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Glengarry Tunic

Curated Submission
1810 - 1830
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
75 x 48
Materials & techniques
Wool; Velvet
Niagara Historical Society and Museum 972.910
This wool and velvet tunic was originally believed to be the only surviving example of an 1812-era Glengarry Light Infantry uniform. It has since become the subject of considerable discussion because many of its features make accurate dating of the tunic problematic.
The Glengarry Light Infantry had a distinguished fighting record during the War of 1812 and took part in several battles on the Niagara frontier. Over 1,400 men served in the regiment before it was disbanded in the summer of 1816. Since the tunic is attributed to Donald McDougald, who was an officer in the Glengarry Militia, it is most likely not a uniform of the regular Glengarry Light Infantry regiment.
McDougald fought with the Glengarry Militia in Niagara and was still serving in the regiment in 1839. This tunic could be from the later years of his militia service, as the cloth-covered buttons and their curved, heart-shaped pattern were not common in 1812. It is also possible that the tunic is an 1812-era Glengarry Militia uniform that McDougald had updated in accordance with changing military fashions. The discussion and debate about the coat has become part of the artifact’s history, and the abundance of opinion about its provenance demonstrates the desire to understand the complexity of 1812-era military uniforms.
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