Uniforms How reliable is the Civil War Historian Magazine about uniforms?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I was at a used book store today and picked up a couple of books but also bought a 2005 copy of the Civil War Historian Magazine because it had an article about Confederate uniforms worn during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign. The problem is that I do not think I have heard of Fred Baker the author. The Confederate Army of Western Tennessee during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign looks interesting enough. I do not want to put down Fred Baker nor question the article, still I think I should check the information against other sources. The problem is that I am not sure how much information I have about Confederate uniforms worn during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign. We must have some Confederate uniform experts that can point me in the right direction to read up on Confederate uniforms worn during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Civil War Historian was a top notch magazine with thoroughly researched articles from what I can tell in the few issues I have. I would think the article spot on.

I got several issues, but one stands out, a 2007 issue where @Craig L Barry wrote a great article on M1841 Mississippi Rifles. That article is probably why I got a repro M1841 for my first reenacting rifle. I'm sure he can bring better clarity to this question than me.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Thank you for the information. Not being a reenactor I do not often purchase used copies of this magazine unless the magazine has an article I find interesting. Usually the article I want to read is on a subject I have very little knowledge about. The magazine is colorful and looks great but usually does not have articles that interest me. Still for fifty cents or a dollar I figure I can not go wrong.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Thank you for the information. Not being a reenactor I do not often purchase used copies of this magazine unless the magazine has an article I find interesting. Usually the article I want to read is on a subject I have very little knowledge about. The magazine is colorful and looks great but usually does not have articles that interest me. Still for fifty cents or a dollar I figure I can not go wrong.
Hey you don't want I'll take it!:D

I've been curious on Iuka-Corinth uniforms off and on for a while now but ain't seen any researched literature on it.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I finished reading The Confederate Army of Western Tennessee during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign by Fred Baker. His article briefly covered what the Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas soldiers wore during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign. I am not sure how much new material Mr. Baker added on the subject. It appears most regiments from Alabama wore frock coats and some wore seven-button shell jackets. Arkansas men mostly wore gray frock coats. Louisiana men wore ray and se brown jackets made at the State Penitentiary. Mississippi soldiers mostly wore gray jean frock coats. Missouri men often wore white undyed uniforms and civilian clothing. Those from Texas also often wore white uniforms.

Most of the above uniform information is covered in other books and articles. However, Baker does sum it up fairly well. Almost half the article is an overall summary of the look of the men and Baker seems to paint a picture of ragged men except the newly recruited regiments.

The article has a brief Bio of Fred Baker who has a history degree from Hendrix College. "Fred is an avid material culturist, frequently devoting spare hours of sewing accurate reproduction garments." Some of his work was/is sold by Jersey Skiller Licker. Fred Baker at the time he wore the article is involved in Company A, 15th Texas Infantry reenactment unit.
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
Goodness gracious, I do remember Civil War Historian magazine but all that seems like a lifetime ago. I did submit several articles which they ran as I recall. It was a good magazine, but print media was in serious decline by that time. I remember writing the piece on the US 1841 percussion rifles. I am a fan of those, too and have one displayed over my fireplace.

For the question at bar, I have to demur to those more knowledgeable on Western theater Confederate uniforms and especially this topic which is awfully specific to a certain time period and campaign. Tom Arliskas (Cadet Gray and Butternut Brown) would be a good one to ask. I do not recall anything about Fred Baker and I don't believe we ever met. If I were to start looking for answers on state specific Western CS uniforms, Todds Military Equipage would be a good place to start your research. My best answer would be along the very general lines that Western CS uniforms were a hodge podge of jean cloth frock coats and shell jackets. It's not my area of expertise, I admit it.
 
Last edited:

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I remember writing the piece on the US 1841 Percussion rifles. I am a fan of those, too and have one displayed over my fireplace.
Funny story. As a very young teenage reenactor wanting to move from artillery into the infantry, I wanted an Enfield. I loved the design, still love it alongside the M1841, but I didn't know any better thinking all Confederates had them. I read that article you wrote, and I had always loved the looks of the Mississippi, but never thought of it as it was a "two-bander" and thus no good for infantry, but after that I thought "You know, I need a Mississippi Rifle they really ain't represented!" and went to hunting for one.

My Mother saw me reading that article and hunting for one, thought it looked like a pretty gun, and while shopping for her a new rifle to do Cowboy Action Shoots with, she saw one NIB at her favorite gunshop and grabbed it, giving it to me for my 18th birthday and graduation present.

I joined the infantry right afterwards and kept getting grief for years over me using it, the officers claiming our unit was never issued one and it was a farby "two bander" and they finally started taking it from my hands at events and replacing it with an Enfield till I broke down and bought one.

It was later that a picture surfaced of an armed man of our from our unit's namesake, (15th Texas Inf.) holding a Mississippi Rifle with full pack that I really got ticked off. I might ought to start carrying it again to events.
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
The reproduction US 1841 percussion rifles are also not farby at all especially compared to out of the box reproduction P53 Enfields and the various US rifle musket models (except the US 1842 musket). The main issue with US 1841 repros as far as historical feature accuracy is that the reproductions all utilize a tumbler link, which is a non-appearance part inside in the lock assembly. Original US 1841s have a "hook" type lock where the mainspring sits right on the tumbler.

Perhaps they were confusing the US 1841 (which saw considerable use on both sides) with the reproduction Remington Zouave rifle that never saw a minute? I know mainstream reenactments have expressed concerns about two band rifles purportedly because of safety issues when firing them in the rear rank over the shoulder of the front rank. This is not a problem if you maintain the correct distance from the lock and muzzle to the ear of the front rank soldier. Also, if this was the really the problem it could be easily remedied by putting you in the front rank. Authentic events and living histories don't have an issue with US1841s if they otherwise fit the scenario being portrayed.

I have always thought the prohibition against two band rifles like the US 1841 in mainstream reenactments actually grew out some sort of manifestation or desire for a uniform appearance with all three band muskets in the ranks. It certainly does make them easier to stack, right? Reproduction US 1841s usually have no provision for a bayonet. But to answer your question...no, the US 1841s are not anachronistic and their use is well documented during the US Civil War.
 
Last edited:

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Oh the officers back then believed no "two banders" were used by infantry. They had they're history right till the subject turned to uniforms and guns.

One time while reading a memoir of a soldier from the 18th TX Inf. I noticed the author mentioned in the Battle of Opelousas and officer of the 15th rode his horse back to the Union Camp and brought back two crates of Minie Ball ammunition but it fit a small handful of men's muskets. I brought that up to the officers and while a couple thought it interesting, it didn't discount they're theory our namesakes was armed with Enfields, which they based on a account of them armed with rifles.

The P1853 being rifle-musket, didn't seem to enter they're thinking and back then I was just a dumb kid in the unit. Heck I'm 31 now and a lot of died or retired and I'm still the dumb kid on history.
 
Top