Donegal Township Riflemen

These Riflemen were among the Lancaster Militia. They are separate from the regular Militias as they fought in an entirely different manner than the traditional combat. Traditional combat of the time were linear formations and volleys of musket fire. Riflemen were hidden and shot with precision with smaller caliber and long barrel rifles. These hardy men from the frontier used their rifles to bring in food and provide defense against Indians. In 1775, Dr. James Thacher described the riflemen as “remarkably stout and hardy men, many of them exceeding six feet in height. They are dressed in white frocks, or rifle-shirts, and round hats. These men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim, striking a mark with great certainty at two hundred yards distance.” As they were organized, they became an indispensable part of the militia.

Clothing Guideline
for Recreating Donegal Township Riflemen

“Hardy Men are dressed in white frocks, or rifle-shirts, and round hats.”


When recreating a member of The Donegal Township Riflemen, choose from any of the following style hats documented for the Rev. War period.


These hats should be made of black, dark brown, gray wool or fur felt and having a low crown approximately 4 inches tall. The edge can be trimmed in black, white or left untrimmed. If attaching a cockade, it should be of black ribbon. Feathers worn in the hat should be from birds native to Pennsylvania (turkey, grouse etc.). A bucktail or a squirrel tail may also be worn.

A round hat, (Rifleman’s Hat) left side turned up.

A cocked hat, (Tricorn Hat) turned up on three sides.

A fantail hat, only the back of the hat up.

A flat brim. The hat brim is in the natural state, uncocked.


The knit cap, (Liberty Cap). Made of knitted wool with a rolled bottom and a hanging tassel, the cap is long enough to allow the top half to flop over.

The Canadian cap is made of four equal pieces of wool cloth and having a fur trim band the whole way around it. This fur was raccoon or fox, sometimes attaching the tail to the back of the hat.

A cloth workman’s cap, usually made of linen.


Neckwear should be cotton, linen or silk. Check or stripe patterns should be woven.

A black or white neck stock.

A neck scarf (approximately 36 to 42 inches square) of a solid, check or stripe material


A 1770’s period style shirt made of linen, cotton, a linen and cotton blend or wool may be worn. White or off white was very common. Solid colors and woven checks and stripes are also acceptable provided the color and weave approximates that of the 18th century.


Waistcoats may be sleeved or sleeveless of the style and cut of the 1770’s.

Wool, cotton or linen

Solid color or woven stripe cloth


Both breeches and trousers were worn in the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Both should be of a fall front, of a cut and style correct to the 1770’s period


Cotton, linen, wool or buckskin


Cotton or linen

May be dyed to match a rifle frock if desired.

May or may not have a fringe similar in cloth and color sewn to the knee area.

Browsers worn with civilian clothing should not have fringes.


Overalls were issued in 1776 and may be worn at any event set in the year 1776 or later.

Material should be white, off-white or of a pillow ticking stripe and made of linen, cotton or wool.



Over the knee stocking of wool or cotton in period color and weave. When wearing trousers or overalls, a mid-calf wool stocking that looks period in color and style may also be worn.


Full gaiters may be worn with a rifle frock or civilian clothing.

Black or woven stripe (pillow ticking) canvas and dark colored wool are appropriate materials for gaiters.


Leggins should be worn with a rifle frock, wagoneer,s shirt or civilian clothing.

Wool: center seam or side seam style of medium weight wool, with or without the toe insert.

Leather: center seam or side seam leather leggins of a natural brain tanned color or of a darker shade of brown with or without a toe insert.


18th century style (reproduction) shoes or boots are appropriate.

Shoes may be buckled with 18th century (reproduction) buckles or tied.

Moccasins may be center seam, Ligonier or pucker-toe eastern woodland.


Wrap around rifle frocks of various colors made of cotton or linen are appropriate.

Civilian coats of the 1760’s and 1770’s style made of wool, cotton or linen of a period color and weave are appropriate.


A long, knee length, pullover shirt made of off-white, natural or a solid color cotton, linen or wool is correct. This shirt had cuffs and a collar that buttoned with one or two buttons. The shirt was not worn by itself but rather as protection over a waistcoat or other period shirt.