Objects

Linen Hunting Shirt

In the summer of 1775, riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia joined the New England troops already gathered in Boston to form a Continental Army. Many of these southern soldiers wore fringed linen hunting shirts like this example. A uniquely American garment that originated in the Virginia backcountry, it was thought to evoke the dress of Native Americans.  As stories of the riflemen’s marksmanship spread, General Washington saw a psychological advantage in outfitting thousands more of the American soldiers in these distinctive shirts. On July 24, 1776, Washington wrote that he “earnestly encourages the use of hunting shirts,” in part because they were “justly supposed to carry no small terror to the enemy, who think every such person a complete marksman.”

See the Linen Hunting Shirt on display in the Join or Die section of the core galleries on the second floor.  

Hunting Shirt
United States of America
1780-1790
Linen, Wool
Museum of the American Revolution
2013.05.0001