42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot Uniforms c. 1757-1765

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BJamesBeck

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"That's interesting. How were they sure the surviving example that they were copying for that was what was worn in North America? That looks quite a bit different than what I've seen described. It almost looks to me like a faded version of what is described. Surprised it is that light, considering the "black watch" nickname supposedly came from how dark the tartan was. Not doubting you, just curious. And if only a few yards were woven, how is anyone supposed to be expected to wear the proper tartan as you say...?"

Bryanbekk, The man who had the 42nd coarse kilt tartan woven, as I said, is the senior researcher for the Scottish Tartan Authority. His knowledge of historic tartans is second to none. He bases his reproductions on surviving samples and extensive knowledge of the dyes used in the old days, before modern chemical dies became known. The reproduction tartan is less "black" than the modern version, but that's authenticity for you. Many tartans are kept in stock by most sellers because there is strong demand for them. Otherwise you have to order a special weaving. I had to do that when I wanted some of my own family tartan that is seldom in demand. It cost me over $1,300 but I got enough for three to five kilts, depending on how much yardage I want to put into each kilt.

For you purposes Black Watch Ancient by Locharron, or Black Watch Muted by House of Edgar would be most nearly authentic. You could have Elliotts weave for you the exact reproduction, of which I posted a sample pic.

To be truly authentic to the era the tartan cloth would need to have what is known as a true kilt selvedge, and only by ordering a custom weave from one of the smaller mills can you get that today. A kilt selvedge is done as a herringbone tweed and is distinctly different from the modern tucked selvedge.

It's my recollection the regiment's men were issued three ells of tartan for their kilts. It would have been the standard 27-inch width, more or less and would have been worn as a small kilt, pleated haphazardly and the pleats unpressed.
Could you provide me with a link to this information?

Given my field of study, I must always keep a cautious skepticism about so called "experts" and "authorities". Far too many times I have seen incorrect information from so called "experts" cited for generations without being questioned as well as many upstart academics providing information that is trying to reinvent the wheel to secure their place as an "expert". I am of the opinion that both should be questioned and weighed against each other.

Whether or not it is correct, there will be the issue of what everyone else is wearing. I have not seen a single 42nd reenactor wearing this faded/washed out tartan. So, even if it is the correct one, there would be the issue of me not appearing uniform next to other reenactors of the same regiment. I would be very interested in reading about the study and reproduction of this though. If you could point me towards it I'd appreciate it! I'm sure you understand I can't just change my opinion on this without seeing any information which supports your claim, as it is contrary to everything I have personally read and contrary to what I have seen every other 42nd reenactor doing.
 
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Yeah, I would say the 42nd baldric definitely looks like it is in the 3-3 3/8" range when compared to the others.
I'm not so sure about that. Though it would not be absolutely correct to take a ruler to compare the Cartouche Pouch "Shoulder Belts" to the Grenadier's Baldric, I think I'm going to do that later on to see what the actual measurements are to make a comparison.

Gus

P.S. Your link provides me with another avenue for a period impression. Chelsea Hospital Pensioner was a bit restricting, so I might go with "Invalids Regiment." ;) :D
 

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I'm not so sure about that. Though it would not be absolutely correct to take a ruler to compare the Cartouche Pouch "Shoulder Belts" to the Grenadier's Baldric, I think I'm going to do that later on to see what the actual measurements are to make a comparison.

Gus

P.S. Your link provides me with another avenue for a period impression. Chelsea Hospital Pensioner was a bit restricting, so I might go with "Invalids Regiment." ;) :D
Yeah, an actual measurement would probably be a great idea! I was just giving it the quick eyeball estimate there.

And I'm glad I could be of assistance there! 😆
 

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I'm not so sure about that. Though it would not be absolutely correct to take a ruler to compare the Cartouche Pouch "Shoulder Belts" to the Grenadier's Baldric, I think I'm going to do that later on to see what the actual measurements are to make a comparison.

Gus

P.S. Your link provides me with another avenue for a period impression. Chelsea Hospital Pensioner was a bit restricting, so I might go with "Invalids Regiment." ;) :D
Gus, I'm with you. At my age, I have been trying to talk the unit into becoming an Invalid Company. Did you notice that the Invalid Company is represented by the with the only painting where the subject is smiling.
 

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Gus, I'm with you. At my age, I have been trying to talk the unit into becoming an Invalid Company. Did you notice that the Invalid Company is represented by the with the only painting where the subject is smiling.
Personally I think you fine gentlemen are in your prime! And don't let anyone tell you any different!

So I am thinking with what everyone has said so far, that the officer on the left in the photo I posted on my initial post will probably be generally what I am shooting for. That seems to me to show the adaptations that were quickly made to serving in North America, including the removal of much of the gold trim on the jacket apart from the borders at the edge of the facings. I will probably go with a red waistcoat instead of the white that he has on, as it doesn't seem that white became common until the 1780's-90's for the 42nd. Other than that, does anyone see anything with that setup that is massively incorrect? Here's the photo again:
83d8723dbe74ce72e16f01bae7a41cbb.jpg
 

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Gus, I'm with you. At my age, I have been trying to talk the unit into becoming an Invalid Company. Did you notice that the Invalid Company is represented by the with the only painting where the subject is smiling.
YES!! I did notice that before you mentioned it. LOL!! :thumb:

Also, does it look like he also has few or no teeth left, maybe only the two opposing teeth required to tear a cartridge? It seemed to me that's the impression David Morier wanted to make. 😆

Gus
 

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Could you provide me with a link to this information?

Given my field of study, I must always keep a cautious skepticism about so called "experts" and "authorities". Far too many times I have seen incorrect information from so called "experts" cited for generations without being questioned as well as many upstart academics providing information that is trying to reinvent the wheel to secure their place as an "expert". I am of the opinion that both should be questioned and weighed against each other.

Whether or not it is correct, there will be the issue of what everyone else is wearing. I have not seen a single 42nd reenactor wearing this faded/washed out tartan. So, even if it is the correct one, there would be the issue of me not appearing uniform next to other reenactors of the same regiment. I would be very interested in reading about the study and reproduction of this though. If you could point me towards it I'd appreciate it! I'm sure you understand I can't just change my opinion on this without seeing any information which supports your claim, as it is contrary to everything I have personally read and contrary to what I have seen every other 42nd reenactor doing.
Bryan,

Though I don't have the documentation now, I can attest that kansas-volunteer's information IS correct for the FIW period, because we in the Major's Coy (AWI period) had only recently received this information about the time I got my first Philabeag a little before or around 2000. We were mulling the information around about changing over or at least a second Philabeag in that colour tartan.

However, since most of the unit was in the darker tartan, we made it optional and no one had gone to it when I had to quit around 2005 or so.

Gus
 

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Bryan,

Though I don't have the documentation now, I can attest that kansas-volunteer's information IS correct for the FIW period, because we in the Major's Coy (AWI period) had only recently received this information about the time I got my first Philabeag a little before or around 2000. We were mulling the information around about changing over or at least a second Philabeag in that colour tartan.

However, since most of the unit was in the darker tartan, we made it optional and no one had gone to it when I had to quit around 2005 or so.

Gus
I would definitely be very curious to see the information if either of you can find it. I've not seen anything about it, even after specifically searching for it after reading his comments on here.

As I said to him, not doubting you guys, would just really like to see where the information is coming from.

It just seems very odd that even the period drawings are much darker. While obviously not 100% accurate they usually do well at portraying some of the tartans of the other Highland regiments as lighter, which they're generally believed to have been.

If I can find the information that confirms that is the correct color palette for the tartan, then I will gladly go with a weathered black watch or other variation that more accurately depicts that, not a problem!
 

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I would definitely be very curious to see the information if either of you can find it. I've not seen anything about it, even after specifically searching for it after reading his comments on here.

As I said to him, not doubting you guys, would just really like to see where the information is coming from.

It just seems very odd that even the period drawings are much darker. While obviously not 100% accurate they usually do well at portraying some of the tartans of the other Highland regiments as lighter, which they're generally believed to have been.

If I can find the information that confirms that is the correct color palette for the tartan, then I will gladly go with a weathered black watch or other variation that more accurately depicts that, not a problem!
Bryan,

Part of our problem was how difficult/expensive it was to obtain "the real thing" as kansas-volunteer spoke to. We settled on a slightly different, but very close tartan that was available at somewhat lesser cost, for that reason.

I never had that information, myself, others in our unit came up with it. I was our unit Artificer, so my research was primarily in weapons and leather goods, because I also did the latter.

Gus
 

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Bryan,

Part of our problem was how difficult/expensive it was to obtain "the real thing" as kansas-volunteer spoke to. We settled on a slightly different, but very close tartan that was available at somewhat lesser cost, for that reason.

I never had that information, myself, others in our unit came up with it. I was our unit Artificer, so my research was primarily in weapons and leather goods, because I also did the latter.

Gus
Yeah I won't be spending thousands to order a custom made obscure tartan, but if I can get something close that is available through normal means and at a reasonable price, I will. Having a couple kilts already I know how quickly they can get extremely pricey. Thankfully most Stewart tartans are widely available!
IMG_20210214_221334_373.jpg
 

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Yeah I won't be spending thousands to order a custom made obscure tartan, but if I can get something close that is available through normal means and at a reasonable price, I will. Having a couple kilts already I know how quickly they can get extremely pricey. Thankfully most Stewart tartans are widely available!
Well, then as you said; if you want to fall in with other units, it might or would be a problem. It's difficult enough to fall in with other units with an Officer's impression when you only have one or two (or no) troops at an event. I know, I did it a few times in UnCivil War reenacting.

Some units may really appreciate someone who falls in with them doing an Officer's impression, as no one in their unit wants to go to the expense. Some may not and there is no way to know without checking.

Honestly, I would check with the Unit you mentioned earlier was close by to see what tartan they chose and why they chose it, if you wish to fall in with them in the future.

OK, I started twice now to discuss the Officer's Uniform you asked about from the painting, so will close this to begin typing more on that.

Gus
 

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Well, then as you said; if you want to fall in with other units, it might or would be a problem. It's difficult enough to fall in with other units with an Officer's impression when you only have one or two (or no) troops at an event. I know, I did it a few times in UnCivil War reenacting.

Some units may really appreciate someone who falls in with them doing an Officer's impression, as no one in their unit wants to go to the expense. Some may not and there is no way to know without checking.

Honestly, I would check with the Unit you mentioned earlier was close by to see what tartan they chose and why they chose it, if you wish to fall in with them in the future.

OK, I started twice now to discuss the Officer's Uniform you asked about from the painting, so will close this to begin typing more on that.

Gus
The unit I've talked to represents Captain Stirling's company and wears the darker tartan and also jackets with the buff facings. So I'm already going to stand out like a sore thumb most likely by going with the royal blue facings. But they are still roughly 5 hours drive away from me so most likely I will only make it to the same events as them a few times a year for now, possibly as little as once or twice.

And I realize portraying an officer and hoping to fall in line with other units could be a point of contention at times but I do have some reasoning for it. As I said before, the family name connection. But also as the rendezvous I have been to local to me, there are very few if any people representing British troops of any flavor. So most likely I will be alone as a 42nd officer, and sometimes alone in representing a redcoat in general. That being said, I thought by representing an officer I might look less like a deserter wandering around at a rendezvous.

This is another reason why I thought limiting the gold lace on my jacket might not be a bad idea. It appears to me that according to the sources, and with some slight modifications I could probably grab a fusil and fall in line as an enlisted man with units that have officers already, without many people noticing. Mainly I'm just trying to represent as accurately as I can within my budget, something and someone that I have very rarely seen portrayed around here locally to me.

Look forward to your thoughts on the uniform!
 
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The unit I've talked to represents Captain Stirling's company and wears the darker tartan and also jackets with the buff facings. So I'm already going to stand out like a sore thumb most likely by going with the royal blue facings. But they are still roughly 5 hours drive away from me so most likely I will only make it to the same events as them a few times a year for now, possibly as little as once or twice.

And I realize portraying an officer and hoping to fall in line with other units could be a point of contention at times but I do have some reasoning for it. As I said before, the family name connection. But also as the rendezvous I have been to local to me, there are very few if any people representing British troops of any flavor. So most likely I will be alone as a 42nd officer, and sometimes alone in representing a redcoat in general. That being said, I thought by representing an officer I might look less like a deserter wandering around at a rendezvous.

This is another reason why I thought limiting the gold lace on my jacket might not be a bad idea. It appears to me that according to the sources, and with some slight modifications I could probably grab a fusil and fall in line as an enlisted man with units that have officers already, without many people noticing. Mainly I'm just trying to represent as accurately as I can within my budget, something and someone that I have very rarely seen portrayed around here locally to me.

Look forward to your thoughts on the uniform!
Bryan,

OK, I used the following link for your picture, because you can enlarge it. (BTW the following from that Website is total BS, so please don’t pass it on. “The same weapon caused the Tribes to name Virginians (who had a significant number of Scots on her western border) as “Longknives.”)

Broadsword of the Black Watch by Troiani (oldgloryprints.com)

Let’s begin w/the Bonnet. Stick to the small red balls on top, which most come that way. One time I saw an AWI Scottish unit where the Officers used large balls to supposedly show they were Officers. Not only was it totally incorrect, they appeared downright clownish.

Something you may not know about adding bands to Bonnets is you HAVE to have a size that is a bit large/loose on your head. If you choose one that seems to fit well before you add the decorative band, it will be too tight after you sew the band on. Don’t ask me how I know……grin. BTW, this is too common of a problem, I later learned.

OK, let’s get into the Ostrich Feather decoration. These can be a REAL PITA if you don’t know a few things. The print shows rather nice “Poofy” and rather short feathers, but that is not the way they come. A single feather as it comes will often not look like that. Actually, it will go over your entire head and down the other side a bit. During the period, they talk about wearing “one or two” Ostrich feathers and that is a key to “fix” the normal large Ostrich Feather/s and make it “Poofy.” So……here is a link to what I recommend you use. This length is long enough to trim the center “quill” portion enough to go behind cockade to hold it/them and still have enough overall length. To make it “Poofy” use two of them and wrap black thread around the quill portions to tie them together. If not, you may get what we called a “Bolo Blowout” when the two feathers stray asunder. Oh, the craft pack of 10 is handy to have as you will go through these in rain or snow or wind. “Ratty” Feathers are not the mark of a gentleman, you know.”

Amazon.com: Shekyeon Black 10-12inch 25-30cm Ostrich Feather Home Decoration DIY Craft Pack of 10: Arts, Crafts & Sewing

Oh, don’t ask me why the Scots liked Ostrich Feather Plumes for decoration on “Manly Clotheing.” I have no idea why they chose this most impractical form of decoration on their Bonnets and Balmorals.

More coming,

Gus
 

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The start of a slippery slope, if not contained it could lead to the whole bonnet being covered in feathers. Wait a minute....
 

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Bryan,

OK, I used the following link for your picture, because you can enlarge it. (BTW the following from that Website is total BS, so please don’t pass it on. “The same weapon caused the Tribes to name Virginians (who had a significant number of Scots on her western border) as “Longknives.”)

Broadsword of the Black Watch by Troiani (oldgloryprints.com)

Let’s begin w/the Bonnet. Stick to the small red balls on top, which most come that way. One time I saw an AWI Scottish unit where the Officers used large balls to supposedly show they were Officers. Not only was it totally incorrect, they appeared downright clownish.

Something you may not know about adding bands to Bonnets is you HAVE to have a size that is a bit large/loose on your head. If you choose one that seems to fit well before you add the decorative band, it will be too tight after you sew the band on. Don’t ask me how I know……grin. BTW, this is too common of a problem, I later learned.

OK, let’s get into the Ostrich Feather decoration. These can be a REAL PITA if you don’t know a few things. The print shows rather nice “Poofy” and rather short feathers, but that is not the way they come. A single feather as it comes will often not look like that. Actually, it will go over your entire head and down the other side a bit. During the period, they talk about wearing “one or two” Ostrich feathers and that is a key to “fix” the normal large Ostrich Feather/s and make it “Poofy.” So……here is a link to what I recommend you use. This length is long enough to trim the center “quill” portion enough to go behind cockade to hold it/them and still have enough overall length. To make it “Poofy” use two of them and wrap black thread around the quill portions to tie them together. If not, you may get what we called a “Bolo Blowout” when the two feathers stray asunder. Oh, the craft pack of 10 is handy to have as you will go through these in rain or snow or wind. “Ratty” Feathers are not the mark of a gentleman, you know.”

Amazon.com: Shekyeon Black 10-12inch 25-30cm Ostrich Feather Home Decoration DIY Craft Pack of 10: Arts, Crafts & Sewing

Oh, don’t ask me why the Scots liked Ostrich Feather Plumes for decoration on “Manly Clotheing.” I have no idea why they chose this most impractical form of decoration on their Bonnets and Balmorals.

More coming,

Gus
That was a fantastic reply thank you! I believe I read somewhere that the feathers were "awarded" or worn after an incident in Flanders where some French cavalry tried to make off with some guns, which an element of the 42nd subsequently re-acquired. Then around 1760-61 they are referenced as a required part of the uniform for officers and at least a piece of bear fur for enlisted men. You're right though they must have been popular though, because other Highland regiments wore feathers as well!

What do you think about waistcoat color? When the regiment started it appears they were all red. Then in 1758 the lieutenant from one of the newly raised companies references blue waistcoats, and then later on they are switched to white. I have been leaning towards white/off white because I think it will look best, but I don't know if it would be most correct. It seems like any one of the three COULD be correct. Any thoughts?
 

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That was a fantastic reply thank you! I believe I read somewhere that the feathers were "awarded" or worn after an incident in Flanders where some French cavalry tried to make off with some guns, which an element of the 42nd subsequently re-acquired. Then around 1760-61 they are referenced as a required part of the uniform for officers and at least a piece of bear fur for enlisted men. You're right though they must have been popular though, because other Highland regiments wore feathers as well!

What do you think about waistcoat color? When the regiment started it appears they were all red. Then in 1758 the lieutenant from one of the newly raised companies references blue waistcoats, and then later on they are switched to white. I have been leaning towards white/off white because I think it will look best, but I don't know if it would be most correct. It seems like any one of the three COULD be correct. Any thoughts?
Bryan,

What I don’t know for the Bonnet is what the Officer’s Black Cockade looked like for the FIW and if it had a brass or gilt brass button in the center.

Personally, I am not a very good source to discuss the color of the Waist Coat, as most of what I know about the FIW uniform is early war when the 42nd first came over. However, please look at the portrait of Captain Campbell in the link below. If that date is right, it appears to show the White Waist Coat was used then? Do you know when your Ancestor actually got over here and if he was in the first or second battles of Fort Carillon/Ticonderoga?

Battle of Fort Ticonderoga 1758 (britishbattles.com)

OK, before I get into this next one, I hope Grenadier 1758 will chime in here on what appears to be the “Buff colour” Cartouche (Cartridge) Box and Frog, the Officer is wearing. This because I’m not real familiar with Buff leather, as we always used what was called “Tanned” or “Tann’d” Leather in the period and that just means it was dyed black. As I understand it, “Buff” leather is a light brownish yellow leather. I know Najecki used to carry it before he went out of business, but that’s about all I know about it. I THINK Buff leather was just dyed with a bit of yellow, but I’m not sure.

Below is linked a circa 1939 drawing an Officer and he is also wearing the “Buff Colour” Cartouche Box and frog, as well as what looks like a “Buff Colour” Waist Belt and Fusil Sling. I THINK this drawing is made from the portrait of Captain Campbell in the British Battles link above?

a6d408a018dc5695769fdb487a9ff78f--highlanders-the-journal.jpg (583×814) (pinimg.com)

I realize you won't need the Cartouche Box and Frog until you get a fusil, but you may want to go with a Buff Colour Waist Belt should you decide to go with the White Waist Coat.

More coming,

Gus
 
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Bryan,

What I don’t know for the Bonnet is what the Officer’s Black Cockade looked like for the FIW and if it had a brass or gilt brass button in the center.

Personally, I am not a very good source to discuss the color of the Waist Coat, as most of what I know about the FIW uniform is early war when the 42nd first came over. However, please look at the portrait of Captain Campbell in the link below. If that date is right, it appears to show the White Waist Coat was used then? Do you know when your Ancestor actually got over here and if he was in the first or second battles of Fort Carillon/Ticonderoga?

Battle of Fort Ticonderoga 1758 (britishbattles.com)

OK, before I get into this next one, I hope Grenadier 1758 will chime in here on what appears to be the “Buff colour” Cartouche (Cartridge) Box and Frog, the Officer is wearing. This because I’m not real familiar with Buff leather, as we always used what was called “Tanned” or “Tann’d” Leather in the period and that just means it was dyed black. As I understand it, “Buff” leather is a light brownish yellow leather. I know Najecki used to carry it before he went out of business, but that’s about all I know about it. I THINK Buff leather was just dyed with a bit of yellow, but I’m not sure.

Below is linked a circa 1939 drawing an Officer and he is also wearing the “Buff Colour” Cartouche Box and frog, as well as what looks like a “Buff Colour” Waist Belt and Fusil Sling. I THINK this drawing is made from the portrait of Captain Campbell in the British Battles link above?

a6d408a018dc5695769fdb487a9ff78f--highlanders-the-journal.jpg (583×814) (pinimg.com)

I realize you won't need the Cartouche Box and Frog until you get a fusil, but you may want to go with a Buff Colour Waist Belt should you decide to go with the White Waist Coat.

More coming,

Gus

Captain James Stewart, that I am going to portray was wounded at Carillon/Ticonderoga in 1758. That's interesting about the cartridge box, everything I have read doesn't mention switching from black to buff until the 1780's-90's.

As far as attaching the cockade goes it's a bit hard to tell in most pictures. From what I can see it almost looks like the early ones are sewn on whereas the later ones with the diced rim may have something brass there.
 

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Captain James Stewart, that I am going to portray was wounded at Carillon/Ticonderoga in 1758. That's interesting about the cartridge box, everything I have read doesn't mention switching from black to buff until the 1780's-90's.

As far as attaching the cockade goes it's a bit hard to tell in most pictures. From what I can see it almost looks like the early ones are sewn on whereas the later ones with the diced rim may have something brass there.
Bryan,

I don't know a whole lot about this next pic linked below. However, it seems to be an early FIW Serjeant and 4 "Other Ranks" or "Private Soldiers." Notice the pewter 42nd Button in the center of their cockade?
dff44466ac4810844f0f6bddd9760e97.jpg (900×700) (pinimg.com)

I'm pretty sure you would have some kind of Cockade and button, you would attach the feathers behind on your bonnet.

Gus
 

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Captain James Stewart, that I am going to portray was wounded at Carillon/Ticonderoga in 1758. That's interesting about the cartridge box, everything I have read doesn't mention switching from black to buff until the 1780's-90's.

As far as attaching the cockade goes it's a bit hard to tell in most pictures. From what I can see it almost looks like the early ones are sewn on whereas the later ones with the diced rim may have something brass there.
Just looked up Captain Campbell's biography.

" In March 1762 Campbell, now a captain, exchanged into the 27th Foot, with which he served at the siege of Havana, Cuba. From the autumn of 1763 the regiment was stationed at Trois-Rivières (Que.), and in that year Campbell married Marie-Anne, daughter of Luc de La Corne, who had played an important role in French-Indian relations during the Seven Years’ War. The continuing influence of his father-in-law may have been one of the factors in Campbell’s later appointments in the Indian department."

Biography – CAMPBELL, JOHN (1721-95) – Volume IV (1771-1800) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography (biographi.ca)

So it seems that portrait MAY or even HAS to be right for Fort Carillon in 1758, as he transferred from the Highlanders in 1762. May be elegant proof they did use white waist coats and buff accoutrements that early?

Gus
 
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