Aussies wearing Confederate uniforms?


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major bill

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When the CSS Shenandoah was repaired at Williamstown Victoria (Australia) in 1865 she was a tourist attraction and special trains were needed to bring visitor's to see her. When she put back to sea, forty-two Australians had secretly been recruited. So did these 'recruits" wear civilian clothing, or would of they somehow have been issued Confederate naval uniforms? If so would have cloth been purchased in Williamstown and turned into uniforms? Would the CSS Shenandoah had enough uniforms on board to issue them uniforms or enough cloth, already on board, to make them uniforms? Would some of the arriving crew members have need new uniforms as well?
 

Rusk County Avengers

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From what very little I've been able to find, (I've had very little to go on), on C.S.N. uniforms over the years, I think its a safe bet that when C.S.N. cruisers fitted before setting out on their cruise, I highly suspect they had a number of uniforms made prior for the anticipated number of crew. For example when the Alabama fitted out in the Azores, immediately after commissioning, Semmes set about recruiting the workmen, and sailors who had been fitting her out, with some modest success, and he being the stickler he was, I reckon he had enough uniforms on board for at least a full crew compliment, with maybe a few extra. Also those uniforms would have in all likelihood been clandestinely contracted for in Britain.

So going by those suppositions, I reckon its possible that Captain Waddell had a few extra suits of uniforms on board from when Shenandoah left Britain, mainly on the basis that Confederate cruisers didn't always recruit a full compliment at the onset, so if they had enough for a full compliment, and didn't have a full compliment yet, they may have had some on hand. On the other hand, sailors are inventive folks, they may have had a bolt or two of cloth on board for sailors to make their own, which was a not unheard of practice back then.

But having uniforms made in Australia? I seriously doubt it, Shenandoah was on a tight leash in port, and having uniforms made would have been getting war materials, when they were forbidden from it.
 

major bill

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Where CSA naval personal issued clothing? (generally speaking)
Yes, if they enlisted and served inside of the Confederate states. Ships built, bought, and often crewed overseas is another question. The Confederacy almost certainly did not ship uniforms to Great Britain to outfit the crews recruited there. I would have to assume that crews recruited in Great Britain would have had uniforms made for them there or bought cloth and made their uniforms. I am not certain how closely that dress would have follow Confederate naval Uniform regulations. The exact uniforms wore by Confederate sailors in Southern states is still being discussed and uncertainty still exists.
 

zburkett

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Just to complicate things, it is my understanding that the Confederate river navy and the deep water navy were two very different things. Were their uniforms and standards different?
 

major bill

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Just to complicate things, it is my understanding that the Confederate river navy and the deep water navy were two very different things. Were their uniforms and standards different?
Very good question. I have bits and pieces of information about Confederate Navy uniforms in several books and articles but I think the final book about Confederate Navy uniforms still needs to be written. It would be great to have a single, well researched book on the subject.
 

Waterloo50

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When the CSS Shenandoah was repaired at Williamstown Victoria (Australia) in 1865 she was a tourist attraction and special trains were needed to bring visitor's to see her. When she put back to sea, forty-two Australians had secretly been recruited. So did these 'recruits" wear civilian clothing, or would of they somehow have been issued Confederate naval uniforms? If so would have cloth been purchased in Williamstown and turned into uniforms? Would the CSS Shenandoah had enough uniforms on board to issue them uniforms or enough cloth, already on board, to make them uniforms? Would some of the arriving crew members have need new uniforms as well?
I’m not sure but the info you’re looking for could be in this.
70510100-F650-470D-8AD9-2FC2DA29775C.jpeg
 

Klaudly

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I believe that there was a good supply of uniforms on every ship in the service of the high seas, and that when they stopped at the ports they got (when they could) some cloth or uniforms. As usual, the discourse for the officers was different, and the uniforms were sewn abroad by local tailors.
FOREMAN PHOTOGRAPHED IN FRANCE.jpg

This lieutenant, photographed in France, seems to have a different cut uniform. Even the cap is different. The color can be dark gray, but also blue. Probably his uniform was made in France.

CSS shenandoah.jpg

In this image of the "Illustrated Australian News" of 23 February 1865, We can see some visitors aboard the ship, unfortunately we see only the officers (perfectly dressed) who receive the guests, but no seamen.
 

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When the CSS Shenandoah was repaired at Williamstown Victoria (Australia) in 1865 she was a tourist attraction and special trains were needed to bring visitor's to see her. When she put back to sea, forty-two Australians had secretly been recruited. So did these 'recruits" wear civilian clothing, or would of they somehow have been issued Confederate naval uniforms? If so would have cloth been purchased in Williamstown and turned into uniforms? Would the CSS Shenandoah had enough uniforms on board to issue them uniforms or enough cloth, already on board, to make them uniforms? Would some of the arriving crew members have need new uniforms as well?
Just conjecture on my part, but I would say no, for two reasons:

1. The Australians were breaking the law by enlisting and it would be better if they were found out of uniform, whether captured or in a foreign port.

2. Crew members of ships at sea, many times, did not have a defined uniform. I know that the Confederate river navy had uniforms, but sea going crew...…….

There is another book published in 2014, The Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah: A Memorable Cruise by Charles Whittle, XO of the vessel. This is taken from a 300 page journal kept by Whittle and found by his grand daughter in 1980 while cleaning out her grandmother's attic.
 

Package4

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I believe that there was a good supply of uniforms on every ship in the service of the high seas, and that when they stopped at the ports they got (when they could) some cloth or uniforms. As usual, the discourse for the officers was different, and the uniforms were sewn abroad by local tailors.
View attachment 261360
This lieutenant, photographed in France, seems to have a different cut uniform. Even the cap is different. The color can be dark gray, but also blue. Probably his uniform was made in France.

View attachment 261361
In this image of the "Illustrated Australian News" of 23 February 1865, We can see some visitors aboard the ship, unfortunately we see only the officers (perfectly dressed) who receive the guests, but no seamen.
Just below the smoke stacks looks to be a crew member heading out of the picture...…...but maybe not...
 

major bill

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I know it is a drawing, but it appear the woman being helped down the ladder at the right, is one of the gentlemen is wear a Havelock?
 

Package4

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I know it is a drawing, but it appear the woman being helped down the ladder at the right, is one of the gentlemen is wear a Havelock?
I noticed that as well, but could not tell whether it was a civilian or ship member, on closer examination, it appears to be an officer due to the sleeve braid.
 

major bill

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Looking at the photo in post # 4 I see a frock coat cut differently than Army officer frock coats. I know that all officers purchased tailor made uniforms and thus got what the told the tailor to make. However I see both in the union Navy and Confederate Navy, some officers wore rather short (short for an officer's frock coat) and with skirts that appear to flair wider than normal. I wonder if this was due to the type of duties a naval officer might expect to engage in.
 

rebelatsea

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It was the practice aboard ship until certainly WWII to have what were then termed "jewing firms" (in the RN). Members of the crew who could tailor cloth bought ashore into uniforms or whatever form of dress was required, Don't see why the CSN cruisers should be any different. Their captains were "regular" navy, so I would think they would apply whatever standards they had been used to before to their own commands.
 

Package4

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It was the practice aboard ship until certainly WWII to have what were then termed "jewing firms" (in the RN). Members of the crew who could tailor cloth bought ashore into uniforms or whatever form of dress was required, Don't see why the CSN cruisers should be any different. Their captains were "regular" navy, so I would think they would apply whatever standards they had been used to before to their own commands.
Wasn't it also practice to issue clothing from the slops chest to crew members recruited or pressed during cruise?
 

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