Uniforms The color of linen pants in June of 1861.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
In June of 1861, the men of the 2nd​ Michigan Infantry Regiment received summer uniforms; this included linen pants, new wool pants, straw hats and new forage caps as well as new sown shoes.1 The men enjoyed showing off their new summer uniforms to less fortunate regiments and wore them whenever possible.

I know I have asked this before, but can any comment on the color of the "linen pants"? I guess linen pants could be dyed almost any color. Still in pre Civil War newspapers when the newspapers discussed militia uniforms, the term linen pants and white summer trousers were used interchangeable. When a former militia member in a letter used the term "linen pants", could this be interrupted as "white linen pants"? Was the U.S. quartermaster issuing white linen trousers in June of 1861? Does anyone have information the the Federal government was purchasing linen trousers dyed light blue or some other color?


1 “From the Second Regiment, letter form Camp Winfield Scott June 17 1861”, Detroit Daily Tribune, July 1 1861, p. 1, col. 1.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
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Jul 28, 2015
In June of 1861, the men of the 2nd​ Michigan Infantry Regiment received summer uniforms; this included linen pants, new wool pants, straw hats and new forage caps as well as new sown shoes.1 The men enjoyed showing off their new summer uniforms to less fortunate regiments and wore them whenever possible.

I know I have asked this before, but can any comment on the color of the "linen pants"? I guess linen pants could be dyed almost any color. Still in pre Civil War newspapers when the newspapers discussed militia uniforms, the term linen pants and white summer trousers were used interchangeable. When a former militia member in a letter used the term "linen pants", could this be interrupted as "white linen pants"? Was the U.S. quartermaster issuing white linen trousers in June of 1861? Does anyone have information the the Federal government was purchasing linen trousers dyed light blue or some other color?


1 “From the Second Regiment, letter form Camp Winfield Scott June 17 1861”, Detroit Daily Tribune, July 1 1861, p. 1, col. 1.
I would assume that the linen pants were state issue?
 

major bill

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I would assume that the linen pants were state issue?

I assume they were issued by the U.S. Army. Michigan issued uniforms to the regiments that were raised in Michigan, but once the Michigan regiment left Michigan and was in federal service, any replacement uniforms seem to have came from the Federal government.

When I look at how many regiments were raised in Michigan which received uniforms paid for by the state of Michigan and compare this to the total number of uniforms Michigan paid for, the numbers match up in a way that would indicate that Michigan did not provide any/many replacement uniforms. This is complicated by a shipment of 3,000 pairs of black trousers the federal government sent to Michigan in 1861. I am not sure what Michigan did with the 3,000 pairs of black trousers and if 3,000 trousers were added to my calculations, then it is possible that the Michigan could have shipped trousers to Michigan units on federal duty.

Were I run into problems believing this, is the number of caps, hats and shoes Michigan paid for also line up with the number of men in the regiments that Michigan outfitted in Michigan. So even if I add 3,000 pairs of federal trousers I can not see any caps or shoes for the 2nd Michigan Infantry Regiment being paid for by Michigan.
 

FedericoFCavada

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Jan 27, 2015
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San Antonio, Texas
The U.S. army had a white canvas duck fatigue uniform until the early 1850s. It was understood to be worn south of the Potomac River, but some authors place it in the Old Northwest in the 1830s during the Black Hawk War. It showed stains, never dried, mildewed, rotted, and never looked too soldierly, so in the 1850s the U.S. adopted the all wool all the time uniform, which was the mid-19th century "technical fabric" that insulated when wet, and was resistant to sparks and flame from black powder weapons.

I would think the "linen" pants were either cotton drill or sturdy linen. As for color? Probably white or off-white. Maybe gray? Is there no mention of the state of Michigan providing these? I would think most of the uniforms and equipage at the start of the war came from state stocks, hence all the gray militia uniforms in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, etc.?
 

major bill

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Michigan was uniforming regiments forming in Michigan but I have not seen at this time that Michigan was replacing the worn out uniforms of Michigan regiments already in Federal service
 

Package4

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I assume they were issued by the U.S. Army. Michigan issued uniforms to the regiments that were raised in Michigan, but once the Michigan regiment left Michigan and was in federal service, any replacement uniforms seem to have came from the Federal government.

When I look at how many regiments were raised in Michigan which received uniforms paid for by the state of Michigan and compare this to the total number of uniforms Michigan paid for, the numbers match up in a way that would indicate that Michigan did not provide any/many replacement uniforms. This is complicated by a shipment of 3,000 pairs of black trousers the federal government sent to Michigan in 1861. I am not sure what Michigan did with the 3,000 pairs of black trousers and if 3,000 trousers were added to my calculations, then it is possible that the Michigan could have shipped trousers to Michigan units on federal duty.

Were I run into problems believing this, is the number of caps, hats and shoes Michigan paid for also line up with the number of men in the regiments that Michigan outfitted in Michigan. So even if I add 3,000 pairs of federal trousers I can not see any caps or shoes for the 2nd Michigan Infantry Regiment being paid for by Michigan.
I looked this up and found a Sanitary Commission Report that referenced a regiment having an issue of summer linen trousers from the US Army. The summer linen would have been raw linen and therefor off white in color. I was under the impression that these were long gone stocks, but apparently there was surplus. The Commission visited over 20 camps around Washington DC and Fortress Monroe in July of 1861 to get an idea of conditions of the camp and troops, from sinks to tents, everything that might be monitored and commented upon. Actually very good reading to understand how the US Army was supplied and made camp prior to 1st Manassas.
 

major bill

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Aug 25, 2012
You provided me with some understanding. I am looking at the Micigan made uniforms issued early in the War for the 1st Three Month Infantry to the 4th Michigan Infantry. Soldiers always complain about what they were issued, but the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd all complained about their trousers being too thin for good service. The gray trousers for the 4th Michigan were made from cloth from the Johnsville mill in Johnsville Michigan and I see few complaints about these trouser. The 4th Michigan replaced their gray uniforms with blue uniforms after the 1st Battle of Bull Run.


The dark blue trousers issued to the 1st Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry and 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry were not up to hard service and were probably wearing out. The new wool trouser show that this was probably the case. The new caps probably show that their original caps were of poor quality. It was the new linen pants and straw hats that gave me pause. The 3rd Michigan Infantry were receiving some new uniforms prior to Bull Run and claimed they were wearing uniforms of every color under the rain bow. There is some indication they were being issued black trousers and black overcoats, with perhaps a few blue uniform items mixed in.
 
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