Reproduction Colonial Buttons

All artifacts are accurately reproduced in Pewter metal from original artifacts lent by the government, local museums and private collectors. The backs have been changed so that future collectors will not be misled. 

Colonist Buttons

 

The American Soldier’s uniform coat had an average of 44 large buttons, from 7/8” to 1” in diameter. The smaller buttons were used on their vests.  When bullets ran out, these metal buttons were rammed down the musket barrel as an effective substitution. 

RB-1 USA Continental Button 1775-83

 

This is the most common type of the American soldier’s button that have been recovered, probably dating from the establishment of the Continental Army by congress in July of 1775

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RB-2 10th Massachusetts Line 1777-83

 

 

Most state regiments, even in Continental service, had their own buttons. The 10th Massachusetts under Colonel Thomas Marshall, fought throughout the war.

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RB-4 American Artillery 1775-83

 

The four regiments of Continental Artillery raised by Congress served their cannon in the major battles of the war.  The British Union on the flag shows the button was designed before 1776.

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RB-6 A New York Regiment 1775-83

 

This is the only button design found to indicate of the five NY regiments enlisted for Congressional Service.  Other states usually had their state and regimental numbers as identification.

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RB-11 3rd Massachusetts Line 1779-83

 

Found at West Point, NY this button varies fro the usual state design by having the trophies of war below the number.

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RB-13 General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s Legion

 

Though not of the Revolution, this “frog legged” eagle button was worn by the Revolutionary war hero, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s legion in 1792 and when American troops first garrisoned Fort Mackinac in 1796.

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RB-15 Boston Regiment 1776

Little is know of the state regiments raised for the defense of Massachusetts during the siege of Boston in 1775-76, but the Latin inscription “Inimica Tyrannis” (Hostile to tyrants) and the hand with the upraised sword impart their sentiments. Buttons of this design have been found in campsites outside their state, but were used by Massachusetts men in Continental Service at least through 1781. 

 

(see RB-2 and RB-11.)

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RB-17 5th Connecticut Regiment, 1777-81

 

Raised for the Continental Line in 1777, this regiment was commanded during its service by Colonel Philip Burr Bradley. The numbered button surrounded by a broken circle and dot is typical of French design.

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RB-19 2nd Connecticut Regiment 1777-83

 

This button shows how simply many of the regimental buttons were engraved by local craftsmen. The regiment was in continental service, under Colonel Charles Webb, from January 1777 to March 1778, then Colonel Zebulon Butler until January 1781 and finally Colonel Herman Swift, until discharged  in June of 1783.

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RB-21 American Artillery, 1775-83 (waistcoat)

 

This waistcoat button, representing a small coehorn mortar, has been found in both pewter and brass at sites where four regiments of Continental Artillery were located (see RB-4) 

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RB-27 18th Continental Regiment Massachusetts, 1776

 

Raised for one year service and commanded by Colonel Edmund Phinney and Lt. Colonel Samuel March, this Massachusetts regiment was one of twenty seven authorized to fill the thirteen states quotas for continental service. Buttons of this usual design, though with different numbers have been found at Fort Ticonderoga and the West Point area.

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RB-30 1st Rhode Island Regiment, 1777-83

 

Rhode Island sent troops to the siege of Boston in 1775 and raised the 9th and 11th Continental Regiments for the year 1776. The 1st Rhode Island Continentals under Colonel Christopher Greene served with Washington’s Army and Rhode Island men comprised almost half his troops after the Battle of Trenton. Many Black men were in the Rhode Island units by the end of the war.

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British Buttons

 

The British and many of their Loyalist American supporters wore red regimental coats with 44 large metal buttons 7/8” or 1” in diameter, which were used to hold back their lapels and coat tails to show their regimental colors.  The smaller buttons were used on their vests.

RB-3 Royal Regiment of Artillery 1789-1800

 

British artillerymen served in almost every battle of the war, usually wearing stamped brass buttons of this design, but solid pewter castings have also been found.

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RB-5 Butler’s Rangers 1777-83

 

Of all the Tory companies loyal to the British crown, none had the reputation for wanton murder of civilians as the green coated raiders of Colonel John Butler and their Indians partners.

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RB-7 Royal Provincials "Queen's Rangers"1776-83

 

This was the standard design for the Loyalist Corps, particularly units that early in the war had no distinctive buttons. Before 1780 they were probably worn by the famous “Queen’s Rangers”.

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RB-8 38th Regiment of Foot 1775-83

 

Many buttons of this type were found at Fort Washington, NY, where this regiment was stationed during the British occupation.

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RB-12 The King’s Eight Regiment 174-84

 

During the war this regiment served at Fort Michilimackinac, and other western outposts.  In 1780-81, they abandoned the vulnerable fort on the mainland and built the stone fort on Mackinac Island.

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RB-14 60th Regiment “Royal Americans” 1761-72

 

 

Prior to the American Revolution, this large British regiment of four battalions was recruited from American colonists with Swiss and German officers, for The French and Indian War.

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RB-16 27th Regiment of Foot, 1775-78 (Irish)

 

Raised in Ireland for British service from the defenders of Enniskillen (Inniskilling) Castle in 1689, this famous regiment served in Boston in 1775, New York in 1776, and Florida in 1778.  On the original order for the buttons, they were to have three turrets of the castle with the British cross of St. George flying, but the engraver put the Irish cross of St. Patrick in the canton, flying upside down to indicate distress, showing the Irish feelings toward the British!  Later this regiment became the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 

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RB-18 20th Regiment of Foot, 1776-77

 

This British Regiment was part of General Burgoyne’s invasion force from Canada that captured Fort Ticonderoga, but was forced to surrender after the Battle of Saratoga. This laurel wreath, which surrounds the Roman numeral XX, was awarded to the regiment by the King for its valiant attack at the Battle of Minden, Germany in 1759. Given the country title of “East Devon Regiment” in 1781, the regiment later became the Lancaster Fusiliers.

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RB-22 British Marines, 1775-83

 

Two Battalions of sea soldiers were formed, complete with elite grenadiers and light infantry. Stationed in Boston, they lost heavily at Bunker Hill. Transferred to Nova Scotia, the grenadiers went with General Howe’s army and fought in the battles around New York City in 1776 and Philadelphia in 1777. Units of marines were formed off naval vessels for raiding during the war.  Two battalions of American Continental Marines wore a similar pewter button.

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RB-23 64th Regiment of Foot, 1775-83

Stationed in Boston before the war, soldiers of this regiment, besides being in most of the major engagements in both the north and south, also took part in many naval raids starting at Salem to seize powder, later New Bedford, Martha's Vineyard and Danbury. They were at Bunker Hill, the battles around New York an  Philadelphia, the beige of Charlestown and the Battle of Eutaw Springs..

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RB-25 37th Regiment of Foot, 1776-83

 

Arriving with General Cornwallis’ forces at Staten Island after the abortive attempt to capture Charlestown, this British regiment was in the battle around New York, Philadelphia, and Monmouth Court House as the army retreated back to New York City in 1778.  In September 1778 they were sent to Newport, several companies were dispatched to St. Augustine, Florida, the rest went to Nova Scotia in 1779.

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RB-32 24th Regiment of Foot, 1776-77

 

 

Arriving at Quebec, Canada, in May 1776, the 24th formed part of General Burgoyne’s Expedition which sailed down the Champlain and captured Fort Ticonderoga.  They fought in both the battles at Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights before surrendering with the entire army at Saratoga.

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