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Ben Townsend

Hypothesis regarding Trousers / Pantaloons

Throughout the period 1800-1815 the Line Infantry wore white breeches with long white gaiters as their default wear. This was for parades, full dress, and for home service (with long black gaiters for fatigues and second dress).  As we know, the practice of wearing alternative legwear on foreign service developed gradually, until official trials in 1809 on the Walcheren expedition resulted in a recommendation to adopt short gaiters and grey trousers for foreign service. This was enshrined in regulation from 1812.

Instead of breeches, the 95rifle corps (essentially 95th and 5/60th) wore pantaloons with short gaiters (inside or outside...). Pantaloons being a sort of extended full length breeches, snug to the leg. There are references to trousers for the 95th too. Which leads me to speculate:

Did the 95th use a green trouser as a foreign service addition to pantaloons for home service in the same way as the line?

Lets discuss this here. Rules for discussion: Informed speculation is welcome, reference to images ditto, but most highly prized will be documentary evidence. There is a great deal already on this forum, just search for 'trowsers, trousers, or pantaloons'. I haven't begun by doing that, to encourage others to join in and search the forum.
Steve 60th

Came across this in WO7/32, P.168, which shows prices of clothing for the ECR based on 1800 Regs. The 5/60th paid 8 shillings per of light blue pantaloons, dated the same day:

WO7/32
P.168:
Quote:
"Clothing approved for the Rifle Corps commanded by Colonel Coote Mannigham:
Private Green Coat                             15
Whtie Waistcoat                                   3,3
Green Pantaloons                                7,9
Hat Cap                                              4,3
Shoes*                                             11
                                                    £2,1,3

Deduct so much
to be stopped from                           1,6
the soldier.
                                                  £1,19,9

* the colonel paying 4/9 per pair the soldier paying the difference of 9,5 which is paid to them in the price of gaiters as he wears them short instead of long and also sock instead of stocking."
Steve 60th

Recently came across this at TNA. It depicts the 5/60th being clothed in light blue pantaloons up until this point, and in future to be clothed in dark blue pantaloons.

Quote:
Wo7.33, P.438:

Sir,

I have the honor to acquaint you for the information of the General Officers comprising the Clothing Board, that His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief has been pleased to approve of the 5th Battn. 60th Regiment, being in future supplied with Dark Blue pantaloons instead of light blue, as heretofore.
I have the honor to be,

W. Wynyard.
Tho. Fauquier Esq."
Ben Townsend

Steve, in your researches into 5/60th clothing, I would be especially interested in any references to trousers as well as to pantaloons. Establishing whether both were used, transition points, and for what purposes each was worn is of some interest. The same goes for any 95th bods starting out on the memoirs, or trawling this forum. Please note any reference to legwear, specifically for rifle corps (the 95th and 5/60th) so we can start compiling a file.
Eddie

Steve 60th wrote:
Recently came across this at TNA. It depicts the 5/60th being clothed in light blue pantaloons up until this point, and in future to be clothed in dark blue pantaloons.

Quote:
Wo7.33, P.438:

Sir,

I have the honor to acquaint you for the information of the General Officers comprising the Clothing Board, that His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief has been pleased to approve of the 5th Battn. 60th Regiment, being in future supplied with Dark Blue pantaloons instead of light blue, as heretofore.
I have the honor to be,






W. Wynyard.
Tho. Fauquier Esq."



The date for this Steve?
Jonathan Rogers (5/60th)

It's dated Friday 16th April 1806.
Ben Townsend

Lets take a snapshot of the 95th in 1812, and see if that brings the question into sharper focus- pantaloons, or Trowsers, or both? I choose the 95th because the bulk of my information relates to them, rather than through any prejudice against the 5/60th.

We know a few things with some certainty.
In 1812, all infantry regiment were expected to have two pairs of grey regimental trousers, one pair issued them by the colonel, another as necessaries and a third pair of trousers supplied as necessaries, (almost always of linen and variously described as Russia, Russia Duck, duck, dimity or canvas).

Those regiments with a different species of clothing- highlanders, rifle corps etc, were to adhere to their own peculiar brand of clothing- ie pantaloons.

From memoir evidence we know that the 95th still carried white Trowsers on service in 1815, which accounts for their undress trousers, so if they had two pairs of green legwear, were one pair pantaloons and one pair trousers? The service legwear is described by Costello as trousers as early as 1809, and James' is still noting in 1811 that,  

"In the... 95th regiment of foot (or Rifle corps)...The men to be stopped the extraordinary charge of two shillings and three pence in consequence of receiving pantaloons instead of breeches."
Also to be found in early form at WO26/39. TNA.

There is evidence that a trouser had superseded the pantaloon from the Board of clothing office in 1814. A doc showing that in 1812 pattern articles lodged showed a distinct pattern of rifle trousers, as opposed to a standard infantry grey trouser:
WO7/54
Return of articles of Military Clothing and Equipment laying at this Office as Patterns. Clothing Board Office, 6th August 1814.

(only stuff applicable to rifles copied here)

Headings: Article, Tradesmens name furnished by, Date of it being furnished as a pattern, Price.

1 Privates' Coat, european war, 95th,    Pearse 1812
ditto sjts coat                               ditto.
1 Privates trousers for 95th regt,           Pearse 1812
ditto sjts                                        ditto
Privates foraging cap for the line,   Prater (?)/ Pmater (?)  1813
5 Privates greatcoats of the line, Pearse, 1812
5 Privates knapsacks,        Bearsly     1812

Any other references to trousers rather than pantaloons?
Richard Warren

Standing Orders, Shropshire Militia 1813:

"The men of rifle companies are to wear pantaloons on duty, and trowsers off duty."
Richard Warren

“Calculation for Rifle Suits of Clothing by the 2d R[oyal] Lancashire Militia”, undated, probably 1804, found among records of the Shropshire Militia. The Pearse notebook for the 2nd Lancashire states “Rifle [companies] as Rifle Brigade”. The “calculation” includes:

Serjeants Pantaloons        
1 1/8 Yds Green Cloth @ 12 “ 6
1/2 Yd Linen @ 1 4½        
6 Gaiter Buttons              
10 Waistband and Brace Buttons        
Silk, Thread &c        
Cutting and Tailors Wages        
                   

Private’s Pantaloons      
1 1/8 Yds Green Cloth @ 6 “ 6
1/4 Yd Linnen      
6 Gaiter Buttons                
10 Waistband and Brace Buttons      
Thread &c              
Cutting and Tailors Wages        
                     
Does the inclusion of "gaiter buttons" in the ingredients for pantaloons imply "trouser-gaiters" covering the foot?

Should have included this in my previous post from the Shropshire Militia Standing Orders 1813: "Rifle officers are allowed to wear overalls as a morning dress, but never on duty, or when the other officers wear white pantaloons."

From Raikes’ history of the 3rd West York Militia:

“1811. In Regimental Orders, dated the 6th of March, the officers of the Rifle company are directed always to wear pantaloons of patent stocking web of the same colour as their jackets, the other officers to wear Navy-blue pantaloons of the same material, or white cloth or cassamere; the mounted officers might wear blue should they prefer it.” This could imply that previously rifle officers had sometimes worn blue pantaloons?
Steve 60th

Will have a dig around see what I can find for 5/60th. In the meantime here is a battalion order from Major Davy to Company Commanders, dated 1809:

Quote:
"On halting days the officers commanding companies will inspect their men at eleven o'clock roll call, and they will pay particular attention to the state of the arms, ammunition, and accoutrements. The blue pantaloons which have been torn upon the march are immediately to be repaired, and those men who are under the absolute necessity of wearing their white drawers must appear with them well washed and cleaned. the stocks are to be worn, and the rosettes and bugles which have been torn out of the caps are to be replaced".


a footnote reads:

"In another place necessity forces him to authorise the men cutting away the skirts to patch the upper part of their jackets."

Sourced from 'Swift & bold' by Gibbes Riguad.
Ben Townsend

I have been revisiting a lot of Clothing board stuff, and had another look at the list of pattern items held at the office at various points in 1813 and 1814. Its extraordinary just how few patterns were being held, but legwear for both privates and serjeants of the 95th and 5/60th were there. All four pattern items were supplied by the clothier Pearse, one of the great clothing concerns, and were deposited in 1812, the same year that the last significant regulation was provided by the 1812 warrant for infantry clothing. And....

The 5/60th pattern is of pantaloons, and the 95th are in trowsers.

The 1812 warrant specifies pantaloons in green for all rifle corps, and the Pearse clothing books don't mention legwear for the 95th except in a note which mentions serjeant's trowsers, although the date referred to is not clear.
Ben Townsend

Pertinent to this conundrum. The 1812 warrant for infantry was issued in July of that year. It specified grey pantaloons for infantry regiments when serving overseas (except certain stations), which had been phased in by general order the previous year. In September 1812 a new order was issued, superseding the relevant part of the warrant, specifying grey trowsers instead of grey pantaloons. Since the next due date for clothing was the 25th December 1812, there was time for clothiers to adapt to the new warrant. The main theatre effected, would have been western Spain, which had a blanket exemption from the 1812 clothing issue until 25th December 1813. Since this was optional, Trowsers may or may not have been substituted for pantaloons in some battalions on service with Wellington.

The rifle units were in a peculiar position, since they had both been put in green pantaloons in July. So were they now to move to green Trowsers, or to ignore the last order of September as being irrelevant to them? The information from the patterns room at the clothing office rather suggests that the 5/60th went one way, and the 95th another. The former having a pattern for pantaloons at the office, which unfortunately doesn't mention the colour (which could be either green or blue), and the 95th Trowsers. Again, the colour is not mentioned, but clearly, they are not grey, or a separate pattern would not be needed.

So, to what extent did the military trowser of late 1812 differ from the military pantaloon of earlier that year? Both were worn with short gaiters, and there is no alteration in these as far as we are aware, nor is a special pattern mentioned for rifle corps. So presumably both forms of legwear passed over the top of the gaiters, which seems to indicate a pantaloon that is wider at the cuff than the earlier pantaloons which are essentially an extended pair of breeches. Remember the 5/60th wore their gaiters OVER their pantaloons for much of their existence, as did many auxiliary rifle units.
Jonathan Rogers (5/60th)

Ben Townsend wrote:
So, to what extent did the military trowser of late 1812 differ from the military pantaloon of earlier that year? Both were worn with short gaiters, and there is no alteration in these as far as we are aware, nor is a special pattern mentioned for rifle corps. So presumably both forms of legwear passed over the top of the gaiters, which seems to indicate a pantaloon that is wider at the cuff than the earlier pantaloons which are essentially an extended pair of breeches..


The anatomy of trowsers, pantaloons and overalls is something I've found myself becoming increasingly obsessed with in the past months and this point you've just made has given me a little burst of inspiration.

The contemporary prints we usually find, primarily Hamilton Smith and J.A.Atkinson's, seem to reveal a trend in the early 1810s whereby the so-called 'trousers' worn by soldiers are depicted with the tailored fitting to the knees and upper calves that you'd expect to see in a pantaloon pattern; yet also keeping the closed cuff of your typical trousers.

Trawling through C. Hamilton Smith's folio of uniforms you'll see, I trust, some unmistakable variations in the degree to which a soldier's grey trousers are fitted - in some cases, like the 9th East Norfolk here, the grey trousers would appear to be fully fitted whereas other grey trousers attributed to the same year may give the impression of a simple straight-legged trouser that we're all familiar with. And it goes without saying, all instances of grey trousers in CHS are observed with short gaiters, dressed under the trouser.



Be it artistic interpretation or some more revealing point about the intricacies of military tailoring, it all gives some perspective for how the distinctions between pantaloons and trowsers can be so easily blurred.
Ben Townsend

For military pantaloons and Trowsers in this period, I'm beginning to think the fit over the knee is more important than the cuff. The length of pantaloons differs from two inches below the knee (almost breeches), to full length, and sometimes they even come with strapping under the foot. Civilian examples even rarely have a foot piece like hose. So if pantaloons can be loose enough at the cuff to be worn OVER short gaiters, what actually defines them as different from trowsers? It must be the fit to the leg around or above the knee. Tellingly, when Cadell speaks of the different legwear trialled in 1809 by various regiments for the clothing board, he says that of the two types of grey legwear, the tight ones were rejected as they 'split over the leg'. The 28th (his regiment) trialled a loose grey trowser that was best adapted for the service.

I would be interested in your thoughts on the defining characteristics of each set of legwear. Every time I think I have pinned this question down, it slides away from me again as new information comes to light.
Jonathan Rogers (5/60th)

Ben Townsend wrote:
For military pantaloons and Trowsers in this period, I'm beginning to think the fit over the knee is more important than the cuff. The length of pantaloons differs from two inches below the knee (almost breeches), to full length, and sometimes they even come with strapping under the foot. Civilian examples even rarely have a foot piece like hose. So if pantaloons can be loose enough at the cuff to be worn OVER short gaiters, what actually defines them as different from trowsers? It must be the fit to the leg around or above the knee. Tellingly, when Cadell speaks of the different legwear trialled in 1809 by various regiments for the clothing board, he says that of the two types of grey legwear, the tight ones were rejected as they 'split over the leg'. The 28th (his regiment) trialled a loose grey trowser that was best adapted for the service.

I would be interested in your thoughts on the defining characteristics of each set of legwear. Every time I think I have pinned this question down, it slides away from me again as new information comes to light.




Since it's all too clear that the defining traits of each garment experience vast shifts across the period, I've elected to use 1812 as a rough snapshot for these observations:

Trousers/Trowsers may well serve as an umbrella term for all legwear which is cut at, or in the near vicinity of the ankle. With this also comes the probable stipulation that the cuff of the trouser is closed (the wearer is able to remove the garment without suffering the need to unbutton or untie his cuffs) - making them distinct from breeches or pantaloons. We can lastly conclude that there is not a particular 'cut' that can be attributed to trousers, on the grounds that this term is treated as a supertype, and not any particular species of garment on it's own.

As trousers are the supertype, we can then attempt to categorise its subtypes:

- Fatigue/undress 'trousers' of the late-1800s/early-1810s are commonly described for their similarity to sailor's trousers of the time, which we understand to be excessively wide, straight-legged trousers.

- Overall 'trousers' are shown to be 'gun-mouthed' trousers with a fairly standard straight leg to them. We understand the terminology of 'over-all' to simply mean trousers which go over-all footwear (stockings, gaiters and boot tops are all accommodated within the cuff of the trouser leg. Cavalry-style overalls, as in the case of Cpt. Davies' flash new pair, are simply overall trousers with the addition of leather styrapping applied on the inseams.

- Gaiter 'trousers' are something that interests me greatly, not least for the novelty of having five-dozen buttons down your legs, but also because they might emerge as the underdog of our adventure.
The illustrated fugleman that Eddie found in Egerton 1798 depicts fatigue jacket and cap, worn concurrently with gaiter trousers - this may well suggest that gaiter trousers were worn as a component of Undress uniform, however they can also be spotted in many contemporary illustrations of soldiers in the early years of the Peninsular War as the default service-dress. W Heath and T Rowlandson show gaiter trousers worn on the march, D Dighton's painting of Sergeant Masterson shows gaiter trousers being worn in battle. Could these have been a precursor to grey wool trousers or did they see continued use alongside them?

Pantaloons and breeches will invariably have some mechanism of fastening at the cuffs to bring the closest possible fit around the legs. Around 1805, military breeches adopted a higher waistline, as was already fashionable for pantaloons and trousers; this change necessitated the use of 'slings', what we'd now call braces. As a consequence of this, as you rightly mention, the similarities between pantaloons and breeches are now so many that one of the only remaining distinctions is where the cuffs end. By looking over surviving pantaloons, I've concluded that a rule of thumb when drafting the legs is to find the widest point on the calf and cut roughly 6" below that. Breeches can be drafted with a similar method by finding the widest point around the knee cap and extending the cuff down from that point to a sensible height for the wearer.

W Heath's Death of John Moore, 1831 presents a nice selection of service dress in the Peninsular. Grey trowsers, white overalls and gaitered trousers are worn by the men in the foreground.





Here's the third evolution of my 5/60th regimental pantaloons. The inseam is fitted to the shape of the leg whereas the outseam is cut straight to accommodate the flashes of scarlet feathering. From Atkinson's Rifleman plate, it's clear that the top edge of the gaiter sits on the widest point of the calf, so if I wanted to completely hide the split-cuff beneath the gaiters, the same point of reference was used to show me there the splits must end.

Richard Warren

Er, isn't it a feature of pantaloons that the side seam, instead of running straight up the leg into a waistband, is cut to run continuously across the seat and down the other leg? Which is easily visible when they're heavily laced. As in these Hussar pantaloons from the Stothard tailor's book at ASKB:





This is not, I think, limited to cavalry, as I've seen images of the Duke of Cumberland's Sharpshooters in this cut of pantaloon. Unless it was just an officer/posh volunteer thing? Or true of pantaloons at one period but not another ... ?
Ben Townsend

Quote:
Trousers/Trowsers may well serve as an umbrella term for all legwear which is cut at, or in the near vicinity of the ankle. With this also comes the probable stipulation that the cuff of the trouser is closed (the wearer is able to remove the garment without suffering the need to unbutton or untie his cuffs) - making them distinct from breeches or pantaloons. We can lastly conclude that there is not a particular 'cut' that can be attributed to trousers, on the grounds that this term is treated as a supertype, and not any particular species of garment on it's own.


I think you've come up with a useful working approach. Each of your defining terms requires almost immediate exceptions to be made though. For instance, there are pantaloons that extend past the ankle (stirrup pantaloons and footed pantaloons, and trowsers that finish way above it, finishing mid calf and rather wide (gunmouth).
In the same fashion, there are overalls (cavalry or otherwise) that are considered as trowsers which don't have a closed cuff, and the gaiter Trowsers also fall into this bracket. And there are pantaloons that have a closed cuff (the stirrup version or footed version again).
Now, I won't bin a good working hypothesis just because it needs exceptions to be made, but this does leave us with quite a bootful of the exceptions almost instantly.

Regarding Richard's observation, I was hopeful that this would point us clear, but a quick look in The Taylor's Instructor (1809), and The Taylor's Complete Guide (1796), shows us the style he has suggested (called here 'without sideseam' or 'without leg seam' as a burgeoning fashion in 1796 for breeches AND pantaloons. Whereas the 1809 book has a pantaloon pattern without this characteristic, right next to breeches patterns without it.

Sadly neither book sees fit to deal with Trowsers, sticking only to a myriad different forms of breeches and pantaloons. The Taylor's Instructor contains a section on regimentals, that does not deal with legwear, so I assume the construction principals are identical for civilian and military legwear.
Ben Townsend

Just to muddy the waters further, I was looking through the excellent book on Louis Bazalguette (one of Prinny's tailors from 1780-90s) by his descendent, Charles Bazalguette. Louis ONLY talks of breeches and trowsers. I have found only one mention of pantaloons in the tailor's accounts reproduced in the book, and that is for 'pantaloon-brees' presumably pantaloon breeches. I spoke to the author and his feeling is that this is just Louis's particularity.
Neibelungen

Those images of hussar laced pantaloons are the single seam ones usually designed to be cut out of heavy stockinette fabric.

eg; Major General James Kemp
https://collection.nam.ac.uk/deta...&page=1&acc=1959-11-278-1


Or Graham's portrait at Apsley House.
Ben Townsend

Yup. The text in the book talks of 'scarlet stockin pantaloons'.

Looking at 1790s, Trowsers seem to have been in vogue in London, the pantaloon comes into its own around 1800, and then bows to Trowsers again c.1812.
Richard Warren

Right, so if we take the single seam pattern as usually in patent stocking or stockinette, for officers, providing a snug fit beneath the Hessian boot or whatever, does it follow that cloth or cassimere pantaloons, whether for officers or men, would be in the double seam pattern? Or is that an assumption too far?
Ben Townsend

Hi Richard,

I have delayed replying until I was in the same place as my copies of the two tailoring guides I am leaning on (hopefully not too heavily). They have a lot to say on, 'breeches without the accustomed seams,' but I'm afraid the plot is thickening rather than becoming more opaque. They recommend the 'seamless breeches, to be made from, 'broad or narrow cloth, kerseymere, stocking, or any stuff that has the least elasticity in it'. Just to make it clear, they then suggest that only broadcloth will make the breeches as shown without the seam, as it has the width, and anything else will have to be pieced.
Richard Warren

Mm. Thanks, Ben. I'm a bit confused, as I'd imagined, from the tailor's drawings, that the seamless type was made in two pieces, one for each leg ...

Google books came up with "The Tailor's Preceptor" (good title) of 1826, which is rather post-period, but shows the relationship between pantaloons (formed to the leg below the knee) and what it calls "pantaloon-trowsers", which I think the rest of us would call trousers [??] and are cut parallel from the calf down:

"Pantaloons are formed from the knee upwards by the same rule just laid down for breeches ... form the remainder of the leg-seam according to the measure; mark the bottom by a straight line; and hollow the underside as in breeches.

Fig 2 also represents pantaloon-trowsers. These are usually cut the same width at the bottom as at the calf, and may be formed by the same measure, from the straight line at the side. The bottom of the fore-part may be cut a little hollow, and the hind-part round."



Does this help? Maybe not.
Ben Townsend

I suppose that's why The Tailor's Instructor favours the term, 'breeches without the accustomed seams' to 'seamless breeches'. One term is accurate, and the other has the ring of an advertising slogan. If you look at the two pictures from Rigimentals above, you will see some of the piecing he describes at work. So although the breeches lack the second leg seam, they are pieced in areas off the leg. Now piecing for reasons of economy is a straightforward practice, but it would hardly be necessary to show it on a pattern. When it is shown on a pattern I believe it is to illustrate the use of piecing to utilise particular properties of the stuff.

Nice point from the Preceptor. That's a useful (1820s) definition of the difference between pantaloon and pantaloon-trowser ( the latter a subset of trowser). It does fit my general feeling: that the pantaloon is a pair of breeches to the knee, extended past the knee, and fitted to the leg.
Ben Townsend

Veering back towards the rifle corps specifically for a moment, Rob G of the 5/60th group has kindly brought my attention to the passage in Scloppetaria that relates the legwear, 'usually served out to riflemen'.

"The pantaloons usually served out to riflemen are of two kinds, either of green cloth made to fit very tight and close, or of loose white Russia duck. Now the former of these labour under two objections: one, that they restrain the free use of the limbs and muscles, and therefore the sooner fatigue the wearer; and secondly, that they are more apt to get torn in leaping and running, from there being made so tight. The white duck Trowsers are we think equally inadmissible, for although they certainly are much pleasanter owing to their looseness, yet surely their colour is so glaring an absurdity, that the whole use of a green jacket is done away."
p.245 Scloppetaria, Henry Beaufoy, 1808.

The author then goes on to talk about his suggestions for improvements: in short, a looser green pantaloon finishing, 'mid-leg'.

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