Union Artillery

A4any distinguished Civil War commanders served their military apprenticeships with the artillery during the Mexican War, a conflict which became a golden age for this branch of the service. One company from each of the four American artillery regiments was designated as a light battery and with each member of the battery mounted could manoeuvre as fast as the cavalry. One commander, Sam Ringgold, even had special uniforms issued to his command that included dark blue jackets, faced red, sky...

Main Sources

Army Dress Regulations, William H. Horstmann & Sons, Philadelphia, 1851. Todd F, P., American Military Equipage 1851-1812 Volume I, Volume II, Volume III. The Company of Military Historians, West Brook Connecticut 1978. Separate Volume on State Forces published 1983. Andrews, H., Nelson, C., Pohanka, B., Roach, H., Photographs of American Civil War Cava by, Guidon Press, Pennsylvania 1982. Carter, S., The Last Cavaliers, St Martin's Press, New York, 1979. Davis, William C., The Fighting...

Hussars

After the battle of Gettysburg, the Union began to get increasingly war weary. In October 1863, President Lincoln issued a call for new regiments and the New Jersey authorities hit upon a brilliant idea to speedily attract recruits into one of the State's new cavalry regiments. The 3rd New Jersey Cavalry was called the 1st United States Hussars and recruits were promised a special hussar uniform, unlike any others worn in the Union army. Originally recruited by European armies, the attitude of...

Overcoats and ponchos

Firemans Overcoat

The U.S. army had been issuing overcoats to its men since 1851. The regulation overcoat was made of sky blue kersey cloth and had a cape that buttoned down the front, but in the clothing rush during the early part of the war, it was not unusual to find men dressed in dark blue and even black overcoats. Infantrymen This infantry private wears a dark blue version of the standard infantryman's overcoat which was usually issued in sky blue. This infantryman's coat is particularly long and he also...

Officers weapons

Simmons American Civil War Sword

All officers carried swords, but they were rarely used in combat and were worn more as a badge of rank. The regulation staff and field officers' swords were the 1850 pattern, carrying the initials US in the floral designs on the brass guard. Many variations of these swords were made abroad particularly in Klingenthal, Germany. The 1860 pattern sword had a graceful thin blade but failed to carry much favour with officers, who preferred the sturdier 1858 pattern. Swords, mainly the 1840...

Civil War Sculpture

Limited edition Civil War Sculptures have also become very collectable. The finest exponent of limited edition bronzes is Ron Tunison, who like Don Troiani is a member of the Society of American Historical Artists. Tunison began his artistic career just modelling one off clay figures, but there was so much demand for his work that he eventually turned to bronzes. Some of his most attractive and reasonably priced work is a series of busts of Civil War personalities, including George Armstrong...

Engineers

2nd Engineers Uniform

Building roads and bridges the Corps of Engineers had an unglamorous but neccessary job. Sometimes they were also called to fight. The regular Union army's small engineer corps was bolstered by volunteer engineer regiments including the 50th New York Engineers and the 1st Michigan. Engineers wore infantry frock coats trimmed in yellow, with nine buttons down the front and two on each cuff. A distinctive badge worn by engineers on their forage was a brass turrctted castle. Strangely the men of...

Knapsacks

Fully Equipped Infantry Soldier

There were two main types of knapsacks rigid and non-rigid. Rigid knapsacks were particularly favoured by militia units in the early stages of the war and had a square wooden frame covered with waterproof cloth or canvas with two small straps on top to secure a blanket. These rigid knapsacks looked full whether anything was in them or not, adding to a regiment's neat appearance on the parade ground. In the Mexican War, American infantry had worn a rigid knapsack with a waterproofed cover....

Regimental Histories

Brainard, M.G., Campaigns of the One Hundred and Forty Sixth Regiment New York State Volunteers, New York, 1915. Conyngham D.P., The Irish Brigade And Its Campaigns, Patrick Donahoe, Boston, 1869. Reprinted by Ron R. Van Sickle Military Books, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 1987. Cowtan C.W, Ser vices of the 10th New York Volunteers National Zouaves in the War of the Rebellion, Charles amp Ludwig, New York, 1862. Davenport A., Camp and Field Life of the Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry Duryee...

Museums Battlefields

Most American battlefields have visitor centres with museums and one of the most impressive, is at the Gettysburg Military Park. Many people are put off by the drive into Gettysburg because the town itself has become a tourist trap complete with a wax museum, but the uniforms equipment and artefacts in the visitor centre more than make up for this. The battlefield itself retains all the drama of the epic three day conflict, the largest ever fought on American soil. Walking across the scene of...

Officers headwear

Many officers wore kepis which were similar in style to forage caps but were lower and had a straight visor. The tops of the kepis were also countersunk and had a rim. Tops of the kepis worn by Zouave and Chasseur officers would usually feature much gold trimming. McClellan style kepis favoured by many officers featured a square ducktail brim. Officers also wore forage caps, and the distinctive McDowell style of forage cap was particularly high in the crown. Some officers' kepis and forage caps...

American Civil War Union Army

Copyright 1996, 1998 Brassey's UK Ltd All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission in writing from the publishers. First English Edition 1996 First Paperback Edition 1998 Brassey's, 33 John Street, London WC1N 2AT Tel. 0171 753 7777 Fax. 0171 753 7794 E-mail brasseys dial.pipex.com Website...

British Reenactment Groups

4th Virginia Infantry

In Britain, the two main umbrella organisations for American Civil War re-enactment groups are the Southern Skirmish Association, Soskan, and the American Civil War Society the A.C.W.S. For information about joining Soskan write to, The Secretary, Southern Skirmish Association, PO Box 485, Swindon SN2 6BF. As this book went to press Soskan had the following Northern Southern units, for prospective recruits to choose from. 2nd U.S. Artillery Battery A 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters 2nd U.S. Cavalry 18th...

Union Infantry Equipment

Union Infantry Equipment

Since the days of the American Revolution, American Standing like the Emperor Napoleon, with hand in coat, was a popular pose for many Civil War soldiers having their photographs taken. This soldier stands almost completely accoutred and the top of his bayonet in its scabbard can just be seen, but he appears to lack a cartridge box. David Scheinmann. Oil cloths were practical forage cap accessories in bad weather. This private has slipped an oil cloth over his forage cap and poses for this...

Artillery Uniforms

Broadly speaking, there were two types of uniforms worn by the Union artillery. Heavy artillery who manned costal defences or the fortifications around Washington wore the infantry regulation dress of frock coats and Hardee hats. Light artillery who served in the field officially wore shell jackets like the cavalry but artillery jackets were trimmed with scarlet braid, marking the artillery's branch of service. Unique to the light artillery was the dragoon style Ringgold cap with its high peak...

Civil War Reenactment Suppliers

The growth in living history and battle reenactments over the past few years has led to a steady growth of Soldier of 31st Pennsylvania Infantry with family in camp Slocum, near Washington DC c.1861. Peter Newark's Military Pictures M. Brady. specialist equipment suppliers in Britain and America, who can satisfy reenactment requirements from a forage cap to a tent peg. Britain's largest supplier of American Civil War reenactment equipment including haversacks, cap pouches, cartridge boxes,...

Headgear

Civil War Shirt Pattern

Infantrymen were issued with two types of headgear a full dress hat and a forage cap. The elaborate full dress hat was adopted in 1858 and named ironically after two future Confederates who had sat on the selection board before the war. The hat was most popularly known as a Hardee hat after Major William J. Hardee Private wearing a regulation overcoat and forage cap but underneath he seems to be dressed in a double breasted fireman's shirt which he's left open at the collar. Such shirts proved...

Epaulettes

American officers had traditionally worn epaulettes as a badge of rank and although their use was beginning to die out in the early years of the Civil War, it was not unusual to find them particularly on the shoulders of some militia officers. The 69th New York State Militia had worsted epaulettes on its new jackets adopted shortly before the war. These epaulettes had a broad bullion fringe for NCOs, a medium fringe for sergeants, and a narrow fringe for corporals and privates. Epaulettes were...

Cavalry Horses

1st Maine Calvary

Early on, cavalrymen learned that their horses were their most valuable items of equipment. The credo of most cavalrymen was that they took care of their horses before they took care of themselves and while The distinctive yellow facings of this cavalryman's uniform mark him out to be a bugler. Note also the double seams of yellow on his trousers and the fancy stitching on the top of his boots. The bottom of his pistol holster can also be seen poking out from underneath his elbow. David...

Baldrics

Baldrics were leather shoulder belts carried by some officers. They were often festooned with gold lace and a lion's head usually of gilded brass was fixed to the front. Three brass chains were suspended from the lion's mouth with pins on the end that fitted behind a shield made out of the same metal. Suspended by rings from the belt was a small brass mounted leather box. The length of the belt was adjusted by a brass buckle with a brass tip and loop and the purpose of the baldric was purely...

Haversacks and canteens

Haversacks and canteens were the fundamental items of equipment which kept the Union soldier alive. In his haversack he stored his food and eating utensils. Rations included salt pork, sugar, coffee, salt and the staple diet of all Civil War soldiers, hard tack, a biscuit made out of flour mixed with water which was then baked. It was so hard it never rotted and it was not unknown for hardtack to be issued to soldiers long after the Civil War had ended. Eating utensils would usually comprise a...

Veteran Reserve Corps and Medics

Civil War Hats

The Veteran Reserve Corps was created in 1863 as the Soldiers battered their hats into a variety of shapes to personalise them. This cavalry or artillery private, favoured a stovepipe effect with his hat. David Scheinmann. Soldiers battered their hats into a variety of shapes to personalise them. This cavalry or artillery private, favoured a stovepipe effect with his hat. David Scheinmann. Invalid Reserve Corps, but this name proved unpopular so it was changed. The Corps was composed of invalid...

Civil War Book Suppliers

More books have been written about the American Civil War than possibly World War One and Two. Not only have many modern historians written about the American Civil War, but the era spawned numerous diaries and recollections of the conflict, as well as a steady stream of regimental histories in the years following the war. The following is a list of some leading American Civil War book suppliers. Michael Haynes, 46 Farnaby Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 4BJ Phone 01814601672 sells a wide variety of...

Footwear

Tactical Bowling Boots

Ideally infantrymen were supposed to receive four pairs of boots a year. The standard issue were ankle Infantry private poses with his coat open over his shirt but decorum dictated that his coat should still be buttoned at the collar. Note the height of his kersey trousers coming up well over his waist. His forage cap is standard issue. David Scheinmann. boots made of leather usually made with the rougher flesh side of the leather on the outside. Soles were sewn to the uppers or fastened by...

Cavalry Equipment

Cavalryman Carbine Sling

Basic cavalry equipment was the sword belt with two slings on the left side from which the cavalryman's sabre was suspended and a pistol holster and cap Shots showing cavalrymen mounted for campaign are comparatively rare but here we see what a cavalryman would have looked like in the field. Note the blanket tied up behind his saddle, the manageable way the cavalryman's sabre is hooked to his belt and the yellow stripe denoting his branch of service, running down his trouser seam. David...

American Reenactment Groups

Big battle re-enactments in America can boast upwards of 6,000 troops. At the Gettysburg anniversary reenactment in 1988 over 14,000 men took part. Many British reenactors travel to the States during the summer to take part with members of American reenactment groups. The following is a list of some of the hundreds of groups in the States. 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, Duryee's Zouaves. Contact P.O. Box 1601 Alexandria VA 22313. The 5th New York is one of the oldest reenactment units in the...

Michigan Cavalrymen

Civil War Frock Coat

The most famous Cavalry brigade of the American Civil War was Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer's Michigan Cavalry Brigade. Most enlisted men wore exact copies of the regulation cavalry shell jacket with its yellow braid, but one photograph of an enlisted man in Company G shows him wearing an unusual zouave style jacket. What really marked the Michigan Brigade out was its exceptional esprit de corps reflected in the uniform accessories it was issued with by its commander Brigadier...

Medals

Union Zouave Uniforms

On the eve of the Civil War, the Union didn't have a medal for gallantry. The first such medal issued was the Medal of Honor authorised by President Lincoln on December 21, 1861, and authorised by Congress on July 12, 1862. The first recipient of this medal was Corporal Francis Edward Brownell of the 11th New York Fire Zouaves, for his action in gunning down a Virginia tavern keeper James T. Jackson who shortly before had shot the Fire Zouaves' leader Elmer E. Ellsworth dead, after Ellsworth...

Sabres

Colonel Max Friedman

Cavalrymen were usually either armed with the model 1840 heavy cavalry dragoon sabre or the 1856 light This cavalry officer wears his boots with the tops turned over and a curious flat brimmed hat. David Scheinmann. Of all branches of the army, cavalry were renowned for their exotic dress, but many soldiers like this second lieutenant, remained soberly clothed. David Scheinmann. Cavalry officer Colonel Max Friedman wears a regulation field grade officer's coat underneath his overcoat. David...

Schuylkill Arsenal Sack Coat

Shoddy Uniforms Early Civil War

In 1861 the regular United States Army only number-13,000 strong in all arms, barely the strength of a single division. Since the end of the American Revolution, the United States had never maintained a large standing army during peacetime. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, over 180 of its 198 infantry, artillery and cavalry units were stationed in more than 100 small frontier posts, and the strength of the army was further eroded when more than 300 officers resigned to join the...

Corps Badges

Peter Newark Military Pictures

One of the most distinctive features of Union Civil War uniforms were the corps badges worn by soldiers on their forage caps or on their uniforms. Such badges gave soldiers a sense of identity and increased the esprit de corps of the Union Army. Unlike insignia or uniform regulations, the corps badge system was developed during the American Civil War and was unique to the conflict. Corps badges were originated by Major General Philip Kearny as a means of identifying soldiers from a particular...

Infantry Weapons

Officers Sash Civil War

The basic arm of the Union infantry soldier during the American Civil War was a muzzle loading rifle musket and troops were armed with a bewildering variety of these weapons. Not only was there a scramble to get troops uniformed at the beginning of Typical Union haversack in which soldiers kept their food and other essential requirements. The haversacks had a detachable inner lining shown on the right of the picture which could be taken out and washed. If the soldier was carrying salted pork or...

American Civil War Organisations

The American Civil War Round Table UK is Britain's leading Civil war study group and one of hundreds of American Civil War Round tables around the world. The American Civil War Round table UK has members all over Britain and regular meetings are held, usually in London. For further information contact, Tony Daly, 57 Bartlemas Road, Oxford OX4 1XU. Tel 01865201216. The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States is open to direct and collateral descendants of commissioned officers of...

Generals Staff and Special Units

Wearing Cavalry Sword Belt

Union Generals were authorised to wear double breasted frock coats with dark blue velvet collars and cuffs. Major-generals had nine buttons placed in threes in two rows and brigadier generals had eight buttons in each row placed in pairs. Generals wore white shirts under their coats, black ties and usually a dark blue waistcoat with nine buttons. Dark blue trousers completed a typical general's clothing. The truly extravagant part of a Union general's uniform was the French style chapeau de...

Chevrons

Orginal Pictues Civil War Frock Coat

The French Army had originally introduced chevrons in the mid-18th century as a mark of long service for soldiers. The British adopted chevrons as badges of rank in 1802 and the American Army began using them shortly after the end of its second war with Britain in 1817. Chevrons were first worn by cadet military officers at the West Point Military Academy and in 1821 the United States Army authorised them to be worn by commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Around 1830, chevrons were...

Identity discs

Civil War Identity Disc

Modern soldiers are issued with dog tags, but during the American Civil War there was no way of identifying soldiers killed in battle. Many soldiers before going into combat would pin slips of paper with their name and regiment to the backs of the coats in the hope that if they were killed they could be identified. Sometimes they also scratched their names into their waistbelts, or stenciled them on their haversacks, canteens or knapsacks. Many soldiers bought identity discs which were...

Cavalry Saddles

Civil War Officer With Sword

The McClellan saddle became the Union cavalry's most widely used saddle during the Civil War and was still being issued to mounted troops in the American army as late as World War 2. The saddle was named after General George B. McClellan. McClellan saddles were extremely serviceable and were largely based on the saddles McClellan had seen being used The distinctive yellow facings of this cavalryman's uniform mark him out to be a bugler. Note also the double seams of yellow on his trousers and...

Regulation Infantry

The Standard Union Uniform

The blue clad infantryman was the mainstay of Union Forces from 1861-1865.1 lis natural successors were the Doughboys of World War I, the GIs of World War 2 and the Grunts who fought in Vietnam. Orders issued on March 13, 1861, prescribed that the Rill dress coat for infantrymen should be a dark blue single breasted frock coat made without pleats with a skirt extending one half the distance from the top of the hip to the bend of the knee. The coats were to have nine buttons placed at equal...

Personalising Uniforms

Soldiers Wearing Forage Cap

During the Civil War, many regiments were renowned for the individual touches they made to their uniforms. The Bucktails who sported strips of deer hide in their kepis have already been mentioned, but they were far from being the only Union regiment who stood out even though they wore regulation army dress. Some members of the the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry, who were mainly recruited from Orange County New York State, wore orange ribbons looped in their buttonholes when they left to join...

Berdans Sharpshooters

American Civil War Berdans Sharpshooters

The green forage caps and uniforms of Hiram Berdan's two regiments of sharpshooters made them unique in the Union forces during the American Civil War. They were elite regiments and the selection process to join as described by Lieutenant Colonel William M. Ripley in his book Vermont Riflemen in the War for the Union, was a tough one 'it was required that a recruit should possess a good moral character, a sound physical development and in other respects come within the usual requirements of the...

Union Cavalry Officers Dress

Shoulder Knots

Regulation dress for officers comprised a dark blue frock coat single breasted for captains and lieutenants and double breasted for all other officers. Trousers were sky blue with a one eighth yellow welt on the seam, except for general officers whose trousers were left plain. Many officers didn't wear the frock coat in favour of shell jackets and many modified the standard uniform or even designed their own. An officer of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry added gold tape to the the collar and...

Lancers and Hussars

Federal Soldier Frock Coat Civil War

Lancers and Hussars had been a military tradition in Europe for many years and their influence eventually filtered through to America. The Union army never fielded large numbers of lancers or hussars, but a number of specialist units were recruited and saw good service. It is a little surprising that in the romantic notions of soldiering that persisted throughout the Civil War more of these type of units were not raised. Two troops of regular cavalry were armed with lances as an experiment in...

Cavalry and Artillery

Pictures Confederate Cavalryman

On the eve of the Civil War, the cavalry arm of the Union forces, like the infantry, was woefully understrength. T here were only five regiments of regular cavalry and they were out protecting settlers on the plains. The 1st Regiment of dragoons had been recruited in 1836 while the 2nd regiment had originally been raised as a mounted rifle regiment in 1844. The 1st and 2nd Cavalry, the newest of these regiments, had been raised in 1855. A third cavalry regiment was raised in June 1861 and later...

Pistols

Cavalry Pistol

The standard revolvers carried by Union cavalrymen were Colts. Other models included pistols manufactured by the Starr arms company and Remington, but the Colt revolver was the mainstay of the Union cavalry. The standard issue was the Colt 'Army' pistol which was .44 calibre, but the 0.36 calibre 'Navy' model was also popular because of its lighter weight. Officer wearing regulation dress, but his boots are an odd pointed shape and he also appears to be wearing Mexican spurs with them. David...

Insignia and Medals

Spanish American War Sword Belt Plate

The regulation embroidered bugle horn insignia is shown in this photograph of an officer holding his Hardee hat. David Scheinmarin. Ten years befqre the outbreak of the American Civil War, several changes were made to United States military insignia. Metal insignia for all branches of the service was cast in brass. Distinctive colours were also adopted for branches of service blue for infantry, red for artillery and yellow or orange for the cavalry. The yellow cavalry trim dated back to the...

Union Infantry Officers Dress

Union Infantry Uniform Officer

Officially all infantry officers in regulation dress were to wear frock coats of dark blue cloth. These coats had a standing collar usually about 1 ' , inches in height and reached down two thirds to three fourths of the distance from the top of the hip to continued on p. 56 This comfortably dressed officer wears a sack coat with a narrow cut. This sack coat does not appear to have any shoulder straps, but he wears an officer's sash underneath his waistbelt. David Scheinmann. This comfortably...

Custer S Uniforms

The Generals For The Battle Antietam

The US Marine Corps in the American Civil War didn't have the same prominence in the Army that the Marines occupy today. The corps numbered under 5,000 men and despite the bad performance of a detachment of Marines at First Bull Run, who Brigadier General Israel B. Richardson was killed at the battle of Antietam in 1862, one of the 47 generals on both sides who died in the war. David Scheinmann. This first sergeant of Light Artillery is pictured wearing a regulation shell jacket and the red...

Cavalry Dress

Cavalry Talma

Officially, cavalrymen were to wear a short jacket A cavalryman stands beside his horse, wearing a pair of gauntlets which surprisingly were not standard issue for mounted troops and had to be privately purchased. David Scheinmann. usually called a shell jacket made out of of dark blue cloth, with one row of 12 small eagle buttons on the the chest placed at equal distances. The stand up collar was cut away at an angle of 30 degrees and had two blind buttonholes on each side in yellow worsted...

Carbines

Carbines saw limited use with the infantry but they were the standard arm of the cavalryman. A muzzle loading rifle used on horseback is cumbersome and impractical, the best way to arm a cavalryman was with a breech loading carbine. The Sharps carbine was very popular and the similarly designed Starr carbine was also widely used, but it was not as hard wearing and was particularly susceptible to getting clogged with black powder residue after the weapon was fired several times. The Smith...

Civil War Magazines Newspapers

One of the finest Civil War magazines on the market is Military Images which features excellent articles and original pictures of Civil War soldiers. For subscription details write to Military Images Rt 1, Box 99A, Henryville, FA 18332, USA. North South Trader, P.O. Drawer 631, Orange VA 22960 contains many fine articles on relic collecting and uniforms. The Civil War News, Route 1, Box 36, Tunbridge VT 05077 USA, Phone 8028893500. Fax 8028895627 is a monthly 'bible' on American and...

Cavalry Headwear and Footwear

Like the infantry, cavalrymen were issued with a full dress Hardee hat, but the cavalry found it equally as uncomfortable, especially with the added stress of wearing the unwieldy hats while riding a horse. Like the infantry, cavalrymen would sometimes manipulate their hats into more comfortable shapes, but for the most part cavalrymen wore forage caps. Shoes were regulation bootees, but many cavalrymen were issued with or privately purchased knee length leather boots. Even more individualistic...

Zouaves and Militia Units

Peter Newark Military Pictures

By the mid 19th Century, the French Army had a tremendous influence on military dress worldwide, especially in America. The traditional bond with the United States forged during the American Revolution, when France supported the fledging country in its This distinctive looking officer circa 1855, wears epaulettes and what appears to be a non-regulation large bow tie. His trousers seem to follow the rather straight cut of the 1850s and his shako on the table beside him has a feather plume and...