Few Yankee regiments of the war wore quite such a distinctive dress or one which gave rise to such mirth - as the famed 79th New York Infantry, known as the "Highlanders."
When the initial core of four companies was raised in 1859 it was composed entirely of Scots immigrants and the regiment modeled itself on the British Army's 79th Regiment of Foot, the famed Cameron Highlanders. In full-dress the men wore a black Glengarry cap with a checkered border, a kilt in the Cameron tartan, a doublet, sporran, hose, garters and silver-buckled shoes. With the outbreak of the Civil War its strength was increased with enlistments of English and Irish, as well as other foreign-born men, but, for a time, its dress remained distinctly Scottish. Once in the field, however, they quickly changed to light blue trousers (which they are reported to have worn at First Manassas) or Cameron tartan pants; a dark blue blouse, and a regulation kepi which replaced the Glengarry, but note that the I sergeant's kepi in the picture carries an "H" (for "Highlander")! above the regimental number.! Despite the stares, an intrepid few, probably those of Scottish descent, retained kept their kilts and trews to the end of the war.
Few non-commissioned officers could be of greater direct importance to the enlisted man than his quartermaster, who supplied him with his uniforms and equipment, and his commissary sergeant, who kept him supplied with his 'dessicated" vegetables, his "blue" beef, and his "worm castles," or hardtack. Both Johnny Reb and Billy Yank may not have liked the food, which they grumbled and complained about so much, but when they did not get it, they groused even more. This commissary sergeant of the 30th
Ohio Volunteer Infantry is distinguishable only by his sleeve markings, otherwise, he appears no different to any other NCO in the company. When his unit went into battle he might even pick up a weapon and take a hand himself, but if not, he had quite enough of a battle of his own settling the company ration accounts.
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