Massachusetts had a button that used 'the Massachusetts arms with the word Massachusetts' for generals and the words 'Mass. Vol. Militia' for other officers and enlisted men. Among officers examples were to be seen of both cast brass rectangular and two-piece brass sword bell plates bearing the state coal of arms. US regulation plates, though, were the most common type used by Massachusetts volunteers.
Sergeant Frederick A. Cline, 40th Missouri Infantry Regiment, wears the short uniform jacket so commonly issued in Western states. The otherwise plain jacket has straps on each shoulder, and 'keeper' tabs on each side through which the waist belt is passed. He is armed with an M1842 musket and a Colt Navy revolver. The cap badge design is unknown; it was probably simply the regimental number. The .joth do not appear to have had a very distinguished career; most of their time was spent in garrison duty. (John Ertzgaard collection)
Massachusetts authorised a state uniform in 1852, but these regulations were little followed by its volunteer units, who preferred their own designs. As was the case with most other states, Massachusetts was ill-prepared to clothe and equip its volunteers in 1861. According to the Boston Daily Advertiser of 17 April 1861, in the state's new 3rd, 4th, 6th. and 8th Infantry Regiments 'each soldier is to be supplied with two woolen shirts, two pairs of stockings, one pair of boots and a Guernsey frock'. This was, however, merely a stop-gap measure.
The state quickly ordered grey flannel state uniforms, includingjackets for all branches, and red fezzes (later, broad-brimmed grey felt hats). In r861 Massachusetts bought 9,884 grey infantry jackets, 1,687 cavalry and artillery jackets, 13,730 infantry frock coats, 22,774 fatigue blouses, 35,339 overcoats, 34,208 pairs of trousers, 32,763 pairs of shoes, 2,650 mounted men's boots, 18,092 fatigue caps, and 16,714 hats. They also bought 11,074 'uniform suits', including 199 Zouave uniforms.
The state grey uniforms went to the 7th, 9th, 10th, and nth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiments. The state's 2nd and 12th Regiments started out with US Army regulation uniforms. Thereafter, grey uniforms were not acceptable to the US authorities, and the stale began to issue blue regulation clothing.
In 1861 Massachusetts bought 5,000 M1842 muskets, 4,000 M1841 rifles, 14,700 P1858 Enfield rifled muskets, 10,000 sets of British-made infantry accoutrements, 32,400 US-made infantry accoutrements, 1,960 Mi841 riflemen's accoutrements, 285 Savage revolvers, 889 sabres, and 900 sabre bayonets for its volunteers. Thereafter, the state contracted with S. Norris and W. T. Clement for 3,000 Mi863 rifled muskets which were marked on the lockplate 'S.N.&W.T.C./FOR/ MASSACHUSETTS-.
When the Civil War began the state's quartermaster-general was ordered to have uniforms made of 'blue flannel or of some suitable material of blue color'. Photographs of the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment show them wearing dark blue trousers and dark blue waist-length jackets with standing collars; shoulder straps that run from the shoulder seam to a small button next to the collar; and nine large buttons down the front. On 24 August 1861 Michigan's governor cabled the US Secretary of War that 'the Sixth Regiment of Michigan Volunteer Infantry . . . will be supplied ... with uniforms (of blue), undershirts, drawers, forage-caps, stoc kings, and shoes, and with tents, cooking utensils, haversacks, and canteens. I request that provision may be made furnishing them with arms and accoutrements'. Further, he wrote, the 7th was 'supplied with clothing and camp equippage similar to that furnished the Sixth Regiment'. Both the 1st and 5th Regiments would receive this type of clothing as soon as it was available, and it was then 'under contract and is being pressed forward with all possible dispatch'. Blue uniforms thus seem to have been used by Michigan volunteers from the beginning, save for different uniforms made for a handful of volunteer companies on their initial organisation; these, of course, lasted only a very short time.
Michigan troops do not seem to have worn any special state insignia. The state was able to arm its first three regiments with M1855 rifled muskets; thereafter the state's arms ran out, and a mixture of foreign-made weapons went to later regiments.
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