They’re not Mr S’s favorite thing, and I can understand why. Hunting frocks lack pizzazz, buttons, tape, lace, lapels, skirts and all the things that make him so fond of the Ugly Dog Coat worn by the 10th Massachusetts in 1782. (I think these are the coats captured from British supply ships and dyed at Newburgh and West Point in tanner’s vats.) But what he has right now is a hunting frock.
Here’s the kid in his new hunting frock, and a hand colored copper engraving by Johann Martin Will from 1776.
And then there are the colored and plain engravings, “1. Americanischer scharffschütz oder Jäger (rifleman) 2. regulaire infanterie von Pensylvanien,” engraved by Berger after Chodowiecki.
I started thinking about these again because not only am I reading Hurst’s thesis, but I’m fresh from helping the guys get dressed and arrange their capes and straps. I have been doing that as long as Mr S has been wearing historic clothing.
The hunting frock drifts if it does not have some kind of fastening at the neck. The two halves migrate in opposite directions, and while belts help, the light infantry bayonet shoulder belt does not contain the hunting frock as well as one might like. So the thing to do, I think, is to attach a loop and button at the neck to hold the garment in place. From the period engravings, I think that’s acceptable. The garments all look as if they are closed at the neck. From the evidence in the field, and from the images, I plan to make loops and attach buttons, and hope that will limit some tendency to wander.
The image of the two soldiers together suggests another wrinkle in the hunting frock quandary, since the left hand soldier’s out garment looks like a long pocket-less coat with applied fringe and only a very small cape at the neck. Thank goodness that soldier is a rifleman, and thus outside the realm of immediate relevance. (And on a side note, I know a gentleman who very much resembles the Pennsylvania infantry man: identical calves, and even a similar face.)