B Private Infantry with Battle Flag

The corporal illustrated wears an all-grey Federal-style fatigue uniform of

Confederate grey, with only the chevrons in the infantry distinctive colour, and knapsack replaced by a green civilian blanket. His colour is the First National Flag of the Confederacy (adopted 4 March 1861), known as the 'Stars and Bars' from the three large stripes and from the seven white stars arranged in a circle on the blue canton. There were numerous variations on this design, the number and arrangement of stars varying considerably, with sometimes as many as fourteen stars arranged in lines on the canton.

The private is notable because he wears not a single item of regulation equipment, a common state of affairs as the war moved into its later stages and materials became progressively more scarce. The straw hat, unbleached cotton shirt, neckerchief and 'natural' leather belts are all civilian items, while the trousers and 'gum blanket' shoulder-roll are captured Union items. The pistol carried is a Starr .44 revolver. The Confederate Battle Flag as illustrated consisted of a dark blue saltaire cross on a red field, edged white, the cross bearing thirteen white stars. Officially four feet square, the Battle Flag existed in larger and smaller versions, and other designs based upon the pattern were not unknown - a blue flag with white cross, or a white flag with blue cross and white stars, for example. Regimental titles and battle-honours were often inscribed upon the Battle Flag as well as upon the central white stripe of the First National Flag.

Confederate colour-bearers were (according to regulations) to wear a badge of crossed flags on the arm to signify their appointment, but due to the high casualty-rate among colour-parties in many cases not only this badge but also the colour-belt was not worn.

Considerable confusion resulted in battle due to the similarity of the First National Flag to the United States flag, so a new National Flag was designed and adopted on I May 1863, this consisting of an all-white flag, twice as long as it was deep, with the Battle Flag (or 'Southern Cross') in the top canton nearest the pole. Even this design was not satisfactory, as it could easily be mistaken for a flag of surrender, so on 4 March 1865 the Third National Flag was adopted, this being basically the same design as the Second, but not as long and with a vertical red bar at the end furthest from the pole; but this design was never used in battle -it was flown only briefly over Richmond before the war ended.

Confederate regiments, even more than their Union counterparts, carried a varied assortment of standards - the designs might include National Flag, State Flag, any number of Battle Flags and independent company or regimental flags - all within the same unit!

Infantry, with State Flag, 1863. b) Sergeant-Major, South Carolina Volunteers, with State Flag, 1861. Many Confederate units carried the

Flags of their native State; two such are illustrated in this plate. The South Carolina flag, with blue background bearing the State emblems of Crescent moon and Palmetto tree, was that finally adopted on secession; prior to this (1860-61), South Carolina units carried a red flag bearing a dark blue cross with vertical and horizontal arms; at the intersection of the arms was a large white star. On each of the horizontal arms were four smaller stars, and three on each of the vertical arms; the crescent and Palmetto tree appeared in white in the upper canton nearest the pole.

Texan units, proud of their sobriquet 'Lone Star State', carried the familiar Texan flag. Other State banners varied considerably: Virginian units, for example, carried a blue flag bearing the State seal in the centre; the North Carolina design was like that of Texas, but with a white star on a red bar, and white over blue stripes. Arkansas units often carried Battle Flags of a plain white cross on blue field. Many corps also carried 'regimental' banners of their own design, often bearing patriotic mottoes: for example, the flag of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry (Company 'H' 1st North Carolina Infantry) bore the words 'He That Hath No Stomach For This Fight, Let Him Depart', whilst that of the Florida Independent Blues (Company 'E' 3rd Florida Infantry) bore, on a blue background, seven white stars over three white cotton-bolls with green leaves, over the white letters 'Any Fate But Submission'.

Kepi With Bass Griffon Plate

48 a) Corporal, Infantry, with 1st National Flag, b) Private, Infantry, with Battle Flag.

Sergeant South Carolina Volunteers 1861
Sergeant, Texas Infantry, with State Flag, 1863. Sergeant-Major, South Carolina Volunteers, with State Flag 1861.
State Flag South Carolina

50 a) Private, Sumter Light Guard.

b) Bass Drummer, Sumter Light Guard.

c) Officer, Sumter Light Guard.

The South Carolinan sergeant-major wears a uniform typical of those of the early volunteer corps, consisting of shell-jacket, kepi and trousers, of plain grey with light blue chevrons and sash. The belt-plate bears the Palmetto Tree emblem; the regulation shoulder-belt to support the butt of the colour-pole was worn over one shoulder. The Texan sergeant also wears the State emblem, having the 'Lone Star' badge on hat and belt-plate. The fashion of wearing the shell-jacket fastened by only one button at the neck, hanging open to expose the shirt, was a very popular style.

b) Bass Drummer, Sumter Light Guard.

c) Officer, Sumter Light Guard.

The figures on this plate are based upon a photograph taken in April 1861 of the Sumter Light Guard (Company 'K', 4th Georgia Volunteers) ; being in black and white, it is difficult to be precise as to the exact colouring of the uniforms. A contemporary newspaper suggests blue uniforms with buff shoulder-straps and trouser-stripes, officers being distinguished by frock-coats, sashes, knee-boots and the broad white shoulder-belt. Equipment appears to have been of standard Federal pattern, though it is likely that some form of State device was worn upon the belt-plates. The drummer appears to be wearing an almost civilian-style

'uniform', with large bow-tie and shirt-collar visible beneath the turned-back lapels of the jacket, and a remarkably battered felt hat turned up at the front.

Other details (common to many Confederate volunteer corps) are shown on the photograph but not illustrated. Shirt-collars and even ties show above the shell-jacket collars of many of the rank and file, and not a few have unholstered pistols tucked into their waist-belts. The company colour-bearer has a broad black shoulder-belt to carry the colour-pole, the flag itself being of the First National Flag design, with six white stars arranged around a seventh star in the blue canton. N.C.O.s' chevrons are the same colour as the shoulder-straps and trouser-stripes. The company 'band', in addition to the drummer illustrated, consisted of a side-drummer and fifer, the former carrying his drum on a black leather shoulder-belt. Both musicians are wearing not the usual kepi, but 'pork-pie' style of fatigue caps like the pattern worn in the U.S.-Mexican War; in other respects, they are dressed like the privates.

51. G.S.A.: a) Private, Company 'E', 23rd Virginia Volunteers, Service Dress.

b) Private, ditto, Full Dress.

c) Private, Savannah Volunteer Guard, Full Dress.

The Booklyn Greys were organised at Brooklyn, Halifax County, Virginia, and in May 1861 were designated Company 'E' of the 23rd Virginia Volunteers. Other companies which composed this regiment were the Amelia Greys, Amelia Rifles, Anthony Greys, Blue Stone Greys, Louisa Greys, Louisa Rifles, Prince Edward Central Guards, Richmond Sharpshooters and the Warwick Rangers. The uniform of the Brooklyn Greys consisted of a tall képi of grey with a black or dark blue band bearing the letters 'b.g.' in brass; the képi is also shown covered with a black 'waterproof'. The grey frock-coats were trimmed with black or dark blue braid, the collars being cut open to expose the neck, or shirt-collar and tie if worn; collar-loops were of yellow or gold braid, one or two loops being worn at each side. Trousers were grey with similar trimming, and leather equipment seems to have been white with oval brass plates, or black with brass buckles.

One of the more elaborately-dressed volunteer corps, the Savannah City Light Guard formed Company 'D' of the 1st Georgia Volunteers and later, variously titled the Savannah Guards, Savannah Volunteers or Savannah Volunteer Guard, served in the 18th Battalion Georgia Infantry. The elaborate uniform no doubt gave way almost immediately to a more regulation-style fatigue uniform, or at least the epaulettes would have been removed and the shako replaced by a képi. Officers probably wore a similar costume, with normal badges of rank. The unit should not be confused with a company of boys also known as the

Savannah Volunteer Guards (Captain W. G. Charlton's company of Georgia volunteers), nor with the Savannah River Guards (Company 'K', 3rd South Carolina Cavalry).

b) Private, Company 'A', 5th Georgia Regiment, Service Dress.

c) Private, ditto, Full Dress.

Diessed in typical Zouave fashion, the Maryland Guard Zouaves had a chequered career: originally Company 'H' of the 47th Virginia Infantry, they became 'E' of the 1st Battalion Maryland Infantry, and afterwards became 'E' of the 2nd Maryland Infantry. Serving at First Bull Run and Gettysburg, they formed part of Brigadier-General George H. 'Maryland' Steuart's Brigade.

The Clinch Rifles formed Company 'A' of the 5th Georgia Infantry, which included other volunteer companies (for example the Griffin Light Guards and the Hardee Rifles), almost all of whom wore different designs of uniform. When in garrison in Pensacola, Florida, General Braxton Bragg nicknamed the corps 'The Pound Cake Regiment' from the varying uniforms of its companies! A contemporary newspaper suggests green uniforms, though the style illustrated - dark blue képi and frock-coat and light blue trousers - was a colour-scheme adopted by a number of militia companies of the southern states prior to the war. The cap-badge

Spanish American War Uniforms

51 a) Private, Company'E', 23rd Virginia Volunteers, Service Dress.

b) Private, ditto, Full Dress.

c) Private, Savannah Volunteer Guard, Full Dress.

Woodis Rifles Picture

52 a) Private, Maryland Guard Zouaves.

b) Private, Company A', 5th Georgia Regiment, Service Dress.

c) Private, ditto, Full Dress.

1st Louisiana Native Guard Uniform

53 a) Private, Alexandria Rifles.

b) Private, Woodis Rifles, Full Dress.

c) Drum Major, 1st Virginia Volunteers, Full Dress.

53 a) Private, Alexandria Rifles.

b) Private, Woodis Rifles, Full Dress.

c) Drum Major, 1st Virginia Volunteers, Full Dress.

consisted of the letters 'c.r ' surrounded by a laurel wreath, all in white embroidery. Their uniform was almost identical to that of another Georgia militia corps, the Republican Blues of Savannah, Georgia (later Companies 'B' and 'C', ist Georgia Volunteers).

Also shown in this plate is a uniform of a member of the company on active service (taken from a contemporary photograph) ; for coolness and comfort, in summer the frock-coat and képi were replaced in camp by a plain shirt and panama hat. Similar dress was worn by most regiments. The photograph mentioned shows that the Clinch Rifles' camp equipment (tents, canvas buckets, etc.) were all painted with the large letters 'c.R.'.

The 5th Georgia served at Mur-freesboro, Chickamauga (suffering 55 per cent casualties) and Gettysburg, and continued in the field after the surrender at Appomattox, under General Edmund Kirby Smith, only finally laying down its arms on 26 April 1865 at Greensboro, North Carolina. The company should not be confused with the Clinch Cavaliers (Company 'G', 11th Georgia State Guards), the Clinch Mountain Boomers ('K', 48th Virginia Infantry), the Clinch Rangers (Georgia), or the Clinch Volunteers ('G' 50th Georgia Infantry).

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Responses

  • kibra
    What uniform would a corporal of CS infantry wear in 1863?
    4 years ago

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