German Roman helmet?

major bill

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#1
I have posted on this subject before but though with new people in the forum I might get additional thoughts.
I am interested in Michigan Militia Civil War era uniforms and would like to understand this unit's uniform better. German immigrants made up a large part of the Michigan Militia at the start of the Civil War. The Michigan Uniformed Militia uniform regulations required U.S. Army style uniforms in either blue or grey. For some reason this "German" company defied regulations and selected their own uniforms. I have a feeling that this was because they desired to wear a German style uniform. The following description may or may not describe a German style uniforms. I am not sure what the term "Roman helmet" (The headgear was a helmet with a long feather.Another report indicates that their jackets were rifle green and the men wore ‘Roman’ helmets) meant during this period. I know some German States wore helmets in this time frame, but I would not call any of their helmets "Roman". I would like to state that they wore German style uniforms, but I think the evidence is lacking. The following is cut from my data base on the company.


The Yager Guards a.k.a. The Yagers a.k.a. the Jagers, named changed to the Detroit Yagers in May of 1861 (Detroit, Wayne County) was formed by a group of local German-American citizens. They elected A. Lingeman as captain and he served in that capacity from 1853 to 1865. The Yager Guards maintained an armory at 67 Gratiot Street and their Yager Hall was on Gratiot Street between Elmwood Cemetery and Chêne Street.

They wore ‘very tasteful’ uniforms of green coats and blue pants. The headgear was a helmet with a long feather. Another report indicates that their jackets were rifle green and the men wore ‘Roman’ helmets and were armed with rifles and daggers. Several newspaper articles provide additional uniform information.

One of these articles indicated their uniforms were exceedingly handsome.[ii] Another article from this period calls their uniforms “full dress’ uniforms. The Detroit Daily Free Presson June 14 1859 also described them as wearing dress uniforms.[iii] These reports may indicate that their uniforms were rather showy. Another interpretation is that they also had fatigue uniforms or wore their uniforms in a less ‘full dress’ manner. During the summer of 1858, they wore white pants: white pants were common at this time and many companies in many Detroit wore white pants during hot weather.

In 1859, they returned their State owned muskets and withdrew from the Michigan Uniformed Militia. Thereafter, they continued as an independent militia company. They and other Michigan Uniformed Militia companies of German heritage sever their relationship with the Michigan Uniformed Militia due to their belief that the State was discriminating against companies of German heritage. Withdrawing from the Michigan Uniformed Militia should not be misconstrued as a lack of commitment or an indication of poor performance. The local newspapers continued to report on them in a positive light.

During the Civil War, the Yager Guards functioned as a home guard company. The company met the first Wednesday of each month and was rather active, marching in parades, providing crowd control, and other such activities. Whether they continued to wear their 1853 pre-war green jacket uniforms or adopted a new style is not known.

They had their own band, which was called the Yager Brass Band. No information on the band’s uniforms has yet been discovered. They often employed the (Detroit) City Band for parades and such.



(I) 1861 Johnston’s Detroit City Directory and Advertising Gazetteer of Michigan, H. Bains & Co. Detroit, 1861, reel 1, U.S. City Directories 1861-1881, Detroit, MI.

[ii] “Military Parade”, Detroit Free Press, July 6 1853, p. 3, col. 1.

[iii] “Military Parade”, The Detroit Free Press,June 14 1859, p. 1, col. 1.
 
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#2
got any pictures or drawings? i know what roman helmets are, but those are not german. jäger means hunter. german jäger-units (light inf) were drawn from foresters (green jackets, modern german jäger units have green berets) and brought their own rifled guns. they did not fight as line inf like the cw-infantry of both sides. there were big berets with feathers in some units.
 
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#3
this is a bavarian jägerhelm, with some fantasy you could call it kinda roman and the green thing on the right (called a huppe) showing the waffenfarbe could go as a strange feather

edit: this type of helmet is called raupenhelm

i nicked the photo from http://www.kaisersbunker.com/dunkelblau/helmets/dbh65.htm

it is in english

dbh65.jpg
 
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major bill

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#4
I though it might help if I showed a "German" company who wore uniforms that complied with the Michigan Uniformed Militia uniform regulations.


The German Rifles a.k.a. Grand Rapids Rifles a.k.a. the German Military Company (Grand Rapids, Kent County) were formed in 1859 and ranked in Class II of the Michigan Uniformed Militia and were 2nd in merit in that class. As their name indicated they were known as a German company. They were part of the 2nd Battalion, 51st Regiment. They had maintained an armory above the J. W. Peirce store on Canal Street. In 1859, they had rifled muskets and 1 six-pound brass cannon.

The German Rifles originally carried musketoons. In 1858, they were issued black cartridge boxes and cap-pouches. At the same time bayonet-sheaths and belt plates were issued. New noncommissioned officer swords were likely issued as well. In 1861 they had replaced the musketoons with muskets. The state provided them not only with 40 rifle muskets, but also gave then a six-pound brass cannon.

Their uniforms were they were said to be ‘splendid’ and reportedly very neat, had green trim. The Grand Rapids Daily Eagle provides additional details Their dress exhibits much taste and neatness” and gives the uniforms as blue cloth coat and cadet gray pants with green trimming. They wore regulation cap with a green band and pompom. Officers wore green fountain plumes.[ii] “The Michigan Adjutant General’s Report of 1860 confirms that they wore blue uniforms but does not indicate they wore gray trousers.

Many of men joined the Michigan Union Guards (formed by Captain Lucius Patterson in Grand Rapids after the start of the Civil War) who became Company F, 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry and were issued the same gray uniforms as the Valley City Guards. For additional information on this uniform see chapter 3.

The German Band, a.k.a. The Grand Rapids German Brass Band (Grand Rapids, Kent County) was often with the German Rifles during parades and such but; it is not clear how closely the band was associated with the German Rifles. The Grand Rapids German Band reportedly wore neat uniforms, but these uniforms are never described.[iii]



“Grand Rapids Rifles”, Grand Rapids Daily Eagle, October 9 1859, p. 3, col. 2.

[ii] “The Annual Inspection of the 1st Battalion 51st M.M. at Grand Rapids”, Grand Rapids Daily Eagle, October 12 1859, p.1, col.1-2. Military Inspection, Grand Rapids Daily Eagle, October 10 1859, p. 1, col. 1.

[iii] “The Fourth”, Grand Rapids Enquirer and Herald, July 6 1860, p. 3, col. 2.
 
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#5
i saw that other post - just compare it to my avatar :wavespin: it's bavarian cav. but from 1800 onwards all bavarian troops wore these helmets

the black part on top of the helmet (called a raupe) has a military reason it's supossed to deflect saber cuts - roman helmets (dress configuration) have feathers there
 

major bill

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#6
Sadly there are no photos or drawings. I wore an article about Michigan Civil War Militia uniforms and wanted to say they wore German style uniforms but only said what I already posted. Some "German" units in other states wore German style uniforms but I did not have enough information to make a judgement. The green coats were not allowed by regulation and I have no information why they risked losing their share of the state militia fund by selection non regulation uniforms. Note they dropped out of the Michigan Uniformed Militia and became an independent company.
 

major bill

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#7
Some U.S. militia companies were wearing a style of militia helmet with tall metal combs with horse hair plumes attached. These would better fit the term "Roman" helmet" and this be what this unit wore. Part of my problem why the green coats? This makes me think they wore German style uniforms, but I have no proof.
 

major bill

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This German unit is from my home town. They were the first or one of the first Michigan Militia companies to offer their service to put down the rebellions when they offered to service in January of 1861. This "German" company wore Michigan regulation uniforms and probably is more representative of the German/American militia companies in Michigan.
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The Williams’ Artillery, a.k.a. Company c, Williams’ Battalion a.k.a. the German Company a.k.a. the German Artillery of Lansing (Lansing, Ingham County) formed in 1859; they ranked in Class III of the Michigan Uniformed Militia. They were named for Colonel A.S. Williams who later became the commander of the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Captain Jacob Weber took twenty men to the 1860 Michigan Uniformed Militia encampment being held in Jackson, having replace the original commander, Captain D. F. Rath. In 1860, they had 1 six-pound brass cannon with caisson. Their pre-war weapons were sidearms (swords) and musquetoons. Captain J. Weber was still the company commander at the start of the Civil War. The Michigan Quartermaster’s Report of 1861 has them with 20 musketoons, 6 revolvers, 20 sabers and 1 six-pound brass cannon with carriage and limber complete.

The 1860 Michigan Adjutant Generals Report tells us that their uniforms were blue. A September 1 1860 a Detroit Free Press article adds additional uniform information. According to the Detroit Free Press, the William’s German Light Artillery wore uniforms comprised of blue coats and pants trimmed with red. The article said they wore blue regulation caps. On the coats, they had state buttons.http://civilwartalk.com/file:///K:/Randy%201/new%20bbok/Mar%202010%20%20Mich%20uniforms%20APR%202011%20l.doc#_edn1 This article may indicate that they wore uniforms based on U.S. Army Artillery uniforms consisting of blue frock coats with red trim and Ringgold light artillery caps. In 1861 they reformed as the Williams’ Light Infantry.

They were one of the first companies in the State to offer their services to the federal government which they did in January of 1861 before the start of the Civil War.


http://civilwartalk.com/file:///K:/Randy%201/new%20bbok/Mar%202010%20%20Mich%20uniforms%20APR%202011%20l.doc#_ednref1 “The Encampment at Jackson”, Detroit Daily Advertiser, August 30, 1860, p. 1, col.1.

Apparently this article misidentifies this unit as the William’s Light Infantry but gives the uniform being worn as the same as William’s German Light Artillery.
 

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#12
Based on your description, it sounds like the German Rifles a.k.a. Grand RapidsRifles a.k.a. the German Military Company (Grand Rapids, Kent County) wore shakos.
 

major bill

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Yes you are right. About the only militia helmets I see at the start of the Civil War were either light cavalry style helmets worn by mounted units or German style pointed helmets worn by infantry units. I have seen a few home guard companies that were also fire companies and they wore helmets as well but I have seen not seen any photos and think they many have worn one of the fireman style helmets.
 

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#17
german tschakos are normally police and don't have feathers like the french
I am very familiar with German uniforms of this time period.

The following description very much sounds like shakos:

"They wore regulation cap with a green band and pompom. Officers wore green fountain plumes."
 

major bill

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#18
Based on your description, it sounds like the German Rifles a.k.a. Grand RapidsRifles a.k.a. the German Military Company (Grand Rapids, Kent County) wore shakos.
You might be right, however some Michigan militia companies wore their pom poms on ridged forage style caps. I will probably never know for sure unless a photo is discovered. I found a photo from that area that looked promising, but the women in the photograph wore dresses consistent with early 1880s dresses. and I think the kepis were more of the 1872 style.
 
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#19
I am very familiar with German uniforms of this time period.

The following description very much sounds like shakos:

"They wore regulation cap with a green band and pompom. Officers wore green fountain plumes."
there is no such thing as a german uniform from that time - there was no unified germany
every royal bavarian chevauleger regiment had a different uniform - military tschakos were like the napoleonic ones but abandones around the befreiungskriege (getting rid of said napoleon). bavaria was the only country/kingdom with a regular helmet for all troops.

so what regulation means depends on whom they are (oops)

edit: as i read that they wore more or less american stuff with german waffenfarbe aplikations green=jäger - that cap seems american
 
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major bill

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#20
To help those forum members who are less knowledgeable about Civil War uniforms, perhaps this will help you follow the thread. This is an example of what some people called "German' uniforms. They were not exact copies of any German state's uniforms. This is the 41st New York volunteer Infantry Regiment (De Kalb Regiment, or 2nd Yaeger Regiment) ca. 1861-1865. Note the officer in the foreground wears what modern uniform researches would call a U.S. Civil War German style officer frock coat. Details include the coat skirts that are much shorter than those on an normal officer frock coat and the wide flare to the coat's skirts.

german u.jpg
 



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