Throughout the early 1770s, the colony of Massachusetts had become a powder keg for conflict, with increasing confrontations, frictions, and anxieties slowly leading to the outbreak of war. As tensions rose in Boston and the surrounding communities, forces on both sides began increasingly adjusting their preparedness for what we can see – some 250 years later – as an inevitability. It is the goal of Minute Man National Historic Park to properly depict the men and women who dedicated – and in some cases lost – their lives to the cause they believed in.
The Minute Man National Historical Park Living History Authenticity Standards for Crown Forces are designed to help participating units achieve the correct appearance for the 1775 period while still retaining their normal unit identity. Through a series of simple, research-based uniform changes, we can work together to better educate the public about this monumental moment in time, transporting them to those events and educating them about the lives of those who helped to build this nation.
Together, we can make an intangible past tangible today.
We do not expect or intend that British units participating in events at Minute Man must change their impression to represent a unit involved in action during the Concord expedition on April 19, 1775. Rather, the guidelines outlined below are intended to properly illustrate how units would have appeared in 1775.
These standards cover British military impressions. Civilian men, women and children belonging to British units should see the standards for civilian impressions.
These standards are listed in three categories: standard, exceeds standard, unacceptable
Many of the changes to our previous standards will not be fully implemented until 2023. If an item is listed as “Discouraged but Acceptable” for the 2022 event, it will be “Unacceptable” by 2023.
We are excited to share these guidelines with the living history community. Based on years of research and invaluable input from our peers, we hope these standards will help arouse enthusiasm from both within the living history world and the public at large – and provide a solid foundation for British uniform research for the Battle of Lexington & Concord, Bunker Hill and beyond.
Standard: Hand or machine sewn coats (ideally hand finished) made according to Royal Warrant of 1768 appropriate to grenadier & battalion troops; or light infantry coats according to what is documented to your specific regiment for the 1775 period. Coats are constructed of sturdy, wool broadcloth capable of holding a cut edge: madder-red for enlisted men, mock scarlet for sergeants, scarlet for officers, dark "British Royal" blue for artillery. Coats must be well fitted to the soldier, neither too large and baggy nor too tight and constricting. The regiment does NOT have to be documented to have participated in the Concord expedition.
Exceeds Standard: As indicated above but entirely hand-sewn. Coats are made to represent regiments that participated in the Concord expedition on April 19, 1775.
Unacceptable: Sleeved waistcoats worn as an outer garment, or round-cut jackets as seen in uniform adaptations later in the war. Baggy, ill-fitting coats.
Standard: Hand or machine-sewn (ideally hand finished), well-fitted, constructed of sturdy wool broadcloth capable of holding a cut edge, in white, buff or red as appropriate to your company. Waistcoat skirts are hip-length and waistcoat front should cover the breeches buttons before cutting away. The waistcoat neckline should be small and well-fitted around the base of the collar. Waistcoats for the light infantry should be of red wool, cut square at the waist without skirts.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-sewn, otherwise as detailed above. For officers, waistcoats constructed of superfine wool.
Discouraged through 2023 (unacceptable in 2024): Waistcoats made from cotton canvas or linen, otherwise as detailed above.
Unacceptable: Baggy or extremely long waistcoats. Waistcoats made from damask upholstery fabric. No waistcoat (unless wearing a fully buttoned jacket).
Standard: Hand or machine-stitched (ideally hand finished), well-fitted breeches constructed of sturdy wool broadcloth capable of holding a cut edge, in white or buff as appropriate to your regiment. They can be closed just below the knee with either a buckle or button.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-sewn, well fitted breeches, otherwise as detailed above.
Discouraged through 2023 (unacceptable in 2024): Breeches made from cotton canvas or linen, otherwise as detailed above. Trousers and gaitered trousers. Kilts
Unacceptable: Breeches that are baggy and/or too long, made of improper material.
Standard: Hand or Machine-stitched white linen, lightweight wool, or cotton. Body is long (to lower thigh) and full. Center front slit. Collar closing with thread "Dorset" buttons. Non-thread buttons are also acceptable (because not visible). Cuffs closing with side-by-side cuff links or button and buttonhole.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-stitched in white linen or wool flannel with full sleeves gathered into narrow (~ ½ ” finished) cuffs. Checked linen was most commonly blue on a predominantly white ground (not the evenly balanced blue/white gingham check found in many shirts being sold). Cuffs close with sleeve buttons (side-by-side “cuff links”). Collar closes with two or three thread (Dorset) buttons. Center front slit is deep (~10-12”) and may be kept closed with a shirt buckle (usually round or heart-shaped). For most impressions, collar is pulled up high and worn snugly closed around neck. Body is long (to lower thigh) and full.
Unacceptable: Synthetic fabrics. Modern shirts. Shirt collars worn like modern collars (low on the neck and falling over the neck cloth leaving only the front knot exposed).
Standard: Grenadier caps according to the Royal Warrant of 1768. Light Infantry caps in leather or stout wool, or cap-hats if appropriate, in the style documented to your regiment in 1775.
Exceeds Standard: Grenadier and Light Infantry caps detailed above, representing a unit on the April 19, 1775 Concord expedition.
Acceptable: Burgoyne caps.
Unacceptable: Fatigue caps worn while under arms. Variation of headgear within a company. Dragoon helmets
Standard: Black, round-blocked, wool cocked hats. The Leaves should be roughly 4.5 inches, and the hat cocked according to the style of 1775 with a black hair cockade. The hats of the sergeants are laced with silver. Corporals and privates with 1.25” white cloth tape binding.
Acceptable: Hats detailed as above, but with a modern, oval crown.
Unacceptable: Battered, floppy, discolored hats. Round hats, once-cocked hats, Highland bonnets.
Standard: Hand or machine-made stockings that fit above the knee, densely knit of wool or cotton in white or gray, with or without a center back seam, held up with buckled garters of black or dark brown leather, of ½ or 1” width secured just below the knee.
Exceeds Standard: Densely knit stockings of wool or cotton. Colors are white or gray. Stocking length is above the knee. Frame-knit stockings (or socks for trousers) knit flat to shape and stitched up the center back to form a visible seam. [These are commercially unavailable at the time of this writing.] Hand-knit stockings or socks knit in the round to shape with a faux seam of purl stitches up the center back. Plain knit and vertically ribbed stockings (all one color) are both documented for men. Stockings cut and sewn from knit fabric yardage using an accurate pattern.
Unacceptable: Red, yellow, or green stockings or socks. Striped stockings, synthetic stockings, athletic socks. Elaborate knit patterns such as cables and textures. Diced (Highland) hose.
Standard: Hand or machine-sewn, well-fitted (snug) half gaiters made of course linen, painted black, secured with black bone buttons. The top should come up just below the swell of the calf, pointed at the center back. The tongue should be sufficient to closely cover the shoe buckle.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-sewn, well-fitted half gaiters, otherwise as detailed above.
Unacceptable: Baggy or droopy half gaiters, wool leggings, Indian leggings, knee-length gaiters. No gaiters.
Standard: Hand or machine-sewn, constructed of course, natural linen. The straps made of the same material as the body. Closed with two or three buttons. The flap edge can be either straight across or V-shaped. A small, black broad arrow mark on the bottom corner on the side worn closest to the body. The haversack should be worn just above the waist on the left side over the belting.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-sewn, otherwise as detailed above.
Unacceptable: Haversacks made of cotton canvas or duck. Haversacks worn low at the hip.
Standard: Crescent or kidney shaped, constructed of tin, suspended with a thin length of thin hemp cord. Like the haversack it should be carried above the waist.
Discouraged but acceptable: Canteens constructed of stainless steel provided that they are dulled with lemon juice and steel wool in order to resemble tin.
Unacceptable: Tin or stainless-steel canteens covered with fabric. Gourds. Flasks, bottles or jugs, suspended by carrying straps or cotton cords. Staved canteens with fake/non-interlocking wooden hoops, or iron/metal hoops. Modern water bottles not concealed in a linen drawstring bag. non-flush openings, and large keepers on wooden canteens. Cotton webbing straps.
Standard: 36 or 29-hole cartridge pouches, on a white, buff or black leather shoulder strap as appropriate to your company/regiment, or belly box as appropriate.
Acceptable: 1760s style soft bodied cartridge pouch with a white or buff shoulder strap as appropriate to your regiment.
Unacceptable: Anything else
Standard: Leather belting in white, buff or black as appropriate to your company made according to the Royal Warrant.
Unacceptable: Anything else
Standard: For enlisted men, British Long Land Pattern Musket or Short Land Pattern Musket with well-fitted bayonet, or fusils for sergeants or flank company officers. Muskets must have leather slings of buff leather, or black for Light Infantry.
Unacceptable: Anything else
Standard: Appropriately sheathed waist or shoulder belt mounted bayonet, or hanger as appropriate to your company/regiment. For officers, a small sword or any appropriate civilian style.
Unacceptable: Unsheathed bayonets and swords.
Standard: Natural shoulder-length or long hair, natural (or natural-looking) wig, or false queue, clubbed (for battalion troops) or plaited and tucked (for flank companies). Short-cropped hair in a modest, current style, covered with a hat or cap.
Unacceptable: Obviously synthetic wigs (they glint in the sun), like those found at a costume shop, often low on the forehead. Hair dyed in a color that is not a natural hair color, buzz cuts or bald.
Standard: No jewelry, make-up, nail polish, false nails, piercings etc.
Unacceptable: Anything else
Standard: No facial hair/clean shaven, or maximum 3-days even stubble. Runners (ear-length sideburns) on younger fashion-oriented men are acceptable. NB: If you customarily wear a moustache, goatee or other partial facial hair, you should remove it entirely, as even the shadow of a moustache, goatee, or specially trimmed beard will appear inappropriate for the period.
Exceeds Standard: Same as described above
Unacceptable: Full beards, moustaches (goatees, soul patches, etc.) Any facial hair beyond a 3-day all-over stubble growth.
Standard: Reproduction period-appropriate glasses with round lenses. Reproduction frames with oval lenses (19th century). Subtle wire-framed modern glasses. NB: Tinted lenses were rare and should only be worn if portraying someone who is ill (e.g., syphilitic) or who has a modern medical condition requiring them; they still should be period-correct round lenses.
Exceeds Standard: Original period-correct glasses with round (not oval) lenses.
Unacceptable: Plastic-framed glasses. Modern tinted lenses or sunglasses.
Last updated: January 26, 2023