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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.”

Object Details

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

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These images show Jacob Latch's coat. The left image shows it from the front. It is white and blue on the bottom. The image on the right shows it from the back.
 

Jacob Latch's Coat

This coat belonged to Jacob Latch, a Revolutionary War veteran from Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, who served during Valley Forge encampment of 1777-1778.
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Image 092120 Wooden Canteen Ustates Collection 200300 0033 2
 

Wooden Canteen Marked "USTATES"

Take a closer look at an extremely rare wooden soldier’s canteen marked “USTATES,” indicating Continental Army usage.
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Image 091120 General George Washington Standard Flag Collection Washington Headquarters Flag 72
 

Washington's Headquarters Flag

Believed to be the earliest surviving 13-star American flag, Washington's Standard marked his presence throughout the war.
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