Alabama

Alabama's troops formed what the state called the 'Alabama Volunteer Corps'. Its uniforms, according to General Orders No. i, issued 28 March 1861, included dark blue frock coats, cadet grey wool pants (both trimmed 'as prescribed for the Confederate states service') and US Military Academy-style shakos. These were to have 'the letters A.V.C. ... to be placed 011 the cap below the eagle'. Such letters were noted as being worn by Alabamians in Virginia in 1861. Woollen overcoats of jeans material lined with 'heavy checked or striped osnaburg' were also to be issued. Shirts were usually brown. The state also ordered 10,000 black felt hats with the brims 'looped & buttoned on the left side'.

Sgt. Crawford Jackson, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment, wrote in July 1863 that he wore 'a black broad cloth coat, Alabama staff buttons, cut and trimmed in regulation style, a pair of gray trousers and slouch hat', indicating that the AVC uniform lasted in some form at least until that date.

Grey soon became the most common Alabama coat colour, however. On 31 August 1861 Governor Andrew B. Moore issued a circular in the Montgomery Weekly Advertiser that spelled out exactly what the state uniform should be. It included grey wool jackets made with seven brass military buttons down the front; a double thick standing collar lined with osnaburg; a strap on each shoulder running from the shoulder seam to where it buttoned at the neck; and two belt straps, one 011 each side of the jacket, five inches long, buttoned at the top and sewn into the jacket bottom over the side seam. 1 1 ouscis were also to be of grev wool.

A grey wool overcoat was also described. This also had seven brass military buttons down the front in a single row. A detachable cape was to be attached to the collar by six hooks and eyes. The cape had a single row of five small brass military buttons down the front, and was lined with checked or striped osnaburg. Two straps on the back waistline, hidden by the cape, adjusted the waist size. The state also wanted 'shirts of flannel, or checked or striped cotton; drawers of woolen, or cotton flannel, or stout osnaburgs; woolen socks; gloves, shoes and blankets'.

By the end of 1861 Alabama had acquired 7,416 complete uniforms, 2,974 greatcoats, 2,412 blankets, and some 3,000 pairs of shoes. An additional 1,532 uniforms, 900 greatcoats, 1,644 pairs of cotton drawers, 1,082 pairs of shoes, 607 blankets, and 83 pairs of gloves were acquired in the first quarter of 1862. By March 1862, however, the Confederate government was able to supply Alabama's soldiers, and thereafter the state restricted its activities to clothing reserve and local militia units.

Following the Zouave craze of 1861, a number of 1861 volunteer units also called themselves 'Zou-

State issue buttons: top ron\ from left, Massachusetts and Mississippi; second row, both North Carolina variations; third row, New York and Pennsylvania; bottom row, South Carolina and Virginia. (Author's collection)

aves', apparently wearing some variation of that distinctive dress. These included the Alabama Zouaves (Law's Company), the Eufaula Zouaves (Co. K, 15th Alabama Infantry Regiment), and the Tallapoosa Zouaves (Smith's Company). Their dress was extremely shortlived.

Alabama issued belt and cartridge box plates (the latter being the size of Mexican-American War US Army belt plates) which were copies of the US oval plate, but stamped with the Roman letters 'AVC'. These letters also appeared on brass buttons over a US Army-style eagle. Pre-war buttons with the state seal were also issued, though much more rarely. Small numbers of pre-war belt plates (but no box plates), resembling the US oval plate but with the state seal stamped on them, were also issued. There was some issue of uncommon rectangular cast plates and two-piece sword belt plates bearing the state seal as a design.

After 1862, when the Mi841 rifles and Mi842 muskets that had originally been supplied by the US War Department had all been issued, Alabama contracted for weapons. Contracted longarms were to be copies of the Mi841 'Mississippi' rifle, and were made by Dickson, Nelson & Co., who provided at least 645 rifles; J. P. Murray, who produced at least 262; Davis & Bozeman; and I.. G. Sturdivant. James Conning J nr. made copies of the US Mi840 light artillery sabre for the state, while other edged weapons purchased by Alabama included pikes and knives.

Arkansas

Arkansas issued no state-wide dress regulations, although it did require staff militia officers to wear US Army uniforms after January 1861. Evidence indicates that grey jackets and battle-shirts were the most common state-issued or initial volunteer dress. This lack of uniformity caused each Arkansas soldier to wear a yellow flannel stripe on his left shoulder, according to the Rock Island Register of 1 1 September 1861.

Several examples exist of a stamped, lead-backed US oval-type belt plate with a state seal, but these were apparently quite rare. Buttons with the Arkansas seal were made in New Orleans during the war. There is also a known regimental button

State issue buttons: top ron\ from left, Massachusetts and Mississippi; second row, both North Carolina variations; third row, New York and Pennsylvania; bottom row, South Carolina and Virginia. (Author's collection)

Buttons New Orleans

with a five-pointed star in the centrc, over which is '2D ARK', with 'REGT' 011 the bottom right, and 011 the bottom left 'CSA'.

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Responses

  • Bercilac
    What alabama regiments wore AVC buttons in the civil war?
    6 years ago

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