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Determining what a Revolutionary War Bounty Coat was.

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
NEHGS Online Genealogist

Question: I have noticed that my ancestors during the Revolutionary War received a "Bounty Coat". Hope you can assist me with this query.


Answer: This reference is to a physical coat that was given to a soldier in lieu of money in 1775. The following passage explains:

"On the 5th of July, 1775, a resolve was passed to provide each of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the army authorized to be raised under resolve of April 23, 1775, with a coat, and 13,000 were ordered to be provided by the towns and districts, in accordance with a regular apportionment. This gift of a coat was considered in the nature of a bounty, and later, at the time of their distribution, the men in service were permitted to choose between acceptance of the coat or a sum of money in lieu thereof." [Source: Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1896) 1:xvi].

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