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Period Naval Uniforms


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I picked up a couple of scale figurines that I would like to use in photos of my Niagara build. They're pewter so they need some paint.


Can anyone point me to some info regarding U.S. naval uniforms preferably circa 1812? As a matter of fact just uniforms in general might be interesting.



Sail on...... Mike         "Dropped a part? Your shoe will always find it before your eyes do"

Current Builds:                                                          Completed Builds:

Lancia Armata 1803 - Panart                                   US Brig Niagara - Model ShipwaysSection Deck Between Gun Bays - Panart  ; Arrow American Gunboat - Amati    

 Riva Aquarama - Amati                                           T24 RC Tugboat  ;  Hispaniola - Megow - Restoration ; Trajta - by Mikiek - Marisstella ; Enterprise 1799 - Constructo                             


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The birth of the U.S. Navy didn't take place till a few months after the start of the Revolutionary War, and was disbanded shortly after. It wasn't brought back into existence for nearly 20 years, and it wasn't until 1817 that the first official uniforms were created. The War Department officially declared that enlisted sailors wear "blue jackets and trousers, red vest with yellow buttons and a black hat." But, at that time funding was short, so uniform regulations were not heavily enforced. Certain aspects of the uniform evolved over time to signify ranks such as master-at-arms, yeoman, and to distinguish officers.


I was issued a flat hat in 1959, never wore it as part of my uniform, still around in the stored plunder.


Edited by jud
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First US Navy uniform reg was 1803, followed by a new reg in 1813.  Much discretion was left to the officers as to the stylings on the coat, however the placement of lace or embroidery, and the number and placement of buttons both had a role in denoting the rank of the wearer.


Captains had laced buttonholes, 9 buttons on each lapel, and 4 buttons on each cuff and pocket flap

Lieutenants had no lacing on the buttonholes, and only 3 buttons on the cuff and pocket.

The hat for Captains and Lieutenants was the chapeau de bras with the captain having more lacing on his hat.


Master Commandant, Purser, and surgeon had correspondingly less decoration on their uniforms and wore a round or top hat.



Enlisted wore blue jackets, red vests, blue wool or white duck trousers, black neckerchief and a round hat.


Marines officers of the period had uniforms cut similar to the Navy but the color was Federal Blue with red facings vs. the darker Navy  blue

Enlisted marines wore a coatee of federal blue with red cuffs and collar, and gold embroidery striping at each button hole.





Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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  • 5 months later...

Here is an August 24, 1797 letter from James McHenry to Captain Barry titled "Uniformity of Dress on Ships of War".  I realize this is a mite earlier than the period in question, but though you may find it of interest.


Source: McHenry, James. 1797. “Uniformity of Dress on Ships of War.” http://wardepartment...nt.php?id=22778









Edited by trippwj


Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.

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Thank you for the documents!


Unfortunately it looks like the link is wrong:

Source: McHenry, James. 1797. “Uniformity of Dress on Ships of War.” http://wardepartment...nt.php?id=22778


It redirects onto this page ...



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Thank you, but sorry, still no luck ...


ERROR: There is no document with the provided identification number.




Edited by dafi
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Worked, thank you!!!



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