American Civil Hr Armies

Introduction

'The War Between the States' is the term used for the American Civil War throughout much of the South even today. While it was actually a war fought between two central governments, many men on both sides not just the South felt that they were serving their states as much, if not more, than their central governments. Many of the stales agreed, the state governments raising their own units, commissioning their officers, and supplying their men.

Indeed, many of the units that fought the Civil War were supplied in large part by their own states rather than by the central government's quartermasters. New York, for example, on the Northern side, had its own state uniforms which it provided to many of its regiments in the Union Army. On the Southern side, North Carolina also had its own dress regulations and its own factories producing uniforms and equipment, and imported additional uniforms for its troops serving with the Confederacy. Other states, too, had their own dress regulations and supplied their troops with unique uniforms. To a lesser extent, all the states— especially in 1861, when the two central governments were unable to meet the needs of all the volunteers -provided uniforms, weapons, and accoutrements for their own men.

These rarely conformed to the regulations of the Union or Confederate Armies. Colours were often different: many Northern states provided grey uniforms throughout the war, while a good number of Southern units wore blue.

A number of US units were raised in Southern states from among both white and black Union supporters, mostly towards the latter halfof the war. A number of regiments were also raised in Western states and territories such as California, Utah, Colorado, and Washington. The Southern Union

Uniforms The American Civil War

Members of pre-war volunteer units, both North and South, wore elaborate versions of the US Army uniform in a wide variety of colours. This unknown volunteer wears a uniform that typically could have been worn either by a Northerner or Southerner—a stock shako with a standard, not unique, cap badge; apparently a dark blue coat with sky blue trim and epaulettes, with white fringe, and three rows of buttons; sky blue or grey trousers with a stripe down each leg; and a two-piece state belt plate. (Author's collection)

Members of pre-war volunteer units, both North and South, wore elaborate versions of the US Army uniform in a wide variety of colours. This unknown volunteer wears a uniform that typically could have been worn either by a Northerner or Southerner—a stock shako with a standard, not unique, cap badge; apparently a dark blue coat with sky blue trim and epaulettes, with white fringe, and three rows of buttons; sky blue or grey trousers with a stripe down each leg; and a two-piece state belt plate. (Author's collection)

regiments were supplied by the US government, while some of the Western ones received state-issued supplies as well as US Army issue. Apart from some volunteer units, however, both categories generally wore standard US Army uniforms, and carried US Army weapons and accoutrements.

8th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment

A typical volunteer camp of an unknown unit from the North or South. Old men, women, and children are visiting; the tents show no wear; and the men are all neatly clad in dark blue forage caps, grey uniform or shell jackets with shoulder straps, and grey trousers. Such a scene could have taken place near almost every town in America in early 1861. (David Scheinmann collection)

A typical volunteer camp of an unknown unit from the North or South. Old men, women, and children are visiting; the tents show no wear; and the men are all neatly clad in dark blue forage caps, grey uniform or shell jackets with shoulder straps, and grey trousers. Such a scene could have taken place near almost every town in America in early 1861. (David Scheinmann collection)

Many unique state uniforms were among the rarest of Civil War uniforms, since they were made in relatively small quantities for relatively small units. Yet they were worn, and their wearers played an important part in the Civil War. The uniforms themselves can be seen in the photographs in this book -yet the photographs show more than just uniforms, accoutrements, and weapons: look at the faces, too. These arc the men ofthc Civil War; this is the real face of that war.

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