Rhode Island

On 18 April 1861 the Boston Daily Advertiser reported: 'The following uniform has been selected for the Rhode Island Regiment—gray pantaloons, blue tunic, and a black felt hat with cockade and feathers'. The 'tunic' was actually a loose shirt worn outside the trousers. This was indeed the basic uniform adopted by the state in 1861 for all its volunteers. It was worn until late June 1862.

However, in September 1861 the state ordered that 'the uniform of the Volunteers shall consist of a blue army cap, dark blue tunic and light blue pants' for its National Guard. This was apparently like the US fatigue dress, except that the tunic had five or sometimes six buttons instead of four. The US Army dress for officers was made regulation in June 1863. This was to include 'a blue blouse, shoulder straps, dark pants, forage cap, sword and belt', in September 1863.

Rhode Island issued a button with its state coat of arms, but no other unique insignia. Weapons were largely received from the US government, apart from locally-produced Burnside carbines that were issued to both Rhode Island's cavalry and to several men in each company in the 1st Rhode Island Detached Militia Regiment.

Brigadier-General Jacob D. Cox, who was involved in the organisation of Ohio's troops in 1861, wears the regulation uniform of the Ohio Volunteer Militia. It was the same as worn by regular US troops, in this case a dark blue frock coat with black velvet cuffs and standing collar, and a dark blue forage cap—though the latter bears the silver letters 'OVM' in a gilt wreath. (David Scheinmann collection)

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