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Uniforms for Union Chaplains

Discussion in 'Civil War Uniforms & Relics' started by major bill, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Burning Billy

    Burning Billy Corporal

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    [​IMG]

    Catholic chaplains of the Irish Brigade, 1862
     

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  3. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    I've often wondered about this, one of my gg grandfathers (John M. Carlisle) was chaplain of the 7th South Carolina infantry.
     
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  4. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    This image says that it is Headquarters of Sarg. Gabriel. Grant & Chaplain Jones, H. Dwight of French's Brigade. 66th New York Inf. "GOVERNOR'S GUARDS." at Yorktown, VA.

    Both men appear to be in standard officer uniforms (no Sergeant uniform) I suspect that this may be Surgeon Gabriel Grant (see here) who was awarded the MOH for service at the Battle of Fair Oaks.

    I don't know which one is which. It is interesting though that since both are in standard Union uniforms that exceptions for standard attire were made that conformed with Army standards.

    This would be typical and consistent with today's Chaplains. During my time in the Navy I served as a Chaplain's assistant. My role was administrative, not clergical. For the most part the Chaplains wore standard Navy uniforms, but would have more traditional robes and/or vestments appropriate to their faith group. These typically were only worn during services and for the rest of the time an officers uniform. I wonder if that was the case with the CW era chaplains? Did they wear a more traditional clergy garb during religious services and then officer uniforms at other times?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. 7thWisconsin

    7thWisconsin Sergeant

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    Well, yes and no. There was really only one duty uniform at the time, so chaplains wore the prescribed uniform, or their understanding of it. For divine services, chaplains of those traditions which wear vestments kitted up in them. There was no issue chaplain gear; it was what you brought to the service with you. There was at least one chaplain who mistook an order for dress parade and showed up in clerical vestments. (Unlike today where Uncle Sam gave me a wonderful portable Communion kit which included a wrinkle resistant camouflage stole. That's my favorite piece of clerical gear ever)
     
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  6. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    In the Navy we had the portable communion kit, but no camo. Rarely used the communion kit. They preferred to travel with more traditional gear. I was the one schlepping it anyway, so the extra weight did not matter to them. :sneaky:
     
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  7. major bill

    major bill Captain Forum Host

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    The army now has so many different type of chaplains that I seen the insignia for a Hindu chaplain and was not sure what it was. The Army has protestant chaplains, catholic chaplains, Jewish chaplains, Muslim chaplain, Hindu chaplains and Buddhist chaplains.
     
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  8. Legion Para

    Legion Para Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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  9. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    I'm sure that the Navy and Air Force does as well. On some level I think that is great, but I also know from practical experience that it is really more show than anything. For a Chaplain to be effective they need to be working with people that share their same beliefs. When you have only 1-2 Chaplain's of a certain faith group the members they are trying to reach are spread so thin that they almost never meet. You end up with a Chaplain that has little or no one to minister too and those that are of that faith almost never see or know that there is a Chaplain that shares their belief.

    Just my personal opinion. It is a challenging problem with no simple solution.
     
  10. 7thWisconsin

    7thWisconsin Sergeant

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    It's all based on the percentage of the troop population that identify as that religious preference. At the unit level, chaplains can be double slotted to help facilitate the mission of delivering religious support to the troops which is consistent with the overall unit profile. The chaplain can appoint lay leaders to minister to faith groups that are outside his or her faith group; remember the mission is to "perform or provide" religious support. The chaplaincy was just not that well organized during the Civil War. There were only 3 denominations: Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. Chaplains had to go looking for an appointment, and get the recommendation of the commander before the war department would appoint them. It didn't matter what the troop makeup was. They got who the commander liked. The system didn't work very well, and it's kind of amazing that it produced as many competent chaplains as it did.
     
  11. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    I agree that it is based on the percent that identify with that preference, the challenge (as I see it from having worked in that area first hand) is that if the ratio says that you should have 1-2 for the entire Army, Navy or Air Force (Marines BTW utilize Navy Chaplains) then the chances that those individuals will be near their own faith group at any time is rare.

    I remember talking to a Jewish Chaplain who had recently met with the Senior Chaplain for the Israeli Military. One of the senior (non-Jewish) US Chaplain's had introduced him as one of 12 Jewish Chaplain's in the US Navy. The Israeli Chaplain just looked at him and said "All of OUR chaplain's are Jewish" I worked in the Chaplain's office for 8 years and met or talked with Jews almost daily. That was the only time I ever saw a Jewish Chaplain. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for other religions to connect a leader of the faith with their community.
     
  12. Legion Para

    Legion Para Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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  13. 7thWisconsin

    7thWisconsin Sergeant

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    That's a great example of how many chaplains almost wore the regulation uniform. He's right out of the book, then adds a sash. That, or the addition of shoulder straps, is very common. Chaplains complained that the plain and severe appearance of their uniform made it difficult for them to act as commissioned officers, so they added those details to emphasize that point.
    @civilwarincolor : I went to school and worked with several Jewish chaplains. Not an uncommon occurrence in the U.S.army.
     
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  14. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    Agreed. The representation of clergy for all faiths is supposed to be at the same percentage that they exist in the civilian community. The challenge is that when you have people of a particular faith in the civilian community they are found in pockets large enough to support clergy. In the military community you may have the same percent, but those pockets are completely spread out. I remember when I was on my first ship, USS INDEPENDENCE CV-62, we had 5,000 sailors on board and would see attendance between Catholic/Protestant services of 150 on a weekend. The Jewish attendance was 2. Hard to justify a Jewish Chaplain for two people.
     
  15. 7thWisconsin

    7thWisconsin Sergeant

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    Yeah. That kind of representation in the unit profile won't get you a commissioned chaplain. A good chaplain, however, will see that one of those 2 is a recognized lay leader, and resource that faith community through the lay leader. He ( or she) can also make distinctive needs known to the chaplain so that special dietary needs, or worship hours and materials can be obtained. (Jewish holy days, for instance).
     
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  16. Legion Para

    Legion Para Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    How did the Union Army deal with the Jewish holidays?
     
  17. Northern Light

    Northern Light Captain

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    I think we've had a thread on this. I will go poking around to see if I can find it.
     
  18. Northern Light

    Northern Light Captain

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  19. Legion Para

    Legion Para Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Henry C. Leonard
    3rd Maine Infantry
    1st Maine Heavy Artillery
    Chaplain
    Identified in Regimental History page 216
    BM: Brady

    CF8C67FD6EF9E291.jpg
     
  20. Legion Para

    Legion Para Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Charles G. Bowdish
    Chaplain
    11th Minnesota Infantry
    BM: St. Paul, MN

    1784E42D8DEAE2F3.jpg
     

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