In the lists of articles of clothing which frequently appear in War Department correspondence there is an item which has a deceptively familiar name: overalls. Inventories list woolen and linen overalls for the troops, commanders write requesting additional overalls for their corps. Overalls were an important part of the suits of clothing issued to soldiers, but they did not in any way resemble the straps-over-the-shoulder coveralls people wear today.
Overalls were, very simply, trousers with a gaiter, which covered the top of the shoe. Unlike breeches, which only went to the knee, overalls covered the full length of the leg. The bottom of the leg flared out into the gaiter, with buttons on the flare for a tighter fit around the foot and sometimes a strap which went under the foot to keep the bottom of the pants from pulling up.
A 1784 engraving shows two American soldiers, a rifleman and an infantryman, in their uniforms. Both are wearing overalls, and the engraving clearly shows the straps under the boot as well as the buttons on the side.