Confederate cloth questions

Cpl. Smith

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I'm a reenactor who portrays a virginian in the ANV, so this is hopefully information I'll put towards my next uniform purchase.
1) How many types of English Army Cloth(EAC) were used/made? (I've seen two maybe three types at events)
2) Jean cloth. Just how common was it?
3) That medium gray we always see, did it exist?
4) If it did, how common was it and what period of the war would it have been used?
 

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captaindrew

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That Liberty Rifles article is excellent. Here's some more good reading on the basics http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/basics-of-confederate-uniforms.html and an article specifically about EAC http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/virginia-army-uniform-a-conjecture.html From everything I've read I would lean early to mid war with some variation of jean clothe and late war EAC. Almost all of Southern domestic made clothe from early 62 on was some variation of jean. When much of that was exhausted they relied on imported clothe (EAC) from England
 

Cpl. Smith

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That Liberty Rifles article is excellent. Here's some more good reading on the basics http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/basics-of-confederate-uniforms.html and an article specifically about EAC http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/virginia-army-uniform-a-conjecture.html From everything I've read I would lean early to mid war with some variation of jean clothe and late war EAC. Almost all of Southern domestic made clothe from early 62 on was some variation of jean. When much of that was exhausted they relied on imported clothe (EAC) from England
Thanks
 

captaindrew

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What about That medium gray?
What do you mean by medium gray? Are you talking about the gray wool that most of the sutlers use in their generic jackets? My self personally for my ANV impression I chose a grey on natural jean which I think is appropriate for most of the war. I've been considering getting an EAC jacket for late war events but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Check out the above reading and you'll have a much better understanding of what's right. One thing to remember that alot of examples of jean uniforms started out as grey but do to the poor dyes quickly weathered and turned a tan to brownish color. And of course some were dyed with walnut shells and vegetable dyes which they got the "butternut" shades from.
 

Package4

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Basically you will need to pick a time frame that you are trying to emulate and then look at extant examples that were coming out of the Richmond Depot at that time. A Virginian would have been supplied by the RD and there was a plentiful supply of local wool and jean up to a point. I reenact the 2nd MD CS and have multiple uniforms depending upon the year and scenario we are attempting to portray.

A visit to the MOC or whatever they now call it also helps and if you can get Cathy Wright to show you some of their Virginia uniforms it would be very helpful. Looking at the interior "under lining" will give you a grasp of what the fabric originally looked like before UV and weather fading. Set up a date with your group to visit with Cathy.
 

Cpl. Smith

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Basically you will need to pick a time frame that you are trying to emulate and then look at extant examples that were coming out of the Richmond Depot at that time. A Virginian would have been supplied by the RD and there was a plentiful supply of local wool and jean up to a point. I reenact the 2nd MD CS and have multiple uniforms depending upon the year and scenario we are attempting to portray.

A visit to the MOC or whatever they now call it also helps and if you can get Cathy Wright to show you some of their Virginia uniforms it would be very helpful. Looking at the interior "under lining" will give you a grasp of what the fabric originally looked like before UV and weather fading. Set up a date with your group to visit with Cathy.
2nd MD co.D? if so were you at Spranglers spring two weeks ago?
 

Tailor Pete

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Woolen and Jean cloth color varied widely early in the war. As the Liberty Rifles research stated, there MAY have been some differences in fabric color coming out of England however, as stated, those nomenclatural distinctions may simply be different descriptions by different recording agents.

There is, however, a precedent for a variation of color with respect to kersey and kersey-like fabrics. North Carolina was (at least partially) responsible for supplying their own troops. In looking at correspondence from that time period, there seemed to be some concern over the varying shades of fabrics used in uniform construction. One indicated that the shade of gray used wasn't as important as bundling like shaded items together so that the various pieces could be issued at the company or regimental level to maintain a more uniform appearance. There is also an indication (with respect to NC at least) that while the vast majority of uniform fabrics were some variation of the wool-jean type, some locally produced kerseys were also used. It is also well documented that, with regard to NC head gear, colors were quite variable, with references to both blue and brown kersey being used as late as Winter of '61-'62.

I only bring up the North Carolina uniforms to point out that (especially early in the war) variability was the norm. Add to this, the south's reliance on natural dyes of questionable stability, few 'reasonable' colors can ever be ruled out. As far as EAC is concerned, recent scholarship points to a more dark-gray with a blueish tone as standard for the type. Dye lots and fabric types not withstanding, it seems reasonable to conclude that, at least late in the war, medium gray kersey would have been an anomaly, though possibly not, early in the war.

Just my thoughts, other's mileage may vary.
 

Cpl. Smith

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Woolen and Jean cloth color varied widely early in the war. As the Liberty Rifles research stated, there MAY have been some differences in fabric color coming out of England however, as stated, those nomenclatural distinctions may simply be different descriptions by different recording agents.

There is, however, a precedent for a variation of color with respect to kersey and kersey-like fabrics. North Carolina was (at least partially) responsible for supplying their own troops. In looking at correspondence from that time period, there seemed to be some concern over the varying shades of fabrics used in uniform construction. One indicated that the shade of gray used wasn't as important as bundling like shaded items together so that the various pieces could be issued at the company or regimental level to maintain a more uniform appearance. There is also an indication (with respect to NC at least) that while the vast majority of uniform fabrics were some variation of the wool-jean type, some locally produced kerseys were also used. It is also well documented that, with regard to NC head gear, colors were quite variable, with references to both blue and brown kersey being used as late as Winter of '61-'62.

I only bring up the North Carolina uniforms to point out that (especially early in the war) variability was the norm. Add to this, the south's reliance on natural dyes of questionable stability, few 'reasonable' colors can ever be ruled out. As far as EAC is concerned, recent scholarship points to a more dark-gray with a blueish tone as standard for the type. Dye lots and fabric types not withstanding, it seems reasonable to conclude that, at least late in the war, medium gray kersey would have been an anomaly, though possibly not, early in the war.

Just my thoughts, other's mileage may vary.
Thank you! That's awesome info!!!
 


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