Gettysburg movie questions

MikeyB

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Rewatched the movie recently (in stunning HD!) and had a couple of uniform questions.
1) Was Buford's uniform historically accurate? And if so, did he have a custom jacket? His uniform 1) Looked to be a lighter shade of blue compared to the rest of his brigade and 2) he didn't have yellow shoulder straps and his stars were on a blue infantry like backdrop.

2) Longstreet's uniform (see picture) appears to be much closer to "blue" then "grey", especially when you compare it to Major Taylor's in the background. Was this correct? Neither of these (i don't think) are butternut, so was that later in the war, or more for the rank and file?

20210610_164515.jpg
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Supposedly, actor Sam Elliott did a little research of his own and decided that a sack coat was what he wanted to wear. I don't know who was contracted to supply the uniforms or whether the one he wore was provided by them or purchased separately, but just like at the time, different suppliers usually accounted for differences in things like cut and shade of color.
 

Booklady

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
How did any of them wear those things in the heat of a Pennsylvania July?! 😓

ETA: Doh. It probably wasn't filmed in July, so the actors didn't have to. But the real soldiers did.
 

RedRover

Corporal
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
The book Union army uniforms at Gettysburg is pretty good.
Winey, Union Army Uniforms of Gettysburg/Amazon

Also, same author's volume on CSA uniforms at Gettysburg..
Winey, Confederate uniforms at Gettysburg/Amazon

Regarding Gen. Buford: From the Union volume mentioned above I recall reference to Buford wearing a pleated front "hunting shirt" at Gettysburg, as he is depicted on the monument there:

1624560067929.png


Likely blue, (I can't remember the exact description from the book). During the war CSA Gen. S.B. Buckner wore a similar garment in gray which shows the style:
1624560476932.png


Winey also gives comments from veteran officers regarding the production of the cyclorama; I recall quoting Gen. W.S. Hancock to the artists that no uniform sashes should be depicted, etc.

Gen. Longstreet:
Here's a drawing of Gen. Longstreet, evidently with his signature, from his wife's book "Lee and Longstreet at High Tide..." (Gettysburg).
1624560682238.png


Regarding the Longstreet wardrobe in the movie, I suspect that the choice of hat was in part to draw attention off of the fake beard, etc. However, there is a theory that all popular-culture copies itself... and "Gettysburg" is a movie after all.

1624561007222.png
1624561100155.png
1624561147223.png


Confederate officers frequently wore regulation uniform (cadet gray) in the field, but many dressed as they pleased... as did many of their men.

Col. Freemantle described Pender's Division just before Gettysburg:

" The soldiers of this division are a remarkably fine body of men, and look quite seasoned and ready for any work. Their clothing is serviceable, so also are their boots; but there is the usual utter absence of uniformity as to color and shape of their garments and hats: gray of all shades, and brown clothing, with felt hats predominate. The Confederate troops are now entirely armed with excellent rifles, mostly Enfields. When they first turned out they were in the habit of wearing numerous revolvers and bowie-knives. General Lee is said to have mildly remarked: "Gentlemen, I think you will find an Enfield rifle, a bayonet, and sixty rounds of ammunition, as much as you can conveniently carry in the way of arms." They laughed, and thought they knew better; but the six-shooters and bowie-knives gradually disappeared; and now none are to be seen among the infantry."

Here is another A.C. Redwood illustration of his outfit at Gettysburg, the 55th VA:
1624648142849.png



J. Marshall,
Hernando, FL.
 
Last edited:

RedRover

Corporal
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Supposedly, actor Sam Elliott did a little research of his own and decided that a sack coat was what he wanted to wear. I don't know who was contracted to supply the uniforms or whether the one he wore was provided by them or purchased separately, but just like at the time, different suppliers usually accounted for differences in things like cut and shade of color.
I seem to recall that the sutlery called "Grand Illusions" was employed by the production to some extent. A distant memory, but I saw their setup at a reenactment after the movie came out, with some of the prop-clothing displayed prominently.

J. Marshall,
Hernando, FL.
 

Zack

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
I don't think we're allowed to post images of modern paintings but if we go with the adage that Troiani does his homework he depicts Longstreet in a grayer uniform in his "Decision at Dawn" painting. Maritato does as well in his study of Longstreet at Gettysburg.

As for shades of Buford's uniform, I'd imagine hard riding and lots of sun would fade the uniform over time.
 

RedRover

Corporal
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Figured as much. Nice pics though.
In the 2nd image, Gen. Buford appears to be wearing a double breasted sack coat;
1624582005564.png


The shoulder-strap are non-regulation, and appear rather simple:
1624582091695.png


the pattern of this sack coat appears to be similar to that worn by General Meade in this image:

1624582291681.png


However, again, General Buford in the field at Gettysburg evidently wore a blue hunting shirt:

1624582426159.png

From Gen. Theo. F. Rodenbough's "Medal of Honor" (1886). Rodenbough commanded the 2nd US Cavalry in Buford's 1st Division in the Gettysburg campaign.

here is an officer of the 2nd Rhode Island wearing such a hunting shirt...
1624582820848.png


and a better image of the depiction on Buford's Gettysburg monument, dedicated in July, 1895;

1624582890226.png




J. Marshall,
Hernando, FL.
 

RedRover

Corporal
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Here's a camp photo of Buford ca. late 1862: appears to be wearing a single-breasted sack coat, with black velvet collar, and again perhaps the same non-regulation straps shown in the previously noted photo. This is the good general "dressed up" for his image with the HQ etc. of the Army of the Potomac at Warrenton.

1624596336146.png
1624596525322.png


Anyway, the seated camp image above might have been the inspiration as depicted in the movie:
1624624469714.png
 
Last edited:

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
How did any of them wear those things in the heat of a Pennsylvania July?! 😓

ETA: Doh. It probably wasn't filmed in July, so the actors didn't have to. But the real soldiers did.
and that's why I stopped being a reenactor at age 50, the heat. I was tired of babying the guys in their 60s & 70s that became heat casualties at summer events. Just plain stupidity and I won't let that happen to me to be a burden. Should of done the historical thing and left them where they fell. As I remember the first movie was done in the Spring (maybe Summer, can't remember) but we did the second movie in the Fall & Winter at Harpers Ferry.
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Speaking of the heat...From the Marietta Journal, (GA), 8-30-1992:

View attachment 405855

and from the Olympian, (WA), 9-22-1992:

View attachment 405856
yeah that last sentence about Ted Turner dying in the movie, he did terrible acting no matter how brief. He needs lessons on dying. When his wife Jane Fonda showed up on set there was plenty of Vietnam Veterans there that would of loved to see her "die"!
 
Top