In 1861 there was the usual collection of volunteer companies in various uniforms in North Carolina. There were eight companies of 'Blues' and 23 of 'Grays', indicating a clear preference for grey uniforms. These uniforms quickly wore out, however, and the men needed new ones.
North Carolina was unique among Southern states in that from 20 September 1861 it took over the responsibility for clothing its own troops. The state set up a clothing factory in Raleigh which
made, during its one year of existence, 49,000 jackets, 68,000 pairs of trousers, 12,000 blankets, and 6,000 overcoats. The overcoats were grey 'with capes lined with lindsey and stiffened with canvass'. The state also issued, during the same period, 8,918 hats and 61,949 caps. The state had its own uniform regulations. On 19 April 1861 the state Adjutant General wrote to the 1st North Carolina Infantry Regiment's commander that 'The grey or blue blouse will be recognized as a suitable uniform'. However, on 27 May 1861 General Orders No. 1 were issued, and spelled out a much more complete uniform.
Officers were to wear frock coats, two rows of seven buttons each for field grade officers and one row of nine buttons for company grade officers. The colour was 'North Carolina [made] gray cloth', a grey with a brownish tinge to judge from surviving examples. Generals and staff officers were to wear dark blue coats. Rank badges were US Army-type shoulder straps, the infantry officer's colour being black.
'The uniform coal for all enlisted men shall be a sack coat of gray cloth (of North Carolina manufacture) extending halfway down the thigh, and made loose, with a falling collar, and an inside pocket on each breast, six coat buttons down the front, commencing at the throat; a strip of cloth sewed on each shoulder, extending from the base of the collar to the shoulder seam, an inch and a half wide at the base of the collar, and two inches wide at the shoulder; this strip will be of black cloth for Infantry, red for Artillery, and yellow for Cavalry.
'For a Musician ... The same as for other enlisted men, with the addition of a bar of braid, horizontal to each button. . .' of branch-of-service colour. Chevrons, also made in branch-of-service colour, were to be the same as in the Confederate Army.
Trousers were the same colour as coats, with a branch-of-service colour welt down each leg for officers, and a buff welt for generals. All enlisted men were to wear branch-of-service coloured stripes
The 1st New York Regiment of Marine Artillery was organised to man naval guns defending the state against attack by sea, and was disbanded in 1863. Officers, like Lieutenant G. Gerrarrd shown here, wore all dark blue uniforms, with naval caps trimmed in gold with a badge of a crossed cannon and anchor. Their swords were the US Navy regulation models. The men wore blue Navy jumpers and shirts, grey trousers with red stripes, and blue forage caps, with blue jackets for cold weather. (David Scheinmann collection)
1: CQMS, 30th Ohio Vol. Inf. Regt., 1864 2: Pioneer, 17th Illinois Vol. Inf. Regt., 1863 3: RQMS, 3rd New Jersey Cav. Regt., 1864
down each leg, an inch wide for sergeants and regimental non-commissioned stafT, | in. for corporals, and } in. for privates.
Generals and general staff officers were to wear black felt hats 'looped at the right side, with a large ¡nit button of the North Carolina pattern, and a gilt ornament in front, representing the Coat of Arms of North Carolina'. Other officers wore the same hats in grey felt with US Army hat insignia in front. The same grey hats were worn by enlisted men with a branch-of-service colour hat band, and a company I letter and regimental number in front. 'Officers, when oil' duty or on fatigue duty, may wear the French forage cap, according to pattern in Quarter Master General's office.' Apparently, similar caps were also allowed to the men. All officers were to | wear crimson silk sashes, while non-commissioned ' officers wore red worsted sashes.
There are enough surviving photographs and actual examples to indicate that the basic enlisted man's uniform, in some form at least, was worn throughout the war. Officers, after mid-1862 at any rate, seem to have followed Confederate Army regulations instead of state ones.
I here were changes made in what t he state issued from the beginning. In February 1862 it was decided to provide shell jackets instead of blouses some blouses continued to be made up to the end of the war, however). These were to be made with shoulder straps and piped in branch-of-service colours.
After the state clothing factory was closed North Carolina began importing what its troops needed. Between June 1863 and the end of 1864 the state imported 50,000 blankets, grey wool for 250,000 uniforms, 12,000 overcoats, and either leather or ready-made shoes so that it had 250,000 pairs of shoes on hand. The state was so successful in providing for its men that when its warehouses were captured in April 1865 they still contained uniforms, shoes, and blankets for 92,000 men.
According to General Orders No. 1, the officers' sword belt plate was to be a 'gilt, rectangle sword belt plate with North Carolina Coat of Arms on it". Enlisted men were to have a 'belt plate after pattern in Quarter Master General's office' although in reality the state issued few belt plates. A two-piece cast sword belt plate with the letters 'NC' within a wreath is known, as is a similar plate with the state
seal within its wreath. An oval, lead-backed US-type brass plate stamped 'NC' in Roman letters is also known but this was apparently made before the war and is not commonly found at camp sites or battlefields. The 6th North Carolina Infantry Regiment had its own plates: cast brass ovals marked at the top '6TH INF' and at the bottom 'NC.S.T.'. These plates appear to have had the background between the letters filled in with black enamel. They were found at 1862-63 camp sites.
While state bell plates are rare, state buttons are common. A three-piece stamped brass type has the state coat of arms in the centre and 'NORTH CAROLINA' around the outer top rim. The other common type was generally stamped copper with the shank soldered directly to the back; it featured the letters 'NC within a seven-pointed star burst.
North Carolina took immediate steps to get weapons into its troops' hands. In 1861 the state contracted M. A. Baker of Fayetteville to convert a large number of flintlock weapons muskets, rifles, and muzzle-loading pistols—to percussion. These weapons were stamped 'N. CAROLINA' on the barrel tops. The state then gave contracts to produce a weapon that was basically an M1841 'Mississippi' rifle with an M1855 nose cap to H. C. Lamb & Co. of Jamestown, who turned out 300 of these weapons per month between 1862 and 1865. A contract to produce 10,000 of the same weapon went to Mendenhall. Jones and Gardner of Whitsett.
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