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Regulars vs. Volunteers

Discussion in 'Civil War Uniforms & Relics' started by infomanpa, Oct 12, 2017 at 12:11 PM.

  1. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    I'm curious as to whether the regular U.S. Army Infantry wore uniforms that were any different from the volunteer infantry.
     
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  3. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    I would guess yes , as volunteer units were made up largely from state militias .
     
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  4. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    Depends on when and what time. At the start of the war most Union states provided u I forms to the regiments being raised in their state. At some point most states stopped providing replacement uniforms and the Federal government took over the task, providing standard uniforms. Some states had the Federal government provide uniforms from the start.
     
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  5. redbob

    redbob 1st Lieutenant

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    If you read descriptions of the differences between the Regulars and the Volunteers in both the AoT and the AoP the main difference in the uniforms was how they were worn. The Regulars had more pride in their appearance and their uniforms reflected this.
     
  6. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    The Federal government supplied most volunteer regiments formed after 1861 with standard Federal uniforms.
     
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  7. amweiner

    amweiner Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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  8. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    Interesting, because I was under the impression that the dark blue trousers were for officers only.
     
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  9. amweiner

    amweiner Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    I wonder if the indigo dye just ran out? I did read an account from Bruce Catton that a regiment at Antietam had sack coats dyed darker than the usual, and looked almost black in the September sun. Curious to know about their quality control in uniform making. :smile:

    On another note re: uniforms, my understanding (which is quite limited) is that the uniforms for enlisted men and officers differed in the weight and processing of the wool. According to this first link, sack coats were made of dyed wool about 9-11 oz. in weight. Apparently the custom tailored officers' frock coats were constructed from 15-16 oz. wool broadcloth, which (from what I could gather) was a higher quality of carded wool.

    Please correct me if I get this wrong!!
    Adam

    http://www.cwquartermaster.com/construct.htm
     
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  10. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Dark blue trousers were the regulation from 1858-1861 when they reverted back to sky-blue; some US Regulars continued to wear the dark blue since the supplies needed to be exhausted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 3:19 PM
  11. amweiner

    amweiner Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Thanks @Package4!! Helpful information!
     
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  12. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Officer's uniforms were not issued and had to be purchased by the individual, so the quality of the uniform was dependent on the individual means, of that particular officer. You will see some very extravagant uniforms, while others evidenced pieces of enlisted issue cloth adapted to officer wear. I have seen issued 9 button enlisted frock coats with added straps and sky blue enlisted pants with the seams ripped open and a dark blue welt sewn in, in fact I own such a pair. Unfortunately the value of straight enlisted trousers due to rarity, is far greater than the hybrid officer adaptation.
     
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  13. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    US Army uniform regulations from 1858 to 1861 required dark blue trousers for enlisted men. The "new" 1861 regulations came out just before the war in March of 1861 and still called for dark blue trousers. The Federal government issued dark blue, light blue, brown, and black trousers to volunteers in 1861. Basically the Federals were purchasing whatever they could find to buy.

    I have read somewhere that regular units tried to wear dark blue trousers after the Federal government started buying light blue trousers by the end of 1861. However I have not seen any/much documentation that the Federal government was making dark blue trousers for the regulars during the war. I also have not seen footnotes for the "regulars attempted to keep their dark blue trousers" statements.

    Hopefully some forum member can provide documented information that the Federal government continued to make dark blue trousers for regular soldiers after 1861. I have serious doubt that the Federal government made any real effort to send dark blue trousers to regular units and have a feeling the regulars once their trousers wore out were issued whatever the local warehouse had on hand.
     
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  14. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    One example would be parade dress. The regulars had fancy shoulder scales to be worn on parades and sunday inspections etc. Comparably few volunteer units were issued scales at all though of course some former militia units might have used their old ones for some time. But they were cumbersome and their transport a burden when on campaign so they weren´t well liked.
     
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  15. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    The Philadelphia arsenal continued to produce and issue dark blue trousers throughout the war, in fact their inventory showed 22,000 pair on hand as late as October of '64. Most of these were issued alongside of sky-blue trousers to signal corps and ordinance troops. Pictorial evidence of enlisted wearing dark blue is seen throughout the war, but as stated, relegated to specialty branches.
     
  16. amweiner

    amweiner Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Certainly would be something to get tossed away at the earliest opportunity!
     
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  17. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    I have to wonder about that site, which states, "On their shoulder boards major generals commanding armies wore 3 stars, the center star being larger than the others."

    As far as I know, only U.S. Grant had 3 stars and his rank was lieutenant general.
     
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  18. mofederal

    mofederal Sergeant Major

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    Some of the sites you can find some odd information that does not make a lot of sense, while others you can pretty much trust. One of the sites listed above, I know the owner. I trust him, I have seen firsthand some of his original uniforms. he used to set aside money to buy a sack coat every now and then. I see now he makes reproduction uniforms. he knows his stuff. It is an interesting question of Regulars vs Volunteers. I am sure the information can be conflicting, and you would think the sack coat, sky blue pants, but it might not have been the case with all regular units or soldiers.
     
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  19. 67th Tigers

    67th Tigers Sergeant Major

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    The regulation was that THE Major-General commanding the US Army wore three stars. McClellan and Halleck both had 3 stars up, but reverted to two when they ceased to have that role.
     
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  20. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    The first site is so full of disinformation as to be subject to a skit on SNL; reference books are the best source for information on uniforms of the ACW period, or bonafide sites such as Frederick Adolophus etc.
     
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  21. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    McClellan and Halleck wore 3 stars at some point during the war? That's news to me. Evidence?
     
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