24th Regiment of Foot

Sergeant-Major 1802

The jacket of the sergeant-major in 1802 was more similar to the officers' than to the other ranks. The rank and file wore a single-breasted coat with regimental lace (white with red and green stripes) across the middle of the chest, in line with the 10 white metal buttons. The sergeant-majors and officers had double-breasted coats which had silver lace on the green lapels. These could be folded back either at the top or all the way to the waist in the case of officers. The year 1802 saw the introduction of chevrons to indicate the non-commissioned ranks; sergeant-majors had four silver stripes. This uniform also has small silver epaulettes on each shoulder and the crimson and green worsted sash around the waist. The detail at the top shows the special style of the silver lace which was different from the vellum type worn by officers. The white metal buttons had a rope style edge and plain 24. His belt-plate is silver although some sources say that it should be brass like that of the men. On parade the leg-wear was white breeches and black knee gaiters, while on campaign he would wear grey overalls.

The lower detail of this Bryan Fosten illustration shows the black lacquered peaked shako that replaced the cocked hat in 1800. It also shows the different way hair was styled; for battalion companies, with the red and white plume, the hair was formed into a 10 inch pigtail (since April 1799). The Flank companies had the clubbed hair as shown on the right. On 20th July 1808 an order was issued that the hair should be cut short to save the men time used up with hair-dressing. But the authorities were obviously worried that the men would now have too much time on their hands because the order stated: 'The hair to be cut short in the neck, and a small sponge added to the rest of the soldier's necessaries, for the purpose of frequently washing his head.' Light companies had a green plume at the front of the shako and grenadier companies had a white plume. The red and white plume was worn up until 1829 when it was replaced by a plain white one.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe