The Plates

Ai: Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, 1864 U. S. Grant was possibly the best all-around soldier the US Army has ever produced. He had an unerring grasp of what was needed to defeat the enemy, and an ability to do it with the men given him. His strategic abilities were somewhat better than his tactical abilities, but both were head and shoulders above his compatriots in either army. He was not, however, a dressy individual: his first campaigning service was under the successful but badly dressed Maj.Gen. Zachary Taylor in Mexico

Pleated Frock Coat Confederate General

Maj.Gcn. William Mahone, hero of the battle of the Crater, wears a short pleated jacket with a lay-down collar. Coats— both jacket and full-length—with pleated fronts were popular with Confederate generals. Jackets, with both pleated and normal fronts, were also very popular among generals, because of their comfort when mounted. The star badge on his hat was not authorised. (National Archives)

Maj.Gcn. William Mahone, hero of the battle of the Crater, wears a short pleated jacket with a lay-down collar. Coats— both jacket and full-length—with pleated fronts were popular with Confederate generals. Jackets, with both pleated and normal fronts, were also very popular among generals, because of their comfort when mounted. The star badge on his hat was not authorised. (National Archives)

in 1846, and he saw then that clothes do not make the soldier!

Grant was described by one of his stall" officers, Horace Porter, in what he wore during the Wilderness Campaign: 'General Grant was dressed in a uniform coat and waistcoat, the coat being unbuttoned. On his hands were a pair of yellowish-brown thread gloves. He wore a pair of plain top-boots, reaching to his knees, and was equipped with a regulation sword, spurs, and sash. On his head was a slouch hat of black felt with a plain gold cord around it.' This is essentially the costume illustrated here, minus the boots and sword, which he docs not wear in any photographs taken at this period.

By the time the Army reached Petersburg, according to Porter, Grant's dress became plainer:

'The general's blouse, like the others, was of plain material, single-breasted, and had four regulation buttons in front. It was substantially the coat of a private soldier, with nothing to indicate the rank of an officer except the three gold stars of a lieutenant-general on the shoulder-straps. He wore at this time a turn-down white linen collar and a small, black "butterfly" cravat, which was hooked on to the front collar button.'

Behind Grant floats the headquarters flag of the Army of the Potomac, adopted by its commander, Maj.Gcn. George G. Meade, in 1864. The earlier style had been a simple US national flag. When Grant saw this showy design in 'solferino' purple for the first time during the Wilderness Campaign, he exclaimed: 'What's this? Is Imperial Caesar anywhere about here?'

A2: Major-General George G. Meade, 1864 Meade was photographed during the 1864 campaigns in a broad-brimmed hat and a double-breasted version of the sack coat. This was typical of the informal wear of general officers in the field.

Ay: Major, US Topographical Engineers, 1864 Mounted staff officers often wore waist-length jackets, single-breasted for company grade officers and double-breasted for field grade officers. He wears the St. Andrew's Cross badge of the VI Corps on his coat front. His sword is the staff officer's pattern, heavier than the foot officer's sword, although similar in design.

Bi: Assistant Surgeon, 3rd Division, US XVIII Corps, 1863

The corps badge on top of this assistant surgeon's cap identifies his corps by its shape and his division by its colour blue for the third division1. He wears the Old English letters 'MS' on his shoulder straps against regulations, but commonly seen. (His straps should have borne nothing but his rank bars.) His green sash and the all-metal sword peculiar to this branch further indicate his medical status. Behind him is a 'rocker' ambulance, which could carry four wounded men with water casks, cans of" beef stock, bread, cooking and mess gear, and bed sacks.

■See lull details, MAA 177, American Civil II at Armies (2): Union Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry

Ih: Hospital Steward, US Army, 1863 This hospital steward has one of the medical knapsacks issued after 1862: one of the steward's jobs was to carry it in the field, so that the surgeon could have medical supplies immediately to hand. Behind him floats the yellow and green flag that indicated a hospital: smaller yellow flags marked the way to the hospital.

Bj: Ambulance Corpsman, US XVIII Corps, ¡8% The XVIII Corps was unique in having its ambulance corpsmen marked with red half-chevrons and cap badges instead of the standard green medical corps colour used in the Armies of the Potomac and the Cumberland.

Ci: Ordnance Sergeant, US Army, 1864 This ordnance sergeant wears the foot soldier's full dress uniform. The two half-chevrons 011 each forearm indicate ten years' service, with the blue edging indicating service in war. Only true ordnance sergeants could wear the star-above-three-chevrons insignia in the US Army, and these chevrons were always supposed to be red. He is armed with the Mi840 non-commissioned officer's sword. He is standing inside Fort Stevens, one of the defences of Washington, where President Abraham Lincoln came under fire during the Confederate raid on the city in early 1864.

C2: Sergeant Major, gth Regiment, US Veteran Reserve Corps, 1864

The 9th Regt. Veteran Reserve Corps was one of the defending units at Fort Stevens. It made several charges there, driving back Confederate skirmishers and holding up their advance until regular troops from Petersburg could arrive to save the city. The 9th, from photographs, had the tops of their forage caps marked with company letters, regimental numbers, and infantry horns; most VRC units had plain forage caps. The regimental colour of the 9th is displayed here, similar in design to the regulation US Army infantry regimental colour.

Qj: Private, US Signal Corps, 1864 This Signal Corps private holds a US Army signal pistol, used to send messages at night. He has around his waist the special cartridge box designed to hold the signal cartridges. Signals at night were also passed with torches that burned turpentine, and during the day with flags.

Dr. First Sergeant, 50th New York Engineers, ¡863 Engineers were proud of their special qualifications, and showed off whenever possible the Corps' castle cap badge. This first sergeant's corps is marked, too, by the yellow stripe down each leg and his yellow chevrons. The colour behind him was flown over the headquarters of the Chief of Engineers of the Army of the Potomac.

D2: Sergeant, 1st US Sharpshooters, 1863 This typical Sharpshooter in the field is taken from photographs and original items of two sergeants. The buttons on an otherwise issue blouse are black thermoplastic or gutta percha, while the green chevrons and the stripes down the leg indicate the

Three Confederate surgeons and their servant (upper right). The man seated left wears the single-breasted sack coat so popular among staff officers; the other two wear regulation double-breasted frock coats. Their trousers are plain grey, rather than the regulation blue with stripes down the legs. The two in front hold plain black broad-brimmed hats. (US Army Military History Institute)

Ordnance Sergeant Chevrons

unit. The green cap, with its ist Division, III Corps badge, was worn by a sergeant in Company H, ist Sharpshooters; he also wore the chevrons with the corps badge. He has retained the Prussian Army knapsack issued to both Sharpshooter regiments.

Dj: Second Lieutenant, US Marine Corps, 1863 The short jacket was popular for field wear among Marine officers. His cap is decorated up the sides and on the top with dark braid, and has the officer's Marine Corps badge in front. His dress knots are plain, and his sword is the Corps' version of the Army officer's pattern.

Ei: Corporal, US Marine Corps, i86j The frock coat was the typical enlisted Marine's fatigue dress. White cross belts and waistbelts were worn for all types of service. He is armed with the Army's latest issue rifle musket. He stands on the

Commodore French Forrest, head of the Bureau of Orders and Detail of the Confederate Navy, wears regulation dress. His cap peak appears to be edged in yellow metal, after the Royal Navy fashion for high-ranking officers. His sabre is the regulation model made by Firmin of London. (US Army Military History Institute)

Usmc Officer Fatique Belt

beach in front of Fort Fisher, successfully stormed on 15 January 1865 by a detachment of 1,600 sailors and 400 Marines as well as some Army regiments. It was the last port of the Confederacy to fall; with its loss the supply line to Europe disappeared and the South was doomed.

E2: Lieutenant-Commander, US .Navy, 1865 The sailors and Marines who attacked Fort Fisher were split into three divisions, each led by a lieutenant-commander. These wore standard Navy officer's dress, with rank insignia on the cuffs and shoulder straps of the patterns made official in May 1863. The sword and swordknot are of patterns peculiar to the Navy. Captains and flag officers had a special interwoven blue and gold swordknot.

Ej: Quartermaster, US Navy, 1865 The sailors who took part in the storming of Fort Fisher were described by an officer who participated in the attack as having 'never drilled together, and their arms, the old-fashioned cutlass and pistol, were hardly the weapons to cope with the rifles and bayonets of the enemy. Sailor-like, however, they looked upon the landing in the light of a lark, and few thought the sun would set with a loss of one-fifth of their number.' This petty officer carries these weapons, and the issue accoutrements for a landing or boarding party—a cap box 011 the right hip, a cutlass 011 the left, a holster 011 his right side, and a cartridge box 011 the square of his back all worn on his waistbclt.

Fi: General Robert E. Lee, 1863 Raised by post-war legend almost to the status of a god, Lee was an outstanding and inspiring leader. His tactical sense was usually sound, although his errors like Gettysburg—were too often fatal. His strategic sense was apparently not as great; nor was he able to bring himself to discipline his generals as they should have been disciplined. Nevertheless, he became the very symbol of the Confederacy.

Lee's first dress was described by a private of the ist Tennessee Infantry Regt. in West Virginia in 1861: 'He was dressed in blue cottonadc . . . he had no sword or pistol, or anything to show his rank. The only thing that I remember he had was an opera-glass hung over his shoulder by a strap.' Lee described his own outfit to Mrs. W. H. F. Lee on 22

June 1862: 'My coat is of gray, of the regulation style and pattern, and my pants of dark blue, as is also prescribed, partly hid by my long boots. I have the same handsome hat which surmounts my gray head . . .' In November 1862 he requested a waistcoat 'of blue, black or grey cassimere or cloth, rolling collar & army buttons.' He mentioned wearing an old blue overcoat in February 1863, and a grey sack coat in May 1863. On 13 June 1863 he wrote home that he found his 'old blue flannel pants yielding to the wear & tear of the road. I have another blue pair in my trunk of summer cloth, which 1 wish you would send me. They are plain without cords 011 the seams.' He requested a pair of similar plain blue trousers in May 1864; and check shirts in November 1864.

In the early war years he wore a standing collar, as seen here; after 1863 he began wearing a lay-down collar. According to a veteran of the Washington Artillery, Lee 'always wore during the campaigns a gray sack coat with side pockets like the costume of a business man in the cities.' At Appomattox, however, this veteran 'noted particularly his dress. He was in full uniform, with a handsome embroidered belt and dress sword, tall hat and bud gauntlets.' Photographs generally show this uniform worn with grey trousers that matched his coat.

F2: Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill, 1863 A. P. Hill, original commander of the Army of Northern Virginia's Light Division, was one of Lee's better generals. He was photographed in a regulation Confederate general's uniform, complete with forage cap. All general officers, regardless of specific rank, wore this basic uniform. The horse furniture in the background was used by 'Stonewall' Jackson.

Fj: Surgeon, Confederate States Army, 1863 The regulation Confederate officer's dress is worn by this surgeon, with the addition of a non-regulation but common 'MS' within a wreath on the cap front. His sword is a cavalry officer's sabre made by L. Bissonnet, Mobile, Alabama a copy of the US Model 1840 cavalry officer's sabre. There was 110 special sword required for Confederate medical officers.

Hospital Flag Confederate

1st Lt. David G. Raney, Confederate States Marine Corps, was captured on the CSS Tennessee but escaped two months later. His grey coat appears to have dark blue collar and cuffs, and he wears US Marine Corps shoulder knots. His beltplatc appears to be a US Army officer's model. (David L. Sullivan/Margaret Key)

1st Lt. David G. Raney, Confederate States Marine Corps, was captured on the CSS Tennessee but escaped two months later. His grey coat appears to have dark blue collar and cuffs, and he wears US Marine Corps shoulder knots. His beltplatc appears to be a US Army officer's model. (David L. Sullivan/Margaret Key)

Gi: Lieutenant-Colonel, 1st Engineers, CS Army, 1864 The sack coat, as worn by this officer, was typical field wear for many staff officers, and even on occasion for Gen. Lee. He wears a two-piece Virginia belt plate and a foot officer's sword. The flag behind him designated the headquarters of the Chief Engineer of the Army of Northern Virginia.

General Lee Headquarters Flag

ist Lt. Frances H. Cameron served first with the Confederate Marine Corps' Company A, but after 1861 on the Corps staff. His coat is apparently a darker grey than usual, made with a lay-down collar like that of a Naval officer. (National Archives)

Hi: Seaman, CS Navy, 1865

This seaman, serving with the defending forces at Drewry's Bluff, outside Richmond, carries the British-made equipment issued to the Confederate Navy. His cutlass was made by R. Mole in England and was imported by Courtney & Tennant, Charleston, South Carolina: it is a copy of a Royal Navy cutlass. He also carries a British naval-pattern rifle.

Hl>: Second Lieutenant, CS Marine Corps, 1865 Dark blue facings distinguished the Confederate Marines from Army officers: otherwise, this lieutenant could pass for an infantry officer. His sword is a Southern-made copy of the US Army foot officer's sword. He wears a rare Confederate Navy beltplate, made in England. His handgun is the Le Mat revolver, a number of which were bought for the Navy.

Hj: Sergeant, CS Marine Corps, 1865 This sergeant wears the typical dress uniform of the Confederate Marines, with British-made leather accoutrements and a Southern-made haversack and tin waterbottle. His weapon is an 1853 pattern Enfield. Marines serving in the defences of Drewry's Bluff were also noted wearing waist-length jackets.

ist Lt. Frances H. Cameron served first with the Confederate Marine Corps' Company A, but after 1861 on the Corps staff. His coat is apparently a darker grey than usual, made with a lay-down collar like that of a Naval officer. (National Archives)

G2: Sergeant, ist Engineers, C'SA, 1864 Confederate engineers played a vital part in the fighting during the Appomattox Campaign, bridging rivers in front of the army, burning down bridges behind them, and fighting off the advancing troops as they moved on. The white tape this sergeant has used for chevrons is an alternative to the regulation buff required for staff officers. In keeping with the dual mission of the engineers, he has both an Enfield rifled musket and a shovel.

Gj: Lieutenant, CS Navy, 1864. This lieutenant, taken from a photograph of Lt. Arthur Sinclair, wears regulation Confederate Navy dress. His sword is a regulation weapon made by the London firm of Firmin & Sons.

Sinclair Island WashingtonMarine Corps Civil War UniformsHow Sew Confederate Chevrons

Select Bibliography

Ralph W. Donnelly, The History of the Confederate States Marine Corps (Washington, DC, 1976) Francis T. Miller, The Photographic History of the Civil War (New York, 1901)

Robert H. Rankin, Uniforms of the Marines (New York, 1970)

J. Thomas Sharf, History of the Confederate States Navy (Baltimore, 1887)

James C. lily, The Uniforms of the United States Navy (New York, 1964)

Frederick Todd, American Military Equippage, 1851-1872 (Vol.11—Providence, Rhode Island, 1977, and Vol.III—Westbrook, Connecticut, 1978)

This corporal's organisation is not known for sure. However, the dark blue forage cap, short jacket, and two black chevrons pointing upwards suggest that he is an enlisted man in the Confederate Marine Corps. (George M. Cress collection)

A view of the Confederate Marine camp at Drewry's Bluff in 1862, as seen by the Illustrated London AVwa's Frank Vizetelly. Note the frock coats, with one row of buttons, and the three chevrons on the sergeant marching off the extreme left of the picture. (David L. Sullivan)

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