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The four regiments of infantry, under the command of the Comte de Rochambeau, sent by France in 1780 to aid the American states, were all of the regular establishment, and were a picked body of officers and men. They were splendidly equipped in every detail of the latest regulation of 1779.

The Saintonge regiment, the 85th of the French Line, wore white cloth coats and waistcoats, faced and piped with dark green. Their buttons were gilt, with the regimental number stamped on them. In summer, they wore linen breeches and white canvas gaiters. In winter, black cloth breeches, and black stockings and gaiters except for parade and full dress, when they wore white tricot breeches and gray-white worsted gaiters. The gaiters were buttoned at the knee to the breeches and required no garters.

No striking distinction in dress was made between the officers and men, beyond the fact that the officers' uniforms were of finer cloth. The officers' gorgets were of gilt with the Royal Arms superimposed in silver; their epaulets and sword knots were of gilt braid with red silk mixture, according to rank. The officers were also distinguished by a tuft of white goathair on their hats. The men wore small round pompons of worsted.

One of Rochambeau's first orders on his arrival in America was to have the officers and men add a small black cockade to the white dimity ones worn on their hats, in compliment to the American army, which had adopted black cockades.

The officers while on campaign wore cloaks of white cloth, with a cape six or seven inches wide on the shoulders, bordered with a one-inch gilt lace, and made of dark green, the color of the regimental facing. No jabots or cuffs of lace, and no sashes were allowed at this period, and the coat collars and lapels were always worn hooked.

Saintonge Regiment of Infantry, 1781

Saintonge Regiment of Infantry, 1781

[SOURCE: Uniforms of the Armies in the War of the American Revolution, 1775-1783. Lt. Charles M. Lefferts. Limited Edition of 500. New York York Historical Society. New York, NY. 1926.]

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