were taken to modify and repair clothing for the upcoming campaign season.

A General Order from Major General Phillips that appears in multiple orderly books at the beginning of February 1777 states:

The Clothing for the several Regiments not being arriv'd, His Excellency the Commander in Chief allows the Commanding Officers of the Battalions to accommodate the present Clothing as shall be most convenient for the Men, and it is to be repaired so as to serve the Campaign until the new Clothing Arrives

A subsequent order, noted in the orderly book of The Royal Regiment of Artillery in early March indicates further attempts at properly equipping the soldiers of the army for the upcoming campaign:

7th March, ...The Commissary to deliver to the Qr. Master to morrow at Eleven O'Clock, all the old Tents, which are to be cut up into Trowsers for the Men; the women of the three Companies, to be employ'd in making them.

The modifications to the clothing continue into April, again evidenced by orders from the RA orderly book this time dated April 3rd:

... The taylors are to receive four Shillings pr. Suit for altering the Clothing, and Two Pence pr. Pair for cutting the Mens Trowsers, each man is to have a pair of Breeches cut and made agreeable to the pattern of Serjeant Ramsey. The Mens Hatts to be cut into Caps after a pattern which will be given. A sufficient quantity of Horse Hair, to be bought and Dyed Reed for this purpose...

While this order shows that the hair for the caps was likely most often procured by legitimate, legal methods, a diary kept by Ensign Thomas Anbury of the 24th Regiment illustrates a little less savory method that some soldiers used to procure the hair for their caps:

The clothing for the army not being sent out last year, and as it will be too late to fit to the men when it arrives, the commanding officers of the different regiments have received orders to reduce the men’s coat into jackets, and their hats into caps, as it will be the means of repairing their present clothing, and be more convenient for wood service, the when the army take the field, they will in a manner be all light infantry. The regiments have the hair that is affixed to their caps of different colours; ours is red, and as the purest white hair takes the best colour, several soldiers, ambitious to have theirs superior to the rest, occasioned a very ludicrous affray betwixt them and the inhabitants, in which the soldiers were worsted, and got a severe beating.

 They went into a field, to the number of about twenty, and began to cut the hair from the bottom of the cows’ tails: the owner, observing this, assembled his neighbours and fell upon the soldiers with sticks, when a scuffle ensued, and the soldiers returned home with broken heads.

            Two that had been severely beaten made a complaint to the major of the regiment, who asked them if they had on their side-arms, when replying in the negative, he told them how glad he was they had gotten a beating; that they should always be worn, being the same to a soldier as a sword was to an officer.

A series of contemporary watercolors by Friedrich von Germann , a captain in a regiment from Hesse-Hanau that served alongside the British army on Burgoyne’s expedition, illustrates individual soldiers from all but one of the British regiments in Burgoyne's army, and shows these changes in excellent detail. The coats are all shown cropped from their normal just above-the-knee length to a shorter jacket or coatee length.  Portions of the coats cropped away were used to patch the body of the coat. The pocket flaps which were originally placed horizontally have been relocated in a vertical position to give the appearance of Light Infantry. The cocked hats have all been cut down into caps with hair crests dyed in a particular color for each individual regiment. Gone are the woolen broad-cloth breeches, now replaced with breeches and / or gaiter-trousers made of hemp or linen canvas. Perhaps the only item of clothing that retained its original 1768 Warrant dictated form was the soldier’s waistcoat.


Best: Horsehair or Manchester Velvet military style neck stocks with brass clasps. or linen rollers, well-tied around the neck

Acceptable: Hand Hemmed Linen Rollers.

Discouraged: Silk, linen, or cotton neckerchiefs (except officers); linen neck stocks, machine hemmed linen rollers. 


Best: Hand-stitched white linen shirt, narrow band cuffs with thread Dorset buttons or made for sleeve buttons (cuff links).

Acceptable: Machine stitched white or checked linen shirts.

Unacceptable: Cotton calico or plaid shirts.

Hats and Caps

Best: Hand-finished, round blocked, black wool or beaver felt, 1777 Style Canada Cap based upon Von Germann Watercolors.

Acceptable: oval blocked, black felt caps of the same.

Discouraged: Cocked or Round cut hats (excepting officers)

Unacceptable: Knit wool Monmouth, Dutch mutt, or Kilmarnock caps Grey, White or brown wool felt hats, Slouch hats from unfinished blanks, straw hats, fur caps.

Forage Caps

Best: Hand-finished, well-fit madder broadcloth cap turned up with facing colored broadcloth.

Acceptable: Madder broadcloth cap with turban with yellow broadcloth front flap with minor visible machine stithcing. Plain blue Scots bonnets.

Unacceptable: Anything else


Best: Hand finished, well fitted, madder red wool broad cloth regimental coatee with appropriate facings, buttons and regimental lace.

Acceptable: Similar madder red regimental coatee with minor visable machine stitching.

Discouraged:  Un-modified coats conforming to the 1768 Warrant.

Unacceptable:  Non-uniform coats.


Best: Hand-finished, well-fit, single breasted, skirted white or buff broadcloth waistcoats for Battalion Company soldiers or square cut sleeveless, waistcoats of red broadcloth for Light Infantry Soldiers. Both should have welted pockets, conforming to the 1768 Warrant.

Acceptable: Well-fit, similar waistcoats with minor visible machine stitching.

Unacceptable: Upholstery fabric waistcoats, extremely long or baggy waistcoats, waistcoats of colors other than those conforming to the Kings Warrant of 1768. 

Breeches and Trousers

Best: Hand-finished, well-fit breeches or gaiter-trousers of linen or hemp canvas. Breeches should button at the knee. 

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

Discouraged: Woolen Breeches, Plaid Gaiter Trousers, Woolen Brown, Black or Blue Donation Cloth Gaiter Trousers, Leather Breeches (except for Mounted Officers) Kilts.

Unacceptable: Fringed trousers, baggy breeches, breeches of colors not conforming to the Kings Warrant of 1768.

Leg wear

Best: Spatterdashes with breeches or just socks with gaiter-trousers.

Unacceptable: Tall military gaiters, Indian leggings, baggy spatterdashes.

Socks and Stockings

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

Acceptable: White or grey stockings or socks of wool yarn, worsted, linen or cotton.

Unacceptable: Red, yellow, black, blue or polyester stockings.


Best: Hand-finished, short or long quartered, round toe, shoes with black waxed calf uppers, fitted for buckles. Shoe boots, half-boots high-lows, of black waxed-calf.

Acceptable: Machine made, black leather, shoes with buckles or ties, high-lows.

Discouraged: Moccasins, Shoe boots, half-boots high-lows (except for officers)

Unacceptable: Modern Footwear, modern moccasins, civil war bootees, or riding boots (except for field officers).


Best: 1756 Long Land Pattern or 1768 Pattern Short Land Pattern British Ordnance Muskets.

Unacceptable:  Older pattern British Ordnance muskets, Dutch, French, commercial or American made muskets. Virginia or Pennsylvania styled long rifles.

Side Arms

Best: Bayonet mounted in waist belt based upon extant buff leather waist belt. Proper pattern hangers for NCO’s and Swords for Officers hung from proper belting.

 Discouraged: Sheathed tomahawks, belt axes, carried in a belt.

Unacceptable:Horse pistols (except for officers), naval pistols, unsheathed bayonets, tomahawks, or belt axes.

Cartridge Pouches

Best: British 36 hole reversible block pouch or 29-hole “Fanning” style cartridge pouch.

Acceptable: 1760s style soft bodied cartridge pouch with a white buff shoulder strap. 18 Round Government Accoutrement set.

Unacceptable:New Model American pouches. New England Style Soft Cartridge Pouches. Powder Horns (other than proper light infantry horns with ball bags for Light Infantry companies). 36 round B.A.R. Suitcase pouch.


Best: Half-moon shaped tined-iron canteen slung from a narrow hemp cord.

Acceptable: Kidney-shaped tinned-iron canteen or similar pattern.

Unacceptable: Anything Else.


Best: Painted or Goatskin knapsack based upon the extant “Isaac Royall House” knapsack.

Unacceptable: Benjamin Warner style Knapsacks, Tumplines, Snapsacks.


Best: White Hand-woven British Army Issue blanket with white or brown stripes and Government Stamp or Rose Blankets.

Acceptable: Plain white blankets.

Unacceptable:Civil War grey blankets, Dutch blanket, Hudson Bay “Point” Blankets.