I’d say this is the most realistic portrayal of a British soldier during the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution ever produced. In fact, this image is of a British prisoner post-Saratoga, but the two would have been almost identical.
How far is this beggar-soldier from the pristine, wig-powdered fops we are fed by populist history of the period? Here is the reality - by the time Crown forces drove off General Greene from Guilford Courthouse, they had been marching for weeks on near-empty stomachs, their own supplies destroyed in order to keep up the pursuit of Greene’s army. They’d cut the white lace from their hats and slouched them against the Carolinan sun. Their boots were worn through, feet clad in rags. Their gaters were gone and their breaches in tatters. Their red coats were frayed and faded, the coat tails cut off. They were beset by sores, blisters and sunburn, not to mention Southern fever. And they still went into battle at the end of it all, fighting in a war that would ultimately see them demonized by their enemies and forgotten about by their own nation.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the redcoat.