The Continental Navy Uniform

The Continental Navy Uniform

This #TallShipTuesday, our resident fashion historian did some research on the uniforms of the Continental Navy and the various iteration during the few years they fought in the Revolutionary War. Americans faced many problems in the early days of revolution. Getting supplies to fight the British was especially difficult. While America had many raw resources, refined goods were produced outside the colonies. To get clothes for the troops, rebels relied heavily on the British. Many of the Continental Navy uniforms at the time were very similar to the British uniforms because they quite literally were. This made it difficult to distinguish between friend and foe in battle. Below you can see some of the iterations of the Continental Navy Uniform and how it changed over the years.

On September 5, 1776 the Maritime Committee issued a statement about officers clothing:

John Paul Jones, a notable captain of the revolution and one of the founders of the US Navy, met with several other captains to discuss these uniforms. These captains, not pleased with the look and functionality of the garb, decided to change it. These captains wanted the Continental Navy Uniform to include the gold lace, trim, and epaulettes as seen above. This would allow captains further distinctions from the British Uniform.

Further Reading

Evolution of the Continental Navy Uniform-

Marine Uniforms:

Naval Uniforms—Origin and Development:

Royal Navy Uniforms:

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