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  1. #1
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    Highlanders in the French and Indian Wars

    What would a traditional highlander unit wear in the French and Indian War? Were tartans set yet? Did each unit really have it's own?

    I am interested in assembling a uniform from this period for myself. I really enjoy that period of American history and prior to that.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Our own "Malcolm MacWilliam" is the man you want to talk to, and this is his website:

    www.muskets-of-the-crown.org

    Generally speaking, all of the units wore the Government Sett (Black Watch) and a fairly standardized uniform. The main differences between each unit were the facing colors and regimental "lace" on their coats and waistcoats....
    Last edited by Woodsheal; 25th October 09 at 11:51 AM.
    Brian

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
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    Three Highland regiments served in North America during the French and Indian War.

    All were uniformed much alike, though with some slight differences. At the beginning of their service, all three regiments wore a blue bonnet, red (scarlet for officers and madder red for other ranks) jacket, red waistcoat, red and white diced hose, and the great kilt. As the war progressed, they set this uniform aside for formal parades and wore a campaign uniform conisting of a red sleeved waistcoat and small kilt.

    The oldest regiment, the 42nd "Black Watch" wore the yellow facings on their coats and wore the Government Sett or Black Warch tartan. In 1758 they were made a Royal Regiment and changed their facings to blue.

    The British government figured the war was one way to funnel the aggresssive warlike nature of the Highlanders and also to send some Jacobites out of Scotland. Two regiments were raised, the 77th, Montgomeries, and the 78th, Frasers.

    The 77th wore green facings and they also wore the Government Sett.

    The 78th wore buff facings, though there is considerable debate on what tartan they wore. Some think they wore the Government Sett, but there is evidence that they wore a red-based tartan. When I belonged to a unit of the 78th in California, we wore a tartan that was basically the "ancient" Fraser tartan - very orange in color.

    To my knowledge there is no commercially available pattern for the Highland jacket and most reenactment units have their own patterns for new recruits. You may be able to borrow or buy one of these. There are a few sutlers that can make the jacket and waistcoat for you, but they aren't cheap. Malcolm may be able to provide better information on this as I'm no longer active in a Highland reenactment unit.

    Sir William
    Formerly Corporal, 77th Regiment of Highland Foot
    Formerly Serjeant, 78th Highland Regiment of Foot
    Virginia Commissioner, Elliot Clan Society, USA
    Adjutant, 1745 Appin Stewart Regiment
    Adjutant, Post 2, Scottish-American Military Society
    US Marine (1970-1999)

  4. #4
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    If you can find a copy of Instrument of War, a fantastic documentary on bagpipes, they have a section about Highland Regiments in North America.

  5. #5
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    So what you all seem to be saying is that there were kilts being worn in North America, in what would become the United States, all before the heavily, Scottish influenced creation of the United States... I'll have to remember that.

    It's already been established on the forum that there is historical proof, across several time periods and locations, of the kilt being worn in America after the creation of the US. Hmmmm...
    I tried to ask my inner curmudgeon before posting, but he sprayed me with the garden hose…
    Yes, I have squirrels in my brain…

  6. #6
    MacBean is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Crocker View Post
    So what you all seem to be saying is that there were kilts being worn in North America, in what would become the United States.
    Archibald MacBean returned from the Scottish settlement in Darien, Georgia to Inverness in 1736 in order to recruit more settlers for the colony. His list of supplies was long but included instructions to Mr. Hossack to "buy ... for the Highlanders...300 yards of Tartan at 12d sterling a yard for short Coats & short Hose & 1200 yards of Tartan at 14d sterling ayard for Plaids..." The settlement failed, but it does indicate the custom clothing of Highlanders at the time. Although this may have been the first Scottish colony, there were certainly Scots in the Americas at least 100 years before this.

    Anthony W. Parker, "Scottish Highlanders in Colonial Georgia, The Recruitment, Emigration, and Settlement at Darien, 1735-1748". U. Georgia Press 2002.
    Last edited by McMurdo; 26th October 09 at 05:45 PM. Reason: fixed quote code

  7. #7
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    Gedney Godwin and Jas Townsend are two sutlers who may be able to help with uniform coats although they may just do Rev. War. You could contact the 78th Regt. Frasiers Highlanders up in Montreal and they might be able to help. Good Luck.
    By Choice, not by Birth

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacBean View Post
    Archibald MacBean returned from the Scottish settlement in Darien, Georgia to Inverness in 1736 in order to recruit more settlers for the colony. His list of supplies was long but included instructions to Mr. Hossack to "buy ... for the Highlanders...300 yards of Tartan at 12d sterling a yard for short Coats & short Hose & 1200 yards of Tartan at 14d sterling ayard for Plaids..." The settlement failed, but it does indicate the custom clothing of Highlanders at the time. Although this may have been the first Scottish colony, there were certainly Scots in the Americas at least 100 years before this.

    Anthony W. Parker, "Scottish Highlanders in Colonial Georgia, The Recruitment, Emigration, and Settlement at Darien, 1735-1748". U. Georgia Press 2002.
    I know some people over at UGA I will follow up with this and I really appreciate it!!! This is what I was looking for.

    This is all great info from everyone. I really appreciate it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Well, sounds like we had kilts being worn over here from early on. Just taking note.
    I tried to ask my inner curmudgeon before posting, but he sprayed me with the garden hose…
    Yes, I have squirrels in my brain…

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Before contacting the UGA contact the FOrt King George in Darien Ga also Fort Frederica on Saint Simons Island Ga 15 min south of darien as this was the fort in which Gen Oglethorpe built and whom the Highlanders where fighting for. They were known as Oglethorpe's Highland Independent Company. I lived on St Simons upo until June, and was part of Clan Nan Con, a reenactment group portraying Oglethorpe's Highlanders. It is to note to that the tartan worn by these scots were of a non discript tartan and they all looked very much like typical highlanders of the time. The only thing uniform were the blue bonnets and the black cockade denoting crown service.
    Cheers,
    Chad

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