Virginia Volunteers Full Dress

A militia company raised in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1858, the Woodis Rifles were named after a mayor of the city, Hunter Woodis. Originally forming part of the 3rd Battalion, 54th Virginia Militia, they were called out on 18 April 1861 and designated Company 'C' of the 6th Virginia Regiment upon that unit's organisation. From the Seven Days Battle in 1862, the Woodis Rifles were in continual action until the surrender at Appomattox, notably distinguishing themselves in action. Their uniform was one of the most magnificent of the period, consisting of frock-coat of 'hunting green' with black velvet facings, gilt buttons and much gold lace. The initials of the name, 'w.r.' was repeated on the hat-badge and belt-plate. It is doubtful whether the uniform was ever replaced once the original had worn out: in all probability more regulation uniforms would be adopted. The company maintained an equally impressive band, which was not surprisingly adopted as the regimental band of the 6th Virginia.

The Alexandria Rifles (6th Battalion Virginia Volunteers) also wore green uniforms, but with the more sombre trimming of black lace. These colours were appropriate for a 'rifle' unit: they were the traditional semi-camouflaged colours of European skirmisher corps.

Each company of the ist Virginia maintained its own distinctive uniform for a period, until a more mundane service uniform was adopted. Field officers wore dark blue frock-coats and trousers, Virginia State buttons, and the 'Hardee' hat. Sergeant-Major Pohle, Drum-Major of the i st Virginia Volunteers, came from a Richmond militia company known as the Virginia Rifles, having served in a U.S. Navy band before the war. Pohle's magnificent uniform, which would hardly have been out of place in Napoleonic France, was reserved for full dress only. The ist Virginia's regimental band consisted of thirteen musicians, plus a Corps of Drums of fourteen boys aged sixteen or over; both were disbanded upon the reorganisation of the regiment a year after its inception.

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