Monday, March 13, 2017

"Their Caps Were Embroidered by Several of the Fair Sex" - Roxbury's Grenadier Company

Last month we discussed how several independent militia companies were privately raised in 1774 and 1775 by Massachusetts men in anticipation of war with England.  Thanks to a tip from Greg Theberge of the 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center, we learned of a quasi independent militia company that existed before the political and military conflicts of the 1770s.

It seems that in 1769, many of the younger men from the Town of Roxbury expressed a desire for a more military appearance within the ranks of their militia company.  In an effort to achieve this goal, many purchased clothing and equipment with their own money.

According to an article that appeared in the September 14, 1769 edition of the Massachusetts Gazette, these young men fielded at two separate militia musters in Roxbury as grenadiers with full uniforms, accouterments and mitre caps.  The caps were made and embroidered by several Roxbury women.  The motto "LOYALTY" was emblazoned across the front.

The news article praised the militia company for its military like appearance and its proficiency on the field.

Unfortunately, there are no known descriptions of what the uniforms or mitre caps looked like.  Likewise, we at Historical Nerdery are unaware of any surviving uniform.  Thus, we can only speculate as to what the Roxbury grenadier uniform may have looked like.

It should be noted these grenadiers, as well as the other men in the militia company, were commanded by a "Captain Heath".  It is likely this officer was William Heath, the future major general of the Continental Army.

Roxbury 2.jpg           

1 comment:

  1. Yes, this must be Gen. William Heath, who got an appointment as militia captain under Gov. Francis Bernard, according to his memoirs. Interesting that the Roxbury company had grenadiers before the Boston regiment formed one.