Swords (Officers) |
Hats (Officers) |
Grenadier Officers |
Gaiters (Officers) |
Sergeants Coats |
Sergeants Sashes |
Corporals' Coats |
Grenadier's Coats |
Private's Coats |
Lapels, Sleeves, Pockets |
Drummers' Coats |
Drummer's Caps |
Grenadiers' Caps |
Hats of the Whole |
Caps of Fuziliers |
The following is a transcript of the British Royal Warrants of 1768, for
the regiments of foot. For the most part, the dress of the
42nd conforms to this, but exceptions will be noted.
A more detailed study of the 42nd's uniforms can be found in ourblog post on the history and dress of pipers in the 18th century 42nd.
Our will and pleasure is, that the following regulations for the colours,
clothing, &c. of Our marching regiments of foot, be duly observed and put
in execution, at such times as the particulars are or shall be furninshed.
No Colonel is to put his arms, crest, device, or livery, on any part of the appointments of the regiment under his command.
The King's, or first colour of every regiment, is to be the Great Union
The second Colour to be the colour of the facing of the regiment, with the
Union in the upper canton; excepting 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 St. George's cross throughout; Union in the upper canton; the
three other cantons, black.
In the center 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 any 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 six feet six inches flying, and six feet deep on the pike.
The length of the pike (spear and ferril included) to be nine feet ten inches.
The cords and tassels of the whole to be crimson and gold mixed.
The camp colours to be eighteen inches square, and of the colour of the facing
of the regiment, with the number of the regiment upon them. The poles to be
seven feet six inches long, except those of the Quarter and rear guards, which
are to be nine feet.
Uniform of Officers
The number of each regiment to be on the buttons of the uniforms of the Officers
and men. The coats to be lapeled to the waist with the colour of the facings 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
[Until 1769 or so, the officers wore a crimson sash over the left shoulder.
Journal of Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XLVI]
The Officers of grenadiers to wear an epaulette on each shoulder. Those of
the batallion to wear one on the right shoulder. They are to be either of
embroidery or lace, with gold or silver fringe.
The wasitcoats to be plain, without either embroidery or lace.
Swords and Sword-Knots
The swords of each regiment to be uniform, [Basket-hilt broadswords in the
case of the Black Watch] 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.
The hats to be laced either with gold or silver, as hearafter specified, and
to be cocked uniformly. [The Black Watch, on the whole, wore highland bonnets,
descriptions of which appear below]
The highland bonnet was one of the least standard items of the Black Watch
soldier's uniform. Most bonnets were simple
dark blue wool, with a red ball and band around the edge, though as the bonnet
evolved, diced bands replaced the red ones and the bonnet grew taller, rather
than lying on the wearer's head, cocked up on the left. The diced tall bonnets
were more popular with the officers, suggesting that this practice was
due more to fashion conisderations than anything else. The 42nd still wore
a good portion of the flat older style bonnets through the American Revolutiuon,
though by this time there was a combination of the two in use. The men wore
tufts of black bearskin in the bonnets, and the officers wore a black ostrich
Sashes and Gorgets
The sashes to be of crimson silk, and worn around the waist. The King's arms to
be engraved on the gorgets; alos the number of the regiment. They are to be
either gilt or silver, according to the color of the buttons on the uniforms.
The badges of those regiments which are entitled to any, are also to be
Caps, Fuzils, and Pouches, for Grenadier Officers
The Officers of the grenadiers to wear black bear-skin caps and to have fuzils,
shoulder-belts, and pouches. The shoulder belts to be white or buff, according
to the colour of their waistcoats. [The belts and other accoutrements of the
Black Watch were black.]
The batallion Officers to have espontoons.
The whole to have black linen gaiters, with black buttons, and small stiff
tops, black garters, and uniform buckles.
The coars 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 waistcoat to be plain. The Serjeants of grenadiers to have fuzils,
pouches, and caps. Those of the battalion to have halberts, and no pouches.
The sashes to be of crimson worsted, with a stripe of the colour of the facing
of the regiment, and worn around the waist. Those of the regiments which are
faced with red, to have a stripe of white.
The coats of the Corporals to have a silk epaulette on the right shoulder.
The coats of the grenadiers to have the usual round of wings of red cloth on
the point of the shoulder, with six loops of the same sort of lace as on the
buttonholes, and a border round the bottom.
Private Men's Coats
The men's coats to be looped with worsted lace, but no border. The ground of
the lace to be white, with coloured stripes. To have white butons. 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 four on the pockets, with two
on each side of the slit behind.
[The 42nd's lace was looped into the "bastion" shape,
shown in the left column.]
Lappels, Sleeves, and Pockets
The breadth of all the lappels to be three inches, to reach down to the waist,
and not to be wider at 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 three
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.
Shoulder Belts and Waist Belts
The breadth of the shoulder-belts to bne two inches and three quarters; that of
the waist-belt to be two inches, and those regiments which have buff waistcoats,
are to have buff-colored accoutrements. Those which have white waistcoats, are
to have white. [Again, the 42nd wore accoutrements of black.]
Drummers' and Fifers' Coats
The coats of the drummers and fifers of all the royal regiments are to be red,
faced and lapelled with blue, and laced with royal lace. The waistcoats,
breeches, and lining of the coats, to be of the same colour as that which is
ordered for their respective regiments. The coats of the drummers and fifers of
those regiments which are faced with red, are to be white, faced, lapelled, and
lined with red; red waistcoats and breeeches. Those of all the other regiments
are to be of the colour of the facing of the regiments; faced and lapelled with
red. The wasitcoats, breeches, and lining of those which have buff or white
coats, are to be red. Those of all the others are to be of the same colour
as that which is ordered for the men. To be laced in such manner that the
Colonel shall think fit. The lace to be the colour of that on the soldiers'
coats. The coats to have no hanging sleeves behind.
[The royal musician's lace is shown in the left
column, looped into the 42nd's "bastion" shape.]
Drummers' and Fifers' Caps
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 colours and
drums. The number of the regiment on the back part; as also the badge, if
entitled to any, as ordered for the grenadiers.
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 six 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 twelve inches.
Hats of the Whole
The hats of the Serjeants to be laced with silver. Those of the Corporals
and private ment to have a white tape binding. The breadth of the whole to be
one inch and a quarter; and no more to be on the black part of the brim, than
what is necessary to sew it down. To have black cockades. [See the above
notice about the bonnets.]
Caps for the Officers and Men of the Regiments 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 no so high;
and not to have the grenade on the back part.
All the Serjeants of the regiment, and the whole grenadier company, to have
swords. The Corporals and private men of the battalion companies (excepting
the regiment of royal highlanders) to have no swords.
All the drummers and fifers to have a short sword with a scimitar blade.
The Serjeants, Corporal, 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.
Unique to the 42nd
- The Black Watch, when it was first formed, was given the dark
green and black tartan that bears its name. In 1746, a red over-stripe
was added to the pattern. During the period of the American
Revolution, there was some variation between the tartans. According
to Osprey Military's 18th Century Highlanders, "..plaids were
made from undifferentiated Government sett, while the same sett with
the red overstripe was used for kilts."
In North America, the Black Watch
frequently forsook the plaid for the 'little kilt' commonly seen today.
due more to fashion conisderations than anything else, or took to wearing
breeches in the wilderness, saving the kilt for special occasions.
- Prior to 1769, the regiment wore red waistcoats. After the 1768 Warrant,
white waistcoats were issued.
- Sporrans were changed from badger-skin to goat-skin or buff leather in
Last modified: April 12, 2021
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Preston M. Smith and the 42nd Royal Highlanders, Inc.
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