The 49th Regiment of Foot, Grenadier Company depicts the uniform and equipment of the regiment, as it would have appeared in the first year of the War of 1812. Over the course of the Bicentennial years, the uniform will alter slightly to accommodate changes in headgear, but the basic aspects of the uniform remained the same throughout the war.
The red-wool tunic worn by the 49th is specific to the 49th Regiment, as was the case with every British regiment. The tunic is made of ‘Madder Red’ wool, and lined with either linen or wool serge. The 49th’s distinctive green facing colour is used on the tunic’s collar, cuffs and epaulettes. The coat is laced in the common bastion style pattern, utilizing 49th specific wool worsted lace. Distinct to the Grenadier and Light Companies of a battalion, the tunic has additional ‘wings’ at the shoulder seams, edged with white wool turfs. The coat is fastened using both small and large size pewter buttons, with the regimental number of ‘49’.
In accordance with Clothing Orders of 1811, the 49th wears ‘salt and pepper’ grey wool trousers as its principle leg wear. These trousers are worn high in the waist, just below the rib cage and are supported using period correct suspenders or ‘braces’.
In accompaniment to the grey wool trousers, the unit also wears grey wool half gaiters, with 7 or 8 small pewter buttons. These gaiters are fastened over top of the boots and worn underneath the trousers. The purpose of these gaiters was to keep dirt and debris out of the soldier’s boots.
The 49th ‘s principle type of headgear is the ‘Stovepipe’ shako. The shako is made of shaped and lacquered wool felt and has a curved leather peak. As there is no evidence of a 49th specific design, the shako uses a generic-style brass shako plate, with ‘GR’ markings in the centre. At the top, there is a black woolen hackle, distinct to the 49th Grenadiers, as grenadiers traditionally had all-white hackles. The attachment point of the hackle to the shako is hidden by a stamped leather cockade, with a small brass grenade, once again distinguishing the company as ‘Grenadiers’.
Shirts are made of either white linen or cotton and are made to period correct patterns. These shirts a very long in length, as these double as nightshirts during the period. The collars are very high, to accommodate the wearing of the leather neck stock.
While in proper uniform, the soldier’s neck is covered but a stiff leather neck stock, fastened at the back with a brass clasp. The purpose of the stock was to keep the soldier’s head and eyes to the front and prevent them from falling asleep.
The correct style of foot wear is known as “brogans”. These black leather shoes have distinct square ended toes and metal hobnails and horse shoes on the souls. During the period, these shoes were made without a ‘Right’ or ‘Left’ shoe, and the soldier was meant to rotate between the three shoes he was issued. – While this of footwear is highly preferred, any black leather, squared toed type of shoe or boot will suffice.
When not wearing the full uniform as discussed above, the soldier would wear his fatigue uniform or ‘barracks dress’. This uniform consisted of a white wool jacket, with the 49th’s facing colour of green on the collar and cuffs and once again fastened with regimental pewter buttons. While several styles were used throughout the War of 1812, the 49th wears a ‘stocking’ style of fatigue cap, with has the unit’s number on the front and is tucked under on the right side.
The weapon of choice for the 49th Grenadiers is the 3rd Model or ‘India Pattern’, Brown Bess musket. This smoothbore, flintlock musket has a 39” barrel and would have fired a 75 caliber, lead musket ball. The musket has a white buff leather sling. While some original members of the unit use the older 2nd Model, the preferred weapon for the 49th is the 3rd Model Brown Bess.
A triangular shaped steel bayonet is attached to the muzzle of the musket for additional effectiveness in battle. When the bayonet is not in use, it is held in a black leather scabbard, which is carried in a white buff leather belt, which goes over the right shoulder and hangs on the left-hand side of the body. (PLEASE NOTE – for safety reasons, bayonets are only used for demonstration purposes when there is no opposing line)
To hold the musket’s ammunition, the 49th wears a black leather cartridge box, which holds 60 rounds of ammunition. The device is carried using a white buff leather belt and goes over the left shoulder and hangs on the right-hand side of the body.
The soldier wears a linen haversack over his right shoulder, which is meant to hold three days of food rations while on campaign. This item of kit is mandatory and should be one of the first items purchases by a new member.
The 49th uses a correct, barrel style wooden canteen. The canteen is painted British Ordnance blue and bears the marks of “BO” only. NO regimental markings! This canteen is carried with a 1” brown leather strap, slung over the right shoulder.
The above list is the minimum uniform and equipment required to participate
as an infantryman at a reenactment event. While a member is allowed and by all means encouraged to purchase additional items such as greatcoats and knapsacks,
items such as these are not a requirement.