Butternut uniforms


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Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#4
I always thought that butternut was used after the south ran out of dye. They boiled wallnuts and used the water as dye and thats were butternut came from.. But i dont know.. Could be..
Here's an old thread with some links that might be useful. If your head doesn't spin after reading this, I'll be impressed :wink:

http://civilwartalk.com/forums/showthread.php?34075-Brown-vs-Butternut&highlight=butternut+uniform

And this one seems to have some of what you're looking for:

http://civilwartalk.com/forums/show...rate-uniform-help&highlight=butternut+uniform

Might use that search function to check out others; I just looked for "butternut uniform". Good luck!
 
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Nashville TN
#6
Sam Watkins wrote that in 1863 his company made great sport of a newbie who arrived in camp with a govt issue butternut "suit," as he called it. By that time, they were using a butternut dye because of impurities in the gray dye that made the cloth come out butternut. I have an account of a Nashville boy in Roddey's cavalry who captured an overcoat from a dead federal trooper on an island in the Tennessee River during a skirmish. He said he dyed it a shade of butternut and wore it for the rest of the war.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
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#7
I have Union canteens that were issued with the blue cloth covering, but after time have turned to a near butternut color. I expect due to exposure to the sun. I cannot say they may have been recovered as I believe that a Confederate capturer of the canteen would bother recovering it.
 

Dave Hull

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Northern Virginia
#8
I would think that if black walnuts were used for the dye, it would be the pulpy green outer coating and not the shell itself which was used as the dye. Next time you are out in the woods in late summer, pick up a freshly fallen black walnut, still in its green pulp, give it a squeeze and let the juices run down your arm. The skin will be black/brown for months, no matter how much scrubbing you do.

My brother and used to use them as ammunition, since there was no way you could claim "you missed me" with a big, juicy black stain on your face.
 

ole

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#9
The Confederacy never could supply grey uniforms for everyone. The Confederate reenactor could wear most anything, because that is what they wore.

I have a familiarity with black walnuts. One of which has to to do with putting them into frozen ruts and spinning tires on them.

Butternuts were a different kind of walnut.
 

rhp6033

Sergeant Major
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#11
A small point I learned years ago when I was first learning to paint in oils. There is no such thing as a perfect "gray". It takes on either a brownish tint, or a blueish tint - you have to pick one direction or the other. Over time, the brown or blue pigment tends to come out more.

My understanding is that in the western theatre, including the AoT, few had anything resembling a real uniform. They wore what they brought with them from home, or picked up along the way. Any attempt at uniformity was mostly dying it with whatever was available, resulting in a more generic "brown" material. Exposure to the elements over the months and years added to the effect.

But on it's way to Chickamauga, Hood's Texans picked up new uniforms at Richmond. This caused some confusion on the battlefield, as one Union unit didn't fire on them until it was too late. The union troops in the Army of the Cumberland were accostomed to seeing all manner of dress and accouterments on Confederate troops, but seeing the smartly-turned out troops complete with uniform cartridge-boxes and haversacks gave them pause, they thought that they MUST be Union troops.
 
Joined
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Alabamian, living behind enemy lines in Illinois
#12
The Confederacy never could supply grey uniforms for everyone. The Confederate reenactor could wear most anything, because that is what they wore.

I have a familiarity with black walnuts. One of which has to to do with putting them into frozen ruts and spinning tires on them.

Butternuts were a different kind of walnut.
My afinity with black walnutws is shelling them and eating them raw or making pies .. think pecan on steroids... verry good!

the term "butternut" refers to the color not the nut used to dye the cloth, I blieve
 
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Sep 3, 2009
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South Carolina
#13
I used walnut husk dye to decorate my buckskin arrow quiver. The color was a medium brown. I guess a weaker solution would result in a yellowish brown color.

I soak the husks in water for a few days to get the stain or dye. I stained a gunstock with it also but I used other ingredients that made it almost black.
 
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
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Arizona
#15
In one of the history books dedicated to Montgomery County, Illinois, it mentions that those with southern sympathies wore "butternut badges" to identify each other in 1864 during the time of the "Clingman Raids." Seems that, at least at that time, butternut was common.
 
Joined
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Alabamian, living behind enemy lines in Illinois
#17
In one of the history books dedicated to Montgomery County, Illinois, it mentions that those with southern sympathies wore "butternut badges" to identify each other in 1864 during the time of the "Clingman Raids." Seems that, at least at that time, butternut was common.
Since I used to live in Montgomery county, Illinois, I would welcome seeing anything you can supply online...

Ed
 
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Hobart Tasmania
#19
I noticed in the film "Gods and Generals" some of the Confederate troops were shown wearing what appeared to be uniforms the same as those worn in the War of Independence. If this was so can someone explain why?
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2008
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Alabamian, living behind enemy lines in Illinois
#20
Thank you. An interesting account with a large number of readily identifiable names, including, of course Governor Yates. The good governor was the very first graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville (oldest college in IL).
I lived in the NW corner of the county in it's panhandle... but have spent considerable time in all the towns mentioned. Montgomery county remains to this day a predominately democratic county
 



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