Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Army & Navy Uniforms & What They Ate-1783-??

I know a lot of you researchers are always looking for something new about your ancestors. This page may be of help. I know as you write your ancestors story of those who were either in the army or navy, I bet you were wondering what they may be eating or wearing on that night before the battle or it may be a social event, and what colors their uniform was. These are the thing that help us get a better picture and understanding of are ancestors. This information will be in two parts army and navy.

Note. All information comes from the army affairs and navy affairs, which is housed at the library of congress.

Army, 1813.



The coat of the infantry and artillery shall be uniformly blue. No red collars or cuffs, and no lace, shall be worn by any grade, excepting in epaulettes and sword knots. All officers will wear coats of the length of those worn by field officers. All the rank and file will wear coats. The button holes of these will be trimmed ‘with tape on the collar only. Leather caps will be substituted for felt, and worsted or cotton pompous for feathers.

General officers, and all others of the general staff, not otherwise directed, shall wear cocked hats, without feathers gilt bullet buttons; and button holes in the herring-bone form. The epaulettes of Major Generals will have, on the gold ground of each, strap, two silvered stars. The epaulettes of Brigadiers will have, on each strap, one star. The uniform of the physician and surgeon, and apothecary generals, and hospital surgeons and mates, shall be black; the coats with standing collars, and, on each side of the collar, a star of embroidery, within half an inch of the front edge.

The rules, with respect to undress, are dispensed with; excepting that cockades must always be worn.

The General Staff.

The Coat Single breasted, with ten buttons, and button holes worked with blue twist, in
front, five inches long at the top and three at the bottom. The standing collar to rise to the
tip of the ear, which will determine its width. The cuffs, not less, than three and a half
nor more than four inches wide. The skirts faced with blue, the bottom of each not more
than seven, nor less than three and a half, inches wide; the length to reach to the bend of
The knee. The bottom of the breast and two hip buttons to range.

1. On the collar one blind hole, five inches long, with a button on each side.

2. The blind holes on each side of the front, in the herring-bone form, to be in the same
direction with the collar, from the top to the

3. Blind holes (in the like form) to proceed from four buttons, placed lengthwise, on each
Skirt. A gilt star, on the centre of the bottom, two inches from the edge.

4. The cuffs, to be indented within one and a half inch of the edge, with four buttons
lengthwise on each sleeve, and holes to the three upper buttons, corresponding with the
indention of the. cuff, on the centre of which is on the centre of which is to be inserted the
lower button.

5. All general officers will be permitted to embroider the button holes. The Commissary
General of Ordnance, the Adjutants, Inspectors, and Quartermasters General, and the
Commissary General of Purchases, will be permitted to embroider the button holes of the
collar only.

Vest, breeches, and pantaloons-White (or bill for general officers-blue pantaloons may be
worn in winter, and nankeen in the summer. Vests single breasted, without flaps.

1. Breeches, or pantaloons, with four buttons gilt knee on the knee, an tickles.

2. High military boots and gilt spurs. Black stock of leather or silk.

Chapeaux of the following form: the fan not less than six and a half, nor more than nine
inches high in the rear, nor fess than fifteen, nor more than seventeen and a half inches
from point to point, bound round the edge with black binding half an inch wide.

1. Button and loop, black.

2. Cockade, the same, four and a half inches diameter, with a gold eagle in the centre.

Swords Yellow mounted, with a black, or yellow, gripe. For the officers of the Adjutant,
Inspector, and Quartermaster General’s departments sabers; for all others, straight

Waist Belts—of black leather. No sashes.

Epaulettes of gold; according to rank.

Officers of the corps of engineers will wear the uniform already established for that corps.
The dress of the hospital stiff will conform, as to the uniform of the staff except that They
will wear pocket flaps and buttons placed across the cuffs, four to each, and covered
Buttons in all instances, of the color of the coat, (black.)

Officers of the line appointed to a staff station, which confers no additional rank, will
wear the uniform of their rank in the line, with high, boots and spur.

The Artillery.

Coat—of the same general description with that of the staff.

1. Pocket flaps, cross indented be1oy, not less than two and a half nor more than three
inches wide, with four buttons and blind holes; two buttons at the opening of the pocket
of each skirt; and a diamond. of blue cloth, ornamented one and a quarter inch on each
side, the centre two inches from the bottom of the coat.

2. The blind holes on either side of the front, with the coat buttoned c1ose to the collar, accurately to form lines with the corresponding ones opposite, from to the bottom, i. e. not to represent herring-bone.

3. The cuffs, with four blind holes, extending from our buttons placed across on each.

4. Two blind holes on the collar, five inches long, with two buttons on each side.

5. Gilt buttons of the size and insignia furnished the commissary General of Purchases, from the war Department.

Vests, breeches, and pantaloons for the field and staff, the ‘same as those described for the general staff: and vests and pantaloons, for the officers of the line, the same, except the first and second particular articles.

Stocks and Chapeaux of the same general description with those of the general staff:

1. Button and loop of the chapeau; yellow.

2. Black cockade of leather, four and a half inches diameter, with a gold eagle in the centre. A white feather to rise eight inches that of the adjutant; white and red.

Swords cut and thrust yellow mounted; with a black of yellow gripe.

Waist Belts—of white leather.

Sashes to be worn only on a tour of duty, and round the waist.

Epaulettes—of gold (bullion and strap) according to rank. The Adjutant, Quartermaster, and Paymaster, to wear a counter strap on the opposite shoulder.

The surgeons and mates, to include garrison surgeons and mated, will wear the same uniform except the cape, which is of black velvet; the plume black.

The Infantry.

The same as that pointed out for the officers of artillery, with the following exceptions:

1. The sword of the saber form, and with mounting of silver, or plated. For he medical staff, small swords.

2. Epaulettes, buttons, spurs, buckles, and trimmings, silver or plated; and caps may be worn on duty.

Clothing for the non-commissioned officer, musician and private.

This is a list of the clothing they were given for the years of 1783-1818.

1. Uniform coat, 2. Woolen Vests, 3. Cloth breeches. 4. Woolen overalls, 5. Woolen stockings, 6. Woolen socks, 7. Hat or cap, 8. Shirt, 9. Linen overalls, 10. Shoes, 11. Blanket 12. Rifle shirt, 13. Woolen gloves, 14. Shoe buckles, 15. Stocks, 16. Roundabouts, 17. Fatigue frocks, 18. Flannel shirt, 19. Gaiters, 20. Knapsacks, 21. Haversacks, 22. Fatigue trouser.

The amount for each article of clothing would change each year.


The order of 1787, was each non-commissioned officer and soldier was allowed one ration per day, to consist of the following articles:

1 pound of bread or flour.
1 pound of beef or three fourths pound. of pork.
1 gill of common rum.
For every 100 rations.
1 quart salt.
2 quarts vinegar.
2 pounds of soap.
1 pound candles.

Note. The cost of rations was between fourteen and a half cents to twenty cents.
In 1792, St. Louis, the common prices were high but it was the same through the territory. Brown sugar was fifty cents and coffee seventy-five to one hundred cents per pound.

Rebel-Prison Rations.

The rations at the rebel prisons was usually composed of:

1. Beef.
2. Bacon.
3. Rice.
4. Beans ( Black.)
5. Cow peas
6. Corn.
7. Corn meal.
8. Corn bread.
9. Pea soup.
10. Sorghum molasses.
Some times a sweet potato.


Slop clothing worn in 1818.

1 pea jacket ( to serve two years. ), 2 Blue cloth jacket, 2 Blue trousers, 2 White flannel shirts, 2 White flannel drawers, 2 Pair yarn stockings, 2 Black handkerchiefs, Duck frocks, 2 Duck trousers, 1 Duck banyans, 4 Pairs of shoes, 1 Red Vest and two Hats.

And for their comfort.

1 Mattress 2 Blankets and one hammock.

Clothing for foreign stations.


White duck jackets, trousers and Vests.


Blue jackets, trousers and red vests, ( The buttons of which shall be yellow), and blacks hats.

Some of the things they would have eaten in 1798.

Beef, Pork, Molasses, Rice, Butter, Cheese, Vinegar, Beans, Rum, Flour, Bread, Potatoes and salt fish.

For their comfort.

Candles, Soap, Lamp oil.

What a sailor would eat in a week in 1818.

Suet, half pound.
Cheese, six ounces.
Beef, three and a half pound.
Pork, three pounds.
Flour, one pound.
Bread, ninety-eight ounces.
Butter, two ounces.
Sugar, two ounces.
Tea, four ounces.
Peas, two half pints.
Rice, two half pints.
Molasses, one half pint.
Vinegar, one half pint.
Spirit, seven half pints

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