original drawing by
Estelle Ansley Worrell
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1770s Before and During the Revolution

In 1772 merchants in Providence, Rhode Island, burned the British schooner Caspee.Someof thesesamemerchants laterfoughtalongsidethe shipsof thenew Continental Navy which had only forty deep-water ships and a few small boats on the Great Lakes. At the end of the Revolution only three of these were left but America had proven to the world that she had a navy. Abraham Whipple who was one of those privateers captured ten British ships in ten successive nights!

Although there were no official uniforms the privateers did dress in the fonnal clothes of mditary officers. This commander wears a dark blue coat which has cuffs but no collar. The turned-back lapels and cuffs are red. Most of these coats had no braid trim but some had braid edging the lapels and cuffs as shown.

The red waistcoats were almost always gold-embroidered and sometimes edged with gold bxaid as well.

The shirt is like that of Figure 73. The breeches are dark blue like the coat but have gold embroidery around the knee band.

His stockings are white, his buckled shoes and thcorne hat are black. Some- times the hats were edged with gold braid.

Some privateer captains wore a white or buff waistcoat and lapels instead of red. The waistcoat always had a great deal of, braid.

John Paul jones' portrait shows him in the same uniform of navy blue coat with red lapels and waistcoat, epaulettes and a tricome edged with fringe. Instead of a cockade his tricorne has an erhbroidered medallion.