Discussion A 16-Year-Old Farm Boy's Clothing in 1860 in Union County, Georgia?

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#1
Hey, folks.

I am researching a novel for high school students. The main character will be a 16-year-old farm boy in 1860 in Union County, Georgia. I have already researched the uniforms and other clothing he will wear when he lies about his age and enlists. I'm trying to determine in great detail what he would have worn from the soles of his feet to the tip of his hair, from the skin out, while still at home on the farm. The clothing will become something he thinks about when he thinks of home after enlisting. What was each article of clothing called there at the time? Was it made it home? Or purchased? Etc. Can anyone help? Or suggest a resource where I might find out? Thanks in advance for any help at all. In
 

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captaindrew

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#2
Welcome from South Florida and the Reenactors Forum. The clothing would vary greatly if they were folks of means or just struggling farm folks. The latter wouldn't be much different than what he would have worn in Confederate service. His clothes would probably be home spun from jean clothe dyed with vegetable dyes or walnut shells. The style of trousers that was issued by the CS depots were basically a civilian style. If you look up a Confederate sack coat, that was pretty much a civilian style coat. He'd have a shirt, drawers, shoes, and most likely a slouch hat. I'll post some photos for you when I get near my computer. Now if they were folks of means they would of course be wearing much better quality wool clothing of the latest styles which I'm not that knowledgeable of. But I think what a Southern farm boy would be wearing would not be much different than a Confederate private other than a soldier would probably wearing a variation of a shell jacket.
 

captaindrew

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Welcome from South Florida and the Reenactors Forum. The clothing would vary greatly if they were folks of means or just struggling farm folks. The latter wouldn't be much different than what he would have worn in Confederate service. His clothes would probably be home spun from jean clothe dyed with vegetable dyes or walnut shells. The style of trousers that was issued by the CS depots were basically a civilian style. If you look up a Confederate sack coat, that was pretty much a civilian style coat. He'd have a shirt, drawers, shoes, and most likely a slouch hat. I'll post some photos for you when I get near my computer. Now if they were folks of means they would of course be wearing much better quality wool clothing of the latest styles which I'm not that knowledgeable of. But I think what a Southern farm boy would be wearing would not be much different than a Confederate private other than a soldier would probably wearing a variation of a shell jacket.
Captaindrew, this is very helpful, thank you! The character will be from a hardscrabble farming family with a 20-acre farm, so poor, hardworking, and proud.

Is "jean cloth" the name used at that time? When you say "home spun," from what? Cotton? Or some other fiber? The thread would have been spun at home, right? But where would it likely have been loomed into material? At home? Or somewhere else?

Would the trousers have reached to his feet and be turned up as needed? Or been shorter? Were they called "trousers" then?

Would the shirt have been long sleeve? Buttons at the cuffs if so? Or some other fastener?

The shoes would have been store-bought? Would he have worn them working in the fields? Or worked barefoot? Any kind of socks or stockings?

The drawers would have been an undergarment, with legs, that covered the lower part of the body? Cotton or homespun? Did they call them "drawers" then? (I have a 2nd-cousin, 2x removed, now in late 80s from the mountains near Union County. He informed me with a grin he had "furniture disease," i.e., his chest had dropped into his drawers.:smile:

Would the "slouch hat" be a soft hat made of felt with a supple, broad brim? And was the term "slouch hat" commonly used (other than conversationally just "my hat")?

Thanks again! You're a terrific resource. :smile:
 
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James N.

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… Is "jean cloth" the name used at that time? When you say "home spun," from what? Cotton? Or some other fiber? The thread would have been spun at home, right? But where would it likely have been loomed into material? At home? Or somewhere else?
This material may also, depending on the thread utilized, called linsey-woolsey, which has linen thread running one way (the warp) and wool the other (the woof).

Would the trousers have reached to his feet and be turned up as needed? Or been shorter? Were they called "trousers" then?
Yes, but they were more commonly spelled TROWSERS.
Would the shirt have been long sleeve? Buttons at the cuffs if so? Or some other fastener?
There was no such thing as short-sleeve shirts then.

The shoes would have been store-bought? Would he have worn them working in the fields? Or worked barefoot? Any kind of socks or stockings?
Possibly, but they might just as easily been made by some local who "specialized" in shoemaking in addition to farming - many people followed more than a single profession.
 

captaindrew

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Captaindrew, this is very helpful, thank you! The character will be from a hardscrabble farming family with a 20-acre farm, so poor, hardworking, and proud.

Is "jean cloth" the name used at that time? When you say "home spun," from what? Cotton? Or some other fiber? The thread would have been spun at home, right? But where would it likely have been loomed into material? At home? Or somewhere else?

Would the trousers have reached to his feet and be turned up as needed? Or been shorter? Were they called "trousers" then?

Would the shirt have been long sleeve? Buttons at the cuffs if so? Or some other fastener?

The shoes would have been store-bought? Would he have worn them working in the fields? Or worked barefoot? Any kind of socks or stockings?

The drawers would have been an undergarment, with legs, that covered the lower part of the body? Cotton or homespun? Did they call them "drawers" then? (I have a 2nd-cousin, 2x removed, now in late 80s from the mountains near Union County. He informed me with a grin he had "furniture disease," i.e., his chest had dropped into his drawers.:smile:

Would the "slouch hat" be a soft hat made of felt with a supple, broad brim? And was the term "slouch hat" commonly used (other than conversationally just "my hat")?

Thanks again! You're a terrific resource. :smile:
You are very welcome. Take a look at this website again and look at the CS garments, the jackets are military but the shirts, trousers, and drawers are pretty much the same as civilian styles of the time. http://wwandcompany.com/cs-items/ Here is another great resource that my help you and a look at some original pieces http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/basics-of-confederate-uniforms.html Jean cloth was a wool cotton mix that was an inexpensive material of the time and was the material of choice for Confederate clothing depots for one it was cheap and it also stretched their available wool. Here is an article on hats that will help you. Again the hat of choice for a CS soldier was a good civilian slouch hat so this article will help you on both ends. http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/two-rebel-hats.html
 

captaindrew

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Captaindrew, this is very helpful, thank you! The character will be from a hardscrabble farming family with a 20-acre farm, so poor, hardworking, and proud.

Is "jean cloth" the name used at that time? When you say "home spun," from what? Cotton? Or some other fiber? The thread would have been spun at home, right? But where would it likely have been loomed into material? At home? Or somewhere else?

Would the trousers have reached to his feet and be turned up as needed? Or been shorter? Were they called "trousers" then?

Would the shirt have been long sleeve? Buttons at the cuffs if so? Or some other fastener?

The shoes would have been store-bought? Would he have worn them working in the fields? Or worked barefoot? Any kind of socks or stockings?

The drawers would have been an undergarment, with legs, that covered the lower part of the body? Cotton or homespun? Did they call them "drawers" then? (I have a 2nd-cousin, 2x removed, now in late 80s from the mountains near Union County. He informed me with a grin he had "furniture disease," i.e., his chest had dropped into his drawers.:smile:

Would the "slouch hat" be a soft hat made of felt with a supple, broad brim? And was the term "slouch hat" commonly used (other than conversationally just "my hat")?

Thanks again! You're a terrific resource. :smile:
Here are some photos of some of my reproduction CS garments
20190611_150716.jpg
 
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#15
This material may also, depending on the thread utilized, called linsey-woolsey, which has linen thread running one way (the warp) and wool the other (the woof).


Yes, but they were more commonly spelled TROWSERS.

There was no such thing as short-sleeve shirts then.


Possibly, but they might just as easily been made by some local who "specialized" in shoemaking in addition to farming - many people followed more than a single profession.
A combination of linen and wool. I'll bet it held up well. Thank you for the information.
 

captaindrew

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Captaindrew, all of this is very helpful indeed. My warmest thanks. The clothing you have assembled as a reenactor is impressive. :smile:
You are very welcome, happy to help. Good luck with your project and let us know how it comes out. And don't be a stranger around here, lots of great stuff to learn around here.
 



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