Union infantry drilling in just undershirts and vests, 1864

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privateflemming

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thomas aagaard

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Thre was a debate about it here:
All the following photos and info come from there.

Their officers.
The colonel is the same man as the man in front of the unit doing drill.
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PkLltYY57AKPyyDX_8wPmr_OiA&_nc_ht=scontent.faal2-1.jpg
 
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major bill

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Most regiments were not issued vests. However, a very few regiments were issued vests by the states, most of the regiments clothed by the Federal government were not issued vests. Is there any documentation that the 134th Illinois Volunteer Infantry were issued vests?
 

major bill

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I don't remember ever reading about a unit being issued vests. (by the federal army)
I would have to agree that I never heard of this, but I am uncertain about the Federal government issuing contacts with local merchant tailors early in the War. Although Michigan paid for the uniforms, gray vests were issued to the 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry. The 3rd Michigan was not originally issued overcoats and that part of Michigan is still chilly in May, so I suspect the vests were issued for additional warmth not as some fashion statement.
 

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Package4

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Soldiers_from_the_134th_Illinois_Volunteer_Infantry_drilling_at_Columbus,_Kentucky_LCCN2012649132.jpg

It must have been hot that day. I've just seen some debate in old threads on this forum about whether Union soldiers ever took off their jackets and exposed their vests underneath, especially during battle.

Thoughts? I assume this was done a lot more than once during the Civil War and probably sometimes in battle.

View attachment 325103
If you look closely, you will see the infantry officers welt cording on the trousers, with it looks like two officers still wearing their regulation dark blue trousers in the front rank. Additionally, it does not appear as if any of those being drilled, are wearing issue brogans.
 

privateflemming

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I get these are officers but I still think it shows that taking off one's jacket because it was too hot was fairly common and acceptable for soldiers during the Civil War. Officers were supposed to be the most straight-laced of all. If they were doing it (and even okay with being photographed) I think it's more than safe to say regular soldiers were too. I don't think going jacketless was quite comparable to walking around in underwear as I've seen some people claim.
 

thomas aagaard

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I get these are officers but I still think it shows that taking off one's jacket because it was too hot was fairly common and acceptable for soldiers during the Civil War. Officers were supposed to be the most straight-laced of all. If they were doing it (and even okay with being photographed) I think it's more than safe to say regular soldiers were too. I don't think going jacketless was quite comparable to walking around in underwear as I've seen some people claim.
No it show that one group of officers, who are doing drill thought it acceptable to take them off when doing drill.
It tell us nothing about how common it was. Or in what situations it might have been acceptable. And when it was not.


And just for the record, I know of the debate in some reenactment groups. And I don't have any strong opinion about it.
But you simply can't take one source (the photo)where we know little of the context and then use it as evidence of a common procedure as you do.
 

Package4

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I get these are officers but I still think it shows that taking off one's jacket because it was too hot was fairly common and acceptable for soldiers during the Civil War. Officers were supposed to be the most straight-laced of all. If they were doing it (and even okay with being photographed) I think it's more than safe to say regular soldiers were too. I don't think going jacketless was quite comparable to walking around in underwear as I've seen some people claim.
No, officers were considered in uniform while wearing a vest, but not so enlisted. Please notice that they are most likely performing drill for the recruits/enlisted and they are fully uniformed. According to Uniform Regulations, 1861 General Orders No 6 March 13, 1861: Section 17. (for enlistedmen) On all occasions of duty, except fatigue and when out of quarters, the coat or jacket shall be buttoned and hooked at the collar.

You will also see many officers with their coats unbuttoned with a vest underneath, but never unbuttoned without a vest.

There is an obscure command of "sling jackets/coats", allowing the enlisted to take off their coat/jacket.
 

Package4

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I get these are officers but I still think it shows that taking off one's jacket because it was too hot was fairly common and acceptable for soldiers during the Civil War. Officers were supposed to be the most straight-laced of all. If they were doing it (and even okay with being photographed) I think it's more than safe to say regular soldiers were too. I don't think going jacketless was quite comparable to walking around in underwear as I've seen some people claim.
You will also notice, if you blow the photograph up, that each individual in ranks, is ether wearing a vest, sack coat or jacket. Going in shirtsleeves was frowned upon greatly and was rarely done.
 

privateflemming

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No it show that one group of officers, who are doing drill thought it acceptable to take them off when doing drill.

It tell us nothing about how common it was. Or in what situations it might have been acceptable. And when it was not.
I would think a drill was supposed to be a fairly formal occasion, wasn't it? Do you really think it wasn't common for soldiers to take off their jackets even around camp and such? Because I very often seem to see it in pictures.

71st New York Infantry in camp, 1861:

jackets2.jpg


Union soldiers in camp:

jackets5.jpg


Union soldiers in camp:

civilwarcooking.jpg


Union soldiers in camp:

jackets3.jpg


Union soldiers in camp:

jackets4.jpg


I'm sure soldiers mostly kept their jackets on in battle unless they were dying of heat exhaustion but some units early in the war weren't even issued jackets in the style of Garibaldi shirt's redshirts, further I think showing that not having a jacket wasn't seen as scandalous on par with underwear in the 1860s.

red1.jpg


red2.jpg
 

privateflemming

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No, officers were considered in uniform while wearing a vest, but not so enlisted. Please notice that they are most likely performing drill for the recruits/enlisted and they are fully uniformed. According to Uniform Regulations, 1861 General Orders No 6 March 13, 1861: Section 17. (for enlistedmen) On all occasions of duty, except fatigue and when out of quarters, the coat or jacket shall be buttoned and hooked at the collar.

You will also see many officers with their coats unbuttoned with a vest underneath, but never unbuttoned without a vest.

There is an obscure command of "sling jackets/coats", allowing the enlisted to take off their coat/jacket.
That is interesting that they had different rules for officers vs. enlisted. I would have thought officers were supposed to be more formal, but the colonel and at least one other man in the ranks do appear to just be in shirtsleeves.
 

thomas aagaard

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I would think a drill was supposed to be a fairly formal occasion, wasn't it? Do you really think it wasn't common for soldiers to take off their jackets even around camp and such? Because I very often seem to see it in pictures.
I don't believe that the officers on the photo see what they are doing as formal... based on the faces.

And I made no claims about if taking of jackets was common or not.
But you did, based on one photo. And you simply can't do that based on just one photo with no real information about the context.
And that was my point. How you use a source.

I fully agree that taking of jackets was common, when the men was not under arms, since there are plenty of photos of it.
But that don't tell us anything about how things was done when the men was in formation and under arms. Two different situations.
 
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Package4

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Soldiers_from_the_134th_Illinois_Volunteer_Infantry_drilling_at_Columbus,_Kentucky_LCCN2012649132.jpg

It must have been hot that day. I've just seen some debate in old threads on this forum about whether Union soldiers ever took off their jackets and exposed their vests underneath, especially during battle.

Thoughts? I assume this was done a lot more than once during the Civil War and probably sometimes in battle.

View attachment 325103
Also, this was a 100 day regiment mustered in May 31st 1864, then moved to Kentucky June 6 1864, so what you are seeing is most likely drill of officers and maybe a small cadre of veterans showing the balance of the enlisted men the manual of arms. They were not a veteran group, did not see action and were home in October.

The officers most likely took off their frock coats to put on the borrowed waist belts complete with bayonet & scabbard. I do not see cartridge boxes, so they are most likely just doing facings, manual of arms and possibly stacking, thus the need for the belt/bayonet.
 

Package4

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That is interesting that they had different rules for officers vs. enlisted. I would have thought officers were supposed to be more formal, but the colonel and at least one other man in the ranks do appear to just be in shirtsleeves.
No, they have vests that are sky blue, blow it up, also look at the picture of the Colonel later where he is relaxing, his coat is open and you can see his skyblue vest.
 
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