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Don't Give Up The Ship: American and British Naval Uniforms of 1813


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Captain James Lawrence, USN. ~ Seaman Robert Bates, USN. Captain Philip Bowes Vere Broke, RN. ~ Bo's'un William Stevens, RN

Pinterest research board  ~ Video of public thesis presentation ~ Link to written paper

The goal of my thesis was to create four historically-accurate costumes that show what would have been worn onboard the HMS Shannon and the USS Chesapeake at the time of their 1813 engagement off of the coast of Boston. All four costumes were entirely handmade (with the exception of shoes)

Because of the proximity of the battle to Boston proper, as well as the number of people watching from onshore, there are numerous period accounts that detail the battle. While Captain Lawrence of the Chesapeake wore his full dress captain's jacket into battle, covered in shiny buttons and gold Orris lace, Captain Broke of the Shannon wore his undress uniform, and a tall hat to disguise his bright red hair. By adding in Mr. William Stevens, the bo'sun of the Shannon who led the boarding effort, and Chesapeake sailor Robert Bates, not only is there a chance to compare British and American uniforms during the War of 1812, but also to look at the different classes onboard the ships. 

This project provided a chance for me to combine my past experience with historical research, my ongoing interest in maritime history and historically accurate costuming. It also allowed me to further my skills in tailoring, millinery, dying and select styles of distressing, as well as letting me expand my knowledge of metalwork and hand embroidery. 

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