Slouch hat - A good civilian slouch hat should have gross grain ribbon around the edge and crown of the hat. Found in black, dark and light browns. Remember your hat can make or break your impression!
Kepi -should be made in proper period fashion, with a leather or oil/paste board bill with or without chin strap- try to avoid the chin strap buckle as that is typically seen on federal forage caps. Try for civilian or federal eagle buttons. Avoid CSA or I buttons with the main body made of jean, cassimere or, sattinete in gray or browns.
Jones Jacket - Columbus Depot type, should have a gray body of Jean or Cassimere, with dark indigo dyed collar and cuff and an outside left breast pocket. The Jones jacket is documented to the 1st/4th MO and consists of a jean body in natural gray sheep’s wool with a brown cotton warp, cotton osnaburg lining, the collar and cuff are faced with Dark indigo Dyed kersey wool, the inside of the collar is cassimere of a gray wool and tan cotton, use either federal eagle, cast block I in red or yellow brass, or wooden buttons. The top stitching and construction of the jacket should be machine sewn with brown thread, with hand sewn button holes, sleeve attachment, left breast pocket top stitching, and cuff top stitching.
Appler Jacket: This Jacket part of a complete uniform issued to PVT John T. Appler of the 4th MO in Late 62 in Mississippi. The Appler jacket has no topstitching, one-piece sleeves, and a four-piece body, one outside slit pocket on the left breast. It should be made of Sumac or Logwood jean on a Brown Warp if possible.
Columbus Depot type II - This jacket is similar to the Jones jacket and would be a good generic type. It should be made of Gray jean, or cassimere with an osnaburg lining, dark indigo dyed kersey is preferred for the cuff and collar. The main body can be hand or machine sewn however button holes should be machine sewn at minimum. , Use either federal eagle, cast block I in red or yellow brass, or wooden buttons.
Non-descript/ “Commutation” jacket - This type of jacket or Shell/roundabout should be used in small numbers however it is acceptable for use when a Columbus Depot (CD) type is not at hand. This jacket should be of gray to brown jeans, cassimere, or sattinete. With Cotton osnaburg or civilian shirting of plain or woven designs (Avoid printed patterns). The buttons could range from 5 to 9 and you can use civilian coin, good year, wooden, or Block I or Federal eagle. (Avoid CSA and script I buttons for this jacket.) This jacket can have shoulder straps or not. Try to avoid branch of service trim or piping. You are looking for a generic look with this jacket.
Civilian - made of different shirting material such as linen, muslin, or osnaburg. Avoid printed designs try for woven. Common patterns are checks and stripes (ticking).
CS issue- made of plain osnaburg typically found with one or two chest pockets
Richmond Depot pattern - with mule ear pockets preferably in gray or brown jeans. However correct Blue gray trousers could be worn.
Western theater - with side seam pockets also preferably made of jeans in gray or brown.
Civilian - In linen, jeans, cassimere, sattinete, or kersey wool. Can be a married or colors but try to stick with muted earth tones or indigo blues. When in doubt please ask and in most cases choose jeans before wool!
No plaids or modern designs please avoid trouser stripes unless approved by the Chain of Command.
Socks - Should be of cotton issue or wool hand knit civilian patterns. The cotton ones are cheep roughly $6 a pair. Not a bad price to be correct. The rag wool socks are not correct.
Brogans - These should be of documented Federal or Confederate issue types. Civilian work boots or shoes are also authorized. NO modern boots or shoes should be worn at any time.
Accoutrements: A good set of accoutrements/leathers will go a long way!
Cartridge box - cartridge box should be either a 58. or 69. Caliber box and tins are mandatory in either the single tin or double tin designs. The box can be used on the waist belt or a box sling. Do not install box plates unless approved by the Command (Box plates are rare and “typically” disappeared by these dates) also avoid brown (Russet) leathers- yes they did exist but were limited to certain depots.
Cap pouch - preferably a shield front or other Confederate documented pouch. Federal pouches are authorized. Again black in color
Waist belt - There are a myriad of belts that can be used however the more common ones found during the period in question will be the:
- Plain brass rectangle plate
Bayonet scabbard - Should be or Confederate manufacture meaning sewn portion with a lead, brass or tin tip. Federal two rivet types are also authorized. Insure your scabbard fits your bayonet. Try to avoid seven rivet scabbards as they are typically found in late war photos.
Haversack - Confederate manufacture in either plain or oil cloth. Carpet haversacks should be limited. Properly hand sewn haversack can be had at reasonable prices and in some cases cheaper than the incorrect ones. Insure it is a documented design such as these:
- Henry Neal, Breathed’s Battery (cotton cloth)
- A.H. Bayley, Peyton’s Artillery (waterproofed canvas – two different haversacks)
- Unknown Georgia soldier (striped cotton)
- J.T. Jobson, 9th VA Infantry (waterproofed canvas)
- Yancey Dean, Co. B, Hampton Legion ( cotton)
Canteen - Confederate tin drum canteen is the most common seen in use by confederate forces. Also you may use a Wooden canteen just remember to take care of it. Federal canteens in either smooth or the “bulls eye” pattern with or without cover are authorized, these should be in limited numbers. Avoid stainless steel!. Also for Federal Canteens jean cloth covers are preferred. Try to avoid sky blue covers - yes they did exist but in such small numbers that it is unlikely that many units in the AOT would have seen them.
RIFLE: YOUR RIFLE MUST BE IN GOOD WORKING ORDER OR IT WILL NOT TAKE THE FIELD, ALL RIFLES SUBJECT TO INSPECTION BY THE COMMAND.
- 1853 Enfield 3 band in 58 caliber- This being the most preferred as the brigade is documented as having them.
- 1842 or 1816- Springfield’s
Blankets - A good blanket will go a long way!! This should be period correct and in the form of a Confederate issue, Civilian, and at last a Federal issue blanket. You get what you pay for here! Please consult a member of the company before buying!
Knapsack - It is not a requirement to have a knapsack however with quartermaster records of units within the AOT at this time the unit should strive for at least a 50/50 mix of knapsacks and blanket rolls. Avoid hard packs as they are typically early war.
- Kibbler style pack - Single bag design with a removable harness and shoulder straps.
- English import (Isaac and Campbell)- Imported for use in the Confederate Army in large numbers
- Other single bag designs- such as the Pritchard
- Federal double bag knapsack- limited quantities
Ground cloth - preferably Confederate manufactured cloth with sewn or small brass grommets made of oil cloth. Federal Gum blankets are acceptable for use in small numbers.
Rubberized Blanket or Poncho - The ground cloth was made of vulcanized rubber cloth with small brass grommets approximately 5/8" in diameter along the outer edges. Large grommets and shiny vinyl finishes should be avoided. While the poncho was exclusively distributed to the cavalry during the early war, by 1864 the poncho was issued to all troops. Though the rubberized blanket is preferred, either is permitted. There is also another option of the painted Oil cloth which was in federal use. Made to the same specs at the Rubberized Blanket. This item can also be used for your Confederate kit.
Painted Ground Cloths - An alternative to the rubberized blanket is a painted ground cloth. Made mainly for civilian use prior to the war, government contactors soon began producing them for military use. Measuring roughly the dimensions of a blanket, 74”x 48”, ground cloths were painted with a combination of linseed oil and mineral spirits; the same mixture used to waterproof knapsacks and haversacks. They should contain eight small 5/8” grommets.
Food and Cooking Items - Food preparation by the soldier varied depending on the circumstances he found himself in. While in stationary camp he had the luxury of company cooks and a variety of cook pots and utensils. While on the march each soldier was responsible for carrying his own cookware or his part of his mess’s cookware, and he lightened his load considerably. Members should acquire personal cooking items, since heavier equipment is the concern of the quartermaster.
•Canteen half/ Mess plate
Some soldiers were issued, purchased, or foraged a tin plate for their meals that saw service in a variety of functions. Many soldiers, however, found the plate cumbersome, and used a canteen half as a plate instead. Canteen halves were versatile and could be used as a plate, a frying pan, or a cover to a coffee boiler. The plate or canteen half was carried in the haversack or knapsack. It is improper to carry the canteen half strapped to your canteen.
Utensils - A variety of utensils were available to the soldier. Some were constructed entirely of metal, while others had wooden handles. Forks most often had three sharp tines, while knives were broad and flat with a rounded end. Some soldiers did without spoons entirely and scooped food with the flat of their knife instead..
Cup/Dipper - Soldiers often had a large tin cup also known as a ‘dipper’. These were used to drink water, prepare coffee, etc. Cups came in a variety of width and heights, and nearly any size is acceptable. Some find a smaller cup easier to store in the haversack, while others prefer the carrying capacity of a larger cup. Cups should feel sturdy and feature a handle that is wired to the top of the cup and riveted and soldered to the side of the cup. The handle and lip of the cup should feature rolled edges and the bottom of the cup should be smooth. Cups with bottoms that look like modern cans are unacceptable.
Boiler - Soldiers who wanted a vessel larger than their tin cups often took a tin can and added a piece of bailing wire as a handle. These boilers are much easier to work with and preferred by some members.
Frying Pan - Frying pans were useful items for cooking the meat ration. Some soldiers used a canteen half and a stick, while others would pool their money and purchase a sheet metal frying pan to be used by three or four of them. Cast iron is too heavy, so stick with a sheet metal pan. These can often be found at antique stores or at certain sutlers.
Hardtack - Hardtack crackers were one of the primary staples issued as rations to the Union Army and often found with confederate troops as well. Flour (cracker meal) and water were mixed together, formed into squares and baked until all water was removed from the bread. A soldier was issued 10 crackers a day when on campaign.
Make Your Own Using the Following Recipe:
•Yields 10-12 - 3”x 3” Crackers
•3 c. All Purpose Flour
•1c. Cake/Pastry Flour
•1 tsp. Kosher Salt
•1-2 c. Water (or enough to form dough)
The ratio of all purpose flour to cake flour will provide you with a more accurate consistency to the “cracker” flour government bake houses used during the period. Combine Flour in a mixing bowl. Add salt to 1 cup of water and dissolve. Add water to the flour mixing by hand. Continue to add water just until the dough comes together. The dough should not be sticky. Roll out with a rolling pin to ½” Diameter. Cut into 3”x 3” squares. Assemble on a baking sheet. Before going into the oven take a chopstick and make 4 vertical rows of 4 equally spaced horizontal dots in the top of the cracker. Bake on the middle rack in a 375 degree oven for 45mins-1 hour, or until the crackers are stiff and very lightly browned. Turn off the oven and allow the crackers to sit in the oven until it is completely cooled. Package the crackers in a poke sack or breathable container. If stored in plastic the crackers will mold if there is any moisture left in them.
Salt Pork/Dry Cured Bacon/Fat back - Salt Pork or Salt Junk as the soldiers called it, was one of the primary meats issued as rations. It consisted of cuts of pork cured and shipped in a brine solution. It is not available commercially in this day and age.
A common substitute used by re-enactors is dry cured bacon. It keeps well during a weekend and is equally acceptable for frying at breakfast or boiling for dinner. You will not be able to find it at many grocery stores; however there are many suppliers via the internet that are available.
•Adams Fair-Acre Farms – Slab Bacon
•Local Butcher Shops – Slab Bacon
•Scotts Country Hams – Slab Bacon
Coffee - Coffee was the third staple issued as a ration to the Union Army. Soldiers revered and coveted their coffee ration above all others for its qualities to revive their spirit and warm their bones. It was issued as raw beans, roasted beans and ground. One variety today that uses the same processes as in the past is Eight O'clock Coffee that is available at most grocery stores as whole roasted beans or ground. Modern coffee is often ground much finer than period coffee would have been. It is best to grind your own beans either in a period hand grinder or coarsely in a modern grinder.
Personal items should be purchased with an eye for authenticity and are best purchased with the guidance of a more experienced member.
Categories of items are as follows:
Hygiene - toothbrush (bone/wood with natural bristles), comb (bone, wood, or vulcanized rubber), shaving equipment (Strait Razor with bone or vulcanized rubber handle), hand mirror (small and unadorned), soap container (small sewn pouch), handkerchiefs and hand towel (plain fabric, huck towel material works great!), talcum powder (in a small tin or pouch) is suggested to prevent chafing.
Uniform care - Housewives (small roll-up kits with needles, thread, and buttons were very common)
Wallets: of the period were either fancy leather billfolds or simple cloth pouches that closed with a button. Either is acceptable. Dell’s Leather Works is a good source for leather wallets.
Illumination: Candles and matches were issued in camp, but seldom used or need in the field. Between campfires and moonlight, most people could get around without a light source. Heavy wooden lanterns were only used in permanent camp, though a few metal lanterns saw limited service.
Correspondence: Soldiers often carried writing implements, envelopes, paper, stamps and even diaries. Period newspapers are another excellent item to have in your knapsack.
Watches: Civil War era watches were key wound and relatively expensive. It would be rare for a private to wear one in camp, much less the field. If carried, watch chains should conform to period styles.
Tobacco: Tobacco use was generally limited to pipes or cigars. Cigarettes were a novelty and typically smoked only by high society gentlemen and women. If you do smoke cigarettes, keep them concealed.
THINGS TO AVOID!!!
WALKING DOWN SUTLER ROW EXPECTING TO GET EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN ONE SHOT! BEFORE YOU SPEND A DIME CONSULT A UNIT MEMBER.