Life of a Redcoat

Living life as a Redcoat was not an easy life.  This was a life of a soldier who worked hard and would fight and at the same time had families and homes to take care of.


During the American Revolution, the soldiers who were called Patriots were not professional soldiers.  These were people that had jobs that they did most of the time such as farming or doing a specific trade.

The people that were these soldiers would fight in the war because they believed in the causes and so they would fight so that they could help win and get what they believed was right.

The Patriots were paid to fight but it would take them a long time to get paid sometimes and so they were never able to depend much on the money.


The Redcoats were the British soldiers and they were considered professional soldiers.

Those that were Redcoats would join the army as their job.  Most of them did not really care about the cause but they would join the army for money.

Why Were They Called Redcoats?

The Redcoats were called Redcoats because they wore a uniform that was red.  The uniforms looked great and they made them all look like they were one and in unison, but the uniforms were made of wool and so they were very hot and itchy.

The soldiers also wore white pants and they were so tight that the soldiers could not get them on unless they would wet them first.


The soldiers were required to be inspected each and every day.  They had to have their hair braided and powdered with white flower.  The end of the hair would be dipped in some kind of animal grease to make sure that it stayed in the right spot and did not come undone.

The soldier’s shoes had to be polished and shiny and so did all of their buckles and the buttons on their uniforms.

If the soldier’s uniform was not perfect or if their shoes were scuffed or their hair was out of place, the Redcoat would be beaten and whipped.

Redcoat Pay

The Redcoats were paid around two pennies each day.  They never made enough money as a soldier so they would have to work other jobs such as on farms or work in stores.  Many of them had trades and skills so they would do those jobs when they were not working as a soldier.

Redcoat’s on the American Frontier

One of the problems with the Redcoat was that they did not know the American frontier and the land very well.  They had a hard time going through the forest and dealing with the changes of the weather.

The Redcoats also had to deal with Indians sometimes and sometimes the Indians would fight them.

American Colonists

The American Colonists hated the Redcoats and they would call them names and make fun of their red uniforms.  Sometimes the colonists would even laugh at them and throw things at them when they walked by.

Redcoat Families

When the Redcoats would go to war, sometimes they would bring their wives with them.  Their wives would cook for them and clean for them.  Their wives would also be a nurse to them if they got hurt in battle.

The children would normally come with the wives and sometimes the children would see their dad get killed in battle and this would be very sad for them.

Most of the Redcoats would leave their families behind in England while they fought in the war.

More Facts About Life as a Redcoat:

  • Most of the soldiers were considered to be poor because the pay was so low.
  • The Redcoat army had recruiters that would talk people into joining the army and they would do this by getting them drunk and then offering them a lot of money.
  • If a Redcoat agreed to join the army and then didn’t want to, they would be killed.
  • If someone in the British Army did something wrong like addressed one of the soldiers wrong, they would be beaten.
  • Anyone in the Redcoat army that stole something would be killed by a hanging.

What Did You Learn?

Who was a Redcoat?
A Redcoat was a soldier of the British Army.

Who was a Patriot?
A Patriot was a soldier of the American Army.

Were the Redcoats treated fairly?
They were paid very low wages and had to work second jobs.

Who came with the Redcoats to war?
Sometimes the Redcoat soldiers would bring their wives and children with them to war.

Were the Redcoats expected to act a certain way?
Yes. If the Redcoats did not keep their uniforms perfect or act a certain way, they would be beaten or even killed for what they did.