Most of the members of our company know Captain Selin's Company was for the first time in the field in the Spring of 1777. We have never had any definite documentation as to what type of clothing we were fist issued during that time period when we were a part of Ottendorf's Corps. If we are to look at the few "deserter" descriptions from that time we find nothing that we could actually use to describe the dress except possibly -doeskin or buckskin breeches which also has to be looked at carefully because these references may also be referring to a type of cloth by the same names and not necessarily the skin of a deer. One deserters uniform is described in detail however it its clear that it was one of a hessian who apparently joined the unit only to desert a short time after.
I based my research on someone who was a soldier in Ottendorf's Corp and spent some time in Captain Selin's Company in the Spring 1777. Carl Buttner, in his narratives published in the early part of the 19th century, goes on to describe his green face blue short uniform jacket. In these narratives there is a painting of him in his uniform, however this has always puzzled most who saw it. The painting shows more of a War of 1812 style coatee and over all it looks too modern for the period of the Revolutionary War.
Now if one were to look at this book in perspective we can see that it was published in 1816, therefore the illustrator perhaps young, would possibly have drawn from the dress of the latest war that of 1812, to come up with the model. The elderly Buttner may have thought it a fine picture for a book instead of having it redrawn based on the facts.
Yes, this is an assumption but how far off could we be if we check the research.
In the early part of 1777 Both Ottendorf and Selin were both in the Philadelphia area- both petitioning Congress for money to raise troops. At this time there were a number of Philadelphia Tailors that were constructing an inexpensive style regimental short coat that is now being referred to as the "Philadelphia" Style Coats. With the help of our good friend and researcher Steve Gilbert we see that these "Short Butt Coats" we somewhat minimally constructed with possibly the collars, & lapels of the false variety ie. sewn down and not functional. Henry Cooke seems to concur on this . Also the linings on may were cheaply made or partially made( no sleeve linings ) or even non existent to save money. In essence a coat that would cost a minimal price but would outfit a Corps or Company to give them some prestige or "esprit de Corps" so to speak.
Our modern Company's prototype coat was first sewn up in the Spring of 2005 ( two were constructed) Made of a 100% light wool broadcloth for both coat and facings. It has Ten large 1 inch tin/ pewter buttons ( Najecki's) on each lapel, three of the same on each of the two false pockets, &1 each over the two back vents. There are three small 5/8 inch tin /pewter buttons on each of the slit cuffs. The skirts are of 9 inches in length. The fronts can be turned back to the body and tacked but at this time we will leave them down.
I designed the pattern from a compilation of existing jackets, coats, & patterns- at that point designing it as I thought appropriate for our time period.
If any members are interested in having a coat made they will need to speak with me so that I can purchase the material required and work on them over the winter season.
Your Most Humble Servant,
Jim W. Filipski