Thursday, October 7, 2010

New York Regiments of 1775

In 1775, the colony of New York raised four regiments of infantry and one company of artillery. These troops were assigned to the army commanded by Major-General Philip Schuyler and Brigadier-General Richard Montgomery, and they participated in the siege of Fort Saint-Jean and the assault on Quebec.

New York had considerable difficulty getting its men into the field, with the result that when the American invasion of Canada was launched, only 5 companies of the 1st New York Regiment were on hand. Many of the troops were awaiting either arms and equipment, or transportation north.

The problems then facing the colony are well-illustrated in a letter by the lieutenant-colonel of the 4th New York, written just 1 week before the invasion got under way.

"I arrived [in Albany] the 26th [of August], finding Captain Henry B. Livingston, with his Company, in a small house in Town. He wants many things, such as shoes, stockings, shirts, underclothes, haversacks, and cash, having advanced all himself that has been paid his men as yet. The day I arrived, came up the following Captains, with their Companies: Captain Herrick, Captain Palmer, Captain Horton, and Captain Mills, all without blankets, excepting Captain David Palmer; many of the men wanting shirts, shoes, stockings, underclothes, and, in short, without any thing fit for a soldier, except a uniform coat; and not more than thirty guns [i.e., muskets], with four Companies, fit for service. They are now on board of the small boats that brought them up, having no place for them to go into, as there is not one tent that I can find for our Battalion, and three Companies without blankets, and none to be had at this place. I do not know how to act or what to do with them; they begin to ask for cash and better lodgings, being much crowded in the small boats in which I am obliged to keep them."

Uniform coats seems to be one of the few items the colony was able to reliably supply to its troops. On June 28, 1775, the New York Provincial Congress ordered the purchase of 712 of each of the following types of short coats: blue broadcloth with crimson facings, light brown coarse broadcloth with blue facings, grey broadcloth with green facings, and dark brown coarse broadcloth with scarlet facings. [see here].

A number of writers have indicated that the above description refers to, in order, the uniforms worn by the four New York regiments. However, in a relatively recent uniform book, Marko Zlatich (1994) wrote that in practice the regiments were clothed as follows: blue faced scarlet (1st New York), blue faced crimson (2nd New York), a variety of coat colors faced green (3rd New York), a variety of coat colors faced blue (4th New York).

Lamb's New York artillery company wore blue coats with buff facings. [see here].

Uniforms of Lamb's Artillery Company (Left) and the 3rd New York (Right) According to Charles Lefferts.

3rd New York Regiment in Miniature. Following Zlatich, I've painted the regiment in a variety of coat colors (blue, brown, and grey) faced green. The miniatures are by Stone Mountain.

Reenactor Units:


  1. I've been looking through your site and have seen many interesting things. Well Done.

  2. What a great blog. Here are links to a few articles on the 4th New York that may be of interest. ~Gary

  3. Thank you Gary for the kind words and the informative links!