Color Guard

Originally titled Yankee Doodle, later known as The Spirit of ’76 by Archibald M. Willard, 1836-1918 National SAR 28909

Sons of the American Revolution Pennsylvania Society Combined Pittsburgh & General Anthony Wayne Chapter Color Guard SOP.

The Color Guard of the 21st century is primarily ceremonial in terms of purpose and duty. However, the origins of the Color Guard are based in military practicality. The following is a concise history of the origin of the Color Guard.

SAR Color Guard

During the 18th and 19th centuries, flags were commonly referred to as “the Colors.” These colors were of primary importance to the military regiment or brigade as the line of battle was formed around the colors of the unit which were placed at the center of the line. These colors were easily seen through the smoke of battle. If the colors advanced, the line would advance. If the colors retired, the line would retire. As battles would progress and casualties mounted, the line would contract to the colors. In effect, the colors would serve as a rallying point if the line was broken or the men became dispersed. Thus, success in battle was often dependent on the handling of the colors.

A Marker Memorial Service for Private John Adams Jr. Compatriots and friends, we have met here as Sons of the American Revolution to dedicate a marker as a remembrance for the memory of a patriot and soldier of this country, Private John Adams Jr. The march of this soldier is over. Let us remember Patriot Adams here at rest under the blue skies of Heaven, guarded by the silent stars that in life watched over him when he bivouacked on the battlefields or lay down weary and foot-sore on the soil of our beloved thirteen colonies.

A position of honor

The importance of the colors was so significant that a ceremony was performed before battle called “The Trooping of the Colors.” The men of the regiment or brigade were assembled on the parade ground in camp and the colors were paraded before them. This way, each man would see and thus be certain of his colors before taking the field of battle.

 

Likewise, while there could be many diverse objectives in a battle, one of the most important was capturing of the colors of the enemy unit. This would deprive the enemy of their primary means of control and rallying point during the battle. To prevent this, regiments and brigades would select the most valiant men to protect the colors and color bearer. These men comprised the “Color’s Guard,” a posting of great honor and source of pride. As in years past, this posting continues to be a position of honor. 

A Marker Memorial Service for Fifer Nathaniel Coburn and Sergeant James Bruien was held at the Grove Cemetery, New Brighton, PA on June 21, 2014 by our chapter's color guard. ​Also participating were 1st Company, Ft. McIntosh; Pittsburgh Chapter SAR; Holy Family Parish Choir; New Brighton American Legion; Rochester VFW; the Grove Cemetery Association; the Merrick Associates; New Brighton Christian Assembly and Rome Monument.

General Anthony Wayne-Pittsburgh Combined Color Guard

It is the Mission of the General Anthony Wayne-Pittsburgh Combined Color Guard to support the National, Pennsylvania Society and Chapter objectives of advancing the cause of Americanism and patriotism by partaking in the rendering of ceremonial honors.  Specifically, the Color Guard will participate in parade, funeral and memorial services and the posting/retiring of the colors at other patriotic events.  Color Guard members individually or as a group will provide educational activities to the public.

Photos from past events

The Ubiquitous Hunting Frock, American War of Independence Garb by Terry Martin

Anyone familiar with the American Revolution has a mental picture of troops attired in a variety of garments. The Revolutionary War saw the colonial army's uniforms deteriorate to literal rags due to uniform shortages. Eventually, the alliance with France leads to uniforms and more consistent clothing allowances. However, from 1775-1778 the Continental Army did suffer in clothing and attiring their troops in sufficient battlefield attire. The armies of George III and his paid mercenaries were dressed in their finest which was supplied through a regular commissary. The Continental soldier had his clothing allowance supplied by the states. The states lack of organization as well as unscrupulous business dealings prevented the Continental Army from having necessary clothing. The Continental Soldier wore the same clothing articles, but the states were not consistent in getting the articles and clothing to the troops. The mode of warfare adopted by the Colonials caused a need for a ubiquitous garment. 

Members wearing the official Anthony Wayne and Pittsburgh SAR Color Guard black hunting frock uniform.

The shortage of cloth leads the American troops to adopt the hunting frock as standard dress. The American Army found the hunting frock to be very versatile. It was easy to make, easy to remove, and allowed a freedom of movement not unlike farmer’s or workman’s clothing. It also could be made cheaply and allowed for a utilitarian article to cloth troops. General George Washington considered it to be an “ideal military garment”. It was made famous as the garb of the rifle regiments and was worn as field dress by most of the American army throughout the war.  The hunting frock was made of deer leather, linen, or homespun. It could also be dyed in a variety of colors. It is noted that regiments dyed the hunting frocks in the following colors: white, natural linen, purple, brown, black, green and blue. 

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