1768 Colours & Clothing Warrant

His Majesty's Warrant for the Regulation of the Colours, Clothing, etc. of the Marching Regiments of Foot. 'Miscellany Book: Clothing Correspondence. 19 December 1768.' National Archive WO 30/ 13B; Quoted in Simes, Thomas (1776) 'The Military Guide for Young Officers'. An earlier clothing warrant (14 September 1743) is printed in a volume entitled 'Rudiments of War' (1727) at the British Museum (5349. 17/2)

Elaborations on points in Cuthbertson, Bennett (1768) 'A System for the Complete Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry', added by the editor.

Royal Cypher of George III

GEORGE R.

Our will and pleasure is, that the following regulations for colours, clothing, etc. of Our marching regiments of foot, be duly observed and put in execution, at such times as the particulars are or shall be furnished.

No Colonel is to put his arms, crest, device, or livery, on any part of the appointments of the regiment under his command.

Colours.

The King's, or first colour of every regiment, is to be the Great Union throughout.

The second colour to be the colour of the facing of the regiment, with the Union in the upper canton; except those regiments which are faced with red, white, or black. The second colour of those regiments which are faced with red or white, is to be the red cross of St. George in a white field, and the Union in the upper canton. The second colour of those which are faced with black, is to be the St. George's cross throughout; Union in the upper canton; and 3 other cantons, black.

In the centre of each colour is to be painted, or embroidered, in gold Roman characters, the number of the rank of the regiment, within the wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk; except those regiments which are allowed to wear royal devices, or ancient badges; on whose colours the rank of the regiment is to be painted, or embroidered, towards the upper corner. The size of the colours to be 6 feet 6 inches flying, and 6 feet deep on the pike. The length of the pike (spear and ferril included) to be 9 feet 10 inches. The cords and tassels of the whole to be crimson and gold mixed.

Drums.

The drums to be wood.

The front to be painted with the colour of the facing of the regiment, with the King's cipher and crown, and the number of the regiment under it.

Bells of Arms.

The bells of arms to be painted in the same manner.

Camp Colours.

The camp colours to be 18 inches square, and of the colour of the facing of the regiment, with the number of the regiment upon them. The poles to be 7 feet 6 inches long, except those of the quarter and rear guards, which are to be 9 feet.

Uniform of Officers.

Junior Officer of the 17th Regiment of Foot
Lieutenant of the 17th Regiment of Foot.

The number of each regiment to be on the buttons of uniforms of the Officers and men. The coats to be lapelled to the waist with the colour of the facing of the regiment, and the colour not to be varied from what is particularly specified hereafter. They may be without embroidery or lace; but, if the Colonel thinks proper, either gold or silver embroidered or laced button-holes are permitted. To have cross pockets, and sleeves with round cuffs, and no slits. The lappels and cuffs to be of the same breadth as is ordered for the men.

Epaulettes.

The Officers or grenadiers to wear an epaulette on each shoulder. Those of the battalion to wear one on the right shoulder. They are to be either embroidery or lace, with gold or silver fringe.

Waistcoats.

The waistcoats to be plain, without either embroidery or lace.

Swords and Sword-Knots.

The swords of each regiment to be uniform, and the sword-knots of the whole to be crimson and gold in stripes. The hilts of the swords to be either gilt or silver, according to the colour of the buttons on the uniforms.

Hats.

The hats to be laced either with gold or silver, as hereafter specified, and to be cocked uniformly.

Sashes and Gorgets.

The sashes shall be of crimson silk, and worn round the waist. The King's arms to be engraved on the gorgets; also the number of the regiment. They are to be either gilt or silver, according to the colour of the buttons on the uniforms. The badges of those regiments which are entitled to any, are also to be engraved.

Caps, Fuzils, and Pouches, for Grenadier Officers.

The Officers of the grenadiers to wear black bearskin caps; and to have fuzils, shoulder-belts, and pouches. The shoulder-belts to be white or buff, according to the colour of their waistcoats.

Reproduction of a spontoon.
Reproduction Spontoon (combat blunt) made by Jason Greene.

Espontoons.

The battalion Officers to have espontoons.

Gaiters.

The whole to have black linen gaiters, with black buttons, and small stiff tops, black garters, and uniform buckles.

Serjeants Coats.

The coats of the Serjeants to be lapelled to the waist, with the colour of the facing of the regiment. The button-holes of the coat to be of white braid. Those on the waistcoats to be plain. The Serjeants of grenadiers to have fuzils, pouches and caps. Those of the battalion to have halberts, and no pouches.

Corporals Coats.

The coats of the Corporals to have silk epaulette on the right shoulder.

Grenadiers Coats.

The coats of the grenadiers to have the usual round wings of red cloth on the point of the shoulder, with fix loops of the same sort of lace as on the button-holes, and a border round the bottom.

"The wings to Grenadiers and Drummer's Coats are better of an oval shape, than square, as the points of the latter soon curl up, and thereby never after look so smart and tight upon the shoulders; and will be found to answer the design of adding to their breadth, to the full as much as square ones: the Serjeants or Grenadiers ought to be distinguished by their kind of wings to their Coats, from the other Serjeants, as much as private Men of that Company are from those of the Battalion ones." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 11, Page 70.

Private Mens Coats.

The mens coats to be looped with worsted lace, but no border. The ground of the lace to be white, with coloured stripes. To have white buttons. The breadth of the lace which is to make the loop round the button-hole, to be about half an inch. Four loops to be on the sleeves, and 4 on the pockets, with 2 on each side of the slit behind.

"A Soldier's coat should always be tight over the Breast (without restraint) for the sake of showing his figure to more advantage; on which account, and to prevent that part from flying back, and being thereby troublesome in the performance of the Exercise, Cloth Loops, with a small button and hole to them, should be fixed upon the inside of the Coat, about an inch from the edge of each Lapel, and just above the pit of the stomach." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 7, Page 69.
"As the tucking back the skirts of a Soldier's Coat, contributes to his marching light, and adds considerably to the smartness of his air, he should be obliged to keep them always in that position, which may readily be done, by sewing the binding Lace of the front and back parts of the skirts, upon the Lining, instead of the Cloth; this will also be an ornament to the Coat, as that Lace must otherwise be hid: and to render it still more out of his power to let them down (a kind of slovenlyness, in which Soldiers are happy to indulge themselves, when from under the immediate eye of their Officers) the corners of the skirts should be closed by a laced cloth-loop, or some other fancied ornament, firmly sewed across them; unless a Regiment be on Service, in which case, that must be changed for a hook and eye, occasionally to let loose the skirts upon the thighs, for the sake of warmth to the Soldiers in their Tents, and on all night-duties, which are the only times, they should ever be allowed to unhook them." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 9, Pages 69-70.

Lappels, Sleeves, and Pockets.

Lapel, lace of the 17th Regiment of Foot
Lapel of the 17th Regiment of Foot, showing broadcloth, lace and buttons.

The breadth of all the lapels to be 3 inches, to reach down to the waist, and not to be wider at the top than at the bottom. The sleeves of the coats to have a small round cuff, without any slit, and to be made so that they may be unbuttoned and let down. The whole to have cross pockets, but no flaps to those of the waistcoat. The cuffs of the sleeve which turns up, to be 3 inches and a half deep. The flap on the pocket of the coat to be sewed down, and the pocket to be cut in the lining of the coat.

"Pockets in the side Plaits of a Soldier's Coat must always make the Skirts swell out, and hang in an awkward manner, whenever any thing is carried in them, therefore should be fixed where Pockets usually are in a full skirted Coat, with the difference of being on the inside, instead of the outside of it." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 8, Page 69.
"The cuff of a Soldier's coat should never be wider, than just to admit his hand with ease: laying aside the superior Look of it above a large one, it certainly, from being close about the wrist, is infinitely warmer, and enables a Man to handle his Firelock with greater dexterity, as he meets with nothing to entangle in the Lock of it, or in any particular to incommode his performance." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 12, Page 70.

Shoulder-Belts and Waist-Belts.

The breadth of the shoulder-belts to be 2 inches and 3-4ths; that of the waist-belt to be 2 inches and 3-4ths; and those regiments which have buff waistcoats, are to have buff-coloured accoutrements. Those which have white waistcoats, are to have white.

Drummers, and Fifers Coats.

The drummers and fifers to have black bear-skin caps. On the front, the King's crest, of silver plated metal, on a black ground, with trophies of colour and drums. The number of the regiment on the back part; as also the badge, if entitled to any, as ordered for the grenadiers.

Grenadiers Caps.

Grenadier Cap c.1780 (Grenadier Guards Collection, London UK)
Grenadier Cap c.1780 (Grenadier Guards Collection, London UK)

The caps of the grenadiers to be of black bear-skin. On the front, the King's Crest, of silver plated metal, on a black ground, with the motto, Nec aspera terrent. A grenade on the back part, with the number of the regiment on it. The royal regiments, and the 6 old corps, are to have the crest and grenade, and also the other particulars as hereafter specified. The badge of the royal regiments is to be white, and set on near the top of the back part of the cap. The height of the cap (without the bear-skin, which reaches beyond the top) to be 12 inches.

Hats of the Whole.

The hats of the Serjeants to be laced with silver. Those of the Corporals and private men to have a white tape binding. The breadth of the whole to be 1 inch 1-4th; and no more to be on the back part of the brim, than what is necessary to sew it down. To have black cockades.

"The cocking a Soldier's hat in a becoming manner, being a principal ornament to his appearance, should be very much attended to; the short, smart cock is certainly most adapted to a military man, as it always gives a sort of Martial Air, adds to his Height, and always fits firm on his head: four inches and a half are enough for the breadth of the leaves, as any thing above that size, drowns the face, unless it be remarkably full and broad: the utmost exactness must be observed, in reducing all the hats of a Regiment to this dimension, and fixing such an uniformity to the cocking of the whole, that the nicest eye may not be able to perceive a difference" - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 26, Page 77.
"To prevent the hats from ever falling off at exercise, or to be moved improperly upon their heads, and thereby give the Soldiers a pretence for the least unsteadiness under arms, two narrow pieces of tape, as near the colour of each man's hair as can be, should be sewed to the lining, and from thence come round the back of the head, there to be fastened by a very small hook and eye, exactly under the plat of the hair." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 28, Page 78.
"Hair cockades are strongest, and of course fittest for Soldiers; they should be of a fixed pattern, with the edges as plain as possible, that they may be the less liable to retain dust, and thereby be the easier cleaned with oil, which nourishes the hair, and always given them a black and glossy look." - Cuthbertson Chapter 12, Article 32, Page 80.

Caps for the Officers and Men of the Regiment of Fuzileers.

The regiments of fuzileers to have black bear-skin caps. They are to be made in the same manner as those which are ordered for the grenadiers, but not so high; and not to have the grenade on the back part.

Swords.

All the Serjeants of the regiment, and the whole grenadier company, to have swords. The Corporals and private men of the battalion companies (except the regiment of royal highlanders) to have no swords.

All the drummers and fifers to have a short sword with a scimitar blade.

Gaiters.

Reproduction Horn/Bone Buttons for Gaiters and Hats
Reproduction Horn/Bone Buttons for Gaiters and Hats

The Serjeants, Corporals, drummers, fifers, and private men, to have black gaiters of the same sort as is ordered for the Officers; also black garters and uniform buckles.

Pioneers.

Each pioneer to have an axe, a saw, and an apron; a cap with a leather crown, and a black bear-skin front, on which is to be the King's crest in white, on a red ground; also an axe and a saw. The number of the regiment to be on the back part of the cap.

Devices and Badges of the Royal Regiments, and of the Six Old Corps.

Uniform Coat, Other Ranks, 1st Guards 1773, Paget Wade Collection
Uniform Coat, Other Ranks, 1st Guards 1773, Paget Wade Collection. Photo by Clive Emerson. Click for bigger.

FIRST, or ROYAL REGIMENT. In the centre of their colours, the King's cipher within the circle of St. Andrew, and crown over it. In the 3 corners of the second colour, the thistle and crown. The distinction of the colours of the second battalion, is a flaming ray of gold descending from the upper corner of each colour towards the centre.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the King's cipher within the circle of St. Andrew, and crown over it, as in the colours.

The drums, and bells of arms, to have the same device painted on them, with the number or rank of the regiment under it.

IId, or QUEENS ROYAL REGIMENT. In the centre of each colour, the Queens cipher on a red ground, with the garter, and crown over it. In the 3 corners of the second colour, the lamb, being the ancient badge of the regiment.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also the King's cipher and crown, as in the colours.

The drums, and bells of arms, to have the Queens cipher painted on them in the same manner, and the rank of the regiment underneath.

IIId, or BUFFS. In the centre of their colours, the dragon, being their ancient badge; and the rose and crown in 3 corners of their second colour.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the dragon.

The same badge of the dragon to be painted on their drums, and bells of arms, with the rank of the regiment underneath.

IVth, or KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT. In the centre of their colours, the King's cipher on a red ground within the garter, and crown over it. In the 3 corners of their second colour, the lion of England being their ancient badge.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also the King's cipher and crown, as in the colours.

The drums, and bells of arms, to have the King's cipher painted on them, in the same manner, and the rank of the regiment underneath.

Vth. In the centre of their colours, St. George killing the dragon, being their ancient badge; and in the 3 corners of their second colour, the rose and crown.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, St. George killing the dragon.

The same badge of St. George and the dragon, to be painted on the drums, and bells of arms, with the rank of the regiment underneath.

VIth. In the centre of their colours, the antelope, being their ancient badge; and in the 3 corners of their second colour, the rose and crown.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the antelope.

The same badge of the antelope to be painted on their drums, and bells of arms, with the rank of the regiment underneath.

VIIth, or ROYAL FUZILEERS. In the centre of their colours, the rose within the garter, and the crown over it. The white horse in the corners of the second colour.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the rose within the garter and crown, as in the colours.

The same device of the rose, within the garter and crown, on their drums, and bells of arms. Rank of the regiment underneath.

VIIIth, or KINGS REGIMENT. In the centre of their colours, the white horse on a red ground with the garter, and crown over it. In the 3 corners of the second colour, the King's cipher and crown.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the white horse, as in the colours.

The same device of the white horse within the garter, on the drums, and bells of arms. Rank of regiment underneath.

XVIIIth, or ROYAL IRISH. In the centre of their colours, the harp in a blue field, and the crown over it; and in the 3 corners of their second colour, the lion of Nassau, King William the Third's arms.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the harp and crown, as in the colours.

The harp and crown to be painted, in the same manner, on their drums, and bells of arms, with the rank of the regiment underneath.

XXIst, or ROYAL NORTH-BRITISH FUZILEERS. In the centre of their colours, the thistle within the circle of St. Andrew, and crown over it; and in the 3 corners of the second colour, the King's cipher and crown.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the thistle, as in the colours.

On the drums, and bells of arms, the thistle and crown to be painted, as in the colours. Rank of the regiment underneath.

XXIIId, or ROYAL WELSH REGIMENT. In the centre of their colours, the device of the Prince of Wales, viz. Three feathers issuing out of the Prince's coronet. In the 3 corners of the second colour, the badge of Edward the Black Prince, viz. rising sun, red dragon, and the 3 feathers in he coronet. Motto, Ich diem.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the feathers, as in the colours.

The same badge of the 3 feathers, and motto, Ich diem, on the drums, and bells of arms. Rank of the regiment underneath.

XXVIIth, or INNISKILLING REGIMENT. Allowed to wear, in the centre of their colours, a castle with 3 turrets; St. George's colours flying, in a blue field; and the name Inniskilling over it.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the castle and name, as in the colours.

The same badge of the castle and name, on the drums, and bells of arms. Rank of the regiment underneath.

XLIst, or INVALIDS. In the centre of their colours, the rose and thistle on a red ground, within the garter, and crown over it. In the 3 corners of their second colour, the King's cipher and crown.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the rose and thistle, as in the colours.

On the drums, and bells of arms, the same device of the rose and thistle conjoined, within the garter and crown, as in the colours.

XLIId, or ROYAL HIGHLANDERS. In the centre of their colours, the King's cipher within the garter, and crown over it. Under it, St. Andrew, with the motto, Nemo me impunè lacessit. In the 3 corners of the second colour, the King's cipher and crown.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, St. Andrew, as in the colours.

On the drums, and bells of arms, the same device, with the rank of the regiment underneath.

LXth, or ROYAL AMERICANS. In the centre of their colours, the King's cipher within the garter, and crown over it. In the 3 corners of the second colour, the King's cipher and crown. The colours of the second battalion to be distinguished by a flaming ray of gold, descending from the upper corner of each colour, towards the centre.

On the grenadiers caps, the King's crest; also, the King's cipher and crown, as in the colours.

On the drums, and bells of arms, the king's cipher painted in the same manner, and the rank of the regiment underneath.

N.B. Since these regulations have been issued, a light company has been added to each corps of infantry, and, I am informed, have the following appointments:

Jackets; black leather caps, with 3 chains round them, and a piece of plate upon the centre of the crown; in the front, G.R. a crown, and the number of the regiment; small cartridge boxes, powder-horns, and bags for ball; short pieces, and hatchets.


New Coats and Clothes

From recruiting instructions in Simes 1776, p211.

The Lieutenant-colonel, or Officer commanding the regiment, is not to make any alteration in its clothing, without further orders.
The mens new coats must be dipped in clean water, and dried in the sun; after which each man must be fitted with a suit. A foraging-Cap and stopper, comfortable to a pattern-one, must be made out of the old coat; but the skirts must be taken into store, and made into breeches, when the ammunition-breeches are near worn out.

Forage Cap of the 17th Regiment of Foot
Forage Cap of the 17th Regiment of Foot.

Directions for making the Skirt-Breeches

Each man must be measured, and care taken that they are lined with strong new linen, are full in the seat, come well over the hips, and low under the knee, with a strap for the buckle, and four buttons and button-holes.

No taylor must presume to purloin or steal any part of the cloth; nor are the waistcoats to be worked upon, till the coats and breeches are well finished, and fitted to the soldier. The offender if found out, will be severely punished.

Transcript by Alan 'Kael' Ball. Published on .