Leggings

Leggings: The 2d Virginia Regiment made up leggings of blue duffle with horn buttons, as entries in the Virginia Public Store Day Book indicate:

Capt William taliaferro Dr To Sundries to fill up his necessary Roll 3 yds blue duffil @ 6/8…17 doz horn buttons for leggings…4d
Virginia Public Store Daybook, October 31, 1775

Capt. Meade P Self Dr…10 yards Duffle @ 7/…11 doz small butts. @ 6d
Virginia Public Store Daybook, November 13, 1775

In the colonies “country boots” were often popular with civilians, especially the backcountry:

On their legs they have Indian boots, or leggins, made of course woolen cloth, that are either wrapped round loosely and tied with garters, or are laced upon the outside, and always come better than half way up the thigh; these are a great defence and preservative, not only against the bite of serpents and poisonous insects, but likewise against the scratches of thorns, briars, scrubby bushes, and under wood, with which this whole country is infested and overspread.

J.F.D. Smyth, A Tour in the United States of America…Sometime in 1773 or 1774, 2 volumes (London 1784), 2: 178-81.

This style of legging was also adopted by men of the Fairfax Independent Company, who resolved to “…distinguishing our Dress, when we are upon Duty, by painted Hunting-Shirts and Indian Boots…” (Fairfax County Militia Association; Independent Company of Fairfax, The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, edited by Robert A. Rutland (Chapel Hill), I, 210-211).  Given the quantity of buttons to fabric, it appears that the early Virginian leggings were made of blue duffle like “Indian boots” with approximately five horn buttons at the ankle.  Entries in the daybook of the Virginia Public Store indicate that the 1st Virginia Regiment also drew garters, but there are no such entries for the 2d Virginia Regiment.

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One thought on “Leggings

  1. a similar arrangement (wool leggings with buttons) can be found in Knox’s journal:

    “Leggers, Leggings, or Indian spatterdashes, are usually made of frize, or other coarse woolen cloth ; they should be at least three quarters of a yard in length ; each Leggin about three quarters wide (which is three by three) then double it, and sew it together from end to end, within four, five, or six inches of the outside selvages, fitting this long, narrow bag to the shape of the leg; the flaps to be on the outside, which serve to wrap over the skin, or fore-part of the leg, tied round under the knee, and above the ancle, with garters of the same colour ; by which the legs are preserved from many fatal accident, that may happen by briars, stumps of trees, or under-wood, & c. in marching through a close, woody country. The army have made an ingenious additon to them, by putting a tongue, or slope piece before, as there is in the lower part of a spatterdash; and a strap fixed to it under the heart of the foot, with fastens under the outside ancle with a button. By these improvements they cover part of the instep below the shoe buckle, and the quarters all round…”

    An historical journal of the campaigns in North America for the years 1757, 1758, 1759 and 1760, Vol. I
    Author: Knox, John, d. 1778. ;
    p285

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