One thing that may be noticed about the 2nd Company Hesse-Kassel Jäger Korps Re-enactment group is their unique uniform. Beyond the
green regimental coats, a color that was uncommon in the 18th century, there is something else very different about their uniforms. While the
soldiers of a typical British or Hessian infantry unit all dress exactly alike, the members of the Jägers seem to wear whatever they like. This is
actually meant to illustrate the extraordinary situation that surrounded the Jäger uniform in North America. Throughout this time the Jäger's
uniform evolved, either by choice, force or out of necessity, to the point it had little in common with the original.
The first change to the Jäger uniform took place as soon as the unit began movement to North America. The decorations of the Prussian
inspired uniform were discarded in an effort to improve its efficiency. Only the minimum of adornments were retained to identify the Officer,
Feldwebel (Sergant) and Korparal. At what level of the chain of command this modification was approved is still open to debate but it seems
to have taken place among all the Jäger units.
During the fighting of the New York Campaign it became clear that the Jäger uniform was no match for the North American forest as their
uniforms were soon turned to rags. Regimental coats were expected to last a year but were worn out at a much higher rate by the Jägers
who took to the field more often and moved through rougher terrain than the line troops. Thus in the winter of 1777-1778, Lord Cornwallis
personally diverted green uniforms and white woolen smallclothes intentioned for loyalists units (The King's American Regiment) to the
Jäger Corps so that they would have the appearance becoming a proper military unit.
Frederick II and the other Land Graves had promised in their treaties with George III to supply replacement uniforms on a regular basis but
the supply system was unable to get them to North America as had been planned. When uniforms did arrive the British Quartermaster further
confused the uniform situation by issuing them to the units in the most need regardless of the origin of the uniforms. At one point the Jägers
were issued Braunschweig uniforms as the Braunschweig Jägers had been in a long period of inactivity and their uniforms were in good
The British Quartermaster also substituted British uniform items to replace Hessian items. One such case was the issue of British gaiter
pants. The British were changing army wide from the gaiters and breeches, which had been the standard for many years, to the one-piece
pants. These were issued to many Hessian units as well as the British units, and there is evidence the Jägers were one of these Hessian
The French also managed to supply the Jägers with uniform items even though they were a major source of the supply problem in the latter
stages of the war. Several French supply ships were captured, one providing the Jägers with blue and white stripped breeches. Another
captured French ship provided the Jägers with various types of fabric that the Necessary Women of the unit used to make items for the
There were also unofficial modifications to items of the uniform performed by resourceful soldiers. Most notable of these were the hats many
soldiers wore. While a hat was a simple matter of appearance in the north, it became a major issue in the south with the strong sun to deal
with. To over come this many soldiers let down the front brim of their tri-corn hat to protect their face and shield their eyes. Others adopted
wearing straw hats either for their protection or simply because they found themselves without a hat at the end of a battle. The lose of hats
during battle was a major problem for the Jägers as they often moved through the thick forest while fighting. One solution they came up with
was to take pieces from their old torn regimental coat and make a cap, commonly known as a fatigue cap.
By the time of the Southern Campaign little was left of the uniform the Jägers wore on their journey to North America. The uniform Jägers
worn into battle were a mix and match affair with one Jäger in gaiter pants and white linen shirt while another wore leather gaiters, stripped
breeches and a plaid shirt. Upon seeing them one would have been hard pressed to believe the Jägers were the best and most professional
fighting unit in North America during the American Revolution.
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