Civil War Trust put together an interesting and fairly well-done infographic that they are making available to post on websites. I thought I would share it here for your use.
Brought to you by The Civil War Trust
Ethan Rafuse, professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and blogger at Civil Warriors is delivering a lecture as part of the 44th Annual Lecture Series “Perspectives in Military History.” The lecture is entitled “We Always Understood Each Other So Well: McClellan, Lee and the War in the East.” If you are in the area of Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania on July 18, I urge you to take in his lecture.
Today (Saturday, June 16), from 9am-noon (since it is in Massachusetts, I am assuming it is Eastern Time) the American College of History and Legal Studies will be live-streaming a round table discussion on the Seven Days Battles. It will be led by our founding dean, Civil War Historian and Pulitzer prize nominee Michael Chesson.
You can either check it out via this link, or through the embed provided below.
Below is to participate in the chat:
More information is available here.
Apologies on the short notice, but I did not find out about this until two days ago and have been busy packing and traveling to Illinois to visit my folks, but I hope some of you are able to take in this interesting event.
In light of Den Bolda’s great inaugural post on Union uniform coats, I thought I would share a paper I wrote for a class I took on material culture a couple years ago that dealt with Civil War soldiers. Being involved in reenacting since then, I have a greater appreciation for the objects and materials that constituted a soldier’s life and person during the war. On Friday, I head to Fort Sisseton for their history festival, so I will be absent from the blog for the weekend, but will post soon after I return on the fun of the weekend.
Civil War soldiers are commonly thought to wear blue or gray, for North and South; however that was not always the case, especially in the beginning of the war. Although many Northern militia units wore gray uniforms early in the war, a variety of uniforms were issued by federal and state governments. Generally, the federal government issued three standard types of uniform jackets. Those would be the frock coat, shell jacket, and the sack coat. There are too many exceptions to include in this brief introduction, so please know that the information provided here is very basic. This thread will cover a fraction of the uniforms worn by Union soldiers.
The federal frock coat was primarily issued to soldiers in the infantry and heavy artillery. The frock coat has nine buttons down the front, two on the back and two on each sleeve. They had piping on the collar and cuffs which identified the soldier’s job. Red piping meant that the soldier was in the artillery, while light blue piping (shown below) meant that the soldier was in the infantry. The frock coat was the fanciest coat that a Union soldier might be issued. It was considered to be a dress or parade jacket. The frock coat was quilted on the front inside lining. The quilting added weight and bulk to add to the soldier’s prestige. Unfortunately, it also added heat on hot Southern days. It had one inside pocket and two pockets in the tail.
The shell jacket was usually issued to mounted troops, or troops who rode horses. This meant that cavalry and artillery soldiers wore this. Just like the frock coat, it had nine buttons and had trim that identified the soldier’s occupation. The soldier was an artilleryman if the shell jacket had red piping, but the trim would be yellow if he was a cavalry trooper . These jackets were shorter than the frock coat because they were more comfortable to wear when riding a horse. The jacket was quilted on the inside front lining. Also, the shell jacket had two small “pillows” on the back which are very useful for keeping the army service belt in place! It had one inside pocket.
The final jacket mentioned above is the sack coat. This jacket was made to be a fatigue blouse, or a work jacket. It was not glamorous in any way. It was shapeless and made of thin material. Although almost all Union jackets were made of heavy wool, the sack coat was made of much lighter wool. This jacket was supposed to be used by the troops when they were on fatigue duty. By the end of the war the sack coat was used by Union infantry, cavalry, and artillery on all occasions. It became the standard Union army coat. The sack coat did not have any kind of color trim and only used four buttons. It was usually lined with wool flannel or cotton. It had one inside pocket.
One addition that I would like to mention is the state jacket. Many Northern states produced uniforms at their own expense. The state jackets varied in design from state to state but they were all very similar. Many people identify the state jacket with New York, but Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and other states also distributed these jackets. Although they were very common earlier in the war, photographic evidence has shown several examples in service later on. State jackets did not have piping but were usually of high quality. They were made short like a shell jacket, so that they could be issued to mounted and foot soldiers indiscriminately. They were almost always quilted and lined with one inside pocket. State jackets sometimes had shoulder straps.
In light of my recent visit to Ellen Hopkins Elementary School to present on the war, I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to educators that are likely getting to the Civil War in their history curriculum to ask questions about the war that they would like more information on. Any topic goes.
Teachers, if you are interested in using this site to enhance your Civil War curriculum, please use the comment section of this post to ask your question, or a question from your students. I, or one of my esteemed colleagues, will do our best to answer the question in a separate post. If you are interested in having students do brief writing assignments on the war as guest posts, please let us know and we can make that happen (I will edit the commenting on such posts to ensure safety). We look forward to your questions.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported, which FoxNews.com picked up, that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois are in a quandary over a stovepipe hat supposedly having belonged to Mr. Lincoln. The hat, which is of beaver felt, bore the mark of a Springfield hat maker, and was the same size as Lincoln’s head is disputed over how a farmer came to own the hat. The story holds that William Waller acquired the hat from Lincoln in Washington during the war, but this is not supported by evidence. The other possibility is that Waller received the hat after one of the 1858 debates with Stephen A. Douglas, but there is no evidence to support this.
The hat is part of a larger collection of Lincoln artifacts that the ALPLM acquired several years ago for a significant amount of money and the hat is appraised at $6.5 million. Both articles insist that the hat is not a fake and that the Museum was not duped, but that it needs to be somewhat cautious in how it presents the story to the public, suggesting that both scenarios be noted. Having visited the site a couple of times, I have seen the hat (assuming it is the same one), which also (if I recall correctly) may have had his fingerprints on the brim, which were slightly visible. It is a truly humbling experience to view artifacts related to the man.
Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer doubted the stories, as there is no evidence that Lincoln gave away the hat, but does note that the hat likely belonged to Lincoln, but that increased effort is needed to trace its origins. I have to agree with Mr. Holzer, as, even in that day, a beaver hat was not something casually given away, as it was still a fairly expensive item.
It will be interesting to see where this story goes, but I urge anyone heading to Springfield soon to check out the site and see the artifacts. While the museum itself has a lot of technological aspects that are designed to make it more accessible to the public, which is not my thing, but worth seeing, the library is really worth a stop, as they hold a large amount of wonderful historical items, including manuscripts, newspapers, and other materials for scholars researching on a wide array of topics related to Illinois history, the Civil War, and Lincoln. I donated a copy of my thesis to the library as a thank you for providing assistance and material that went into it.
That this story came out on April 15 is appropriate, as it is the anniversary of the death of Mr. Lincoln in 1865. May he continue to rest in peace.