"We... got ourselves cleverly settled for the night..."
Soldiers' Shelter on Campaign During the War for Independence:
Tents in the Armies of the Revolution, Part I

John U. Rees
© 1997, 2002

Originally published in Military Collector & Historian,
vol. 49, no. 3 (Fall 1997), 98-107;

"Tents being the most expensive & essential article of camp equipage, I extracted from the returns then in my hands the numbers on w[hi]ch. we might rely on for the ensuing campaign."

Timothy Pickering to George Washington,
8 February 17821

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of studying the armies of the "American War" (1775-1783) is to gain a fresh appreciation of soldiers' experiences. When new information contributes to demythologizing the conflict and the lives of those who fought, so much the better. Well-known misconceptions such as the inflexibility of British tactics, and selfless, patriotic yeomen forming the backbone of the Continental Army, mask the accomplishments of its participants and war's true nature.

A study of soldiers' shelter follows in this train, bringing into focus the hardships suffered by both combatants and noncombatants, and practices common to both sides. During the war American, British, and German troops used different types of lodging to cover themselves while campaigning. Tents were preferred, with large numbers and several varieties being used, but temporary structures were frequently built when need arose. Tent shortages, loss of supplies, or lack of transportation often made makeshift shelters necessary. At other times their use was prompted by a decision to divest the troops of unnecessary baggage in order to disencumber their movements. Ad hoc coverings were also resorted to in fixed posts or winter cantonments when barracks were not available, or soldiers' log huts had not been completed. Makeshift shelters were of differing construction and varied nomenclature, "wigwams," "brush huts," "booths" and "bowers" being but a few of the names. Tentage in the armies, transport, the forerunners and descendants of ad hoc shelters, the circumstances and frequency of shelter use and their design, will all be explored in this study.

FIG 1. "The plan of a tent for private men" (common tent). Lewis Lochee, An Essay on Castrametation (London, 1778), 1-2, 20. Illustration by Ross Hamel.

“Put our Men into barns …”
The Vagaries of Shelter

Shelter types could vary greatly over a short time period. In the spring of 1782 the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment marched from Philadelphia, where they resided in barracks, to join the main army at West Point, New York. Towards the end of the first day they encamped at Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The next day, 30 May, Lieutenant Jeremiah Greenman wrote, "the General Beat at day Break when the Tents was struck and loaded into the Waggons ... [after a series of marches and halts] crossed the Delaware, when 6 Companys incamped. the other 3 in barns &c, for want of Tents." 31 May: "....proceeded to Rockey hill where incamped by Millstone River." The regiment continued on through New Jersey and into New York, during which time they "incamped" every night. After reaching the Hudson River on 8 June the troops "incamped in Order to wait [for]... Orders wether to cross the River or tarry on the West Side — at two oClock received Orders to cross the river. at 4 oClock the Genl. beat when we struck our Tents & proceeded on Our March to Kings Ferry where we crossed the North [Hudson] River. Sent our Bagage up by Water / came one Mile & lay in the Woods / very Cold."2

On 24 June 1782 the 2nd Rhode Island's light company was "ordered from the Regiment to go on the Lines"; five days later Lieutenant Greenman was ordered to join the company to replace a sick officer.3 The twelve days he served with the detachment give an idea of the light infantry's living conditions during this period of the war.

S 30. [June 1782] This Morning at day break sett off from Camp ... [and] join'd... the Light Company from our Regiment — the whole Detachment under Command of Major Knap from the Massachusetts Line tarried near the River 'till 8 oClock in the Evening when marched half a Mile & took post oposite a ford ... laying on our Arms—

M 1. [July. On this day Greenman was] order'd to take a party of Men and go down towards the Enemies lines to get what inteligence lay in my Power... proceeded on to Tarry Town Meating House where arrived at 12 oClock at Night... and lay on our arms.

T 2... .came to Phillipsburrough ... from where came 6 miles & took post in a field nigh the Road laying on our arms where continued all night—

W 3. ...came to Pines Bridge where join'd my Company and continued 'till Evening, when ... took post on a hill in froont of the Bridge ... on a hill in a thicket of woods.

T 4. [After crossing the river] took Post on a hight... where continued all Night...

F 5. [After being on guard] join'd the Detachment ... one mile up river from the bridge where tarryed (laying on our arms) till 8. oClock in the Evening when took post on a Hill in a thicket of woods ... where continued (laying on our arms) all night...

S 6... .marched to the Bridge ... made a halt, (on account of a sivear squall of wrain)... marched toward the White Plains ... hear put our Men into barns and made a halt on account of the rain.

S 7. .. .proceeded to North Caswell where took post in an Orchard—

M 8. ... we proceeded on for pines Bridge ... put our Men into a Barn on account of rain, where they continued till Sun set, when came 3 milesup the road towards Crumbpond Meatinghouse, where took post in an Orchard but ... [it] began to rain...

T 9. the Detachment continuing at the same post 'till the evening when came half a Mile & took post in an orchard...

W 10. ...in the Evening marched a quater of a Mile & took post on a hill in a thicket of woods when lay on our arms...

T 11... .Major Darby... came with a Detachment to releive us. after being releived proceeded on our march towards Camp as far as Crumb Pond where halted & lay in an Orchard.

F 12. ... came to our Regiment [near West Point] in the after noon when I joined my Company.4

On 21 August Greenman's regiment received orders "to relieve the Troops on the Lines at Dobbs Ferry, Stonny and Virplanks Point." Next day, "...the Tents were struck and carried to the Shore to be put into a Vessel which I pr[o]cureed yesterday to carry the bagage down the river in — the Assembly beet at 5 & soon after the March commenced... we left two Companys one at Virplanks & the other at Stonny Point, we then proceeded on with 6 companys as far as Kearkiat where halted & put our men into Barns." On the 23rd, "Soon after [5 o'clock] ... began our march ... proceeded ... within a half mile of the Block House [at Dobbs Ferry] where halted & lay in an orchard all night." 24 August: ".. .came to the Block house at Dobbs ferry, where releiv'd the 1st. Connecticut Regiment."5

FIG 2. Overhead view of common tent interior from a German military manual, showing sleeping arrangements for six soldiers and camp equipage (kettle, canteen and hatchet) at the rear. Was ist jedem Officier waehrend eines Feldzugs zu wissen noethig (trans., "What it is necessary for each officer to know during a campaign") (Carlsruhe, 1788), Mit zehen Kupferplatten (trans. "with ten copper plates")

"We Lay in the open world"6
Troops Without Shelter on Campaign

Campaign living conditions in North America were rigorous and often primitive. Terrain and weather varied greatly in areas where military operations occurred and rudimentary road systems made transport of army supplies difficult at best. From the hills and coastal plains of New Jersey to the wilderness of northern New York and Canada, through the cultivated fields and woodlands of Pennsylvania and the Carolina forests and swamps the armies fought, marched, and camped. Over crude byways, farmers paths, and dirt roads the troops moved with their baggage trains, carrying, in the best of times, much of what they needed.

Because of the need for rapid movement or other exigencies, soldiers often had to do without tents and make do with what was available. For officers and privates alike this often meant sleeping in the open. On the frontier this occurred frequently. Lieutenant Samuel Shute noted one such occasion in July 1779: "We marched to Shawney flatts [near Wyoming, Pennsylvania], got a little dinner, took a sociable buck dance, then proceeded to the falls.... At 8.P.M. took a bite of beef & bread a drink of grog and retired to rest. Colo. DeHart, Genl. Hand & myself slept together in the open air, but with a canteen of spirits at our head."7

Even in settled areas there were times when no shelter was possible or even desirable. In September 1777, Virginian John Chilton noted, "This day I was Capt. of the Rere Guard." After passing through Christiana, Delaware, he and his men "Marched not more than a Mile, when we stopt till after sunset, when we were relieved and joined the regt. [and] lay in the woods without Pitching Tents." During the 1778 New Jersey campaign one of Washington's aides related, "I cannot say that the fatigues of our late march has been of any disservice to my constitution — in sleeping in the open fields — under trees exposed to the night air and all changes of the weather I only followed the example of our General.... When I joined his Excellency's suite I gave up soft beds — undisturbed repose — and the habits of ease and indulgence... for a single blanket — the hard floor — or the softer sod of the fields — early rising and almost perpetual duty." Near Morrisania, New York, in May or June 1781, Sergeant Joseph Martin and his men "lay all night upon the ground which we had occupied during the day. I was exceedingly tired, not having had a wink of sleep the preceding night, and had been on my feet during the last twenty-four hours, and this night, to add to my comfort, I had to take charge of the quarter guard. I was allowed to get what rest I could consistently with our safety. I fixed my guard, placed two sentinels, and the remainder of us laid down. We were with our corps, who were all by dark snug in the arms of Morpheus. The officers slept under a tree near us."8

Detachments of soldiers in close proximity to the enemy, especially those serving as light infantry, usually traveled with little baggage, and often lacked shelter. In September 1777, two nights after the Battle of Brandywine, as the rest of the army moved towards the Schuylkill River, Captain Enoch Anderson was with a detachment shadowing the British army north of Darby Creek in Pennsylvania. "Night came on [13 or 14 September], there was no house we dare go into; — we had no tents. I had no blanket even and must make no fire. Some had blankets however. The night was very cold. I kept myself tolerably comfortable by walking about, but was very sleepy and could not sleep for the cold."9

Soldiers' living conditions were never more difficult than during a cold-weather campaign. Lack of shelter caused Lieutenant James McMichael and his company to suffer on several occasions in October 1776. On the night of the 28th they "marched from White Plains, New York, about four miles and encamped on a hill near Hudson's River ... Being without our baggage and cooking utensils, (they being sent to North Castle) we were very uncomfortable." Four days later he wrote, "We encamp in the woods, have no tents, frost and cold severe." After retreating across New Jersey in December they "paraded in Trenton at 4 A.M. [on the 8th], and at dawn crossed the Ferry into Pennsylvania ... Here we remained in the woods, having neither blankets or tents."10

Other troops suffered similarly. In December 1776, after marching south from Fort Ticonderoga to join General George Washington in Pennsylvania, Fifer John Greenwood "had the itch so bad that my breeches stuck to my thighs, all the skin being off, and there were hundreds of vermin upon me, owing to a whole month's march and having been obliged, for the sake of keeping warm, to lie down at night among the soldiers who were huddled close together like hogs." He continued, "what I suffered on the march cannot be described. With no tents to shelter us from the snow and rain, we were obliged to get through it as well as we could."11

Washington's army won the crucial battle of Trenton on 26 December, crossing back to Pennsylvania later the same day. They returned to New Jersey on the 29th. Lieutenant McMichael:"... at 10 P.M. crossed at Yardley's Ferry, where we lodged. Weather very cold, snow 6 inches deep, no tents, and no houses to lodge in!" The night before the Battle of Princeton in January 1777, the lieutenant described his circumstances at Trenton: "We continued firing bombs up to seven o'clock P.M., when we were ordered to rest, which we very commodiously did upon a number of rails for a bed. Thus my friend Capt. Marshall and I passed the night until two after twelve o'clock." This last mode of sleeping was nicely echoed by an instance during the American Civil War. At Gaylesville, Alabama, in October 1864 a Union soldier remarked on keeping warm and dry despite the cold weather: "Where there is plenty of rail fences there is no trouble keeping warm... The first thing [we do] after going into camp and stacking arms is to pile rails for a fire, and [gather] boards to sleep on. We make the houses and barns suffer."12

An American officer noted the men's condition at Somerset Court House, the evening after the Battle of Princeton (3 January 1777): "Our army was now extremely fatigued, not having had any refreshment since yesterday morning, and our baggage had all been sent away the morning of the action at Trenton, yet they are in good health and in high spirits." A Rhode Island soldier wrote at the same time, "It will be remembered that this was the third night's marching, and under arms or marching all day. There were barely houses sufficient for the quarters of the Generals and their attendants. The troops took up their abode for the rest of the night on frozen ground. All the fences and everything that would burn was piled in different heaps and burnt, and he was the most fortunate who could get nigh enough to smell the fire or smoke."13

FIG 3. Tents "for the cavalry are of the same form [as common tents], but are more spacious, especially behind, to contain the fire arms, accoutrements, saddles, bridles, &c." British “cavalry” tents differed greatly from horseman’s tents used in the War for Independence. View of a “cavalry” tent from above. Lewis Lochee, An Essay on Castrametation (London, 1778), 2-3.

Even the sick suffered from lack of shelter at times. Shortly after the Battle of White Plains in 1776, Joseph Martin became ill and "was sent back to the baggage to get well again, if I could.... When I arrived at the baggage, which was not more than a mile or two, I had the canopy of leaves for my hospital and the ground for my hammock. I found a spot where the dry leaves had collected between the knolls. I made up a bed of these and nestled in it.... I had nothing to eat or drink, not even water, and was unable to go for any myself, for I was sick indeed."14

A few years later in New Jersey, Sergeant Andrew Kettell had a series of such experiences. 22 June 1780,".. .I was taken sick at night I Lay sick all night on the Ground." (On 23 June the Battle of Connecticut Farms was fought.) 24 June, "I was very sick but Better then I was before / it began to Rain Very hard Thunderd and Lightned untill night." 25 June, ".. .I was so well that I went to the Regt. / the Brigade Marched at 9 OClock I kept in the Rear. I was very unwell But I endeavoured to Cheer up my hart untill Meridian Sun [when] the Brigade halted I was Obliege to Lay on the Ground by the water side wereby I took Could [cold] and was worst again than I was before." 26 June, "[it] was thick & heavy and Like to rain. I Proceeded with the Brigade till Night and then Halted at Ramapo in the Woods. I laid Down On the Ground the Rain Came on [and] I was obliged to lay in it as I Could not Git to any house." 27 June, "it was Pleasant... I remained in a poor Condision our Docr, was behind I had nothing Don for me this Day." 28 June, ".. .the Doctr. Came to see Me he Give me [a] Puke which I took / it help me Greatly But Left me Weake." 29 June, ".. .I was some Better than I was the Day before." 30 June, ".. .this Day Receivd orders to march to morrow morning. the Sick was to be sent to the Flying Hospital. I had no mind to Go as I never had been at one. But the Docr. told me I had Better Go or I was in a poor weake Condision." 1 July, ".. .the Army marched this morning at 3 OCok I whent to the Hospital."15

Continental troops lay without shelter or in buildings more often than in brush huts, booths, or other makeshift shelters. By comparison British and German soldiers made widespread and almost constant use of wigwams during at least two campaigns, in addition to using them on a smaller scale throughout the war. In December 1777 eight thousand British soldiers crossed the Schuylkill River, in Pennsylvania, to cover foraging operations. A German officer wrote, "Our men constructed temporary cover as well as they could. We did not have tents with us, as we almost never did during this whole campaign [i.e., the autumn Philadelphia campaign]." This is echoed by Captain John Peebles of the 42nd Regiment who noted during the 1778 Monmouth Campaign: "Thursday 18th [1778] ... the Troops march'd to within 2 miles of Haddonfield where they Encampd in the usual manner, vizt. Wigwams." Three years later an officer in the 76th Regiment of Foot described shelters used by Lord Cornwallis's army in Virginia during the spring and summer of 1781. "Our encampments were always chosen on the banks of a stream, and were extremely picturesque, as we had no tents, and were obliged to construct wigwams of fresh boughs to keep off the rays of the sun during the day."16

The American narratives above make rare mention of tents and none of makeshift shelters, though both were used frequently during the war. Many questions remain. Under what conditions were tents used? What types of tents were supplied, and of what size? How often were makeshift shelters used by Continental troops and American militia; by British troops and their allies? What were the circumstances under which such shelters were built and why were they used in one instance while in another similar situation the troops bedded down in the open for the night. These and other factors concerning soldiers' lodging on campaign will be examined in this series.

FIG 4. Drawing and dimensions of a horseman's tent, 7 1/2 feet high by 9 feet wide with a 3-foot wall. "Construction of Tents Dimensions & [height?] Jany. 1. 1781," Miscellaneous Numbered Records (The Manuscript File) in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records 1775-1790s, no. 31492 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859, reel 111), U.S. War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93, National Archives.

"State of Marquees and Tents delivered to the Army..."
Varieties of Tentage

The preferred method of sheltering troops during moderate weather was tents, or as one Seven Years' War Massachusetts soldier called them, "osnaburg tabernacles." Described by Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering in 1781 as "the most expensive & essential article of camp equipage," tent size, quality, and availability were important considerations for both sides throughout the war.17

British Army tent design was more or less standardized, as was the number of common soldiers apportioned to each tent. Lewis Lochee's An Essay on Castrametation (London, 1778) related that, "the tents which are of various sorts and forms, serve to lodge and protect the troops against the inclemency of the weather … [and] are made of strong cloth ..." Lochee also noted that British tents "for the private men ... are large enough to lodge 5 men," the "standard poles ... are about 6 feet high" and the "ridge pole ... is about 7 feet long"; these tents were six or seven feet wide. In giving the layout of a camp he indicated the tent length to be nine feet; perhaps adding two extra feet because of an extension at the rear of the tent, two feet longer than the upper support.18

Information on early-war American tents is sketchy at best. Though equipment was modeled on British usage, standardization was not a strong suit of the fledgling American army and tentage provided by different states and contractors could be of varying sizes. As the war continued, matters did not improve. In March 1779 an officer commented on the plan of encampment found in the new manual of discipline, noting that "the [common] Tents should be all of one size," instead of being "larger than usual as has been the case with us." Three years later, in August 1781, Timothy Pickering recorded, "Since the army took the field I have heard great complaints of the smallness of the tents. The new common tents are not too big for four Men."19

FIG 5. A detail from Charles Willson Peale's portrait of Colonel Walter Stewart (2nd Pennsylvania Regiment), shows a marquee with ridge decorations, two wall tents, and lines of common tents. Muskets are laid on a rack in the left foreground while the guard posts feature stacked muskets. The camp is austere, with no excess baggage (chairs, benches, trunks, etc.) visible. Peale probably first sketched this camp in spring 1781 when the Pennsylvania regiments were stationed in Lancaster, Pa. (Peale’s bill for the camp sketch was dated 23 May 1781). Edward W. Richardson, Standards and Colors of the American Revolution (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982), 218-219.

Despite chronic problems, by 1781 standards had been set for the sizes and types of tents to be used by the Continental Army. The most commonly used were common tents for the rank and file, horseman's and wall tents (usually for staff and company officers), and marquee tents (for generals and field officers). Several other variations, such as bell, half-wall, and square tents, were used to a lesser degree.20

American Common Tents. [See Fig. 1 & 2] The simple wedge-shaped shelter known as a common (or soldier's) tent was the most numerous type. Intended primarily for the army's rank and file, these tents were sometimes used by officers as well. Common tents could be made in square form (as viewed from above) with flat-faced ends at both front and back, or with a semicircular extension at the back to allow for equipment storage. No specific American sizes are known for the war’s first six years. In January 1781 Continental Army "Soldiers Tent" dimensions were set at "7 Feet Square [and] 7 Feet Height." In July 1781 Quartermaster General Pickering stated, “Some old common tents were from 7 to 7 ½ feet square on the ground.”  He also related that, "A common, or soldier's tent should be at least 7 feet square, larger a little if it happens to suit the brea[d]th of the cloath."21

For materials needed to construct such a tent we have three differing accounts: On 10 October 1776 the Connecticut Assembly resolved "That each Tent ordered to be made by this Assembly... shall contain the quantity of twenty-seven yards of cloth, one yard wide, or equal thereto in cloth of different width, well manufactured of yarn not coarser than thirty knots to the pound;" a January 1781 document listed "18 yards Duck," "2 1/2 D[itt]o Oznaburgs," and "2 1/2 Fathoms Cord"; six months later the fabric required was given as twenty-four yards of linen duck. The "2 1/2 Fathoms" (15 feet) of cord in the January 1781 document may have been used for tent peg loops or flap (doorway) ties.22

For an array of period illustrations of tents in use, please click:
British     French     German     Fold & Pack.

Horseman’s and Cavalry Tents. [See Fig 3 & 4] Horseman's tents were preferred for late-war company officers, and second in numbers used. They were described in July 1781 as "about 9 feet broad [and] contains four breaths of cloth so as to make it about ten feet or upwards, in length, & the walls are from three to three & a half & four feet high." Again we have two different material lists. One required "56 Yards Duck," "13 D[itt]o Webb," "4 1/2 Do Oznaburgs," "28 Fathom Cord," "30 Hooks & Eyes," and "1 lb Twine;" the other document merely stipulated thirty-three yards of duck. Writing in summer 1781, Timothy Pickering made suggestions concerning the size of these tents. "Perhaps this information may come too late, but so far as it shall be practicable to conform to it, without a waste of materials ... should any of the Cloth be of such breath as advantageously to make Horseman's tents of any size, from eight to ten feet in length, and from eight to nine feet in breath, they may be so made. One such tent will serve a Captain, & his two subalterns, as well as a full size'd one will four Officers. Many (I believe most) of the walls of the new wall & horseman's tents, & even some of the Marque's have been made of one breath of Cloth running all round: but this is much disapproved of: they never look well when pitched nor are they so strong as when the length of the Cloth is up & down — the numerous seams gives strength to the tent."23

Before continuing, one point needs clarification. Figure 3 shows a British cavalry tent, while Figure 4 pictures an end view of an American horseman's tent. These are actually two different types. When Lochee stipulated "dimensions for the infantry [tents]” he noted, “those for the cavalry are of the same form, but more spacious, especially behind, to contain the fire arms, accoutrements, saddles, bridles, &c." Cavalry tents held five troopers. In calculating the ground needed for two rows of soldiers' tents Lochee stated, "the length of a tent is 9 feet," thus allowing two feet for the extension or "bell" at the rear of the tent, used for equipment storage. He also notes under camps for cavalry that the depth needed "for pitching a horseman's tent" is three yards, i.e., the length of cavalry tents is also nine feet, the difference likely being a greater width and more commodious storage area at the rear. Here is where the intermixing of terms poses a problem. Lochee uses both "cavalry tent" and "horseman's tent" to describe what is essentially a slightly larger soldier's tent. Continental Army horseman's tents were actually larger, rectangular in shape, with three to four foot vertical walls at the sides.24

Wall Tents. [See Fig 5] Wall tents were sometimes used in lieu of horseman's tents. Described as "a soldiers tent with walls from 2 1/2 to 3 feet high," they were manufactured from fifty yards of linen duck. In July 1781 Pickering explained that "in ordering so many wall tents, & so few horseman's tents, I intended to have provided for the better accommodation of the Officers, by giving a Captain one to himself, & his subalterns one between them but many wall tents have been made so small the Officers disapprove of them exceedingly & say they had rather have one horseman's tent among four than two wall tents to three Officers." The "half wall tent" was similar, being "a soldiers tent with low walls, say 18 or 20 Inches high." A January 1781 document called this a "Noncommissioned Officers tent," noting it to be "the same as a soldiers, only with a 14 inch wall."25

Marquees. [See Fig. 5] A marquee was a large tent reserved for the use of regimental field officers (colonel, lieutenant colonel, and major) and general officers, and made in many different sizes. Humphrey Bland suggested the following dimensions for marquees in his 1762 manual Treatise of Military Discipline:26

The dimensions of the Captains and Subalterns tents, are as follows.

  Feet. Inch.
Len[g]th of the ridge pole   7 8
Height of the standard poles   8  
Length from front to rear between the half-walls of the marquise 14  
Breadth of the marquise between the half-walls 10 6
Height of the half-walls of a marquise   4  

Bland also noted that "The Lieutenant-Colonel's, and Major's tents, [to be] about a foot larger.... The dimensions here given for the Officers tents, may be thought by some too small; and if they were only to encamp in Hide-Park, I should be of the same opinion; but let those gentlemen who think so, only make one real campaign, and I am convinced, they will wish them rather of a less size than a greater.” Both senior and some junior officers used small marquees. Resorting to field modification, in June 1776 New Jersey Captain Joseph Bloomfield was, "engaged in altering my Tent to a Markee." Four days later: "Pitched my Tent now converted into a Markee." Although the captain did not say, his new marquee had probably started out as a horseman’s or wall tent.27

Continental Army specifications (January 1781) show a large marquee tent, nine feet four inches in height, with a center section (ridge) of nine feet four inches. A semicircular extension at either end measured eight feet six inches, sloping from the end of the ridge at the top down to a four-foot-high wall. The depth of the tent (front to back) was nine feet four inches. Materials needed were given as "50 yards Duck," "6 D[itt]o. Oznaburgs," "26 Do. Webb," "36 Fathom Cord," ten or eighteen "Doz[en] Hooks & Eyes," and "1 1/4 lb Twine." A June 1781 "Acct. of Duck deliver'd the Tent Makers & of Tents received" listed one marquee as requiring one hundred and seventy one yards of linen duck.28

Quartermaster General Thomas Mifflin stated in May 1777 that 4,035 tents had been manufactured (probably common tents), but only thirty-three marquees. He noted, "It is impossible to gratify the Officers with Marquees at this Time—they must fair as British Officers frequently fair—ie—put up with good [horseman's or common] Tents." While supplies of these tents improved in the ensuing years, it is likely demand was never fully satisfied. Timothy Pickering to Aaron Forman, June 1781, "I wrote you on the 12th. to forward with the utmost dispatch to Kings ferry all the tents and camp kettles at Morristown, except so many as were requisite for the Jersey troops. At the same time mentioning the allowance to be made them. I now find that there is at present with the 1st. [New Jersey] Regt. only a Major, the other field officers being at the southward. This being the case no marquee is to be issued for that regt. and only one for the other: an expected supply of tents may hereafter enable me to make a farther allowance." Just prior to the 1782 campaigning season, the quartermaster general informed Peter Anspach of the tents available to the army, including marquees. 26 June 1782, "The number of tents which... appear to be on hand is greatly short of last winters estimate ... By the returns of Col. Hughes and the Q.Masters of brigades (exclusive of the York & Jersey lines & all the corps southward of them) there appeared to be 24 marquees—5 horseman's tents —147 wall tents — & 2613 common tents — all returned good or repairable, including, besides, in these numbers, only 2 marquees — 5 horseman's tents — & 17 common tents at Rhode Island & Morristown.... Those tents which the York & Jersey lines turned into Mr. Forman are not included in the above." It is notable that this is one of the few returns showing considerably more wall tents that horseman’s tents.29

A February 1783 accounting "of Marquees and Tents delivered to the Army for the Campaign [of] 1782" gives a good idea of shelters used by Washington's army at Verplanck's Point, New York, their last large encampment (Table 1).30

Table 1. (February 1783)
Unit Marquees
& Wall
New Jersey Brigade 3 34 126
New York Brigade 1 37 171
1st Connecticut Brigade 6 68 310
2nd Connecticut Brigade 3 46 314
1st Massachusetts Brigade 6 84 327
2nd Massachusetts Brigade 7 58 288
3rd Massachusetts Brigade 5 52 295
10th Massachusetts Regiment 2 25 149
New Hampshire Brigade 3 19 149
Corps of Light Infantry - 20   43
Artillery 3 50 182
Maryland Detachment -   6   52
Sappers & Miners -   4   28
Commander in Chief and Guards 6   1   19
Totals 45   503   2453  

Bell Tents for Sheltering Arms. [See Fig 6 and Bell tents] Bell tents were among the least-used in the Continental Army. Intermittently issued, their basic purpose was "to shelter the fire arms of the infantry from rain." The absence of bell tents meant that soldiers had to house "their Arms Accoutts. Knapsacks &c." with them in their own tents, or leave them exposed to the elements. Exact numbers used during the war are not known, but they are intermittently mentioned. In the summer of 1775 each company of two Virginia Continental regiments were to be issued "one bell tent." Regimental orders for the 2nd Georgia Battalion at Savannah, 7 July 1777 required the “Quarter Master … Immediately to procure as much raven duck as will make a Bell Tent for each Company large enough to contain all their Arms, those [tents, along] with a Light Ammunition waggon and two handy Chests for Cartridges he is to have made without loss of time.”31

FIG 6. Top and side views of a bell tent used "to shelter the fire arms of the infantry from rain." On the right is the supporting pole or "standard." Lewis Lochee, An Essay on Castrametation (London, 1778), 5; Harold L. Peterson, The Book of the Continental Soldier (Harrisburg: Stackpole, 1968), 155. Illustration by Ross Hamel.

One year later, the General Washington's 13 June 1778 army order stipulated that, "Commanding Officers of Regiments are to pay particular attention that the Arms be properly disposed in the Bell-Tents. The Musquets by being leaned against the Canvas covering instead of the Rack wear it out and are exposed to the Rain." The same day Brigadier General William Maxwell was informed of a shipment of supplies for his New Jersey brigade. Not all the promised equipment would be forthcoming, however, since "Mr. Meiss had packed up some bell tents in a large box, but they could not be carried." These tents may have been part of a general issue to the army at Valley Forge. That autumn orders for the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment directed "the soldiers ... to Put their arms in the best order Possible by evening, the Major expects the Bill [bell] tents will be Properly pitched, & Sticks put across to keep the arms from Laying against the tent." A May 1781 letter shows that providing cover for the men's arms was not a primary concern. "The Distant prospect of a supply of new Tents for the army and the near Approach of the Campaign require the greatest Oconomy as well as Dispatch in causing as many as possible of the old Tents to be repaired. To enable you to accomplish this the more extensively the QM Genl. directs that the Bell Tents may be applied in repairing the common [tents], the whole of them if wanted for that purpose."32

FIG 7. "Doome [dome] Tent," an unusual tent which probably saw little, if any, service. "Construction of Tents Dimensions & [height?] Jany. 1. 1781," Miscellaneous Numbered Records (The Manuscript File) in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records 1775-1790s, no. 31492 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859, reel 111), U.S. War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93, NA.

Dome, Square, and Hospital Tents. [Fig. 7] Several other tents merit description, despite the infrequency of their use. The first is an oddly shaped structure, rarely, if ever, used. Called a "Doome [dome] Tent" in the one document where it is pictured, no other documentary information is available concerning this specimen. There is at least one painting that seems to show dome tents. Joseph Blackburn’s portrait of British Guards colonel Thomas Dowdeswell pictures two likely looking tents to the subject’s left background.33

Another type, probably used for a special purpose, was the "Square Tent." Materials required for this tent included, "46 yards Duck," "3 1/2 D[itt]o Webb," "3 1/2 Do Oznaburgs," "18 1/2 Fathom Cord," "2/3 lb Twine," and "12 Hooks & Eyes." According to the only known illustration a square tent was merely the center section of a marquee with a flat canvas face at each end (i.e., minus the sloped extensions on the ends of a marquee tent). As per January 1781 specifications dimensions were be nine feet four inches in height, a length of fourteen feet six inches, with a four foot high wall front and back. The depth of the tent (front to back) was nine feet four inches.34

The shelter referred to as a "Hospital" tent in an "Estimate of Articles Necessary for 6000 Men for 12 Months" (2 March 1779) may have been a square tent. A 1781 "Estimate of Tents and Knapsacks for the Main Army" noted the need for five hospital tents to serve the army overall. Two 1781 camp equipage estimates for infantry and artillery regiments stipulated three wall tents for each "Regimental Hospital." (Another estimate for a regiment of cavalry allowed two wall tents for that purpose.) Thus, regimental hospital tentage and that used for the general hospital were different.35

In 1782 standards were set concerning tents for the general hospital. The "Estimate for a hospital tent 26 feet long and 15 feet wide" stipulated they be "made of Raven's duck, in the fashion of horseman's tents, with walls." Materials required were, "155 yards duck," "12 lbs line," “4 lbs twine," an unknown quantity of "buttons," and "slippers 2 1/2 dozen." "If a fly of Ravens duck be added to the tent above described it will require 84 yds." and extra twine. "If the tent above described be shortened 6 feet, & made without a fly, it will require 125 yds. of Raven's duck."36

Timothy Pickering discussed hospital tents in July 1782, reiterating that those "required by Dr. Craik for the general hospital, were 26 feet in length, and 15 feet in width, made in the fashion of American horseman's tents." Pickering then gave the cost of "1 tent made of Raven's duck of the above dimensions" and "the same tent made with a fly," noting that "if the tent cloth be of Ravens duck, flies may be omitted." The quarter master general then evaluated a 26 foot long hospital tent, "1 such tent only 20 feet in length... [and] 1 such tent only 16 feet long." "A tent of the first dimensions [26 feet] will cover 20 sick men — a tent of the second dimensions will cover 16 sick men, and a tent of the last dimensions will cover 12 sick men. It remains to be determined what species shall be chosen, or whether tents of any other dimensions will be preferable for the regimental hospitals."37

French Tents. [See also French tents] "French horseman's" tents, numbers of the former having been used to cover American troops in 1782. By examining French tents we can place into context the complement of soldiers assigned to a tent in British and American armies of the period. According to Lochee's Essay, "In the French and German service, each tent serves for seven or eight men, and sometimes even for nine." We shall see below uncertainty expressed over the number they held.38

Quartermaster General Thomas Mifflin first mentioned French tents in a 27 May 1777 recounting of supplies. He noted having "on hand at Philada 500 Tents exclusive of 500 Tents imported from France & hourly expected from [Senepuxent?]." Nothing is known of the size of these tents or the number of men they sheltered. Five years later "Extracts from the latest returns relative to the number of Tents & ca on hand for the campaign 1782" (8 February), listed 200 horseman's tents and 800 common tents "arrived with Colo. Laurens from France."39

As to the 1782 horseman’s tents, Quartermaster General Pickering wrote Peter Anspach on 6 April, “If the French horseman's tents have no walls, they can be added when they get here." By June 14th Pickering had received certain word that the tents did indeed lack walls: "… Mr. Morris has consented to the purchase of ticklenburgh or other coarse linen to make walls for the French Horseman's tents, of which I reckon you have & will have 109, and if an additional quantity of suitable stuff can be met with, it shall be forwarded to make walls to a number of the French common tents, which is my resource to supply the unexpected deficiency of horseman's tents." Several days later he assured Anspach, “You will also be in some measure relieved in respect to horseman's tents, when linen for walls shall reach you to alter the French [common] tents."40

French common tents served a large portion of the Continental Army in 1782, some particulars of which were discussed in a series of correspondence. A document concerning the "Establishment of the legion commanded by Coll. Armand Marquis de la Rouerie" (13 February 1782) listed camp equipage necessary for thirty-three commissioned and staff officers, and 362 noncommissioned officers and privates. Armand included in his requirements one marquee, ten horseman's tents, and thirty common tents. He remarked, "This estimate is indeed very moderate. The 30 common tents will be insufficient unless they are made very large, like the French soldiers tents. An advantage will arise from hence. Two large tents that will cover 18 men [at nine men per tent] will take a less quantity of materials than three small tents that will only cover the same number of men [at six men to a tent]... Half the legion is to consist of dragoons, who must have cover for their saddles & accoutrements; which circumstances renders it still more necessary to make the common tents very large." The estimate was approved on 16 February 1782.41

The actual size of French soldier’s tents remains unclear. Quartermaster General Pickering added to the uncertainty, noting on April 6th, "Three marquees, seventy horseman's tents, and two hundred common tents, are wanted to be sent to the southern army but none ought to be transported so far that are not new or as good as new.... If the French tents are arrived from Boston, I apprehend there will be no difficulty in getting the number of horseman's tents required: and if 200 good common tents equal, or nearly equal to new ones, cannot be found, the deficiency may be made of the French common tents, allowing one of the latter (which will cover twelve men [in fact they held eight]) as equal to two of ours.” Unfortunately Pickering had been misinformed as to the size of the tents: 26 June 1782, "… Col. Hughes informed me that the repairable tents in his stores would fall short of his return: but still depending on Genl. Lincoln's information respecting the French tents (that each would cover 12 men) I presumed we should have enough ... when I found he had mistook their size, I could not for want of money attempt to remedy any deficiency.”42

A 12 August 1782 "Return of Camp Equipage" listed the tents actually on hand, as well as numbers wanting to complete several brigades and small units of Washington's main army. The units listed were: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Massachusetts Brigades; 1st and 2nd Connecticut Brigades; the New York and New Jersey Brigades; and the 10th Massachusetts Regiment, Colonel Crane's 3rd Artillery Regiment, Moodie's Artillery Company, and the Corps of Sappers and Miners. Most commands had standard common tents as well as French tents to house the enlisted men. All units had more of the former tent than the latter; the 2nd Massachusetts Brigade was typical, with ninety-nine common tents holding six soldiers each and eighty-three French tents with an eight-man capacity.43

So, what was the likely size of the late-war Continental Army French soldier’s tents? Colonel Armand stated such tents would cover nine men, while those listed in the August 1782 American return held eight. These figures agrees with Lewis Lochee's statement that in "the French and German service, each tent serves for seven or eight men, and sometimes even for nine."44

By contrast historian André Gousse informs us the 1753 French army regulations give soldier’s tent dimensions as 83 inches wide, 72.5 inches high, 86 inches long at the sides, and with a bell 46 inches deep. Mr. Gousse goes on to say the “regulations specified that there would be 5 tents for each fusilier company of 40 men, and 6 tents for each grenadier company of 45 men. This works to about 8 men per tent. Earlier tents were made to accommodate 9 men … In New France, there were 8 and 10 men tents.” He also notes that tent dimensions may have been altered by the time of the American Revolution.45

Overview. To round out this installment of campaign shelter we will look at tents available to the army in 1780 and 1782 and try to discern late-war trends. This exercise is especially interesting since by that time in the war commanders had settled on the tent types most useful to the field army. A "Return of Marquees and Tents in the Q[uarte]r. M[aste]r. Genl. Department," dated 1 March 1780, notes numbers and condition of tents at various repositories under the auspices of Deputy Quarter Master General Udney Hay. Listed as fit for service were four marquees, one hundred forty nine horseman's tents, four wall tents, one thousand seven hundred fifty common tents, eighty-four bell tents, and seven "Hospital Tents." Repairable were one marquee, forty-nine horseman's tents, twelve wall tents, and three hundred eighty two common tents. Condemned articles totaled five horseman's tents, three wall tents, and one hundred forty common tents. The largest numbers were held at Fishkill and Fishkill landing, with smaller quantities at Newburg, West Point, Continental Village, and Kings Ferry.46

Five days later another return was generated listing "Tents in possession of James Abeel, Esqr. D.Q.Mr.G." Abeel noted as "Repaired and fit for service," twenty five horseman's tents, six wall tents, one hundred thirty two bell tents, and three hundred and four common tents. One hundred seventeen horseman's tents, twenty six wall tents, and one thousand and twenty common tents were repairable. Listed as "Rotten and condemned" were five marquees, twelve wall tents, eleven horseman's tents, and five hundred eighty seven common tents. James Abeel remarked on the bottom of this document, "The Tents we repair will serve one Campaign, as I have given orders to repair none but such as will serve a Campaign. The above Tents have been delivered and received [into storage] from the Army."47

To provide a context for the above returns let us look at records for two tent types from other periods of the war. Spring 1777 saw one of the first attempts to address American officers' campaign housing on a large scale. From Morristown, General Washington wrote Brigadier General Alexander McDougall on 25 April, "I am so well convinced of the Justice of your remark upon the necessity of Officers being constantly in the Field with their Men, that I shall order a Sufficient Number of Horseman's Tents or small Marque[e]s for the Officers, they will then have no excuse for absence, except want of Health." While British company and field officers likely continued to use small marquee tents throughout the American Revolution, horseman's tents remained the preferred shelter for Continental Army officers below field grade after 1777. It is also interesting to note that in 1779-80 bell tents, used to house firearms, were present in relatively large numbers. Bell tents were often superfluous items in an army facing supply difficulties; in 1781 they were being sacrificed to repair other tentage, "the whole of them if wanted for that purpose."48

We have seen that canvas covering for the troops, from simple common tents to ornate officers' marquees, formed an important part of an army's military equipage. As with dimensions and design, the distribution of tents within a military force could vary from country to country. Further, supply of camp equipage was affected by the economy, the competence (or ineptitude) of the quartermaster's department and contractors, proximity to the enemy, and general military situation, and soldiers suffered or benefited accordingly. Tent apportionment, supply, and transportation will be examined in the next chapter of this series.

Go to Part II


1. Pickering to Washington, 8 February 1782, vol. 83, 72-73, Numbered Record Books Concerning Military Operations and Service, Pay and Settlement Accounts, and Supplies in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records (National Archives Microfilm Publication M853, reel 26), Record Group 93, National Archives, Washington (hereafter cited as Numbered Record Books, NA).

2. Robert C. Bray and Paul E. Bushnell, eds., Diary of a Common Soldier in the American Revolution: An Annotated Edition of the Military Journal of Jeremiah Greenman, (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1978), 250-251 (hereafter cited as Bray and Bushnell, Diary of a Common Soldier).

3. Ibid., 252.

4. Ibid., 252-254.

5. Ibid., 256-257.

6. “Saterday 15 [July 1780] we Came to the River Opersit to West point / got their at Noon [ / we Lay in the open world / Sunday 16 [July] we Crosd the River to the Point / Dra[we]d Prov[isions] and went into Tents,” 15 July 1780 journal entry, near West Point, New York, Journal of Nahum Parker for six months service, 15th Massachusetts Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty—Land—Warrant Application Files, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, reel 1874), Records of the Veterans Administration, Record Group 15, NA (hereafter cited as Pension Files, NA).

7. Journal of Lieutenant Samuel Shute, 2nd New Jersey Regiment, 23 July 1779, Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan Against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 (Glendale, NY: Benchmark Publishing, 1970), 268-269 (hereafter cited as Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan).

8. Enoch Anderson, Personal Recollections of Captain Enoch Anderson, an Officer of the Delaware Regiments in the Revolutionary War (New York: Arno Press, 1971), 39.

9. 28 September 1777 entry, John Chilton's Diary (captain, 3rd Virginia Regiment), Keith Family Papers, 1710-1916, Virginia Historical Society (hereafter cited as John Chilton's Diary, VHS). Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, 1907), 23-24; Joseph Plumb Martin, Private Yankee Doodle: A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1962), 217-218 (hereafter cited as Martin, Private Yankee Doodle). For Martin's other descriptions of sleeping without shelter see pages 47-48, 74-75, and 217-218 of his memoir.

10. "Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776-1778," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 16, no. 2 (1892): 137-139 (hereafter cited as "Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael ... 1776-1778," PMHB).

11.William M. Dwyer, The Day is Ours! (New York: Viking, 1983), 207 (hereafter cited as Dwyer, The Day is Ours!). Original source: The Revolutionary Services of John Greenwood of Boston and New York, 1775-1783 (New York, 1922).

12. "Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael ... 1776-1778," PMHB, 140; Wiley Sword, Embrace an Angry Wind—The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville (New York: Harper Collins, 1992), 62.

13. Dwyer, The Day is Ours!, 367-368.

14. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 55.

15. Journal of Sergeant Andrew Kettell of Massachusetts, May 1780-March 1781, Pension Files, NA, reel 1477.

16. Ernst Kipping and Samuel Stelle Smith, At General Howe's Side, 1776-1778 (Monmouth Beach, NJ: Philip Freneau Press, 1974), 46; Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh, Cunninghame of Thorntoun Papers (GD 21); Papers of Lt., later Capt, John Peebles of the 42d. Foot. 1776-1782, incl. 13 notebooks comprising his was journal; Book no. 6, 1778 Monmouth Campaign; Samuel Graham, "An English Officer's Account of his Services in America—1779-1781. Memoirs of Lt.-General Samuel Graham," Historical Magazine, 9 (1865): 269.

17. Pickering to Washington, 8 February 1782, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 83, 72-73, reel 26.

18. Lewis Lochee, An Essay on Castrametation (London, 1778), 1-2, 20, 38 (hereafter cited as Lochee, Essay on Castrametation).

19. Memorandum on additions to the new manual of instruction (de Steuben's Regulations), 10 March 1779, George Washington Papers, Presidential Papers Microfilm, (Washington: 1961), series 4, reel 56 (hereafter cited as GW Papers); Timothy Pickering, memorandum to Col. Humphreys, August 1781, ibid., series 4, reel 80; Timothy Pickering to Jabez Hatch, 12 July 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 134-136.

20. General orders, 27 May 1779, John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799, vol. 15 (Washington: GPO, 1936), 162-163 (hereafter cited as Fitzpatrick, WGW).

21. "Construction of Tents Dimensions & [height?] Jany. 1.1781," Miscellaneous Numbered Records (The Manuscript File) in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records 1775-1790s, no. 31492, 1971, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859, reel 111), U.S. War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93, NA (hereafter cited as "Construction of Tents ... Jany. 1. 1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA); Pickering to Hatch (two letters, same date), 12 July 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 134-136, 252-253.

22. Peter Force, American Archives, series 5, vol. 3 (Washington, 1853), 452; "An Acct. of Duck deliver'd the Tent Makers & of Tents received therefor... of Mr. Bradford to June 19, 1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA, no. 22836, reel 79 (hereafter cited as "An Acct. of Duck deliver'd the Tent Makers & of Tents ... to June 19. 1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA).

23. Pickering to Hatch, 12 July 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 134-136; "Construction of Tents ... Jany. 1. 1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA, ,reel 111, item no. 31492. "An Acct. of Duck deliver'd the Tent Makers & of Tents ... to June 19, 1781," reel 79, no. 22836.

24. Lochee, An Essay on Castrametation, 1-2, 20, 38.

25. Pickering to Hatch, 12 July 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 134-136; "An Acct. of Duck deliver'd the Tent Makers & of Tents... to June 19, 1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA, reel 79, no. 22836.

26. Humphrey Bland, Treatise of Military Discipline (London, 1762), 289.

27. Ibid., 289; Mark E. Lender and James Kirby Martin, eds., Citizen Soldier: The Revolutionary War Journal of Joseph Bloomfield (Newark: New Jersey Historical Society, 1982), 64 (hereafter cited as Lender and Martin, Citizen Soldier).

28. "Construction of Tents ...Jany. 1,1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA, reel 111, item no. 31492; "An Acct. of Duck deliver' d the Tent Makers & of Tents ... to June 19. 1781," ibid., reel 79, no. 22836.

29. Thomas Mifflin to Washington, 27 May 1777, GW Papers, series 4, reel 41; Timothy Pickering to Aaron Forman, 16 June 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 83-85; Timothy Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, Misc. Numbered Records, NA, reel 87, no. 25345.

30. "State of Marquees and Tents delivered to the Army for the Campaign [of] 1782" (enclosed in Timothy Pickering to Washington, 10 February 1783), GW Papers, series 4, reel 90.

31. Lochee, Essay on Castrametation, 5; Walter Stewart, Inspection Report, Continental Army, June 1782, no. LWS 155, Lloyd W. Smith Collection, Morristown National Historical Park Library, (hereafter cited as Stewart Inspection Report, June 1782, Smith Collection, Morristown NHP); Mary R.M. Goodwin, "Clothing and Accoutrements of the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia Forces 1775-1780 From the Records of the Public Store at Williamsburg," ms. copy, June 1962, 4-5, Yorktown Victory Center, Yorktown, VA (hereafter cited as Goodwin, Clothing and Accoutrements of the Virginia Forces, 1775—1780). 2nd Georgia Order Book, William Harden, ed. "Order Book of Samuel Elbert, Colonel and Brigadier General in the Continental Army, Oct 1776 to November 1778." Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, v. 5, pt. 2 (1902), 5-191 (courtesy of John K. Robertson).

32. John Conway to William Maxwell, 12 June 1778, Israel Shreve Papers, Buxton Collection, Prescott Memorial Library, Louisiana Tech University. Regimental orders, 15 November 1778, Orderly Book of the First Pennsylvania Regiment, 26 July 1778-6 December 1778, John Blair Linn and William H. Egle, Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line 1775-1783, vol. 2 (Harrisburg, 1880), 383; Richard [Platt?] to Mr. Forman, 26 May 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 41.

33. "Construction of Tents ...Jany. 1,1781,"Misc.Numbered Records, NA, reel 111, no. 31492; Joseph Blackburn, Colonel Thomas Dowdeswell, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1776 on reverse. A color reproduction hangs in the Guards Museum, London. See also, William W. Burke and Linnea M. Bass, “Preparing a British Unit for Service in America: The Brigade of Foot Guards, 1776,” Military Collector & Historian, vol. XLVII, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 7; and Ian Bennet, A History of American Painting (London: Hamlyn, 1973), plate 13. The article “Preparing a British Unit for Service in America” can be viewed online

34. "Construction of Tents ...Jany. 1, 1781," Misc.Numbered Records, NA, reel 111, no. 31492.

35. "Estimate of Articles Necessary for 6000 Men for 12 Months March 2d. 1779," The Papers of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M247, reel 192, 61, 1958), NA (hereafter cited as PCC, NA); "Estimate of Tents and Knapsacks for the Main Army 1781," Numbered Record Books, NA, reel 29, target 4. "Estimate of Camp Equipage to be provided by Massachusetts," 1781, ibid., vol. 103, reel 29, 4-5, 6.

36. "Estimate for a hospital tent...," 23 July 1782, ibid., vol. 103, reel 29, 122.

37. Timothy Pickering to Benjamin Lincoln, 24 July 1782, ibid., vol. 103, reel 29, 124.

38. "Construction of Tents ... Jany. 1. 1781," Misc. Numbered Records, NA, reel 111, no. 31492.

39. Thomas Mifflin to Washington, 27 May 1777, GW Papers, series 4, reel 41; Timothy Pickering, "Extracts from the latest returns relative to the number of Tents &ca on hand for the campaign 1782," 8 February 1782, ibid., series 4, reel 83.

40. Timothy Pickering, "Extracts from the latest returns relative to the number of Tents &ca on hand for the campaign 1782," 8 February 1782, ibid., series 4, reel 83; Timothy Pickering to Peter Anspach, 6 April, 14 June, 26 June 1782, Misc. Numbered Records, NA, reel 87, nos. 25345, 25349, 25352.

41. "Establishment of the legion commanded by Coll. Armand Marquis de la Rouerie," 13 February 1782, Numbered Record Books, NA, reel 29, 35-37.

42. Timothy Pickering to Peter Anspach, 6 April, 14 June, 26 June 1782, Misc. Numbered Records, NA, reel 87, nos. 25345, 25349, 25352.

43. Hugh Hughes, New York state deputy quartermaster general, "Return of Camp Equipage," 12 August 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 94, no. 27352. The final page of this document gives the optimum "Allowance of Camp Equipage" as follows:

Brigadier or Colonel Commandant, 1 marquee, 1 officer's tent,
  2 common tents, 4 camp kettles, 2 canteens, 1 axe.
Brigade Major, 1 officer's tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen.
Brigade Quarter Master, 1 officer's tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen, 1 axe.
Wagon Conductor, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen, 1 axe.
Forage Master, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen.
Conductor of Military Stores, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen.
Field Officer of each Regiment, 1 marquee, 1 officer's tent,
  1 common tents, 3 camp kettles, 3 canteens, 1 axe.
Staff Officers of each Regiment, 3 officer's tents,
  3 camp kettles, 4 canteens, 1 axe.
Officers of each Company, 1 officer's tent, 2 camp kettles, 3 canteens.
Officers' Servants of each Regiment, 1 common tent.
Non Commissioned Staff of each Regiment, 2 common tents,
  4 knapsacks, 2 camp kettles, 4 canteens.
Non Commissioned Officers and Privates each, 1 knapsack, 1 canteen.
Each six Men, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle.
Each Company, 1 axe.
Each Artillery Company, 2 officer's tents.

44. Lochee, Essay on Castrametation, 1.

45. André Gousse, "French Soldier's Tent in 1753" (1997); handout produced for the Fort Ticonderoga War College, Parks Canada, Ottawa, 1 page. The French soldier’s tents were “made of linen canvas that was approximately 46 inches wide. There were 20 stake loops around the tent. The top of the tent was reinforced by a band of canvas that was almost 13 inches wide. There was an overlap of slightly more than 6 inches for the door flap. There were mud flaps all around the bottom of the tent.” Regulations governing tent size are from, "Ordonnance du Roi, du 17 fevrier 1753, Portant Reglement sur le Service de l'Infanterie en Campagne" published in M. de Briquet, Code Militaire, ou Compilations des Ordonnances des Rois de France Concernant les Gens de Guerre; volume 5, pp. 12-14, Paris, 1761. Illustrations showing the tent from three sides, the tent pole and the tent peg are from, M. de la Porterie, Institutions militaires; Paris, 1754; Illustration of nine men sleeping in a tent is from, M. le Maréchal de Puysegur, Art de la guerre par principes et par regles; Paris, 1748.

46. Udney Hay, D.Q.M.G., "Return of Marquees and Tents in the Q[uarte]r. M[aste]r. Genl. Department," 1 March 1780, Misc. No. Records, NA, reel 94, no. 27344.

47. "Tents in possession of James Abeel, Esqr. D.Q.Mr.G.," 6 March 1780, ibid., reel 94, no. 27344.

48. Washington to Alexander McDougall, 25 April 1777, Fitzpatrick, WGW, 7 (1932), 466. Richard [Platt?] to Mr. Forman, 26 May 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, reel 26, vol. 127, 41.