Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger


Clothing the Army

Primary Source

Eighteenth-Century Shirt
Man's Shirt
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

For More Information


“I intended to have had [coats] made up in a new fashion which I think will save Cloth, be made up quicker and cheaper and yet be more warm and convenient to the Soldier. ”

—George Washington, to James Mease,
January 21, 1778.
John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745–1799, 10 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1933), 330–331. Electronic Edition.

Gift to the Nation
Get a free Electronic Field Trip!

Teacher Community
The place for teachers to connect!


Facebook Logo

Teaching Strategy

Creating the Perfect Pattern

From the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army had trouble keeping its soldiers clothed and shod due to the expense and difficulty of obtaining supplies. In this lesson, students act as tailors for the army and use math to create a shirt pattern with as little waste as possible. They then calculate the cost of making the shirts.

Upcoming Electronic Field Trip

The Balance of Power EFT
The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race!
January 16, 2014

Related Products

Earning a Living as a Tradesperson in Colonial AmericaEARNING A LIVING AS A TRADESPERSON IN COLONIAL AMERICA
Lesson Units: Educating America's Citizens

The goods and services produced by skilled tradespeople were invaluable to early American communities. This unit uses primary sources—the Virginia Gazette newspaper, shop signs, biographies, and more—to discover the life and work of these people. This is an in-depth look at early American trades and economy. 143 pages. Grades 4–8, $19.95. To order, call 1-800-761-8331 or email

Life in the Continental Army Lesson UnitLIFE IN THE CONTINENTAL ARMY
Lesson Unit

What was life like for soldiers during the Revolutionary War? How did they live, work, play, eat? What about women and civilians who traveled with the army? Students explore these questions by examining primary sources, and by re-creating a Continental army camp in the classroom. Grades 4–12. 106 pages. $19.95. To order, call 1-800-761-8331 or email

View our full catalog.


The Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip Series is supported in part
by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.


If you would like to subscribe to the Teacher Gazette, click here.

If you would like to be removed from future Teacher Gazette mailings, please send an e-mail to with the subject heading "unsubscribe,"
or click the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email you received.