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'Reversed coats'

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Joined: 04 Sep 2010
Posts: 797

Location: Devon

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:24 pm    Post subject: 'Reversed coats'  Reply with quote

Knowing that the scope of the forum roams beyond Rifle orientated topics I take the liberty to make use of it as a vehicle to explore the 'reversed colour' coat of the Napoleonic British Drummers, Fifers, Buglers and Trumpeters.

Having read the standard printed sources I had been long under the impression that reversed coats ceased about 1812. A while ago while researching other topics at the National Archives I came across the original submission relating to this (Sept 1811) ,  the General Order which followed
( Oct 1811) and finally the amended GO  July 1812.

The submission to change from the reversed colours was directed at 'Trumpeters and Buglers' due to their losses in action. It did not state 'Drummers' . The exposed role of the Bugler in the skirmish line is very different from the drummer in his usual station behind the red coat line.

I then discovered that reversed coats were not officially abolished until 1831.

Assuming the GO to have been adhered to, the odd situation would be that in a Line Battalion the Drummers would have continued 'reversed' yet their Light company Buglers would have gone into red (?) Drummers and Buglers of Royal Regiments were of course in red anyway and remained so. The 95th Buglers had been in green from the days of the Experimental Rifle Corps.

I am therefore appealing for any evidence relating to Drummers (et al)clothing, and especially period images, of Buglers, Drummers and Fifers from 1798 to 1830.
I am aware of the Hamilton Smith one and have seen a few 'occupation' prints.

I am hoping that with the world wide audience that visits this forum there will some hitherto relatively unknown material out there!

"Far the calling bugles hollo,
High the screaming Fife replies,
Gay the files of scarlet follow:
Woman bore me, I will rise"
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