The Continental Marines
Uniform and Equipment
Although founded on 10 November 1775, the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress did not decide on a uniform for the officers of the Marines until 5 September 1776. It was to consist of:
"..a Green coat faced with white, Round Cuffs, Slash'd Sleeves and Pockets; with Buttons round the Cuff, Silver Epaulett on the right Shoulder - Skirts turn'd back, Buttons to suit the faceings. White Waistcoat and Brieches edged with Green Black Gaiters & Garters."
It also added "green shirts for the men if they can be procured."
When, in 1778, John Paul Jones sailed to Britain on his ship, Ranger, he had on board a company of Continental Marines led by Lieutenant Samuel Wallingford. Wallingford led a landing party in a failed attempt to kidnap Lord Selkirk, who was luckily absent from his home at the time. But Selkirk's wife was there, and she described the young officer:
"...one was a civil young man, in a green uniform, an anchor on his buttons, which were white, he came to the house in a blue greatcoat..."
Wallingford was also later described by a participant in the battle between
the Ranger and a ship of the Royal Navy:
"Wallingford came on deck looking very pale and was dressed in his regimentals that some other officer asked him why he came on deck for a mark to be shot at that he had better return and dress in some sailers dress which he did, but he soon fell..."
When his belongings were returned to his family, they consisted of:
"One Green vest & Breeches, Two pr. white Bd Cloth vest and Breeches worne etc., Two green Bd. Cloth Coats worne, etc., one Silver mounted Hanger etc."
Although we have not found such detailed descriptions of the other rank's uniform, convention follows that the men wore a simpler version of the officer's uniform, although it is known that the company commanded by Captain Robert Mullan wore a different uniform to differentiate themselves from the sea-borne Marines. A deserter from his company was advertised for in the Pennsylvania Gazette and Weekly Advertiser on 10 November 1777 as wearing:
"..his regimentals, a green coat with red facings, a green shirt, white woolen jacket, woolen stockings, and a round hat with white binding..."
Descriptions of deserters from other companies of the Marines during 1776 and 1777 show a variety of civilian and sailor's clothing, so obviously, like the rest of the Army, supplies may not have been as forthcoming as hoped. However, we have chosen to portray the regiment as it ideally would have looked, based on the uniform descriptions outlined above.
Our uniform consists of:
round hat of black felt with white binding and black cockade and regimental
White linen shirt and black leather neck stock
White woollen waistcoat with white metal buttons
White linen breeches worn with black gaiters
White linen sailors trousers for slop clothing
Green regimental coat with white facings and turnbacks, with white metal buttons of anchor design
White woollen stockings (hand knitted)
Black garters with brass buckles
Straight last black leather shoes with brass buckles
Black leather cartridge box with brass buckles and white buff leather strap
White buff leather waistbelt with brass buckle and frog for bayonet
Short land pattern Brown Bess musket with white buff leather sling
Bayonet and black leather scabbard
Wooden canteen for land service
Double envelope canvas backpack on natural leather straps