|Green Mountain Boys, Massachusetts & Connecticut Militia|
While the Green Mountain Boys are most famous of the captors of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, they were not the only ones to take part in this early American victory. The Colony of Connecticut’s Committee to capture Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point, hired militia from Pittsfield, Massachusetts and elsewhere, in addition to Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. None the less, the attire of all involved appears to be broadly similar civilian clothing, whether from the Hampshire Grants, Connecticut, or Massachusetts. Typical New England style working-dress for the farm, shop or dockside appears to be the most common. On May 12th, 1775 Captain Lemuel Pomeroy applied an ad in the New England Chronicle for items lost by his militiamen:
Lost out of the Waggon in Westborough, two Packs and a great Coat, also a Cartridge-Box, and powder Horn. The packs contained two white Shirts, a check Shirt, 2 Pair of Stockings, some Provision, &c. &c.
Massachusetts militiaman Ezra Tilden elaborated on the belongings he brought into service in 1776:
A woolen Shirt with a snuff bottle full of ground coffee in it, and one and a half of chocolate in it too, wrapt up in a piece of brown paper and a new cotton and linen shirt and a new milk cheese wrapt up in it which weighed five pounds, a pair of white stockings, a pair of blue stockings, a bag of plumbs, a bag with three pounds and half of sugar in it, a pair of boots, a cap, a powder horn, four sheets of paper wrapt up in a piece of brown paper and four quills in it, a brown paper with two pieces of soap in it, one great pin, four small ones, one brown thread needle, and one worsted darning needle, one ball of white yarn, one ball of blue yarn, some strings, some thread, some sealing wax, a snuff box full of snuff, a pewter bason, a wooden plate, a spoon, a fork, a Jack-knife, a pen-knife, a pair of knee buckles, a pocket book and case to it, a small toothed comb, a pocket looking glass, an under-jacket, a short coat, a great coat, a pair of grey stockings, two pair shoes, a striped shirt, a pair of long trowsers, a hat, two handkerchiefs, a pair of shoe buckles, a pair of garters, a pack to carry my things in, some bread, a pair of arm strings, a pair of leather breeches, a pair of cloth breeches, a leather strap, a cod line, a frock, some tow.
A great resource to the exact colors, materials, and style of clothing is within runaway ads in New England. A compilation of these can be found here: New England Runaway Ads
Militia service had been a long standing tradition in New England, with regulations going back to the 1690s. During the French and Indian War, regulations were updated and reinforced in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The rising political tension of the growing colonial crisis was reflected in renew expansion and enforcement of militia laws. In the early 1770s colonies like Massachusetts mandated minute-men and militias to have proper arms and equipment. On December 10th, 1774 the Massachusetts Provincial Congress wrote “To the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Towns and Districts of Massachusetts-Bay ordering proper equipment to be obtained:
The improvement of the militia in general in the art military has been therefore thought necessary, and strongly recommended by this Congress. We now think that particular care should be taken by the towns and districts in this colony, that each of the minute men, not already provide therewith, should be immediately equipped with an effective firearm, bayonet, pouch, knapsack, thirty rounds of cartridges and balls.
Unlike equipment produced in large manufacturing procedures across England, equipment for New England Militiamen was constructed within small communities. Israel Litchfield of Scituate Massachusetts recorded in his diary the equipment he made for himself and men of his company in early 1775:
January 14th, 1775- I made me a Cartridge-box, I Covered it with a Coltskin it will carry 19 Rounds.
February 11th, 1775- In the forenoon I went over to ISI' Willcuts Shop and he & I made a Centre bitt to bore a Cartridge box. I Bored off one Box
February 25th, 1775- I wrought with Cap' Sam Stockhridge a makeing cartridge boxes
February 27th, 1775- I bought me a Back Sword or Cutless it Cost me ten Shillings Lawfull money Cap' Stockbridge bought a hide and an half of Moose skin for Catoos box Straps it Cost him 16.10.0 old tenor.
March 1st, 1775- I wrought with Cap Stockbridge a Stamping Covers for Catoos boxesIray Bryand was at work Leathering them.
March 13th,1775- In the forenoon I made my Sword Belt and Bayonet belt.
Beyond accoutrements, firelocks were of utmost importance to soldiers. Many of the town and colony regulations for firelocks are vague and offer only that they be fitted with a bayonet. The variation in weapons carried was noted in an anonymous observer of the Lynn Village militia men on April 19th, 1775:
Knapsacks or snapsacks are recorded extensively amongst regulation items for militiamen. The knapsack carried by Captain David Uhl, a New York Militia Captain is a single envelope style made of coarse linen. While this appears the as the style of knapsack carried by militiamen variation can be seen in, “A True account of what was lost in the Battle on Bunkers hill in Capt. BENJAMIN MANN'S Company in June ye 17th 1775,” listing the items lost by some of his his New Hampshire men:
Samuel Campbell, a coat, a pare of Trousers, shirt, Snapsac, Tumpline, Blanket, a pr. of Breeches, a pare Stockens;
Samuel Right, a coat, 2 shirts, 1 gun, a snapsack, a Tumpline, a Blankett, a pr. of breeches, a pr. of Stockens;
Isaac Flagg, 2 coats, a shirt, a pr of shoes, a Snapsack & tumpline, a Blankett, a pare of Breeches a pr. of stockens;
John Fish, a jacot, a pare of trousers, 2 shurts, a pr. of shoes, a Snapsack & Tumpline, a pair of breeches;
|Unlike the Continental Regulars raised later in the year of 1775, these New England Soldiers were drawn together rapidly for an expedition against Ticonderoga and were anything but regular. However, practical New England clothing common to any farm or trade shop, coupled with militia equipment and arms regulated by law, enabled a quick and very successful fighting force to capture Ticonderoga and launch American soldiers into an offensive.|
Best: Hand-stitched checked, striped, or white linen shirt 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.
Best: Silk, linen, or cotton handkerchiefs; linen neck stocks, or linen rollers, well-tied around the neck
Acceptable: Machine hemmed handkerchiefs or linen rollers.
Unacceptable: Military horsehair or leather neck stocks.
Hats and Caps
Best: Hand-finished, round blocked, black wool or beaver felt, round hats, fan tail hats, or cocked hats
Acceptable: Knit wool Monmouth, Dutch mutt, or Kilmarnock caps, oval blocked, white felt cocked or round hats.
Unacceptable: Slouch hats from unfinished blanks, straw hats, fur caps, grey or brown wool felt hats, cut down felt caps.
Best: Hand-finished, well-fit, wool broadcloth coats of drab, brown, green, red, or blue straight bodied or cutaway. Broadcloth short coats or sailor’s jackets with short skirts and mariner’s cuffs in the same colors.
Acceptable: Well-fit linen or linsey-woolsey coats of similar colors, broad cloth coats and sailors jackets with minor visible machine stitching.
Unacceptable: Regimental coats, hunting shirts, smocks, over-shirts, baggy coats, coats and jackets made of cotton canvas or damask upholstery fabric.
Jackets and Waistcoats
Best: Hand-finished, well-fit, single or double breasted, skirted or square cut, with sleeves or sleeveless, waistcoats 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, wool plush or silk, in solid colors or simple patterns. Sleeved waistcoats are acceptable as the primary outer garment.
Unacceptable: Regimental waistcoats, cotton canvas, upholstery fabric waistcoats, extremely long or baggy waistcoats.
Breeches and Trousers
Best: Hand-finished, well-fit leather breeches, trousers of linen or hemp canvas or checked linen, breeches with buckled knee bands in black, brown, drab, kersey, linsey-woolsey, serge, cotton velvet, wool plush, broadcloth.
Acceptable: Well-fit breeches or trousers with minor visible machine stitching.
Unacceptable: Regimental breeches, fringed trousers, overall trousers, baggy breeches.
Socks and Stockings
Best: White, grey or blue wool yarn or worsted stockings or socks seamed with back seams.
Acceptable: White, grey, black, brown, or blue stockings or socks of wool yarn, worsted, linen or cotton.
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, of black waxed-calf.
Acceptable: Machine made, black leather, shoes with buckles or ties, high-lows.
Unacceptable: Modern Footwear, modern moccasins, civil war bootees, or riding boots.
Best: Just stockings or well-fit, hand-finished spatterdashers or half-gaiters of black, brown, or drab wool, or black leather.
Acceptable: Well-fit canvas spatterdashers, or spatterdashers with minor machine finishing.
Discouraged: Wool leggings.
Unacceptable: Military gaiters, Indian leggings, baggy spatterdashers.
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. Plain, empty, powder horns with narrow leather straps.
Acceptable: Small, simple leather shot pouches with narrow leather shoulder straps, or belt loops.
Discouraged: Belly boxes or shoulder converted belly boxes.
Unacceptable: British 36 or 29-hole cartridge pouches, New Model American pouches.
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.
Best: Waist or shoulder belt mounted bayonet, hunting sword or cutlass.
Acceptable: None, small axes carried in a knapsack.
Discouraged: Sheathed tomahawks, belt axes, carried in a belt.
Unacceptable: Horse pistols, naval pistols, unsheathed bayonets, tomahawks, or belt axes.
Best: New England style fowlers, English fowlers, either plain or modified for a bayonet. Old British, French, or Spanish military arms.
Acceptable: American made muskets.
Unacceptable: Virginia or Pennsylvania styled long rifles, later French model muskets.
Knapsacks and Tumplines
Best: Plain single envelope knapsacks, drawstring canvas snapsacks, or hemp tumplines.
Acceptable: Painted canvas Benjamin Warner or similar pattern knapsacks, blanket rolls.
Unacceptable: British painted or goatskin knapsacks.
Best: 2-3 point check, Dutch, or rose blankets.
Acceptable: Plain white or 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.
Acceptable: Tin canteens with hemp rope sling.