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Author Topic: 18th century Riflemen and their Hunting/Shot Bags  (Read 3203 times)
Artificer
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« on: December 13, 2013, 01:06:15 AM »

I debated on whether to put this in the Over the Back Fence Forum, but I thought it may be more interesting here. 

Folks, there has been discussion on this forum about how large the hunting/shot/ bags were in the 18th Century, how low on the body these bags hung, etc., etc.    So out of curiosity, I decided to search for original portraits, drawings and images that might help make things a little more clear.

First, I began with the book, “Colonial Riflemen in the American Revolution,”  by Joe. D. Huddleston at the lithograph of General Daniel Morgan seated in “Rifleman’s Dress.”   Here’s a link showing it:

http://www.gatling-gun.com/ColonialRiflemenintheAmericanRevolutionHuddlestonJoeD.htm

As many times as I have looked at the picture since I purchased the book in 1979, I always thought something was wrong with the sword hanger and scabbard.  Well, it seems that lithograph came from a painting by the Artist Alonzo Chappel who painted it in the 1860’s.  Since Dan Morgan died more than 25 years before Alonzo was born in 1828.  I don’t know what Alonzo used as a reference for that painting in the 1860’s, but it seems we can‘t take too much from this illustration? 

OK, so maybe a review of 18th century drawings.  Well, some depict American Riflemen as virtually the same as American Musket Armed troops with the exception of stylized hunting shirts and breeches/overalls, so some maybe aren’t that good a reference such as this German drawing:
http://www.nwta.com/Spy/summer/bearded.jpg

The next drawing is German and demonstrates what looks like some artistic training.  The Infantryman is much more lifelike and wears “military overalls” instead of breeches, but overalls came into more common use in the later stages of the war.  Please note the little white straps that go under around and under the shoes -  that is the “give away” for military overalls.   Notice how the Artist shows the Rifleman in the same “military overalls?”  The Rifleman could have been wearing them, though the Artist may have used artistic license illustrating him that way.  The round hat is correct and interesting that detail was made.  However, it looks like the Artist also copied the Cartridge Box from the Infantryman to the Rifleman.  The Rifleman’s coat looks like a combination of an earlier period coat with some fringing stuck on it and not something drawn from life.  The really interesting thing is the Rifle is more accurately portrayed than the musket, though the rifle appears more Germanic or Jaeger than one might expect to find that late in Pennsylvania.  I would not be surprised if the Artist never saw these men, but drew the illustration both from descriptions reported to him and his knowledge of then current military fashion in 1784.  So again with the exception of the hat, this drawing doesn’t seem to offer us much.
http://www.granger.com/results.asp?image=0119968&itemw=4&itemf=0001&itemstep=1&itemx=13

This next picture does not show as much artistic ability, BUT this time it was a drawing made by a French Officer who actually served here during the ARW.  The Rifleman’s hat is round, though illustrated with somewhat fanciful plumes.  The Rifleman’s shirt is perhaps one of the most lifelike from period drawings.  The rifle shows the wood stock going almost all the way to the muzzle and an attempt was shown to show the butt plate.  The rifle has a sling compared to the muskets not being shown with slings.  Here again, it seems the French Officer drew it in a more lifelike manner than the muskets shown in the drawing, though the muskets would probably have had slings.  Though all the soldiers appear to be dressed in military overalls or the artist just drew them that way due to lack of artistic skill, it is very interesting the Rifleman’s overalls are colored brown and perhaps/likely his attempt to differentiate them as buckskin and possibly “Indian style” leggings?  Or maybe it was just a way to differentiate color?  It seems to show the Rifleman wearing shoes, but again that may just be due to the Artist’s lack of artistic training.  What is very interesting is it shows the hunting bag and, powder horn on fairly low on the body, not as high up as some suggest. 
http://www.granger.com/results.asp?image=0016499&itemw=4&itemf=0001&itemstep=1&itemx=17&screenwidth=1038

Here’s a link to the same drawing, but in this one the Rifleman’s overalls appear gray as opposed to brown.  So perhaps it was indeed just to show a different color and material than the other soldiers and maybe not buckskin overalls or leggings?
http://atlanticportal.hil.unb.ca/acva/blackloyalists/en/context/gallery/images/zoom/deverger.jpg

This next link shows  “ Figure 1. A watercolor image of a Virginia Rifleman during the Philadelphia Campaign wearing a fringed hunting shirt (Richard St. George Collection, Harlen Crown Library.)”  (You don’t need to download the PDF and can close that box if it shows on your screen and then scroll down to the illustration.)  This drawing has been shown on at least the older version of this forum, but perhaps rates another look.  Though drawing the rifle was beyond the artist’s ability, in this drawing the bag and horn are higher than in previous drawings, though still lower than the Rifleman’s elbow. (I intend to read this PDF at least three or four times as it goes into great detail on the period Hunting Shirt and I thought others may be interested.)
http://www.academia.edu/3336557/_kind_of_armour_being_peculiar_to_America_The_American_Hunting_Shirt

I deliberately saved what I consider “the best” for last.  Here is a portrait of Captain Samuel Blodget in Rifle Dress by the artist John Trumbull, painted in 1786 only a few years after the ARW.  Accuracy and perspective in this portrait are far better than the earlier drawings.  Note the rifle pictured is very lifelike.  Here the bullet pouch and horn are shown further down the body, but this time the pouch is almost TINY.  However, look at the left side of the portrait on what would be Captain Bodget’s right rear hip and you see what appears to be a LARGER pouch or belt bag.  (It sort of reminds me of a modern day “fanny pack.”)  I’ve seen this picture a few times before, but only recently realized this.  Now this may supposed to be a haversack, but it looks fringed and haversacks were not fringed.  There is also no suspension strap for this period “fanny pack.” 

I found this Period “Fanny Pack” to be a revelation, if not a bit of an epiphany.  If that is a larger belt bag, that it would appear to explain where Riflemen kept their bullet mold and other larger tools/supplies when they used such Tiny bags/pouches for bullets. 
Since this has been a revelation to me, I thought others may also find it interesting.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Trumbull_-_Portrait_of_Captain_Samuel_Blodget_in_Rifle_Dress_-_WGA23099.jpg

I hope everyone understands I am not trying to say anything about how the Hunting/Shot Bags should be made to be “correct” for the 18th century.  These bags would have been as individual as the men who made and or used them and worn as they personally felt was best for them.  If anything, I think it shows that there is no “set in stone” descriptions of period Hunting/Shot Bags and may be more diverse than we may expect. 

I hope other forum members find this interesting and welcome comments/discussion on the drawings and portrait.
Gus
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gizamo
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 02:49:16 AM »

Gus...

I wonder if the Trumbull painting isn't illustrating a ball bag attached to the horn strap.  Always wanted to make one of those...

Take a look here...

http://buffalotrace1765.blogspot.com/2011/07/military-shot-pouches.html?m=1

Giz
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Artificer
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 05:30:41 AM »

Gus...

I wonder if the Trumbull painting isn't illustrating a ball bag attached to the horn strap.  Always wanted to make one of those...

Take a kook here...

http://buffalotrace1765.blogspot.com/2011/07/military-shot-pouches.html?m=1

Giz

Giz,

That is certainly possible as it only looks large enough for balls and maybe patches.
Gus
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Clark B
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 06:14:52 PM »

All the illustrations would seem to indicate the shooting bag and horn was commonly worn with the top of the bag at or near the natural waste line, which just so happens to be near to the elbow area of most commonly built humans. It also is about the most practical placement, being easy to access as well as riding well in movement. Too high = too hard to get into; too low = beats you to death in movement.

This is something that was discovered years ago doing ACW reenacting. Most extant haversacks seemed to have been made with straps 40" (+/- 2") which on an average height and weight man of the 1860s would have put the haversack at just that location.
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Psalms 144
Artificer
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 01:06:38 AM »

All the illustrations would seem to indicate the shooting bag and horn was commonly worn with the top of the bag at or near the natural waste line, which just so happens to be near to the elbow area of most commonly built humans. It also is about the most practical placement, being easy to access as well as riding well in movement. Too high = too hard to get into; too low = beats you to death in movement.

I agree with that, at least for the medium to possibly larger bags.  Some of the very small "day hunt" bags may have had a shorter strap, though.  It seems to me the practice of wearing the pouch higher did not come into common usage until a later period when most everyone were on horses all the time.   

This is something that was discovered years ago doing ACW reenacting. Most extant haversacks seemed to have been made with straps 40" (+/- 2") which on an average height and weight man of the 1860s would have put the haversack at just that location.

Oh, HOW I used to cuss at those haversacks because for me they were far too short!!  Had to have one specially made with a longer strap to fit me. 
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 03:14:15 PM »

To my eye the Trumbull painting does not show a bag of any sort.   It shows a powderhorn just added to the painting over a knotted and flowing sash.    After all,  the painting shows the captain in motion.    He may or may not have had such a sash.    It looks like something I would have added to add life to the painting,  if I were painting it.   He may have even painted the sash over a shot pouch that was there.   As to the object on his right side,   to my mind, it looks like part of the tree behind him.   It is of the same color and texture.    Also,   the rifle is not in correct proportion and neither his his hat.   I think those objects were just added as an afterthought (or simply not considered important) and were not something the captain (or the stand-in model) where holding when sketched or painted.   If you notice,  there are people in the distant background,   I doubt they were there when the painting was painted either.    I would guess that this was painted in studio with the captain posing in costume.    Everything not the captain or his costume was most likely added from memory, not live observation.   All of this is just my feeling as an artist.   
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Elnathan
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2013, 05:43:43 PM »

I think that Mark is right about the sash in the Trumbull painting. I can't tell what the other stuff by his left hip is - the painting is too dark.


Regarding the de Verger watercolor, I am curious to know where the identification of the figure in question as a rifleman came from. It was painted at Yorktown, IIRC, at a time when there were no Continental riflemen, so he is probably a militiaman dressed in the very common backcountry costume of a "grey" (undyed) linen hunting shirt and trousers. While rifles were common in the southern backcountry, so were smoothbores. Since it has a sling, I'd suggest that it is a musket or military fusil, not a rifle at all. Still useful for the purposes of this discussion, though.


Regarding that first German drawing (now, why does that look so familiar? Grin) the German description does not label them riflemen, but simply "soldiers of Congress," and their arms are identified as "fuer-gewehr," not "buschen." Robert Held translated "fuer-gewehr" as "firelocks" and assumes that they were meant to represent riflemen, but I believe that he is wrong and they were musketeers. As a matter of fact, I recall reading somewhere that they had been ID'ed as members of a particular militia unit.
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Clark B
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 07:54:54 PM »

Oh, HOW I used to cuss at those haversacks because for me they were far too short!!  Had to have one specially made with a longer strap to fit me. 

I often wondered how it must have been less than convenient for those Scandinavian soldiers from Wisconsin and Minnesota back then. They are often reported to have been in excess of 6 feet tall and strongly built. Union issue equipment was designed for the average of 5'8" and 130-140 lbs. I know they increased the number of uniform sizes from 4 to 7 during that bloody war, but I never found anything to suggest they ever lengthened any of the accoutrement straps.
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Psalms 144
Artificer
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2013, 08:02:30 PM »

As to the object on Captain Samuel Blodget’s right hip, which shows on the left side of the portrait:   I politely disagree it is either the knots of the sash, or a part of the tree or bush behind him for a number of reasons listed below:

The object on the Captain’s right hip covers a part of his outline of his right side.  That means it is something on the Captain’s person and not something behind him. 

We have to remember Captain Blodget was a Commanding Officer of a Company in the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment.  He is listed as the second Captain on the rolls and that normally meant he was the second senior Captain in the Regiment, though that may not have been true as sometimes that order was not followed as precisely in the American Army as the British Army.
http://valleyforgemusterroll.org/regiments/nh2.asp

Please note the Captain is wearing a sword on his left side, which was the most common way for an Officer to wear a sword with perhaps a rare exception for a left handed individual.  The Uniform Regulations and\common way for one to wear a sword belt sash was with the knots or ends of the sash on the left side of the body for a right handed person.  There may or even would have been an exception IF the Officer was senior enough and left handed and therefore wore his sword on the right side of his body.  However, Military Regulations, then as now, either ignored or strongly discouraged left hand use in the Uniform Regulations for Drill and many other things. 

Original Military Portraits almost invariably show the sword and knots on the left side of the Officer’s body.  One may scroll down through the portraits on this link and see that was “the rule” for the time.  American Provincial Officers and even Militia Officers normally wore their military accoutrements as close as possible to British Army Regulations, even if they were in civilian clothes at Muster Roles. 
http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&limit=20&offset=20&redirs=1&profile=default&search=18th+century+military+portrait+with+sword

Now, I have never found a period account in either the 18th or 19th century on WHY the sword knots or ends of the sash were on the same side of the body as the sword and virtually all the Dress Regulations for each time period called for them to be in that position..  However, from many seasons of practical knowledge of wearing a sword in “field conditions” and war games, I can tell you there is a practical reason for having done so.  When that sword hilt moves around when you run or if the drag end (bottom tip of the scabbard) of the sword catches on something, the sword hilt will smack the front of your leg (and perhaps something even more tender on the front of your person).  Grin.  The sword knots offer protection and keep the sword hilt from smacking your body too hard there.   

There is another reason for the tied ends of the sword sash or sword knots to be on the same side as the sword scabbard.  They don’t interfere with right handed wielding of the sword that way.  In Captain Blodget’s case, he also has his powder horn and bullet pouch on his right side and a tied end of a sash or sword knots there might/would definitely interfere with the reloading process in combat.

Now I could be utterly mistaken as the portrait is dark in the photo’s and not being able to view the original painting MAY be leading me astray.  Perhaps viewing the original portrait would show something different, but to me it looks like the Captain is wearing some kind of a “belt pouch” on his right side for these reasons.
Gus
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Artificer
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2013, 08:17:31 PM »

Oh, HOW I used to cuss at those haversacks because for me they were far too short!!  Had to have one specially made with a longer strap to fit me. 

I often wondered how it must have been less than convenient for those Scandinavian soldiers from Wisconsin and Minnesota back then. They are often reported to have been in excess of 6 feet tall and strongly built. Union issue equipment was designed for the average of 5'8" and 130-140 lbs. I know they increased the number of uniform sizes from 4 to 7 during that bloody war, but I never found anything to suggest they ever lengthened any of the accoutrement straps.

There were also some farmers who were "large boned" or thick bodied, who would also have had the same problem.  I don't think obesity was as much of a problem then, but the same would hold true for overweight folks.  Even some "average size" soldiers would have had to wear their haversacks under a great coat in winter time because the haversack straps may have then been too short.

I also have never read a period account of soldiers lengthening haversack or canteen straps after the items were issued.  I think they just "made do" as best they could unless they got their hands on some material to lengthen them.  As quickly as haversacks wore out in field usage, they may even have spliced/sewed a part of their old haversack strap to their new one to lengthen them.
Gus

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Elnathan
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2013, 09:29:20 PM »

Trumbull painting, better quality:
 http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/full.php?ID=47455

The object on his right side, under the powder horn, is definitely the knot and ends of his sash. I don't know what the objects on his left side are, but they don't look like bags to me. I think his gun is a fusil, not a rifle - note long tang, single-bow trigger guard , and it appears to be cut back for a bayonet.

I think the "rifle dress" is the hunting shirt and fringed trousers, and does not extend to his weapons or accoutrements. Maybe the sash, too - that might explain why it isn't worn in the normal military fashion. On the other hand, maybe Trumbull just painted it that way because the ends of the sash extend at the same angle as the captain's legs, and help impart a sense of movement to the composition. The angle of his firelock is helps with this, as does his extended right arm.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think that this portrait is going to be very useful to us.  Sad

As compensation, here is another period picture from NC:


I got this from Chris Immel originally, I think. Like Captain Blodget, he doesn't appear to have a pouch at all. That might be significant in its own right...
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
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Artificer
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2013, 10:02:22 PM »

Elnathan,

Good point about what appears to be a smoothbore.  Until I researched my last post, I did not realize the Captain came from a New Hampshire regiment and that makes it extremely unlikely it was a rifle, as rifles were very rare in New England then.  Well, I guess we can scratch this portrait as evidence of a period Rifleman as well, after all. 

I have no idea why Trumball painted the sash on the wrong side and your explanation is as good as I can think.  The objects on the Captain's left side close to his sword should have been the ends of the sash or maybe a cursory stab at a sword hanger?
Gus
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Artificer
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2013, 10:10:05 PM »


As compensation, here is another period picture from NC:


I got this from Chris Immel originally, I think. Like Captain Blodget, he doesn't appear to have a pouch at all. That might be significant in its own right...

This looks like a "sporting image" due to the dog sitting by him and may be bird/duck hunting?  It looks like a game bag on his right side due to the strap going up from both sides?  Perhaps the shot pouch is on the figure's left side (facing away from us so we can't see it) or perhaps he just carries shot or bullets in his pockets in smaller containers, as was not unheard of at the time?
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Elnathan
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2013, 10:24:13 PM »

I am pretty sure that is his powder horn. If you click on the picture I think it will take you to my photobucket page, and there you can see a bigger picture - keep clicking on the magnifying glass on the lower right and you should get the full-sized picture eventually!

I think that you are right that it is a sporting scene, and I think it likely that he is carrying the rest of his ammunition components in his pockets. Chris made exactly the same suggestion when he first posted it, IIRC. A pouch on the other side is possible, however.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
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Artificer
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 12:59:27 PM »

Elnathan,

Thanks for enlarging the picture.  I can see the powder horn now, but isn't there also a game pouch behind him and just peeking out on the left side?
Gus
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Elnathan
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2013, 03:12:51 PM »

I think it is supposed to be his coattails, but it could be interpreted as a game bag. It is a pretty small engraving after all and not particularly detailed - notice that both ends of the powderhorn strap attach to the middle of the horn, not the ends. To be honest, I doubt that we can get much useful information, at least information pertaining to this discussion, from the figure - apart from the small size and lack of detail, the more I think about it the more likely it seems to me that it is a picture of a tidewater planter out with his fowling piece, not a backwoodsman (I wonder if the dog is a retriever?). I just thought that it was a fun little drawing that you might like to see.

It does, however, help illustrate that there are a lot of pictures that show hunters carrying powderhorns but not pouches. I'm not sure if this means that pouches tended to be a backwoods regional thing, or if they weren't as interesting to illustrators as horns. English portraits often don't show any accoutrements, but they were gentlemen who might have had someone else loading for them. One of the questions about the Trumbull painting that I have been pondering is why a captain from New Hampshire wanted to be portrayed in rifle dress in the first place, and why the powderhorn was included but not the rest of the kit. Given that powderhorns were often engraved as commemorative pieces, I wonder if powderhorns had a particular cultural significance that pouches did not, and if this particular horn was important to Blodgett - something he had carried during the war or had been presented or commissioned as a commemorative piece after it.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton
Artificer
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2013, 10:06:46 PM »

Elnathan,

I've been doing some more searching on portraits with guns and have found one very like the engraving that does show the game pouch in a similar position.  Also finding out some portraits have the gentleman's coat OVER the hunting pouch or bags, etc. that I didn't notice before.  It will take a while, but I think I will start a new thread on sporting images and get this information together.

Gus
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2013, 09:16:49 AM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 
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sloe bear
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2013, 10:45:42 AM »

 Although the drawing is interesting,it is only a advertising piece any resemblance to reality could and should be taken with a grain of salt. if your a history buff and don't realize that the pioneers and the traders and hunters of the past are just the same as we are today, I think your hung up on being authentic I don't think fashion was a big deal on the frontier,the accoutrement's they carried were custom fit and made by them or purchased and fitted. if you have spent any time in the field with your own rifle/smoothbore or other then you have customized the length of the strap the way the bag hangs what you carry and where. we all personalize our stuff to fit us. the old timeres did the same in my humble opinion. I have only been hunting/and shooting BP for the last 40yrs and my equipment and the equipment of my hunting and shooting partners all reflect their own style and needs. we build for function not fashion .even though we look to the past and reflect on it we still follow our own drummer.
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Elnathan
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« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2013, 05:35:07 PM »

Although the drawing is interesting,it is only a advertising piece any resemblance to reality could and should be taken with a grain of salt. if your a history buff and don't realize that the pioneers and the traders and hunters of the past are just the same as we are today, I think your hung up on being authentic I don't think fashion was a big deal on the frontier,the accoutrement's they carried were custom fit and made by them or purchased and fitted.

Not to be contentious, but...

1) I don't think that any of the pictures shown are advertising pictures. The one I posted is an engraving from a half-dollar bill issued by the state of NC in 1776, Artificer's pictures include a portrait, two private sketches, and a couple of engravings intended as illustrations of a foreign army.

2) No, they weren't necessarily the same - they may have had the same types of bodies and existed in the same material world that we do today, but they lived in an entirely different social and cultural world, and operated with a very different set of assumptions about how the world worked. Stuff that we would consider "common sense" wasn't necessarily commonsense to them, nor would stuff they assumed to be obvious be obvious to us. That is one of the hardest things about history to get your mind around, but it is also one of the most important in the long run (which is why I am writing all this.)

3) Actually, it appears that they were quite interested in "fashion," both ones specific to the frontier and those from Europe- Doddridge notes that wearing a breechclout and leggings in lieu of pants even at formal occasions was a fad among young men at one point and not just something done because it worked (The good reverend seems to have about the same attitude towards the style as we might have towards the modern fashion of wearing ones' pants around the knees...), while at least one study of goods sold in a Virginian backwoods store indicates that folks were quite interested in what was fashionable in Europe. Now, whether this fashion sense extended to shooting equipment is unknown, but it might not be wise to dismiss the possibility that factors other than personal preference and utility played a role.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton
Clark B
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2013, 05:55:05 PM »

Although the drawing is interesting,it is only a advertising piece any resemblance to reality could and should be taken with a grain of salt. if your a history buff and don't realize that the pioneers and the traders and hunters of the past are just the same as we are today, I think your hung up on being authentic I don't think fashion was a big deal on the frontier,the accoutrement's they carried were custom fit and made by them or purchased and fitted. if you have spent any time in the field with your own rifle/smoothbore or other then you have customized the length of the strap the way the bag hangs what you carry and where. we all personalize our stuff to fit us. the old timeres did the same in my humble opinion. I have only been hunting/and shooting BP for the last 40yrs and my equipment and the equipment of my hunting and shooting partners all reflect their own style and needs. we build for function not fashion .even though we look to the past and reflect on it we still follow our own drummer.

I see so many wrongful assumptions here. They thought a lot different than we do. They very much cared for their public appearance, and would go to great lengths to not look like trash. Foppishness was not a bad thing 150+ years ago. Have you never looked at the clothing that most of them wanted to wear?
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Psalms 144
Luke MacGillie
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« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2013, 07:04:29 PM »

Couple of things here. 

First off we have to take into account Dodderidge's bias towards the younger generation.  If you don't think he had a bias, read his forward.  His entire book is really a "Uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow" tale for the disrespectful kids who did not experience the time he grew up in.

Second, I have been doing a detailed study of clothing recorded in probate inventories in Kentucky during the revolution, there are very few hunting shirts and leggings, and a whole lot of breeches, silk waistcoats, jackets and coats. 

The only way to reconcile the written accounts with the actual legal documents is to consider hunting shirts, clouts and leggings "Work" clothing, the most common clothing someone was going to be killed in, but they did have nice clothing to wear when they wanted to.

To bring this back to Dodderige,   the younger generation wearing what was in a sense, battle dress all the time could in fact be the cause of his distain, not because it was the only thing they had......

And understand that Western PA/MD frontier experience is different that Kentucky....

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Elnathan
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2013, 08:03:09 PM »


To bring this back to Dodderige,   the younger generation wearing what was in a sense, battle dress all the time could in fact be the cause of his distain, not because it was the only thing they had......


That is exactly what I was saying - it was a fad among the younger men (his contemporaries, or nearly so, IIRC) to wear Indian dress all the time, even to church services. It might have been a short-lived, localized fad, but it does indicate that clothing choices could be based on something other than merely utilitarian considerations.

Just because Doddridge has an agenda doesn't make him worthless as a source, it just means that you have to account for the fact that he has a pretty selective memory. In this particular case, his anecdote actually works against the message he is trying to push - the fact that such a fashion was notable indicates that he expect the young men in question to be able to acquire a decent set of clothes, and that other people were indeed doing so. If he were chalking the Indian dress up to poverty we might want to take it with a grain of salt, but as it is I don't see why we can't take him at face value.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton
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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2013, 12:28:27 AM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 

Good point.
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Centershot
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« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2013, 04:05:52 PM »

I think what you see in the painting is a tied sash below the powder horn. I think he is carrying a musket and that the object on his left side is his cartridge box.

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