Infantry Uniforms and Equipment

The Federal forces started with the advantage of having the old Union Army as the basis for their traditions, and for the design of their uniforms and personal equipment. They also had the Union's industrial resources to call upon for their supply, As a result the dress and equipment of the Federal soldier tended to be more standardized than that of his counterpart in the Confederate Army, while the basic materials were of a higher and more standardized quality; compare, for example, the cloth of the infantryman's overcoat shown here (2) with that of the Confederate soldiers' uniforms seen elsewhere in this book. There were, of course, exceptions to such uniformity, particularly in the early days, when the "zouave" and some state units wore exotic uniforms of their regiment's own design. As the war progressed, however, non-essential items were discarded until by 1863 the Federal infantryman had an adequate supply of good uniforms and sound equipment, all of it of a standard design and quality. As in all wars, advances in weapons' technology resulted in changes in the weapons issued to the infantryman, but the great majority of Federal foot soldiers carried muzzle-loading longarms, such as that shown here, throughout the war.

1 Hardee hat

2 Infantryman's overcoat

3 Neck stock

4 Forage cap

5 Soft knapsack

6 2nd Corps Headquarters flag

7 Model 1840 Non-commissioned Officer's sword and shoulder belt

8 Enlisted man's shoulder scales

9 .69 caliber cartridge box

10 Haversack

11 Model 1858 covered tin drum canteen

12 Brogans

13 Sack coat

14 Infantryman's uniform trousers

15 Model 1842 rifled and sighted musket

16 Infantry accoutrements: belt, cap box, bayonet and scabbard, cartridge box

17 Soft knapsack

18 Soft knapsack

Federal Uniforms of Enlisted Men

Zouave" dress was adapted from the uniforms worn by many French colonial troops of the period, particularly those in recently occupied French Algeria, and was extremely popular. Unfortunately, although it tended to be glamorous and smart when on parade or promenading in the streets, it proved to be thoroughly impractical in the field. There was also another complication, because there were "zouave" units in both the Federal and Confederate Armies and, since their uniforms were both based on the same originals, they were virtually indistinguishable from each other. It would be many years before camouflage became an official military concern, but, even so, the common soldier was quick to recognize that bright, colorful attire attracted enemy attention, which was frequently followed by hostile fire. As a result, the use of zouave clothing, whose jackets typically had brightly colored piping, many brass buttons and white spats, rapidly diminished in popularity, once the fighting began in earnest.

The branch-of-service of an individual soldier was shown by colored piping and the badges of rank, which was continued throughout the war.

Zouave-pattern jacket of 95th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, known as

"Gosline's Zouaves" Four-buttoned sack coat of 1st Sergeant of Artillery. The coat appears to lack any branch of service insignia.

Distinctive shell jacket with yellow piping of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry, known as the 'Anderson Cavalry." Distinctive shell jacket of light blue color of the Veteran Reserve Corps State issue infantry jacket of 1863. This particular example is from the New York State Militia and National Guard Sergeant's shell jacket of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, known as "Rush's

Birneys Zouave

Lancers." Note the non-issue lining on inside of the jacket.

7,8 Shell jacket, vest and trousers of the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry, known as "Birney's Zouaves.' Note the distinctive zouave cut to the jacket, and the elaborate piping. The 23rd Pennsylvania fought an Antietam, where it was one of six regiments in Brig. Gen. John Cochrane's 3rd Brig. 1st Div, 4th Corps

Lancers." Note the non-issue lining on inside of the jacket.

7,8 Shell jacket, vest and trousers of the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry, known as "Birney's Zouaves.' Note the distinctive zouave cut to the jacket, and the elaborate piping. The 23rd Pennsylvania fought an Antietam, where it was one of six regiments in Brig. Gen. John Cochrane's 3rd Brig. 1st Div, 4th Corps

Piped Infantry Shell Jacket
Ailifacu couilesy ol West Point Museum. Wost Point. N Y

10 Framed carte-de-visite taken in 1863 of Lt. Whittier

11 Artillery officer's trousers, worn at Chancellorsville by Lt. Whittier

12 Artillery officer's forage cap, worn by Lt. Whittier at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg

13 Leather bag with 6th Corps badge, property of Lt. Whittier

14 Private purchase, off-duty smoking cap, used by Lt. Whittier

Cochrane Revolver

The Whittier Group of Uniforms and Personal Effects

A large collection of one individual's uniforms and equipment from the Civil War era are almost unheard of today, especially in private hands. But, once in a great while, a persistent and dedicated private collector will stumble upon a long- forgotten field chest, which was stored away in an attic or barn shortly after the end of the war and then forgotten both by the warrior himself and by the succeeding generations. Such is the case with the Whittier Collection, shown here, which traces the military career of New Englander, E. N. Whittier, and which are now lovingly maintained in a private collection. Whittier began his military service as a Private in the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Militia with which he took part in the Battle of Bull Run, but later in the war he was commissioned and transferred to the artillery, joining 5th Maine Battery, with whom he fought at Gettysburg. Thus, he served throughout the war and personally took part in the first and last battles. One minor point made by this collection is the difference in cut and quality between the private soldier's uniforms on the left and the officer's on the right.

Rhode Island state issue gray wool trousers, worn by Private E. N. Whittier. Co. C., 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Militia Whittier's non-regulation knitted wool bonnet Forage cap worn in Battle of First Manassas (First Bull Run) by

Private Whittier

Rhode Island state issue 'pullover' blue wool field blouse; worn by Private Whittier Civilian blanket used by Private Whittier Civilian coverlet used by Private Whittier Wood foot locker used by Private Whittier Blue wool short jacket worn by Lieutenant Whittier after his commission and transfer to the 5th Maine Battery White linen trousers worn by Lt. Whittier at Gettysburg

10 Framed carte-de-visite taken in 1863 of Lt. Whittier

11 Artillery officer's trousers, worn at Chancellorsville by Lt. Whittier

12 Artillery officer's forage cap, worn by Lt. Whittier at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg

13 Leather bag with 6th Corps badge, property of Lt. Whittier

14 Private purchase, off-duty smoking cap, used by Lt. Whittier

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