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Keeping the head and face warm

Discussion in 'Civil War Uniforms & Relics' started by Billy1977, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Billy1977

    Billy1977 Private

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    Hello everybody, I hope you all had a merry Christmas and a happy new year. As cold as it is here up in the Ozarks I can't help but wonder what an infantryman wore back then to keep his head and face warm. With as much body heat as one loses through their head it's no small matter. (I imagine especially considering that I've heard of C.S. government winter clothing drives the average Confederate picket would be wearing a civilian scarf or muffler etc.)

    While it wouldn't present a problem for a soldier sitting next to the fireplace in his winter quarters for someone on picket duty out there in the cold it would be a different story altogether. If it's freezing outside that little forage cap isn't going to keep his head warm and neither is the slouch hat nor the "Hardee" hat. So what did the typical Union infantry picket wear in that situation? I've seen a couple of Don Troiani paintings about Union pickets out in the cold and they had civilian mufflers and scarves sent from home or that they bought themselves presumably. Did the government issue a wool toque or something like that or did the soldier have to make do with wrapping his blanket around his head or asking his girlfriend at home to knit him something?
     
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  3. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck First Sergeant

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    The government did not issue a wool toque or anything like that. Presumably some men had wool knit hats sent from home or privately purchased and some wrapped a wool scarf over ears and head.
    Otherwise, your head was simply cold and you suffered, like with every other hardship of camp life from lice to scurvy to dysentery.
     
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  4. Albert Sailhorst

    Albert Sailhorst Sergeant Major

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    Agreed.....Either you had a scarf or something sent from home or borrowed from a comrade, or you had nothing......
     
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  5. Grayrock Volunteer

    Grayrock Volunteer Corporal

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    To my knowledge the Federal Government, nor Confederate for that matter, issued any form of special winter headgear. However, the regular issue great coat, for both mounted and footmen, had a cape that could be flipped up and worn over and around the head.
    Non-regulation scarves, balaclavas (think ski mask with one hole), and winter caps were all made by various Soldiers' Aid Societies, family members, or sold at sutlers.

    Cheers,
    Garrett
     
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  6. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose Private

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    Wow! I had never thought about this. Just another reason to admire these men as if we needed more.
     
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  7. zburkett

    zburkett Corporal

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    They had a different attitude toward discomfort. During the winter of 63/64 here in Orange County the Confederate troops had a major religious revival and they chopped the ice on the Rapadan River to be baptized (with Union troops standing on the opposite river bank watching). In the same winter not having shoes would not get you off picket duty standing in the snow. They were tough, but they also had a high death rate.
     
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  8. Reb

    Reb First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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  9. Billy1977

    Billy1977 Private

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    Thanks everyone for your detailed and informative responses. Wow, I was afraid that might be the answer, that there was no government issue toque or anything and you had to make do, considering that none of the pickets in Don Troiani's paintings have anything but civilian scarves and mufflers. And thanks Reb for correcting what I didn't realize was a myth.
     
  10. Legion Para

    Legion Para 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    One of my favorite Confederate portraits.

    [​IMG]

    (left to right) Columbus C. Taylor, killed at Malvern Hill, July 1st, 1862. Jas D. Jackson, killed at Malvern Hill, July 1st, 1862. James H. Porter, detailed for railroad service... discharged January, 1862. All three enlisted in Co. D, 3rd Reg. Ga. Vol. Inf. April 26th, 1861. The photo was taken near Richmond during the Winter of 1861-1862. Their uniforms, weapons, and acoutrements (note Georgia oval belt buckles) were typical of those used in the early campaigns of the Regiment.
    (Courtesy Museum of the Confederacy)
     
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