You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, March 17, 2014

The White Cockade

Cockades, handcrafted ribbon rosettes, served as the political lapel pins of yesteryear. People wore them to identify themselves with their political stance, to declare their loyalty, to support their troops, and to show patriotism.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, men pinned cockades on the side of their tricornes or cocked hats or on their lapels. Women also wore them on their hats or in their hair. During the American Revolution, the Continental Army initially wore cockades of various colors as a form of rank insignia.

General George Washington
wears a cockade on his hat.
On July 23, 1775, General George Washington wrote: “As the Continental Army has unfortunately no uniforms, and consequently many inconveniences must arise from not being able to distinguish the commissioned officers from the privates, it is desired that some badge of distinction be immediately provided; for instance that the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green.”

Brigadier General Francis Marion
The Swampfox of South Carolina.
After a time, the Continental Army reverted to wearing the black cockade they inherited from the British. Later, when France became an ally of the United States, soldiers pinned the white cockade of the French Ancien RĂ©gime onto their old black cockade; the French reciprocally pinned the black cockade onto their white cockade, as a mark of the French-American alliance. These cockades became known as the "Union Cockade."

By the time of the War of 1812, however, Americans had reverted to black cockades.

A fantastic step-by-step demonstration of "How to Make an 18c Cockade" can be found on the blog, American Duchess, Historical Costuming at

According to some historians, on April 19, 1775, when colonial militias confronted British troops at Concord’s North Bridge, they marched to the tune of “The White Cockade.” This was a traditional Scottish tune that celebrated the attempt by Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim the British throne for the House of Stuart. Colonists were familiar with this “rebellious” tune as a country dance and a fife and drum piece. You can hear this tune by going to this link: