How to Get Started
What to Buy
Your Basic Uniform
Needed for Infantry
To Complete Your "Kit"
Care and Feeding of your Uniform
Military and Camp Life
Rations and How to Cook
The Civil War uniform varied depending on the contractor. However there were some commonalities. All reproduction uniforms must be made from correct fabric (inside and out), in the correct style with correct methods. See the common denominator here - correct! Do NOT concern yourself about getting a perfect fit. Uniforms of the Civil War soldier were not custom made. There were just a few basic sizes. Study period photos. You will see many soldiers in uniforms that don't fit. That's the way it was - and the way it should be with us. All button holes should be hand sewn.
The following items are required unless stated otherwise:
Forage cap: (model 1858) or McDowell cap
The forage cap is the first item people notice, purchase a quality cap from Brad Keune (pronounced "coin") or one of the other top quality vendors (do not buy a Jarnigan cap). Outside - dark blue wool with no weave visible, chin strap and visor should be black painted leather. Inside - painted cloth or leather sweatband and polished cotton lining in brown or black color. The preference is for no hat brass - however, an infantry soldier may wear a brass letter "A" (nothing more). No corps badge.
Slouch hat (optional addition):
A quality period slouch hat is optional for campaign/field wear. The forage cap MUST be worn for "formal" activities such as inspection, parade, etc. Hat should be made of fine wool felt and be black (preferable) or dark brown or dark gray. Must have sweatband of cotton duck or leather, a sewn edge binding and silk hat ribbon. Once you purchase your quality hat (Tim Allen is one of the best vendors), look at old photos to determine how the hat should be worn. The correct look is one of being rather disheveled!
Four button fatigue blouse; again, correct fabric inside and out and it should have hand-sewn buttonholes. Avoid the inexpensive sacks made from inferior fabric. Lined sacks are encouraged as approximately 75% of the originals were lined. Correct for infantry and artillery.
Frock coat (optional addition - U. S. uniform coat):
Used for formal events such as dress parade, etc. Was also worn in the field. Look for correct fabric and construction.
Artillery shell jacket (optional addition):
May be used for artillery impression. Many artillerymen wore sacks and they are equally authentic.
Greatcoat (overcoat - optional):
As with other uniform coats, should be proper construction, fabric, buttons and buttonholes.
Every soldier should have a correct flannel (wool) federal issue shirt with paper backed tin buttons. In addition, you may have a correct period civilian shirt. Buttons on civilian shirts must be bone, mother-of-pearl or paper backed tin. NO wooden buttons - they are wrong unless you are doing a slave or "contraband" impression.
Cloth, leather or CORRECT period elastic (be careful here -v most elastic are incorrect, also they would have been in the minority). Braces from most sutlers are incorrect. The most common were poor boys (cloth, attaching to the four trouser buttons).
Sky blue kersey (wool), infantry pattern (optional - mounted pattern for artillery) with hand sewn buttonholes, correct cut and construction, paper backed tin buttons.
Can be army issue or civilian as many soldiers received these from home. Should be made of canton flannel or plain cotton. Should have ties at cuffs. Some soldiers did shorten their drawers, particularly in warm weather. Issue drawers should have the tin backed buttons.
Military issue, black leather, either hand-sewn or pegged soles. Black leather laces. Heel plates optional but highly recommended.
All natural (wool or cotton), earth tones, correct style purchased from quality vendor (Mickey Black is excellent) or home-made. Avoid modern rag wool.
White cotton (order from Quartermaster) for dress occasions. Heavy gloves or mittens (optional) - soldiers had heavier gloves or mittens for cold weather use. To the best of our knowledge these were not issued and were primarily sent from home. They would have been hand knit wool (½ fingers for gloves). Leather and other types of material were not used and therefore are not allowed. Also, as with socks, avoid the popular modern rag wool style, they are not correct.
NOTE on corps badges: Since we are doing an 1862 infantry impression, no corps badges are allowed on hats, blouses or elsewhere (corps badges were introduced in 1863). If you are doing strictly an artillery impression, a corps badge may be acceptable. If you do both, go without unless you have separate hats, blouses.
Once again, we stress that in order to preserve authenticity and help ensure you will receive a quality product, ALL items must be purchased through, or with the approval of, the Quartermaster.
ITEMS NOT APPROVED PRIOR TO PURCHASE MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE FIELD!!!
If you have any questions PLEASE contact: Doug Grout, Henry Wakefield or Eric Hector
(see member list for phone numbers, etc.)