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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Pockets a Slope": An Example of a Proposed Uniform for a Massachusetts Minute Company



On the eve of Lexington and Concord, most Massachusetts towns were taking measures to ensure its minute and militia companies were properly armed and equipped in the event war broke out with England. Haverhill was no exception. However, it appears one of Haverhill's "independent companies" recommended the adoption of a uniform for its men.

Captain James Brickett’s Company from Haverhill was originally formed as an artillery unit. When its members were unable to procure an artillery piece, it reorganized itself as an “independent corps”. On the eve of the American Revolution, Brickett’s Company was essentially operating as a minute company. On March 21, 1775, the company voted “that we Dress in a Uniform consisting of a Blue Coat, turned up with Buff, and yellow plain Buttons, the Coat cut half way the thigh; and the Pockets a Slope. Voted, Also, that we have Buff, or Nankeen Waistcoat & Breeches, and White Stockings with half Boots or Gaiters. Also that the Hats be cocked alike. And that each one have a bright gun, Bayonet, & Steel Ramrod. Voted that the Company be equipd in this Uniform by the first Monday in May.” The unit also agreed that “each member shall be supply'd with one Pound of Powder and Twenty Balls; to be reviewed twice a year; upon the Days of a chusing."

There is no evidence that Brickett's Company actually acquired this proposed uniform. A massive fire destroyed a section of their town on April 17, 1775. Two days later, Haverhill mobilized for war.

Over the next several days, we'll share research from other towns that recommended the adoption of a uniform appearance for its military companies, including Pittsfield.

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