General Custer's "Ranger Green" corduroy uniform, April 1865

Leigh Cole

Private
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
Monroe, MI
If it had not been for my friend, Steve Alexander, aka General Custer, telling me, I may not have noticed. But sure enough, in several books, this uniform is sourced. I will use Kinsley's book, "Favor the Bold" for the source here. It came up in conversation today with him, and I thought the members here might be interested in this rather unknown uniform of Custer's.
Here is the excerpt from "Favor the Bold":
"Distinguished looking, white mustached Major General Joseph B. Kershaw, sword in hand, admired his victor: lithe, tall, sinewy figuremin tight-fitting olive-green corduroy ranger's outfit and scarlet neckerchief..."
Custer would accept the surrender of Ewell, Major General George Washington Custis Lee, and others while wearing this uniform.

Here is a photo of Steve Alexander wearing the green uniform at a past reenactment.
.
CUSTER green uniform.jpg
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
If it had not been for my friend, Steve Alexander, aka General Custer, telling me, I may not have noticed. But sure enough, in several books, this uniform is sourced. I will use Kinsley's book, "Favor the Bold" for the source here. It came up in conversation today with him, and I thought the members here might be interested in this rather unknown uniform of Custer's.
Here is the excerpt from "Favor the Bold":
"Distinguished looking, white mustached Major General Joseph B. Kershaw, sword in hand, admired his victor: lithe, tall, sinewy figuremin tight-fitting olive-green corduroy ranger's outfit and scarlet neckerchief..."
Custer would accept the surrender of Ewell, Major General George Washington Custis Lee, and others while wearing this uniform.

Here is a photo of Steve Alexander wearing the green uniform at a past reenactment.
.View attachment 398417
And the horse is handsome too!
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
If it had not been for my friend, Steve Alexander, aka General Custer, telling me, I may not have noticed. But sure enough, in several books, this uniform is sourced. I will use Kinsley's book, "Favor the Bold" for the source here. It came up in conversation today with him, and I thought the members here might be interested in this rather unknown uniform of Custer's.
Here is the excerpt from "Favor the Bold":
"Distinguished looking, white mustached Major General Joseph B. Kershaw, sword in hand, admired his victor: lithe, tall, sinewy figuremin tight-fitting olive-green corduroy ranger's outfit and scarlet neckerchief..."
Custer would accept the surrender of Ewell, Major General George Washington Custis Lee, and others while wearing this uniform.

Here is a photo of Steve Alexander wearing the green uniform at a past reenactment.
.View attachment 398417
This sort of minor detail is one reason I love CW history. Thanks for sharing.! Great find and thank you for posting
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
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Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
If it had not been for my friend, Steve Alexander, aka General Custer, telling me, I may not have noticed. But sure enough, in several books, this uniform is sourced. I will use Kinsley's book, "Favor the Bold" for the source here. It came up in conversation today with him, and I thought the members here might be interested in this rather unknown uniform of Custer's.
Here is the excerpt from "Favor the Bold":
"Distinguished looking, white mustached Major General Joseph B. Kershaw, sword in hand, admired his victor: lithe, tall, sinewy figuremin tight-fitting olive-green corduroy ranger's outfit and scarlet neckerchief..."
Custer would accept the surrender of Ewell, Major General George Washington Custis Lee, and others while wearing this uniform.

Here is a photo of Steve Alexander wearing the green uniform at a past reenactment.
.View attachment 398417
I wonder if any of the very many photos of Curly show him in this distinctive dress? Since they're all B&W it's certainly possible that some we "think" we know are actually this or another of his sometimes bizarre affectations. I'd opine that Alexander's version is possibly a bit too light and faded-looking and that the original may have been more of a hunter green - like Berdan's sharpshooters - the color of which would be even harder to detect, especially in photographs.
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
I suspect that the uniform shown is probably deeper green in person, seems to be a photo taken with unusual lighting conditions (flash? Rainy day?) a while back so the colors look more washed out than they actually are in person.
 

Leigh Cole

Private
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
Monroe, MI
I wonder if any of the very many photos of Curly show him in this distinctive dress? Since they're all B&W it's certainly possible that some we "think" we know are actually this or another of his sometimes bizarre affectations. I'd opine that Alexander's version is possibly a bit too light and faded-looking and that the original may have been more of a hunter green - like Berdan's sharpshooters - the color of which would be even harder to detect, especially in photographs.
Notice the description in the nook. Ranger green and tight fitting. Next time I see Steve I’ll ask what other sources there are. I guess there are a few. But if Steve has it, I’d believe him.
I know of no one who knows the General better.
This sort of minor detail is one reason I love CW history. Thanks for sharing.! Great find and thank you for posting
you are very welcome!
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
The British used the term "Ranger" before and during the American Revolution era. If this was the Civil War meaning of Ranger uniform we are talking about a short jacket. I am not sure in this instance this is what Ranger uniform indicates. I am not sure if at that time there was a color known as Ranger green. Years before the Civil War the "Rifle" regiments of the U.S. army wore green uniforms but I am not certain these Rifle regiments were often referred to as "Rangers". Ranger was also a term used for frontier militia that patrolled a boarder area but these militia soldiers did not wear green uniforms. Ranger was also used for frontiersmen of Irish decent that patrolled the areas around where they lived. They would have worn civilian clothing or hunter's garb but probably not of green.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
When I hear "ranger green " I think of Roger's Rangers from the French and Indian War . Many were issued short green jackets though some were dressed in civilian clothing.

I would guess many people think of Roger's Rangers when the hear "Ranger green". However, the French and Indian War occurred over 100 years before the Civil War and uniforms had changed so much in that 100 years that I am not sure if many Civil War era people even understood the uniforms worn by Roger's Rangers.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
The British rifle uniform was a dark, dark green, and I think would have been more familiar to people of the 1860s.

I think you might be right on this one. Most of the Civil War era green uniforms I have seen were "German" style green short frock coats with gray or light blue trousers. These "German" Jager inspired uniforms were some what popular with pre-war militia companies made of of "German" immigrants. In many cites in the North and South people would have seen this style of uniform being worn in parades and so many people would have been familiar with this type of green uniform.

So I would believe that during the Civil War era we would have four possibilities for green inspired uniforms: 1) "German" Yagers, 2) British rifles, 3) U.S. rifle regiments of the 1820s-1830s, 4) Units showing their Irish heritage by wearing green jackets.

I have also seen pre-war mounted militia units wearing green coats and jackets. I have never been sure where these green mounted jackets and coats came from. Some Napoleonic era mounted troops wore green coats as did some Mexican mounted units during the Mexican American War. There wear some German states during the Civil War era who wore green jackets or coats.
 
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