Lace and Buttons: More than Just Decoration

Dressed in their madder red regimental coats, black hats, and white underclothes, the soldiers of the 8th Regiment who served at Michilimackinac in the 1770s may have looked quite similar to other British troops fighting in the American Revolution. Their uniforms, however, were unique, marked by distinctive buttons, trim, and lace tape.

Cuff-Close-UpAn enlisted soldier of the 8th Regiment was literally covered with signs indicating his unit assignment. The cuffs, lapels, and collar of his regimental coat were royal blue, representing royal honors conferred upon the 8th by King George I in 1715. Although a few regiments were similarly honored, other units wore green, white, orange, yellow, or buff trim on their coats. A soldier’s buttons and the lace trim surrounding them, however, were unique to his regiment alone. Soldiers of the 8th wore nearly 40 pewter buttons on their coats, each marked “Ks8,” meaning King’s 8th Regiment. Archaeologists working at Michilimackinac continue to find these buttons today. Each button on the soldier’s coat was surrounded by regimental lace. The 8th Regiment’s lace included two “worms” or stripes, one blue and one yellow.Artifact Buttons

Although not as obvious as the badges, patches, and other unit insignia worn by the modern military, these historic elements allowed observers to quickly identify a British soldier’s regiment simply by looking at the details of his uniform. More importantly, the lace, buttons, and trim were all important symbols of a soldier’s regiment, and helped him create a sense of identity and belonging in the army.

7 Responses to “Lace and Buttons: More than Just Decoration”

  1. Neil Oppendike

    An Ojibwe friend and I are working on publishing a book, or series of books, on Ojibwe craft work. We are seeking out old beaded items, bark items, etc. We are especially interested in anything related to women’s wear such as strap dresses and leggings. Does your collection contain any such items?
    Thanks for your attention
    Neil Oppendike
    Prophetstown, Illinois

  2. Shilpa

    I am very happy with the content of your article it is very beneficial and I wait for the next article to update the information again.


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