Information on the early uniforms of native enlisted men is scarce. Red cloth was supplied, and the coat followed roughly the cut of the British model, but the overall garb reflected a native flavour. All of these troops were infantry.
Reconstruction of a sepoy of the 1st Battalion Bengal Native Infantry at Plassey. There are few details of the clothing worn by sepoys of this period and this reconstruction is somewhat conjectual. This illustration is in the Osprey book ‘Plassey 1757’, but is an exact copy of an early water colour (shown) by Frank Todd.
Sepoys of the 3rd Battalion at Bombay. Engraving published in London by M. Darly in 1773
Sepoy Officer, 1757. Watercolour by Charles Lyall. The clothing of the sepoy troops who served with Clive at Plassey is not described in any of the contemporary accounts. As a result, many of the illustrations are based on guesswork than anyhing else. (Anne S.K Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library)
Not sure if these uniforms below are correct for Plassey or not. Not sure when the sundial hat was first issued:
A golandar of the Bengal Artillery, a sepoy of the Bengal Native Infantry, a Subedar of the Governor-General’s bodyguard, c1785
Indian native officer and non-comissioned officer of 34th Regiment, c1802
Indian sepoy c1800
Sepoy soldier c1780
Indian European Regiments
1st Bengal European Regiment, 1760. Water-colour by Harry Payne. The European regiments of Bengal, Bombay and Madras wore general issue clothing of red tunics, black hats and white gaiters. They were manned by British soldiers (Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library)
39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot
The 39th Foot with a detachment of Royal Artillery were dispatched to India in 1754 at the request of the East India Company. There having been little thought given to adjusting military dress for tropical wear, the men wore the uniforms they had been issued in Britain, which were the based on the regulation 1751 uniform. This consisted of a thick wool coat of scarlet, faced with pale green lapels and cuffs, and bearing white lace, with scarlet waistcoats and breeches, white gaiters (brown for marching) and buff belt, plus a black cocked hat bound with white lace. The musicians carried drums painted with ’39’ on them. The green regimental colour had the Union flag in the upper left and the numerals ‘XXXIX’ surrounded by a wreath of laurels. The main firearm was the East India flintlock musket – 46 inches in length derived from the Brown Bess.
Three companies of the 39th, 224 strong were the only British regular’s at Plassey
39th Officer at Plassey
A modern representation of French soldiers serving in India in the 1750s (from a picture by Lucien Rousselot in Le Passepoil). On the left is a soldier of Kerjean’s company, 1751, while on the right stands an artilleryman and dragoon of Bussy’s force in 1753. The figure on the left wears a red coat with green facings while those on the right are dressed in green coats and red facings (Anne S. K. Brown Military colection, Brown University Library). Osprey ‘Plassey 1757’.
Two of the French guns captured at Plassey. Currently at the Victoria memorial, Calcutta.