Thursday, September 11, 2014


The spirit of Andrew Jackson ran high in New England during the 1820s. Patriotism, coupled with new found wealth enabled the formation of "volunteer" militia companies in towns large and small. Reform-minded fellows sought to change the image of the drunken amateur soldier.

The Oxford Light Infantry managed to complete their uniforms in time for a visit from Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. Local tailors, sign painters, leather workers, and gunsmiths outfitted the company in ways the US military could only dreamed about.

The "Invincibles" drilled regularly, competed in shooting matches and fought sham battles with companies in other towns. They disbanded sometime around 1838, never having fired a shot in anger. The uniform is quite practical, with the exception of the pack, which has thin cotton straps and can't hold much more than the fatigue hat and some cigars.

Keeping the trousers clean requires some effort, as does the lace (tarnished by the buff.) After examining several surviving coats, the collar was shortened and hooks and eyes added after these photos where taken.

 Derek is wearing the one item needed to complete this uniform: a bell crowned shako. Stay tuned.


  1. Very cool. This reminds me of the 30 seconds worth of film featuring Massachussetts militia in Amistad. I was disappointed there was not more! Thanks for posting.

  2. Best of all there is one US Marine in the movie and he is wearing the shako the New England militia gave them as surplus when the went out of fashion.