The regulation coat was the same grey double-breasted tunic or frock as for the infantry, with all trim in yellow. The skirt extended to halfway between the hip and the knee; seven buttons in each row, the distance between the rows 4 inches at the top and 3 inches at the bottom; stand-up collar to rise no higher than would allow the head to turn freely, to hook in front at the bottom and slope back at 30 degrees on each side. The cuffs were 2J inches deep at the upper seam, to button with two small buttons, and slightly pointed on the upper part of the arm. Buttons had the regimental number or C, or even CSA, and were prescribed as I inch and i inch. The frock coat would rarely be found on anyone but officers, the men preferring the short shell jacket like that of the Federal cavary, but with a smaller collar, again in cadet grey. The Regulations called for yellow collar, cuffs and the front and bottom edging trim on the frock coat. This might also appear on the shell jacket (but more often did not). Both might have any combination of yellow trim or plain grey trim, collar or cuffs, solid or braid.

Hats were not allowed for in the Regulations, the kepi being the prescribed headgear, but hats were, in fact, what nearly every trooper wore ! They came in all colours and shapes, predominantly black, with and without ornamentation. The regulation kepi had yellow sides and crown and a dark blue band. All grey, and grey and yellow combinations, also appeared. The 1st Kentucky Cavalry Brigade appear to have worn an all-yellow kepi with otherwise regulation dress.

For fatigue duties a blouse, double-breasted, with two rows of seven buttons and small turnover collar, was listed in the Regulations, which was very similar to that described in a New Orleans newspaper in 1861 as the adopted regulation coat. No doubt some units were uniformed in this before the later Regulations of June 1861 were issued.

Trousers were to be light (or sky) blue cloth, loose and to spread well over the foot. The same alterations mentioned under Federal cavalry applied here too. The seat and insides of the legs were to be reinforced with canvas.

Boots were to be 'ankle' and Jefferson, but the details given for Union cavalry footwear applied equally well to the Confederates. During the first years of the war many items of clothing and equipment were taken from the Union troops in battle. This was whilst the Confederate cavalry was superior to its Northern foe, but as the balance swung the other way so the Rebels became less well equipped.

Butternut soon made its appearance amongst the greys and light blues, and in many cases replaced them entirely. This home-dyed clothing, both trousers and jackets, varied in final colour from khaki to reddish brown. Home-spun and tailored coats usually had slit or inserted pockets on sides and breast. Shirts were anything that could be obtained, often from Union sources.

Was this article helpful?

+1 0

Post a comment