New Hampshire Continental Regulars
Enoch Poor’s Brigade
Joseph Cilley 1st NH
Nathan Hale 2d NH
Alexander Scammel 3d NH
In the spring of 1777 woolens and cash were scarce in New Hampshire. Despite requests for assistance to Massachusetts, New Hampshire’s three Continental line regiments hat little supplies beyond the civilian clothing they wore at enlistment. New Hampshire was not able to issue regimental uniforms until the end of the year, long after Fort Ticonderoga had been captured and burned to ruins. The Continental army public store at Ticonderoga issued out large numbers of new shirts, and straight legged trousers. In fact the Second New Hampshire received a pair of trousers for nearly every man. In contrast to clothing, the New Hampshire line was very well-armed with 2000 complete new French stands of arms received in April of 1777. Supply returns for the Second and Third New Hampshire from June show that these regiments’ French arms were in great shape, and that these regiments decently equipped with cartridge boxes, powder horns, and some shot pouches. Commissary Varrick of the Northern department testified in the Court Martial of General St. Clair that, “The three New Hampshire regiments, Colonel Scammel’s, Colonel Cilley’s and Colonel Hale’s had pretty good French arms, and chiefly bayonets.”
Best: Hand-stitched shirts made of checked, striped, or white linen with narrow band cuffs and thread Dorset buttons or made for sleeve buttons (cuff links).
Unacceptable: Cotton calico or plaid shirts.
Best: Silk, linen, or cotton neckerchiefs; linen neck stocks, or linen rollers, well-tied around the neck
Unacceptable: Military horsehair or leather neck stocks.
Hats and Caps
Hale’s 2nd NH and Scammell’s 3rd NH drew merely 26 and 39 hats from continental stores. Without evidence of uniform hat issuance, the best interpretation is that these New Hampshire regiments wore mostly civilian hats, both round and cocked hats brought from home.
Best: Hand-finished, round blocked, black wool or beaver felt, round hats, or cocked hats.
Acceptable: Knit wool Monmouth, Dutch mutt, or Kilmarnock caps, oval blocked, white felt cocked or round hats.
Unacceptable: Grey or brown wool felt hats, cut down felt caps, slouch hats from unfinished blanks, straw hats, fur caps.
Shortages of cloth in New Hampshire stores are reflected in clothing, with many regulars simply wearing their civilian coats. Men of Cilley’s 1st New Hampshire regiment drew merely 21 coats of unknown descriptions from Continental stores at Ticonderoga. Neither of the other regiments drew any coats. One deserter from Cilley’s regiment was described in May as wearing simply, “Brown Clothes.” Quite contemporary to the evacuation of Ticonderoga, a July 10th advertisement described two deserters. One wore, “a suit of white Clothing, bound with black Ferrit and Buttons.” Another very typical of NH soldiers’ dress wore, “a Sailor’s Jacket, and long Trowsers.”
Best: Hand-finished, well-fit, wool broadcloth short or long coats of drab, brown, red, or blue, made either straight-bodied or cutaway.
Acceptable: Old regimental coats of 1776 NH Continental Regiment colors (Blue faced red, Blue faced green, Brown with various facings).
Unacceptable: Smocks, over-shirts, baggy coats, coats and jackets made of damask upholstery fabric.
Jackets and Waistcoats
Continental store records from 1776 list a wide variety of colors and quality of wool cloth garments at Ticonderoga. However Cilley’s and Scammel’s regiments each only drew about 20 waistcoats from Ticonderoga stores. Other waistcoats appear to have been of civilian origin given the great shortages of cloth in New Hampshire. William Weeks, the paymaster of Scammel’s regiment wrote home describing his dress after loosing is baggage in the evacuation of Ticonderoga. He complained of only having, “my wiltonCoat, 1 white Jackett, 1 pr. thick cloth Breeches,” which he brought from home. Light colored, brown, blue and other typical woolen vests are a good safe bet.
Best: Hand-finished, well-fit, single or double breasted, skirted or square cut, waistcoats with or without sleeves made of drab, brown, green, red or blue broadcloth, kersey, or serge.
Acceptable: Well-fit, single or double breasted, skirted or square cut waistcoats of linen, linsey-woolsey, cotton, cotton velvet, or wool plush in solid colors or simple patterns. Sleeved waistcoats are acceptable as the primary outer garment.
Unacceptable: Upholstery fabric waistcoats, extremely long or baggy waistcoats.
Breeches and Trousers
Hale’s 2nd New Hampshire drew “240 pairs of trowsers worth 10 schillings each,” on May, 30th 1777 from Ticonderoga stores. While the other two regiments appear to have drawn fewer pairs of trousers (the 3rd merely drew 98 pairs of trousers and the 1st none), their common appearance in civilian dress and descriptions of NH milita make course linen or canvas trousers a very safe bet.
Best: Hand-finished, well-fit, trousers of linen or hemp canvas or checked linen,
Acceptable: Well-fit leather breeches, breeches with buckled knee bands in black, brown, drab, kersey, linsey-woolsey, serge, cotton velvet, wool plush, broadcloth
Unacceptable: Fringed trousers, baggy breeches.
Best: Just stockings or well-fit, hand-finished spatterdashers or half-gaiters of black, brown, or drab wool, canvas or black leather.
Discouraged: Spatterdashers worn with trousers.
Unacceptable: Military gaiters, Indian leggings, baggy spatterdashers.
Socks and Stockings
Best: White or grey wool yarn or worsted stockings or socks seamed with back seams.
Acceptable: No Socks worn with trousers.
Unacceptable: Red, yellow, 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, with black waxed-calf uppers.
Acceptable: Machine made, black leather, shoes with buckles or ties or high-lows.
Discouraged: Moccasins, half-boots worn with trousers.
Unacceptable: Modern Footwear, modern moccasins, civil war bootees, or riding boots(except for field officers).
A June 17th, 1777 return of Arms and Accoutrements from the 2nd and 3rd New Hampshire regiments shows the regiments reasonably supplied with cartridge boxes. Hale’s 2nd regiment lists, “347 Good,” missing merely 8 for the whole regiment. Scammell’s 3rd listed a less complete, “294 Good,” with, “128 Wanting.” In New England, “Cartidge Box,” seems to refer to what in British parlance was a cartridge pouch, rather than the wooden block or a belly box. This difference in language was humorously exploited by Burgoyne’s army after the convention at Saratoga. These New Hampshire cartridge boxes were undoubtedly made in the manner of any number of surviving examples of New England cartridge pouches with a wooden block drilled to accept 19 or more cartridges. This June 17th, 1777 arms return does list 28 Pouches for the 2nd NH and 39 for the 3rd. Likely shot pouches, these were few in number relative to the regiments’ cartridge pouches.
Best: New England style soft cartridge pouches black or fair leather with approximately 19 round cartridge blocks, narrow black or buff leather straps, or linen webbing shoulder straps.
Acceptable: Small leather shot pouches.
Discouraged: Belly boxes or shoulder converted belly boxes.
Unacceptable: Belly boxes or shoulder converted belly boxes. British 36 or 29-hole cartridge pouches, New Model American pouches.
Colonel Hale’s 2nd New Hampshire listed 91 powder horns in their June 17th, 1777 return of Arms and Accoutrements. The 3rd Regiment listed 144. This is about ¼ and 1/3 of the men carrying horns for the 2nd and 3rd New Hampshire regiments respectively.
Best: Plain, empty, powder horns with narrow leather straps.
Acceptable: No powder horn to go with a cartridge pouch.
Unacceptable: Native styled powder horns, or black powder filled horns.
The effect of 2000 new French muskets is clear in the June 17th, 1777 return of Arms and Accoutrements. Both regiments were completely equipped with, “355 Good and 15 Bad,” muskets for the 2nd New Hampshire and, “408 Good and 14 Bad,” muskets in the 3rd New Hampshire.
Best: French musket in great condition.
Acceptable: Old pattern French muskets.
Discouraged: Old pattern Dutch, British, commercial or American made muskets.
Unacceptable: Virginia or Pennsylvania styled long rifles.
Curiously the June 17th, 1777 Return of Arms and Accoutrements does not list bayonet belts and scabbards for either the 2nd or 3rd New Hampshire regiments, while listing these items for Warner’s Additional Regiment. The reason for this difference in the return is unclear. If Warner’s regiment is an indication, Scabbards and waistbelts were very much wanting. However, Warner’s regiment was part of the New York establishment not New Hampshire. Militia waist and shoulder belts, much as civilian clothing, may have been carried into regular service, with a new French bayonet inserted into the old scabbard. The June 17th return may simply have overlooked this accoutrement, with the regiment similarly well supplied with bayonet belts and scabbards much as cartridge pouches. It is possible too the new bayonets were kept on the new French muskets, as would become a standard Continental Army practice late in the War.
Best: Waist or shoulder belt carried bayonet.
Acceptable: Bayonet fixed to the musket, small axes carried in a knapsack or in a belt.
Unacceptable: Horse pistols, naval pistols, unsheathed tomahawks, or belt axes.
Knapsacks and Tumplines
Best: Painted canvas Benjamin Warner or similar pattern knapsacks,
Acceptable: Plain single envelope knapsacks, drawstring canvas snapsacks, or hemp tumplines blanket rolls.
Unacceptable: British painted or goatskin knapsacks.
Best: 2-3 Point checked, Dutch, or rose blankets.
Discouraged: Hudson Bay blankets.
Unacceptable: Civil War grey blankets.
Best: Wood cheese box, or staved canteens of documented period pattern with narrow leather or linen webbing strap. Cheese box canteens should have narrow leather keepers or narrow iron staples to retain the strap.
Discouraged: Tin canteens of kidney or half-moon shape.
Unacceptable: Wool canteen covers, jacked leather canteens, covered glass bottles, copper canteens, stainless steel canteens, gourd canteens, and Petite Bidon.