Outfitting armies

\/Vhen nations go to war, they must make sure companies and factories produce clothing and equipment for their soldiers for as long as the fighting lasts. During America's Civil War, factories in the North did just that, producing blue wool uniforms, rifles, pistols, swords, ammunition, and camp equipment, as well as tools to repair all these things. To make the items quickly, they used standardized parts and many workers to mass-produce them. In the Confederate states, there were fewer factories and workers, so the South's fighting men often went into battle wearing homemade uniforms and carrying weapons imported from Europe or brought from arsenals in their hometowns. In the first years of the war, Southerners discovered their handmade clothing and imported rifles were just as good as those made in Northern factories. When these things wore out or broke, though, there was little or nothing with which to replace them. Many of the Confederate troops ended the war wearing rags and carrying weapons taken from Union army prisoners.

Picture The Confederate Prisoners

Barrel lug

CARRYING FOOD AND DRINK

Infantrymen carried their water in canteens and personal items and some food rations in haversacks, bags slung across the shoulder on a strap. This canvas-covered canteen has a soldier's unit designation stenciled on it. Its cover could be soaked in water to keep the contents cool.

FOR CUT AND THRUST

This fighting blade, called a Model 1850, was carried by both Union and Confederate infantry officers. Southerners found great numbers of them stockpiled in local arsenals during the secession crisis. Many of these swords were carried throughout the conflict and were then taken home as souvenirs.

CONFEDERATE UNIFORMS APLENTY

At the start of the Civil War, many Southern troops wore attractive, sometimes fanciful uniforms. These pages from an 1861 copy of the illustrated newspaper Harper's Weekly show the variety of uniforms worn by some Confederate regiments. Most of these outfits were made by hometown tailors or the wives or mothers of the soldiers.

Barrel lug

Canvas canteen cover

Harper Ferry Confederate Canteen

Canvas canteen cover

Brass hand guard Hammer

Iron barrel

Sling loop Ramrod

Sling loop

Walnut shoulder stock

APPEARANCES ARE DECEIVING

Sword bayonets, copies of weapons made popular by foreign troops, were carried by some Northern and Southern regiments. While they looked frightening when attached to the end of a rifle, they were expensive to make and awkward to carry. Bayonets shaped like spikes replaced them.

Brass hand guard Hammer

Iron barrel

Sling loop Ramrod

DEPENDABLE IN BATTLE

First called the Mississippi Rifle and later the Harpers Ferry Rifle, the single-shot muzzle-loading .54 caliber U.S. Model 1841 rifle was the standard weapon of the U.S. Army at the start of the Civil War. With a 33-inch barrel, it proved itself a potent weapon, firing a conical lead round called a miniƩ bullet and finding its target at 1,000 yards. Once the fighting got rolling, however, it was replaced by the Model 1861 Springfield rifle-musket, which had a 40-inch barrel and threw a heavier caliber miniƩ.

Sling loop

Walnut shoulder stock

Haversack strap

Kepi. This was the standard infantry cap, which was modeled and named after the French military hat.

Spike bayonet

Wool short jacket _

Sleeve chevron

Outdated musket

Civil War Spike Bayonet

Blanket roll Knavsack

Blanket Roll

Brass buttons

_ Modern rifle

Leather legging

Haversack strap

Blanket roll Knavsack

Wool uniform t

Brass buttons

Sleeve chevron

A SOUTHERN VOLUNTEER

Confederate army regulations called for all soldiers and officers to wear uniforms made of gray wool. But as the war went on, very few Southern fighting men could assemble a complete gray wool suit Many of them wore a Confederate uniform made of homespun cloth originally colored a light brown with a dye made from crushed butternuts, a kind of walnut. This type of uniform was so common that Butternut became a standard nickname for a Southern soldier. The Confederate volunteer shown here is wearing a gray militia uniform from the prewar years.

READY FOR HIS FIRST CAMPAIGN

This Union private is fitted out in a machine-made uniform, a complete set of accessories, and a new rifle manufactured in a U.S. government arsenal facility.

Sword bayonet

Kepi. This was the standard infantry cap, which was modeled and named after the French military hat.

Spike bayonet

Wool short jacket _

_ Modern rifle

Leather legging

Outdated musket

A limber, a field artillery ammunition chest

Union Civil War Blanket RollConfederate Soldiers Sack Coats

Blanket roll

Sivord bayonet

Garibaldi Guard

Legging

Garibaldi Guard New York volunteer member in an of the Fire Zouave Italian army hat Regiment

Gray uniform

Blanket Made Out Marine UniformSwords Penn Militia Pics
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Responses

  • elisa
    What did the Union soldiers wear?
    6 years ago
  • grimalda
    Why union officers used spike bayonets?
    6 years ago

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