15th Massachusetts Regimental Coat Construction

von-german-privateAn American Soldier by Friedrich von Germann

Friedrich von Germann was a Hessian captain in the that fought against the rebels during the Revolutionary War. He painted several watercolors of the soldiers that he saw during the war. He painted British, German, and American Soldiers. One of the paintings was titled “An American Soldier”. It is from this painting that two Compatriots in the Cincinnati Chapter, B. Jarard and S. Smith, have decided to create a uniform standard.

One of the challenges to creating a uniform standard is determining which regiment should the uniform represent. Friedrich von Germann arrived in Canada in 1775 and was at the surrender of Saratoga in 1777. It seems only logical to pick a regiment that was at Saratoga, but also pick a regiment that doesn’t have a documented uniform. In Addition, many of the regiments were not issued any uniforms during this time. So, they could pick from the many regiments that were there.

Following were in Saratoga:

  • Paterson’ Brigade: 10th, 11th, 12th, and 14th Massachusetts; S Berkshire and York Massachusetts Militia

  • Nixon’s Brigade: 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Massachusetts; Hampshire Massachusetts militia

  • Glover’s Brigade: 1st, 4th, 13th, and 15th Massachusetts; 1st and 2nd Albany militia; Dutchess/Ulster militia

  • Warner’s Brigade: M Berkshire, Middlesex, Suffolk and Hampshire Massachusetts militia

  • Wolcott’s Brigade: Wolcott’s Connecticut militia

  • Morgan’s corps

  • Poor’s brigade: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New Hampshire; 2nd and 4th New York; Cook’s and Latimer’s Connecticut militia

  • Learned’s Brigade: 2nd, 8th, and 9th Massachusetts; Livingston’s New York Battery; Evan’s and Drake’s New Hampshire Militia

  • Ten Broeck’s Brigade: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th Albany militia

The 15th Massachusetts was selected to be the regiment that is represented in the von Germann painting.

The following is a list of materials and design that has been settled on.

Body
B Black & Sons Light Grey Heather (looks closest to undyed wool)

Facings
Dorr Wool bumblebee yellow (a tannish gold)

Buttons
15th Mass’ regimental buttons (36ct)

Thread
35-2 Natural linen thread. 50-3 buff linen thread (optional)

Construction
The coat is a short style Coatee. Collar, lapel, cuffs and skirt lining are facing material (Bay or Serge wool not available to trim skirt, so facing wool is used)

Lapel
Lapel in non-functioning and sewn down. It consists of 8 buttons kept in place by linen taping. Lapel width is not to exceed 2.5”. Lapel length is approximately 20.5”. The lapels are held together by black hooks. One set near the top of the lapel and one set in line with the top of the 3rd lapel button. Lapel is double-faced with grey wool as second layer.

Cuffs
Cuffs are non-functioning, faux slashed and sewn down. The cuffs are peaked with the peak approximately 4.25” from the hem. 4 buttons are arranged horizontally along the bottom of the sleeve with one button on the cuff. Buttons are held in place with linen tape. Cuffs are double-faced with grey wool as second layer.

Pockets
Two non-functioning pockets are on the sides of the coat. Both are sewn down. Pockets are slanted with two scallops. Pockets are lined with the facing wool so 1/8th of wool shows along the top, scallops and bottom. 4 buttons are arranged vertically in a slant to match pocket angle. Buttons are held in place with linen tape. No button holes. Top hinge corner is approximately 6” from lapel hem. Pocket bottom is 5/8th from bottom skirt hem. This is measured from the grey material of pocket, not the yellow lining.

Collar
Collar is functional and held in place with 2 buttons sewn on the lapel. Collar is double-faced with grey wool material. Collar width should match lapel. Top of rear hem to peak of collar should be approximately 3”. Collar should be made in two halves, joined in the rear center where the peak is. 1” button holes should be hand-sewn in natural or buff thread and should run horizontally with the collar, and start approximately 1” from collar corner.

Skirt Lining
Skirt should be lined with facing wool. Lining should go approximately 3” higher than lapel bottom and run horizontally across the coat. Tacking threads should be hidden as best as possible across the back. Skirt edges (hem, etc.) should be rolled under and sewn down with natural thread, hiding the thread as much as possible as it protrudes in the grey wool. 2 buttons should be sewn down at the top of each skirt seam on the back of the coat. Skirt seams behind the pockets are sewn together, turned inward and pressed to the side. Middle skirt seam is left open. Skirt fronts are turned back so the corner meets the pocket edge. Turnbacks can be held in place by tacking down with thread or a loop of linen tape around the 2nd from the bottom button. Hearts on turnback are optional. If hearts are used they should be small, grey, lined in white, lined in Grey for a 3-color effect.

Body Lining
Body and sleeves are not lined. Lining behind the lapel to cover button taping is optional and should use facing wool.

Compatriot Jarard has made his own coats and the next post will start covering the process of construction that he followed.

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