First Sergeant Frock coat

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
It's been a while since I've posted anything but I recently acquired the nicest piece of history I've had the pleasure of being the caretaker for and I had to share it with you all. This enlisted frock coat is said to be the same coat pictured in the Time Life book Echoes of Glory The Arms and Equipment of the Union. I bought it from Allen Wandling from Midwest Civil War Relics, he has some amazing pieces and if you have not seen his website I recommend taking a look. His prices are on the higher side but so is the quality of his relics and he was great to work with so well worth the price IMHO. I've always been of the mind something is only worth what a person is willing to pay for it.

Mr. Wandling stated the coat was from the Schuylkill Arsenal and is one of only 3 or 4 known examples. The coat has a lot of hand stitching throughout which, I believe, is a common trait for uniforms from the S.A. The buttonholes are very nicely done, at first glance they looked to be machine sewn but they are in fact hand stitched. The sleeves are lined in plaid (also a trait of the S.A.?). The coat has the blue piping, signifying infantry, that lines the collar and comes to a point on the sleeve cuffs. As is usual for enlisted coats the only body lining is in the chest area, however unusual for a enlisted frock, is the presence of the 2 breast pockets. The coat is unhemmed and has the hook and eyelets on the skirt and also has the tail pockets. There are no markings that I have seen. The collar appears to have been lowered so I believe the coat saw some field use although probably not much due to it's excellent condition. My bathroom is currently being remodeled so I have not put the coat on a mannequin for display but I snapped a few pictures while there is not a lot of work being done and the dust has settled a bit. I will be displaying it with my NCO sword and baldric and, hopefully an NCO sword sash if I can find one for sale. I will post more pictures once I get the display finished. I would be thrilled if our uniform experts could provide more details about the coat. If more pictures are needed let me know what you would like to see and I will post them.
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Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Thank you for sharing these photographs. This is a real nice frock coat.
No problem, I really enjoy sharing things on this site. I know you all appreciate the relics as much as I do. It is a very nice coat, when I saw it I knew I had to add it to my collection and I am very glad I did.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
It's been a while since I've posted anything but I recently acquired the nicest piece of history I've had the pleasure of being the caretaker for and I had to share it with you all. This enlisted frock coat is said to be the same coat pictured in the Time Life book Echoes of Glory The Arms and Equipment of the Union. I bought it from Allen Wandling from Midwest Civil War Relics, he has some amazing pieces and if you have not seen his website I recommend taking a look. His prices are on the higher side but so is the quality of his relics and he was great to work with so well worth the price IMHO. I've always been of the mind something is only worth what a person is willing to pay for it.

Mr. Wandling stated the coat was from the Schuylkill Arsenal and is one of only 3 or 4 known examples. The coat has a lot of hand stitching throughout which, I believe, is a common trait for uniforms from the S.A. The buttonholes are very nicely done, at first glance they looked to be machine sewn but they are in fact hand stitched. The sleeves are lined in plaid (also a trait of the S.A.?). The coat has the blue piping, signifying infantry, that lines the collar and comes to a point on the sleeve cuffs. As is usual for enlisted coats the only body lining is in the chest area, however unusual for a enlisted frock, is the presence of the 2 breast pockets. The coat is unhemmed and has the hook and eyelets on the skirt and also has the tail pockets. There are no markings that I have seen. The collar appears to have been lowered so I believe the coat saw some field use although probably not much due to it's excellent condition. My bathroom is currently being remodeled so I have not put the coat on a mannequin for display but I snapped a few pictures while there is not a lot of work being done and the dust has settled a bit. I will be displaying it with my NCO sword and baldric and, hopefully an NCO sword sash if I can find one for sale. I will post more pictures once I get the display finished. I would be thrilled if our uniform experts could provide more details about the coat. If more pictures are needed let me know what you would like to see and I will post them.
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I’ll not comment on Mr. Wandling other than to say “trust, but verify”. There are actually quite a few Schuylkill Arsenal frocks around, in fact there is a beautiful one that is unissued complete with paper tag.

Examined and documented Schuylkill coats will be completely hand stitched and why not, they employed a virtual army of seamstresses many, whose husbands, were away at war, deceased or wounded. The sleeve linings are indicative of the Philadelphia arsenal, they were infamous for piecing left over shirting and wool, in fact they were instrumental in canteen coverings of all different hues, of scrap.

Your coat is a wonderful and very nice example of an noncommissioned officers and once resided in the famous Stamatelo collection until divorce forced its sale. Many pieces in the Time Life Union Echoes volume were from that collection, you might get additional information from the Horse Soldier, since they were the outlet who sold the majority of the collection.

The very famous Stone jacket is one example of Schuylkill manufacture and is completely lined with identical material as your sleeve lining, it too was once in the Stamatelo collection.

I was lucky to acquire three of those pieces, just remember “trust, but verify”, not all is as it seems.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Thank you all for the comments.. It is an amazing coat and I'm very happy with it. I was curious about the statement about only 3 or 4 being known, I assumed he was referring to ones with the 1st Sgt chevrons but never did verify with him. @Package4 thank you for the lead on getting additional information from the Horse Soldier, I will reach out to them to see if they have information on this coat. Is there anything else you see with the coat that I have missed or should look for?
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Thank you all for the comments.. It is an amazing coat and I'm very happy with it. I was curious about the statement about only 3 or 4 being known, I assumed he was referring to ones with the 1st Sgt chevrons but never did verify with him. @Package4 thank you for the lead on getting additional information from the Horse Soldier, I will reach out to them to see if they have information on this coat. Is there anything else you see with the coat that I have missed or should look for?
Not saying that they sold this, but they sold a very large part of the collection. I guess if you narrowed it to Schuylkill 1st Sgt coats I would agree, but there are more than a few 1st Sgt coats out there that I am aware. Ask for Wes when you call them and they will put you in contact, during COVID-19, he is rarely in the store.

I am very happy for you, this is quite a beautiful and rare specimen!
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Not saying that they sold this, but they sold a very large part of the collection. I guess if you narrowed it to Schuylkill 1st Sgt coats I would agree, but there are more than a few 1st Sgt coats out there that I am aware. Ask for Wes when you call them and they will put you in contact, during COVID-19, he is rarely in the store.

I am very happy for you, this is quite a beautiful and rare specimen!
It's definitely worth checking with them, hopefully they did sell it and can give me more details.

Thanks again, it took me a while to find the right piece that spoke to me and this one did. It's wonderful to have such a nice uniform piece and I can't wait to get my display together.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
It's definitely worth checking with them, hopefully they did sell it and can give me more details.

Thanks again, it took me a while to find the right piece that spoke to me and this one did. It's wonderful to have such a nice uniform piece and I can't wait to get my display together.
Now, the real rarity will be finding the trousers! Years ago I passed on a uniform I'd to a Vermont 1st Sgt, complete with frock, trousers and forage cap. I just didn't know enough to pull the trigger, well a dealer we both know, did so and I ended up with the forage cap, purchased from him, he sold the pants for more than the entire grouping was originally purchased!

Vermont state issue did not have the light blue trim on the frock and the trousers were dark blue with the sgt's stripe, it is a shame it was parted out. At the time I did not have the knowledge to make the purchase........
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
I do have a pair of trousers with SGT stripes but they are post war. I've been told they date anywhere from early 1870s-1890s but they do look nice (1st 2 pictures). I also have another pair that were said to be early war Massachusetts trousers but they have the narrower corporal stripe.
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Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Now, the real rarity will be finding the trousers! Years ago I passed on a uniform I'd to a Vermont 1st Sgt, complete with frock, trousers and forage cap. I just didn't know enough to pull the trigger, well a dealer we both know, did so and I ended up with the forage cap, purchased from him, he sold the pants for more than the entire grouping was originally purchased!

Vermont state issue did not have the light blue trim on the frock and the trousers were dark blue with the sgt's stripe, it is a shame it was parted out. At the time I did not have the knowledge to make the purchase........
Hindsight is always 20/20 I guess. I'm sorry you missed out on that grouping. I missed an opportunity to purchase a Sgt's Sack coat a couple of years ago, it ended up being sold to the Fort Worth Civil War Museum. I kick myself all the time for not pulling the trigger on it.

Another dealer currently has a LT. frock coat that has shadows on the sleeves where 1st Sgt. Chevrons were removed. It is also missing the light blue trim but is attributed to the 52nd Massachusetts. I was curious why it would be missing the trim and thought maybe it was just a private purchase coat.
 
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