The First New Hampshire Regiment is a recreation of one of the three regiments of “regulars” from New Hampshire to serve in the Continental Army under Gen. Washington during the American Revolution. We do this as a hobby for our own enjoyment, and to educate people about the unit and that time period of our history. The current regiment is composed of a company of Line, or battalion troops, a Fife and Drum Music Company, camp followers, and most recently, a reactivated Artillery Company manning a reproduction 3 lb. field cannon.
The unit participates in parades, honor guards, encampments, battle reenactments, and similar activities. We have appeared at events all over the East Coast from Georgia to Maine, in Canada, and even in England. We are also charter members of The Continental Line, an organization of more than 60 reenactment units.
Following the battles at Concord and Lexington, the colonial militias besieging the British in Boston began to organize into an army. On April 26, 1775, just 7 days after those first battles, the Massachusetts Committee of Safety commissioned John Stark of New Hampshire as a colonel, with orders to enlist a regiment of soldiers. Within a short time, he had enlisted 800 men. One month later, the unit was “adopted” by New Hampshire and designated the 1st New Hampshire Regiment.
Throughout the war, the unit performed gallantly, serving with honor at Bunker Hill, Canada, Princeton, Saratoga, Valley Forge, Monmouth, in the expedition against the Iroquois, at Yorktown, and even crossed the Delaware with Washington in the attack on Trenton. They were one of the last units disbanded after the British evacuated New York City in 1783. The unit itself served for a period of 8 years and 8 months, making it the longest serving unit in the war.
The main uniform worn by the unit is a recreation of the ones issued to it in 1778 at Valley Forge. The basic uniform consists of a green coat with red facings, cuffs and collar and brass buttons. Musicians wear white coats with blue facings or rifle frocks. These frocks are also worn by the riflemen attached to the unit. In the warmer months, the unit often wears lighter farmers smocks or rifle shirts in place of the heavy woolen coats. These too are quite correct for the time period portrayed, as they were issued to the troops on a semi-regular basis. We are also in the process of outfitting ourselves with brown coats with red facings, another uniform the unit wore during part of the War.
The other clothing, consisting of shirt, waistcoat (vest) and breeches or overalls are not all of the same color and cut. This represents the mix of “small clothes,”as they were known, that were issued or procured by the troops. Many of the soldiers also own 18th C. styled civilian clothing, used when portraying the militia or early Continental Army of 1775-1776.
Camp Followers, portraying the women and children who accompanied the American Army, are also correctly attired in reproduction civilian clothing.