I wear a kilt while reenacting Scottish troops who fought in America during the French and Indian War (1755 – 1763) and the American War for Independence (1775 – 1783).
For the French and Indian War, we portray the 77th Regiment of Foot (Montgomerie’s Highlanders) which was raised in the area of Stirling in Scotland. They landed in America in 1757 and participated in the capture of Ft. Duquane (modern day Pittsburgh).
For the American War for Independence we portray the 42nd Regiment of Foot. This is the unit which gave the name to the “Black Watch” plaid. At the time it was called “Government Plaide” and only those who were in British Highland Regiments were permitted to wear the plaid and play bagpipes. These being outlawed after the Jacobite Rebellion in the 1740s. The 42nd’s service in the American War for Independence and subsequent conflicts made it a famous unit through out the British Empire. Since 2006 the unit has been part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
We wear both the philabeg and the great kilt. The philabeg is most common and there is historical evidence that the troops would sew the plaits and even hooks for easy donning. We find the kilt very comfortable for fighting in almost all weathers, with the exception being the hot, humid days in the South. Very often prior to battle you can her folks calling out “There are Highlanders on the field. Remember to die FACE DOWN!”
The attached photo was taken at Ft. Loudon, Pennsylvania. It was taken last fall during the reenactment of the “Black Boys Revolt” which took place on that site in 1765, and was one of the events that would lead to the American Declaration of Independence.