What did Western Confederate Soldiers wear?
"It was easy to distinguish them [Longstreet's Corps] from the soldiers of Bragg's army by their clothing, most of them wore regular Confederate uniform, while the dress of the western man was a 'go as you please' matter, with every imaginable variety of garments and head covering. Scarcely any two of the latter were clothed alike."
-Lieutenant Wilbur Hinman, Federal Soldier, describing the difference between Eastern and Western Confederates after capturing several of Longstreet's men at Chickamauga. Page 262, Peter Cozzen's: This Terrible Sound.
"The men were good-sized, healthy, and well-clothed, but without any attempt at uniformity in color or cut; but nearly all were dressed in either gray or brown coats and felt hats. I was told that even if a regiment was clothed in proper uniform by the Government , it would be parti-colored again in a week, as the soldiers preferred wearing the coarse home-spun jackets and trousers made by their mothers and sisters at home. The Generals very wisely allow them to please themselves in this respect, and insist only that their arms and accoutrements being kept in proper order."
-Arthur Fremantle, British Officer and author of Three months in the Southern States, describing in 1863 during the Tullahoma Campaign how the Western Confederates were dressed. Page 155.
"I had on a new Confederate gray suit, with bright Confederate buttons sent to me from home just before I left Camp Chase."
-Private William M. Moss Company D 1st Tennessee, 1865. This statement shows that many soldiers received home spun uniforms, late in the war on top of that, and even when you were imprisoned at Camp Chase they could still send it to you. This uniform later got him in trouble in Louisville on his way home from prison because it was against the law in Louisville to wear Confederate buttons.
Click for larger image...
The picture above was taken as Confederate Prisoners at Chattanooga were getting ready to be boarded onto a train elsewhere, taken shortly after the battle of Missionary Ridge. You will notice that among the prisoners there is no uniformity. You may also notice that the slouch hat seems to be the most dominant form of headgear. Good reference point for deciding what kind of uniform to buy.
We give every member 1 year to get their uniform, gear, and rifle.
Our unit has some extra gear we loan to new recruits. The following you will will want to get as soon as you possibly can.
Jacket: Jean wool frock, shell or sack coat. Can be any shade of gray or brown. Some coats have cuffs and collar colored blue (infantry), yellow (cavalry), red (artillery). We are infantry so if you get them make sure they are blue.
Pants: Jean wool, they should be any shade of gray or brown. Doesn't necessarily need to match jacket. You will need to buy suspenders to hold them up with.
Undershirt: cotton any color or pattern that is period.
Brogans: black or brown leather.
Hat: Slouch, bummer (forage cap), or kepi. Any color that is reasonable.
For Confederate you can wear black or brown. When we do Yankee though you can only wear black so we recommend buying that color.
Haversack: black or white canvas or carpet haversack.
Belt w/ Cap Box and Buckle: Buckle can be any period style.
Canteen: Any Civil War style canteen. If you get metal make sure it is stainless steel unless you like drinking rusty water. Canteen cover can be any reasonable color. Wood Canteens are also available.
Rifle: any civil war era rifle or earlier but recommended types are: 1842/1861/1863 US Springfield, 1853 British Enfield, or 1862 CS Richmond.
Bayonet and Scabbard: both will depend on what rifle you buy.
These items you do not need immediately but will want to get some time after buying initial gear.
Great Coat: Winter coat, enlisted infantrymen style, can be light blue (usually stolen from yankee) or any shade of gray or brown.
Knapsack (backpack): Softpack or Hardpack style. Should be black.
Tent or Shelter half: reenacting is tending to go towards campaign style events where tents are not used so shelter half recommended.
Because there are very few Yankee units, almost all confederate units are forced to galvanize or play Yankee for a day or weekend and our unit is no exception. So here is what you need for yankee.
Jacket: Dark Blue 100% Wool sack coat. Frock coat also allowed but those were more common among NCOs and officers.
Pants: Lt. Blue 100% wool.
Hat: Must be 100% wool dark blue kepi or bummer (forage cap).
Gear: All leathers must be black.
Listing of Recommended Sutlers
List created by Sergeants Mike Hoover and Bart Boaz
S&S Sutler-Based out of Gettysburg, PA. This sutler sells uniforms for both sides. They are also a vendor for Greg Starbuck Kepis.
Regimental Quartermaster-Variety of uniforms for both sides.
Quartermaster Shop-Based out of Michigan, specializes in custom uniforms. One of only a few sutlers that makes the Atlanta Depot Jacket. Orders usually take about 6-8 weeks to make and send out.
Richmond Depot-High quality uniforms.
WW & Co.-Has a variety of authenticly made Civil War Uniforms for both sides. Offering kits where you can hand sew your own uniforms.
Ben Tart-Specializes in uniforms that are made from fabric that is naturally dyed.
Ezra Barnhouse-Limited supply of items but all are well done.
Harpeth Valley Reproductions- Variety of quality uniforms made by Heath Potter.
C & D Jarnigan-Based out of Corinth, MS, sells leather gear based off of original patterns.
Leiper Sutlery-Makes customized leather goods. Very few leather alterations or orders that he cannot fix.
Duvall Leatherworks-Makes and sells high quality reenacting gear.
L.D.Haning-Specializes in producing leather gear from specialized armories both north and south.
Missouri Boot and Shoe-Specializes in
Rambling Irishman-Variety of Items
Dixie Gun Works-Sells a reproduction rifle for just about every musket used during the Civil War. Based out of Union City, TN.
Regimental Quartermaster-Sell high quality defarbed rifles that have all inspector's stamps and lockplate stamped with a period correct manufacturer.
Matt Woodburn-Based out of Franklin, TN, sells the best period blankets. However, supplies are usually limited and must be ready to purchase when supply is in stock.
Family Heirloom Weavers-Make and sell a variety of period blankets. Best known for their coverlets.
Greg Starbuck-Specializes in period correct kepis, the best on the market.
Clearwater Hats-Makes and sells period slouch hats in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes.
Dirty Billy's-Sells both slouch and kepi style headgear.