Confederate enlisted frock coat info

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#1
Howdy!

I'm a reenactor and I've been looking to expand my impression, specifically with a frock coat because I've always liked the look of them, but I care about my accuracy and don't like to get anything unless I can explain why I have it. However, I have found it remarkably difficult to gather anything beyond general widespread information on them and their use in the confederacy. So I've got 2 parts to this, any information would be appreciated:

#1: How often were frock coats actually used by the confederacy, and in what manner with what spec? My understanding is that they really weren't issued outside of select units, but that many soldiers, especially new ones, commissioned them anyway in the single breasted style, which became a bit of an unofficial militia uniform. But how common was this really, would a soldier commissioning his one on his own not get full wool as opposed to jean wool, and were they actually used as daily/battle coats?

#2: I'm also interested in any information you can supply specific to their use by the NC volunteers (this is the group I reenact). Being a textile powerhouse, I would think this kind of practice would be more common in NC, especially among the volunteers/militias where supplies and regulation were most lax. But like I said, my research has turned up little, so any info you have would be much appreciated!

Thank y'all!
 

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major bill

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#2
Are you looking for a specific time frame? The problem to me is the wide application of "Confederate frock coats". The possible use of frock coats in 1861 or 1865 would impact the answer. Eastern Theater and Western Theater would also impact any answer. I am sure I can find examples of Confederate enlisted frock coats, but searching all states from 1861 to 1865 would be a lot of research. I assume you want to stay with North Caroline troops.

I am not reenactor and am not the reenacting police, but most reenactors base their outfits on what a particular unit, a particular theater, or a particular time frame. So reenactors pick uniforms based on what was worn not what they like.
 
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#3
most reenactors base their outfits on what a particular unit, a particular theater, or a particular time frame
Yes, I reenact the North Carolina Volunteers, specifically the 26th. Eastern theater, and as for time frame, we try to stay pretty middle of the road, not going for 1861, nor 1865, but somewhere generically in between. Honestly any information you might have, or links/leads where I would be able to find more information would be very helpful!
 

major bill

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Many North Carolina men probably wore frock coats in 1861 when they left for war. These would have soon worn out and it appears North Carolina usually provided sack coats after their men's original uniforms wore out. A frock coat might well be appropriate in 1861, perhaps early in 1862, but probably not after that. Even then, because there were many styles of frock coats, one would need to decide on a specific style worn by a specific unit.
 
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#5
Many North Carolina men probably wore frock coats in 1861 when they left for war. These would have soon worn out and it appears North Carolina usually provided sack coats after their men's original uniforms wore out. A frock coat might well be appropriate in 1861, perhaps early in 1862, but probably not after that. Even then, because there were many styles of frock coats, one would need to decide on a specific style worn by a specific unit.
Good information, that actually help a lot, thank you!
 

captaindrew

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#6
Welcome from South Florida and the Reenactors Forum. Frocks were common fairly early on when they marched off with state supplied uniforms and their militia uniforms. As the depot system got going the shell jacket took over mainly because they were easier to make and required less fabric. Officers of course supplied their own uniforms and they for the most part preferred frocks. One of my go to links on uniforms is http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/basics-of-confederate-uniforms.html North Carolina state jackets started out in a sack coat kind of style but quickly turned to a version of a shell jacket. WW&Co. offers a nice NC state jacket http://wwandcompany.com/north-carolina-jacket/ Of course the 26th NC was in the ANV so I'm sure they also had access to Richmond Depot jackets also.
 

major bill

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To other forum members who might not be too knowledgeable with North Carolina uniforms. This was the standard North Carolina 1861 issued sack coat. It was longer than most Union sack coats and almost looked like a frock coat, however it was loose and not fitted like a frock coat. After a time North Carolina shortened the skirts.

nc 3.jpg
 
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#8
Thank you very much for the warm welcome, and the awesome info, very helpful!

the 26th NC was in the ANV so I'm sure they also had access to Richmond Depot jackets
Absolutely, the Richmond jacket is our unit standard, I'm just looking where else I can push it :smile: Like I said, I've just always liked the frock coat look, trying to see if I can find a valid excuse
 

captaindrew

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#9
Thank you very much for the warm welcome, and the awesome info, very helpful!



Absolutely, the Richmond jacket is our unit standard, I'm just looking where else I can push it :smile: Like I said, I've just always liked the frock coat look, trying to see if I can find a valid excuse
I like them too and you will spot them in period photos. In this photo of CS prisoners during the Overland Campaign you can see a couple frocks in the bunch.
Confederate prisoners Cropped (1).jpg
 

captaindrew

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They are certainly appropriate early war and still appeared throughout the war but became less common as the war went on. I would say a frock made of jean from the loved ones at home would certainly be appropriate or from a man of means who had one tailor made for himself (common among the officers)
 

AUG

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#11
Howdy and welcome to the forum!

Ditto what captaindrew and major bill have said. Best time period for a frock coat would be 1861-1862. But for an Eastern Theater North Carolina impression the primary uniform should be the North Carolina state issue sack coat and later shell jacket. The state quartermaster started issuing jackets in place of the earlier sack coats by 1862.

This site shows the evolution of North Carolina uniforms throughout the war:
http://northstaterifles.com/impression1.htm
 
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