Help with Union Cav Quartermaster impression

JHarper

Cadet
Joined
May 10, 2021
Hi,

Just starting out and looking for advice and information regarding a union cav quartermaster impression. For the moment I think I have the uniform pieces figured out (more on that later) but could really use advice on how to handle camp setup, wagon, taking on the role and anything else regarding the impression itself.

A few questions:

1. How did the quartermaster engage in camp activities? How would you recommend this impression best be carried out? I already realize event attendees will want to engage and probably have many questions but if you have suggestions on what to research and learn about for attendees, that would be very helpful.

2. Did he have a large tent with crates of supplies and perhaps a desk to track who was outfitted?

3. Did he sleep in the QM tent or a separate, personal one?

4. If we built/bought a wagon, would that be a nice addition to the battlefield? Are there readily available plans for a small to medium sized wagon that is reasonably priced?

5. Same question for crates. Anything available for semi-easily built time-period QM supply crates?

6. Would civilians have been available to use for labor? What about women? (I have a 17 year old daughter who would like to help but I don't know exactly how to handle that).

I'm sure I will have a lot of followup questions based on responses and please feel free to ask anything required. I appreciate any and all help and don't mind reading and researching if there are available books/pamphlets etc. regarding the matter.

Thanks!

-Jerry
 

JHarper

Cadet
Joined
May 10, 2021
Sounds like an ambitious impression. Union cavalry quartermaster is a bit out of my wheelhouse. I'm sure someone here can help. Are you affiliated with a particular unit?

We haven't solidified membership at this point. We are leaning toward the 1st Ky Cav (Union) but would also like a more active group.

As for the quartermaster impression, I'm willing to consider information concerning line infantry qm as well.
 

captaindrew

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Location
Whereabouts Unknown
I see from your intro post your son is also interested. That's fantastic. For starters I'd get yourselves set up with the basics. For any Union impression a generic fatigue kit will fit you in anywhere. I'd get to some local events and try and find a unit that would be a good fit. One that was family friendly so both your son and daughter can participate. Then take it from there. There's some reenactors on here from your neck of the woods that may be able to help. Paging @drezac @Western Reserve Volunteer @Mrs. V @Belle Montgomery
 

drezac

Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
May 4, 2014
Location
Baltimore,Ohio
first off, the only proper place for horses is to be pulling artillery ( just kidding) :smile:.

I am the quartermaster Sergeant for our battery. However I really don't know the answer to most of your questions, but they are good ones ( I will be following this thread to see the answers).

In my case, it's not as much as an impression but more of a practical matter. With our battery, we are connected to the Ohio State House and have space in the State owned warehouse for our battery. since it's a security-controlled building, only a few members have access to it - Myself, and one of our members who is also a State House employee and our liaison with the State House. I am also doing it as an impression, and will be keeping records in the same manner I have seen in the State Archives that were used by the Ohio National Guard in 1864.

I purchased a blank leather bound sketchbook ( from hobby lobby) that I will be using to record items issued and returned, and will be using dip pens for writing. Our battery already owns a couple of folding wood tables, so I will be using one of those in the field. Admittedly, I will likely be using stackable plastic totes that I can keep in my tent covered with a blanket at events to store supplies, I may look at making some wooden crates in the future. For the most part, I will be dealing with our loaner uniforms for new recruits.

as for labor, I would think that they would just assign privates for that duty

For your daughter, we have many women in the ranks now, personally I would just get her a uniform ( I'm sure she will also want a ball gown for the dances they typically have at events).
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
@JHarper That's a really interesting impression that fills a vacuum found at most events.

1) Dale Leppard does the 17th PA Cavalry's Quartermaster Sergeant
http://www.oocities.org/athens/Atrium/5548/Qmaster.html

2) Here's a guy who does Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Edward Nicholas Boots, 101st Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry (his third great uncle). He shouldn't be too hard to hunt down and chat up.
http://www.thecourierexpress.com/li...cle_c2ee24c0-6993-5a80-baaa-351a73350bf3.html

3) Have you read this?
https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Quartermaster/Robert-OHarrow/9781451671933

or this?
http://www.1865quartermastermanual.com

4) Helpful illustrations
Look like a bunch of shysters http://dotcw.com/office-of-assistant-quartermaster/

5) To maximize your impression, could I suggest a generic 'Federal commissary / quartermaster'?
If the Quartermaster's primary focus was horse fodder, maybe helping the event organizers distribute those hay bales would be a good activity?
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/life-civil-war-soldier-camp
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
I’d have to do more research, but I think having a QM impression would be a great addition to re-enactment and living history events! For some reason I’ll never understand some people don’t like interacting with the public, but I do. The QM’s wagon could offer some great opportunities for hands on activities for kids, loading and unloading, sorting ect. I’m certain I can find some plans for various crate types, and I know there are wagon plans out there too. If you have enough woodworking skill to build a wagon then crates should not be too hard.

For your daughter, I’d start with asking her what it is she is most interested in, military or civilian, and then go from there.

The QM department had many civilian employees iirc, and would also have had contact with other civilian suppliers as well. There were also charitable organizations during the war that helped get supplies to troops, such as the Soldiers Aid Society, many of which were dominated by women, that she might consider as an impression.

I agree with the idea of going generic QM, that way you can be your own show, and fall in wherever. Everyone needs a QM!
 

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
I see from your intro post your son is also interested. That's fantastic. For starters I'd get yourselves set up with the basics. For any Union impression a generic fatigue kit will fit you in anywhere. I'd get to some local events and try and find a unit that would be a good fit. One that was family friendly so both your son and daughter can participate. Then take it from there. There's some reenactors on here from your neck of the woods that may be able to help. Paging @drezac @Western Reserve Volunteer @Mrs. V @Belle Montgomery
This is the first of the 2021 year other than Mansfield...Mesopotamia was cancelled. . There are others including the biggest ones at Hale Farm and Zoar...
1620857893948.png

http://www.centuryvillagemuseum.org/civil-war.html
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
I know at Hale we have a family that has a wagon all rigged out, and a seperate tent and cooking area. I would think you‘d be best going fairly generic and see what suggestions folks give you. If it were me, I’d keep on hand some of the bits n bobs needed to repair bridles/girths etc, along with leather punches. Don’t forget simple things like thread and buttons etc...Having lists on things you’d “carry” would be a nice addition..

As for your daughter, she could dress in uniform, or maybe a nice camp dress? Corded petticoat to fill the skirts and then she could move around, yet still feel pretty. Often there are suttlers who sell used clothes, look there..that’s all I can think of..I’d be glad to talk with her over pm, since I do a civilian impression..I sing and wander the camps! (Civil War Songbird).
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
If you are interested in an Army wagon, you may want to check out these Hansen Wheelworks publications:
https://www.hansenwheel.com/75-civil-war-supply-wagon/
https://www.hansenwheel.com/the-great-blue-army-wagon/

As well as this previous thread:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/supply-wagon-dimensions.142300/

Generally, the advice when it comes to equipment is to try your best not to weigh yourself down with too much of it. Having the least amount of personal equipment was not the only result of the experience of a long war in the 19th century; but is also the experience of the 21st century and carrying lots of heavy stuff back to your car at the end of the weekend!
 

JHarper

Cadet
Joined
May 10, 2021
I see from your intro post your son is also interested. That's fantastic. For starters I'd get yourselves set up with the basics. For any Union impression a generic fatigue kit will fit you in anywhere. I'd get to some local events and try and find a unit that would be a good fit. One that was family friendly so both your son and daughter can participate. Then take it from there. There's some reenactors on here from your neck of the woods that may be able to help. Paging @drezac @Western Reserve Volunteer @Mrs. V @Belle Montgomery
Thank you for the suggestions. We will be at an event mid-June, and I'm hoping we can find a group that has a (monthly?) meeting for increased participation and help.

first off, the only proper place for horses is to be pulling artillery ( just kidding) :smile:.
LOL.. excellent.

I am the quartermaster Sergeant for our battery. However I really don't know the answer to most of your questions, but they are good ones ( I will be following this thread to see the answers).

In my case, it's not as much as an impression but more of a practical matter. With our battery, we are connected to the Ohio State House and have space in the State owned warehouse for our battery. since it's a security-controlled building, only a few members have access to it - Myself, and one of our members who is also a State House employee and our liaison with the State House. I am also doing it as an impression, and will be keeping records in the same manner I have seen in the State Archives that were used by the Ohio National Guard in 1864.
Glad to hear you have such excellent access! We lived in Columbus for almost 30 years, great town.

I purchased a blank leather bound sketchbook ( from hobby lobby) that I will be using to record items issued and returned, and will be using dip pens for writing. Our battery already owns a couple of folding wood tables, so I will be using one of those in the field. Admittedly, I will likely be using stackable plastic totes that I can keep in my tent covered with a blanket at events to store supplies, I may look at making some wooden crates in the future. For the most part, I will be dealing with our loaner uniforms for new recruits.
Fantastic idea. I'll grab a notebook or two for my own use, both inventory and notes.

as for labor, I would think that they would just assign privates for that duty
You're certainly right there. However I have seen multiple photos of civilians assisting so a solid bit of information would really help. I'm just not sure how to research it.

For your daughter, we have many women in the ranks now, personally I would just get her a uniform ( I'm sure she will also want a ball gown for the dances they typically have at events).
I think you're right and that's a very practical solution.

This is the first of the 2021 year other than Mansfield...Mesopotamia was cancelled. . There are others including the biggest ones at Hale Farm and Zoar...

http://www.centuryvillagemuseum.org/civil-war.html
Thank you for that information. We would be coming from the southwest to the northeast, clear across Ohio diagonally. I'll have to check on our schedule but it seems half the battle is just knowing the events exist.
 

JHarper

Cadet
Joined
May 10, 2021
@JHarper That's a really interesting impression that fills a vacuum found at most events.
Thank you. My issue is starting slow - I'd like to get things moving asap but I can see that isn't how things can be done without a serious expenditure.

1) Dale Leppard does the 17th PA Cavalry's Quartermaster Sergeant
http://www.oocities.org/athens/Atrium/5548/Qmaster.html

2) Here's a guy who does Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Edward Nicholas Boots, 101st Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry (his third great uncle). He shouldn't be too hard to hunt down and chat up.
http://www.thecourierexpress.com/li...cle_c2ee24c0-6993-5a80-baaa-351a73350bf3.html
Thank you for these links. I will definitely check into them.
http://www.thecourierexpress.com/li...cle_c2ee24c0-6993-5a80-baaa-351a73350bf3.html
I have not read either but will order the first book this week and get on it. The second book is fairly expensive but I do plan to get it in short order.
http://www.1865quartermastermanual.com
4) Helpful illustrations
Look like a bunch of shysters http://dotcw.com/office-of-assistant-quartermaster/

5) To maximize your impression, could I suggest a generic 'Federal commissary / quartermaster'?
If the Quartermaster's primary focus was horse fodder, maybe helping the event organizers distribute those hay bales would be a good activity?
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/life-civil-war-soldier-camp
Nice image.

I will read the article tonight, thank you.

I’d have to do more research, but I think having a QM impression would be a great addition to re-enactment and living history events! For some reason I’ll never understand some people don’t like interacting with the public, but I do.
It has to be a major part of the draw for those who attend the event (both casual viewers and participants alike). I only hope I will prove to be a positive influence on the hobby and those interested in information my impression would be able to help with.

The QM’s wagon could offer some great opportunities for hands on activities for kids, loading and unloading, sorting ect. I’m certain I can find some plans for various crate types, and I know there are wagon plans out there too. If you have enough woodworking skill to build a wagon then crates should not be too hard.
Excellent points! I can foresee smaller boxes of "supplies" that kids could help load/unload. Will have to give this some further thought, thanks!

As for the crates, I would be very appreciative for anything you could provide in the way of plans.

For your daughter, I’d start with asking her what it is she is most interested in, military or civilian, and then go from there.
In her own words "I'm interested but not invested." She thinks civilian first may be best as it's easier and cheaper than full kit and then if interested she can add a military impression later.

The QM department had many civilian employees iirc, and would also have had contact with other civilian suppliers as well. There were also charitable organizations during the war that helped get supplies to troops, such as the Soldiers Aid Society, many of which were dominated by women, that she might consider as an impression.
Sounds like another good path of research. Thanks!

I agree with the idea of going generic QM, that way you can be your own show, and fall in wherever. Everyone needs a QM!
Sounds decent I agree. How would you recommend I handle the branch of service (infantry, artillery, cavalry, etc) insignia in such a case?

April 1865. "Washington, District of Columbia. Group of Quartermaster Corps employees." LOC
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d3/49/be/d349be796436c044b15493218ea1689a.jpg
Motley group of characters there, but it's one indication civilians assisted. Thanks for the link!

Appreciate all of the help so far.
 

JHarper

Cadet
Joined
May 10, 2021
I know at Hale we have a family that has a wagon all rigged out, and a seperate tent and cooking area. I would think you‘d be best going fairly generic and see what suggestions folks give you.
Good advice. I'll end up starting that way by default since I'm only now looking at and considering what kit I/we need.

If it were me, I’d keep on hand some of the bits n bobs needed to repair bridles/girths etc, along with leather punches. Don’t forget simple things like thread and buttons etc...Having lists on things you’d “carry” would be a nice addition..
I'd really like to have period relevant items. But you're right about these types of things being on hand, making the QM role both an impression and an actual relevant position. Do you (or anyone?) have links or other information on how to build a stock from ongoing businesses who might supply such items? Perhaps even at wholesale.

As for your daughter, she could dress in uniform, or maybe a nice camp dress? Corded petticoat to fill the skirts and then she could move around, yet still feel pretty. Often there are suttlers who sell used clothes, look there..that’s all I can think of..I’d be glad to talk with her over pm, since I do a civilian impression..I sing and wander the camps! (Civil War Songbird).
Yes, sound good. I will talk with her to see if she'd be willing to create an account here to discuss things further. Thank you kindly.


If you are interested in an Army wagon, you may want to check out these Hansen Wheelworks publications:
https://www.hansenwheel.com/75-civil-war-supply-wagon/
https://www.hansenwheel.com/the-great-blue-army-wagon/
I've seen that site and perused it, but hadn't seen those items. I particulary like the "great blue army wagon" plans/information as it could really help my understanding much more.
https://www.hansenwheel.com/the-great-blue-army-wagon/
Good thread, thanks.
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/supply-wagon-dimensions.142300/
Generally, the advice when it comes to equipment is to try your best not to weigh yourself down with too much of it. Having the least amount of personal equipment was not the only result of the experience of a long war in the 19th century; but is also the experience of the 21st century and carrying lots of heavy stuff back to your car at the end of the weekend!
Yes, good points. I looked at a barrel today that we were thinking of adding to the mix but it ended up weighing what must have been 100 pounds. No way I'm lifting that thing!

Tons of great advice from many of you! I sincerely appreciate it.
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
Thank you. My issue is starting slow - I'd like to get things moving asap but I can see that isn't how things can be done without a serious expenditure.

It has to be a major part of the draw for those who attend the event (both casual viewers and participants alike). I only hope I will prove to be a positive influence on the hobby and those interested in information my impression would be able to help with.

Sounds decent I agree. How would you recommend I handle the branch of service (infantry, artillery, cavalry, etc) insignia in such a case?

I would suggest finding those already doing Quartermaster and learning from them. Hang out with them at events, think of it as an ad hoc mentorship program.
 

gentlemanrob

Brigadier General
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 11, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Glad to hear your getting into your impression. As someone who does Civilian impression as a Confederate States Statesman and Cabinet member. I say attend as many reenactments as you can find somewhere you can fit in. I have found most reenactors to be very nice and family friendly.
 

Dan Kohli

Private
Joined
May 5, 2021
That impression needs to be done more. I think that is a good idea.
If you are looking to have the proper paperwork Sullivan Press has kits of the quartermaster paperwork and they also sell an artillery/cavalry quartermaster add on kit, and some other things that a quartermaster might need.
As for the wagon I think there are people that make them. Such as Engels Coach Shop, there was another one but I forget the name. But the price of these things are not going to be cheap.

There is a to volume book group for civil war woodworking which name I have forgotten, I think is quite popular. Also Company D 2nd Usss has mad videos on how to make hardtack and ammunition boxes,both of which were distributed by the quartermaster department.

Dan Kohli
 
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