Confederate Sharpshooter's Jacket

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Package4

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To my knowledge, this is the only known Southern Sharpshooter's jacket, there are others whose owner was a sharpshooter, but this jacket with the green cuffs, collar and sharpshooter's badge was made specifically for the unit. Unfortunately/fortunately the jacket was captured/picked up off the battlefield and sent North. Unfortunately, because there was no unit ID, fortunately because it was preserved in impeccable condition. The coat was found in a trunk with period military papers completed wrapped, in brown wrapping paper and stored in such a way as to save from insect damage.

The coat is made of English Army Cloth, has US general service buttons, osnaburg lining and belt loops, though I feel that the belt loops are actually the epaulets detached from the shoulder and resewn to the rear waist area. The red heart sharpshooter's badge is still fairly vibrant and there is no doubt in my mind that there will be plenty red hearts soon to be sewn on jackets in the re-enactment community!

Photos removed per request
 
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Billw12280

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To my knowledge, this is the only known Southern Sharpshooter's jacket, there are others whose owner was a sharpshooter, but this jacket with the green cuffs, collar and sharpshooter's badge was made specifically for the unit. Unfortunately/fortunately the jacket was captured/picked up off the battlefield and sent North. Unfortunately, because there was no unit ID, fortunately because it was preserved in impeccable condition. The coat was found in a trunk with period military papers completed wrapped, in brown wrapping paper and stored in such a way as to save from insect damage.

The coat is made of English Army Cloth, has US general service buttons, osnaburg lining and belt loops, though I feel that the belt loops are actually the epaulets detached from the shoulder and resewn to the rear waist area. The red heart sharpshooter's badge is still fairly vibrant and there is no doubt in my mind that there will be plenty red hearts soon to be sewn on jackets in the re-enactment community!

View attachment 318340View attachment 318341View attachment 318342View attachment 318343
That is a beautiful jacket, I don't think I have ever seen one like it. Great find, thanks for sharing!
 
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lelliott19

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Wow! That is killer! Thanks for sharing it!

What is the heart made of? It's probably felt, but it looks almost like suede.

I think you're right about the belt loops. Im guessing if they had been sewn on in that location originally, it would have been done before the lining was sewn in? Are they the same shape and size of epaulets that would have been on that kind of jacket?
 

AUG

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Thank you for sharing!

Badges were worn by the sharpshooter battalions in the Army of Northern Virginia, so I assume that this jacket belonged to one of them. Each brigade's sharpshooter battalion had their own badge. Most of these were ad-hoc units, consisting of soldiers from across the brigade who remained in their original regiment until formed up when called upon, so they wore these badges to distinguish themselves.

The only other surviving badge I'm aware of is that worn by Pvt. Henry A. Wise of Co. B, 2nd Maryland Infantry.

Sharpshooter badge.jpg
 
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AUG

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Thank you for sharing!

Badges were worn by the sharpshooter battalions in the Army of Northern Virginia, so I assume that this jacket belonged to one of them. Each brigade's sharpshooter battalion had their own badge. Most of these were ad-hoc units, consisting of soldiers from across the brigade who remained in their original regiment until formed up when called upon, so they wore these badges to distinguish themselves.

The only other surviving badge I'm aware of is that worn by Pvt. Henry A. Wise of Co. B, 2nd Maryland Infantry.

View attachment 318362
Fred L. Ray says in his book on sharpshooter battalions in the ANV, Shock Troops of the Confederacy, p. 285:

Major Eugene Blackford authorized his men to wear "a little red trefoil shaped piece of flannel" on their breast as an identifying badge. North Carolina sharpshooters under General William McRae sewed a gold cross on their left sleeve along with the names of the battles in which each had fought; other Tarheel units wore a red cross on their sleeves. One of McGowan's men, William McGill, described the sharpshooters as "privileged characters," and noted that they were identified by "a red band running diagonally across the left elbow with a red star just above the band." This badge, he claimed, "would pass the sharpshooter anywhere." The only such insignia to actually survive is that of Private Henry A. Wise of Company B, Second Maryland Battalion (part of Archer's brigade). It consists of a black octagonal wool patch about 1-1/2 inches across, evidently worn on the pocket, overlaid with an irregular red wool quatrefoil insignia. The Confederate practice differed from that of the British, who allowed their best shots to wear identifying insignia. The Confederate badge signified not a soldier's ability to shoot so much as his membership in an elite unit, similar to modern badges like ranger tabs, airborne wings, and shoulder patches.​
 
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Package4

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Fred L. Ray says in his book on sharpshooter battalions in the ANV, Shock Troops of the Confederacy, p. 285:

Major Eugene Blackford authorized his men to wear "a little red trefoil shaped piece of flannel" on their breast as an identifying badge. North Carolina sharpshooters under General William McRae sewed a gold cross on their left sleeve along with the names of the battles in which each had fought; other Tarheel units wore a red cross on their sleeves. One of McGowan's men, William McGill, described the sharpshooters as "privileged characters," and noted that they were identified by "a red band running diagonally across the left elbow with a red star just above the band." This badge, he claimed, "would pass the sharpshooter anywhere." The only such insignia to actually survive is that of Private Henry A. Wise of Company B, Second Maryland Battalion (part of Archer's brigade). It consists of a black octagonal wool patch about 1-1/2 inches across, evidently worn on the pocket, overlaid with an irregular red wool quatrefoil insignia. The Confederate practice differed from that of the British, who allowed their best shots to wear identifying insignia. The Confederate badge signified not a soldier's ability to shoot so much as his membership in an elite unit, similar to modern badges like ranger tabs, airborne wings, and shoulder patches.​
That is a very good book and informative, I-might have to re-read. The surviving badge of Wise is here in Maryland at the Maryland Historical Society. I have been very lucky to have studied it in detail.
 

Package4

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Wow! That is killer! Thanks for sharing it!

What is the heart made of? It's probably felt, but it looks almost like suede.

I think you're right about the belt loops. Im guessing if they had been sewn on in that location originally, it would have been done before the lining was sewn in? Are they the same shape and size of epaulets that would have been on that kind of jacket?
It is felt, the loops are the size and shape of epaulets on type II RD jackets, but this jacket doesn’t appear to be a RD though.
 
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Rusk County Avengers

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To my knowledge, this is the only known Southern Sharpshooter's jacket, there are others whose owner was a sharpshooter, but this jacket with the green cuffs, collar and sharpshooter's badge was made specifically for the unit. Unfortunately/fortunately the jacket was captured/picked up off the battlefield and sent North. Unfortunately, because there was no unit ID, fortunately because it was preserved in impeccable condition. The coat was found in a trunk with period military papers completed wrapped, in brown wrapping paper and stored in such a way as to save from insect damage.

The coat is made of English Army Cloth, has US general service buttons, osnaburg lining and belt loops, though I feel that the belt loops are actually the epaulets detached from the shoulder and resewn to the rear waist area. The red heart sharpshooter's badge is still fairly vibrant and there is no doubt in my mind that there will be plenty red hearts soon to be sewn on jackets in the re-enactment community!

View attachment 318340View attachment 318341View attachment 318342View attachment 318343
That is beyond awesome! Not to mention very unusual on some parts of it. Dang it, and curse you! Now I got to get some English Army cloth and add green cloth to the list. I want one!

I wonder where that jacket came from. No center back seam, two belt loops, (if they are purpose made belt loops that is) and the general shape looks nothing like Richmond Depot. Very interesting jacket! You wouldn't happen to have more pictures by chance?
 
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Package4

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Very Nice jacket. Its it now in your collection? BTW got a chance to hangout with LP and the Golden Boy this weekend. Wish you could have made it.
Unfortunately I was too late on this one, but was allowed the pictures through a friend. Glad you were able to hang out with those two, Richmond was great spending time with them as well!
 

Package4

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That is beyond awesome! Not to mention very unusual on some parts of it. Dang it, and curse you! Now I got to get some English Army cloth and add green cloth to the list. I want one!

I wonder where that jacket came from. No center back seam, two belt loops, (if they are purpose made belt loops that is) and the general shape looks nothing like Richmond Depot. Very interesting jacket! You wouldn't happen to have more pictures by chance?
I do and will post them after I send them to Les Jensen as promised during the Richmond show. Hopefully later today, work just seems to mess things up...…..
 
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Rusk County Avengers

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Thanks, I'm sure a good and proper look over by Les Jensen is the prudent thing to do. As for myself, I just look forward to the possibility of seeing detailed pictures of certain areas. Very interesting jacket.
 
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