Help with 13th KY Vol. Infantry Pvt. Impression


Jun 24, 2021
Lexington, KY
I'm new to reenacting, and I'm researching my GG-Grandfather's regiment to be able to assemble a good early war (Shiloh era) impression. He was a private in the 13th KY Volunteer Infantry, Co. C. I will likely be gathering the pieces I need over a year or more, as good gear is not certainly not priced for a student's budget. I have been able to ascertain from several sources that the 13th carried M1842 .69 cal. smoothbores at Shiloh; what I could use help with is the making the best choice for a uniform. I thought I would consult the authorities for help early in the process.

Below is a collection of some useful photos of members of the 13th KY. There are several things I could use input on:

1. What coat would be best for a private at Shiloh? While I've learned sack coats were far more common throughout the course of the war, I see a lot of frock coats in the photos. Considering Shiloh was the first combat the 13th KY saw, would they have worn frock coats into battle?

2. While I assume forage caps (I'm eyeing Dirty Billy's US10) would have been the norm, is there something I'm missing that would indicate otherwise?

3. What could you recommend for the rest of the uniform (vest, trousers, shirt, shoes, etc.) Any specific products or vendors?

4. If you have any general suggestions or information (KY Volunteer unit info, early war impression suggestions, 13th KY photos, etc.) I'll gladly welcome it.

Thanks in advance!

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Forum Host
Silver Patron
Mar 13, 2017
Whereabouts Unknown
Frock coats were issued as their dress uniform so many chose to have their picture taken in them. Some units did choose them to wear in the field but the fatigue blouse ( sack coat ) was much more common in the field. I haven't done any research on the 13th Kentucky so I can't tell you for sure what they were wearing at Shiloh but I would guess many if not all were wearing a fatigue blouse but again I may be wrong on that. One thing to consider also is a good quality frock coat is very expensive, 4 to 5 hundred $. A good quality sack is about 2. Save your dough in the long run and buy a good one from the get go. As far as head gear many of the Western theater soldiers preferred a civilian slouch hat or an unadorned Hardy hat in the field over a forage cap and I can attest from experience a good slouch is way more comfortable and versatile. Dirty Billy is an excellent choice for any head gear. Clothing my go to is Wambaugh and White, shoes and leather gear Missouri Boot and Shoe or LD Hanning. South Union Mills also has a lot of nice items for a good price. You can also find some good quality used stuff if you keep an eye on the Campaigner Quality Trade Blanket on Facebook.

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
May 5, 2017
I would say look to the book of faces to find sites that sell used clothing. Often good quality but outgrown, or, didn’t fit upon arrival. Pretty much most of what my son has was bought online either here, or through civilwar reenactors trade blanket..quality head gear can be had there as well. My son bought a very nice dirty billy hat, and really reasonable too.

The plus side of buying used, is that it doesn’t look so brand spanking out of the box new..I’d say, get a good sack lined and one unlined. Gives you a choice if it’s hot or a nice used square shirt..checks are wear this under the will need me, wool is itchy…those can be bought new at reasonable prices at mainstream suttlers, but dont’ be shy about buying used..sometimes someone will be selling a whole kit, as they are getting out of the reenacting biz..oh and buy good shoes. Your hooves will thank you. Fugawee has wonderful shoes, Maryland Suttler as well..Brogans have heelplates, so that use Civilians can mistake you for horses! lol!! Good luck..send me a pm if you need more info