Drill Order was essentially a variation of the soldier’s fatigue or ‘undress’ uniform. As the title implies, it was a less restrictive uniform worn by the soldiers when undergoing martial instruction. That worn here is based upon an Atkinson print of soldiers drilling upon a parade ground published in 1806.
The drummer wears the white wool fatigue jacket with regimental facings worn by British infantry for less formal duties. A watercolour painted by Lieutenant Edmund Wheatley of the King’s German Legion indicates these could often turn a dirty yellowish colour on active service, though under peacetime conditions in garrison they were kept white by liberal applications of pipeclay (also used to whiten the belts) to the cloth. Though the practice was considered unhealthy, it was not abandoned until the early 1830s when soldiers received red fatigue jackets. Having evolved from the vests worn by British soldiers prior to the adoption of the closed jacket in 1797, these were often referred to as “waistcoats” or “sleeved waistcoats” as late as the 1812 period.
His lower garments consist of breeches worn without the tight black wool gaiters, disencumbering the lower legs and exposing the soldier’s shoes. Otherwise, white hemp linen canvas “overall” trousers might also be worn. Drill was considered a duty to be performed “under arms,” and therefore the drummer wears his sword and leather belting necessary to carry his basic equipment.
Copying the Atkinson print, this figure wears his shako, presumably worn to accustom recruits to the weight of the headdress while marching and performing drill. Alternatively, many regiments’ standing orders specify forage caps were to be worn by the men during morning drill following Reveille.