- May 6, 2014
- Reaction score
With regards to the buff slings and the Second Battalion Royal Americans, Governor James Murray, in September 1763 wrote (presumably to the commanding officer, but not specifically stated):
"...It is long since I reported the accoutrements of the Second Batt. of your Royal American Regt. unservisible [sic]. I hope you will as soon as possible order your agent to provide a compleat [sic] new set, and I flatter myself you will make choise [sic] of Buff rather than tanned leather accoutrements, which by experience we know to be good for nothing, it is true they are cheaper, and for that reason perhaps were prefer'd [sic] to the Buff when the Regt. was raised, and had no prospect of standing longer than such stuff would last, but the case is now different, and I shall very chearfully [sic] pay for the best set of accoutrements which can be purchased in England." [LAC, W.O. 34, vol. 2, No. 102, dated 2 September 1763].
That is an extremely interesting quote, Jeff. Thank you for providing it.
Though the "tann'd" or "tanned" leather items (dyed black probably by Vinegaroon on the smooth side) provided by British Ordnance were often referred to as "cheap," up until now it always seemed to me this was because they weren't as expensive to procure as Buff Leather. However, this quote seems to suggest the leather or the tanning process was inferior to buff leather. This surprises me as the basic Tanning processes for both leathers seems to have been done in the same manner.
Perhaps the Buff Leather was "stufft" or "stuff'd" as they called it in the period (we call that Oil Tan) and that meant oils and wax were worked into the leather after it was tanned? I'm just guessing here trying to figure out why? Leather that had this additional period treatment would have both been more expensive and lasted longer.
From the above extract, it sounds as though each commanding officer may have had a choice in what they ordered.
When British Ordnance issued Arms, with each came a "tann'd" (black dyed) cartouche box (belly box), waist belt, frog, bayonet scabbard, sling and a bayonet as well. Commanding Officers had to keep these in storage to return with the Arms, even if they didn't use any of the items except the bayonet and paid for Buff Leather accoutrements out of money given to them to outfit their Regiment or their personal pockets. So CO's always had a choice to pay for more expensive Buff Leather items as long as they absorbed the cost in other ways.
Separately, in July 1757, nine additional companies for the three Highland regiments were raised for service. Unfortunately, accoutrements mentioned are (among other things) "side pistols and straps, and cartouche boxes and straps" for all the men. [LAC, W.O. 4, vol. 54, p. 233, dated 21 July 1757].
I will take note of anything "royal" in the 42nd accounting books and let you know.
I'm not sure about the 78th, but the 42nd continued to use "Tann'd" pistol straps and cartouche box straps (waist belts) throughout the FIW and AWI periods.