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Required Uniforms and Equipment
Go to Optional Uniforms and Equipment

This list contains recommended items with contact points to vendors and suppliers of proven top quality reproductions. Some suppliers will be listed several times as they are sources for a variety of products. These listed sources are for your convenience only. Although the reproduced items have been inspected for authenticity, prices and service are entirely at the vendors discretion. When dealing with vendors and suppliers make sure that you have an accurate idea of their services, prices and delivery times.

When considering uniforms you may, as an option consider purchasing your own pattern and cloth. With a little sweat equity you may reproduce a uniform at a fraction of the retail cost. A word of caution, please do your research beforehand, as a uniform that is constructed incorrectly will be as historically incorrect as the worst “sutlers row” product. A list of pattern and fabric suppliers will be included in the Appendix of this list.

Note: Nineteenth century people did not wear their clothes as we do today. Loose fitting clothes were the style. Also, nineteenth century "standardization" was a far cry from the meaning of the word today. The army generally provided clothing in only four sizes, so the chances of a perfect fit were small. Some companies had a "company tailor," who could make individual alterations for a price. The quality of a company’s tailor’s work most certainly varied however.

Shoes – U.S. issue Model 1854 Jefferson bootees, also called "brogans", with pegged soles.

The average sutler row shoe has only superficial resemblance to a Civil War Brogan These suppliers make high quality reproductions:

Federal and Confederate shoes:

Missouri Boot and Shoe Co.
Bob Serio
951 Burr Crossing Rd.
Nesho Mo. 64850
417/451-6100
Good Shoes at a reasonable price.
Federal and Confederate shoes.

Robert Land, Maker
5 Columba Dr. #139
Niagra Falls, NY  14305
519-836-0747 (voice)
519-836-2689 (FaX)
High quality product.
  

Trousers – U.S. issue infantry pattern sky blue kersey (a pronounced diagonal weave) wool trousers. The pattern called for a waist with a high back about 3" higher than the front, as well as other 19th century details. Confederate Depot trousers were cut in a more modern fashion than their US counterpart but still retained all the character of 19th Century clothes, as did Civilian models. Research shows that Confederates in the field wore civilian trousers in large quantities.  Note: Nineteenth century men wore their trousers at the navel. Suspenders are optional since they were never issued, but were definitely worn by men whose waist did not match one of the four issue sizes. Period photographs do not show many men without their coats on, but of the ones that do about half are not wearing suspenders.
The cut, construction and fabric are very important on Federal Trouser. Here are suppliers that have excellent reproductions.

Chris Daley
PO Box 402
Burkittsville, MD 21718
301/834-8828

Stony Brook Company
169 West Fifth Street
Oswego, New York 13126-2505
(315)-343-1557

County Cloth
Charlie Childs
13797-c Georgetown St. NE
Paris, OH 44669
330/862-3307
CRChilds@bright.net
Very good Federal kits.

 

Here are some suppliers of researched Confederate and Civilian trousers:

Trans- Mississippi Depot Co.
PO Box 875
Tyler, TX  75710
903/526-1191
903/526-1192 (FAX)

Cotton City Tailors
7590 Meadows Drive South
Mobile, AL 36619
(334) 666-2792  
Excellent Confederate uniforms at reasonable prices.

Confederate Yankee
PO Box 192
Guilford, CT 06437-0192
203/453-9900

Shirt – U.S. issue white flannel (wool on a cotton warp) shirt with hand-sewn buttonholes. Buttons should be stamped sheet iron (tin).
Note: At present, very few sutlers sell these shirts and the price is cost prohibitive. While half the Union army probably wore these shirts at any given time, the other half were wearing cotton shirts sent from home. Therefore, you have another option:

Mrs. Eddins’ Emporium
186 Hayes Circle Rex, GA 30273
770-389-1470
mrseddins@yahoo.com

Goldberg & Co.
Historical Clothiers
2495 South Alden St.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
801/467-2343
Good products but delivery time is suspect.

or: Civilian cotton shirt in woven (not printed) checked or striped pattern with hand-sewn topstitching and buttonholes. If your shirt has machine sewn button holes, you should redo them by hand, or sweet-talk your wife into doing it. Buttons should be horn, shell, or glass.

Hand Sewin’ Shirts
27273 Camp Plenty Rd. #97,
Canyon Country, CA 91351-2638

Mrs. Eddins’ Emporium
186 Hayes Circle Rex, GA 30273
770-389-1470
mrseddins@yahoo.com  
Does top of the line hand work on shirts, coats and trousers.

Hat/Cap – U.S. issue Model 1858 black "Hardee" hat. Predominant in the western Federal armies, these hats were issued without brass insignia, which the men did not like anyway.
or: Black wool felt civilian hat.
and/or: U.S. issue Model 1858 forage cap. The crown of the cap falls forward toward the leather bill unlike the kepi, which has a more rigid crown and was not commonly issued to Federal troops.

Note: You have a very important choice to make in selecting your hat/cap. The proper hat or cap is crucial to a good impression of a 19th century soldier. A man’s hat not only fit his head, but it fit his personality as well. Hats were predominant in the western armies of both sides. However, many caps were issued to western troops, and some men preferred them, especially if they felt it fit their personality.

For your Confederate impression using only required gear, either the black civilian hat will do.

Brass insignia: Due to the fact that insignia was not commonly used; and the fact that a hat without insignia was easier to reshape to your liking for comfort and looks; and the fact that if you wore it, you had to keep it polished; brass insignia was the exception rather than the rule. It is therefore discouraged.

All of these suppliers below make top quality 19th century headwear:

Dirty Billy’s Hats
7574 Middleurg Rd.
Detour, MD 21757
410/775-1865

T P & H Trading Co
121 Carriage Dr
Birdsboro, Pa 19508
phone 610 582 0327
e-mail: tph.trading@gateway.net

Clearwater Hat Co.
107 Clearwater Hat Rd.
Newnata, AR 72680
807/746-4149

Greg Starbuck
PO Box 115
Columbus, GA 31902
212/246-2835
Makes the Best Kepi’s out there.  

Tim Allen
1429 Becket Road
Eldersburg, MD 21784
410-549-5145

Coat (U.S.) – U.S. Model 1858 fatigue jacket (sack coat). Buttons should be U.S. Model 1854 general service issue eagle (small, with shield instead of branch letter).
Note: Uniform patterns and styles varied between the different Federal Quartermaster Depots, but these differences were slight especially compared to the Confederate Depots.
or: U.S. Model 1851 enlisted man’s frock coat (same buttons). Frock coats were not uncommon, but the sack coat was definitely predominant plus a reproduction frock coat generally costs over twice as much as a sack coat.

Chris Daley
PO Box 402
Burkittsville, MD 21718
301/834-8828

Goldberg & Co.
Historical Clothiers
2495 South Alden St.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
801/467-2343

Stony Brook Company
169 West Fifth Street
Oswego, New York 13126-2505
(315)-343-1557

County Cloth
Charlie Childs
13797-c Georgetown St. NE
Paris, OH 44669
330/862-3307
CRChilds@bright.net
Very good Federal kits.  

Coat (C.S.) – Shell Jacket – In the first year of the war, many pre-war companies of southern soldiers continued to wear their volunteer militia uniforms, which varied greatly in color, pattern, and style from company to company. Many companies formed after the fighting started went to war wearing "over shirts" that were decorated with trim for a "uniform" look.
Prior to early 1862 many soldiers received what is called a “commutaion” jacket. These jackets were produced by civilians from authorized military patterns. This "commutation" jacket pattern was a basic six piece body, two piece sleeve, stand up collar, seven button shell jacket, with shoulder epaulets and two belt loops. Photographs suggest that many commutation jackets were made later without epaulets and/or belt loops.
By the Fall of 1862, the Confederate Quartermaster Depots were able to supply large numbers of uniforms to the troops, which meant that from that time until near the end of the war, the majority of the men would be wearing central government issued clothing. Also, in their wartime letters, most soldiers asked for and/or mentioned receiving clothing made at home, though it was usually shirts, socks, or drawers, and sometimes trousers. The inference is that at any given time of the war, at least some of the men would be wearing parts of if not a complete Confederate commutation uniform, either sent by the state government for distribution to Alabama troops through the Quartermaster Department, or directly to the men by relatives, who often simply sent civilian clothing. During the same period however, the majority of the men would be wearing uniforms issued by the Quartermaster Depots of the central government.
Research shows that from at least as early as September 1862, until near the end of the war, the most common shell jacket worn in the Army of Tennessee was the "Columbus Depot" (contemporary term) jacket. This jacket was made of wooljean material, and dyed varying shades of gray. Confederate textile mills used different shades of vegetable dyes or sometimes no dyes, when they ran short. These dyes easily faded, plus the dust and dirt of field use gave most gray uniforms an oatmeal-brownish (or "butternut") tint after a while anyway. This is something to consider when deciding on the color of your Confederate jacket, since modern synthetic dyes do not fade as easily.
The Columbus Depot jacket had a medium blue wool trim on the collar and cuffs. Sometimes, due to shortages of the dye or wool, these jackets would be issued with no trim. At one time, thought to be a different pattern and labeled "Atlanta Depot" jackets. It is another option to consider.
There were two types of Columbus Depot jacket styles: the Type I (contemporary term) had a longer waist then the Type II, which was shorter waisted, and had an outside breast pocket. Check out this link for more information on Columbus Depot Jackets. Confederate Depot Jackets-The Material Evidence
A number of soldiers wore single-breasted frock coats sent from home. These were usually made of wooljean, with no trim. This is yet another option for you, but of course the number of men wearing frocks would be small plus reproduction frocks are more expensive than shell jackets.

What all this means is that you have a choice in selecting your Confederate coat. Your choices are listed in the order of the most prevalent to least prevalent:

 

Columbus Depot Shell Jacket (Type I or II)
Confederate Commutation Jacket
Department of Alabama Jacket (slight style variation, probably issued in 1864 or later, with trim on collar only)
Variation of Commutation Jacket (different jeancloth or homespun material, no epaulets or belt loops)
Frock coat
Note: All buttonholes and topstitching should be hand sewn. Buttons should be either brass block I or wooden (late war issue). Buttons were frequently lost in the field, and many museum specimens have U.S. eagle buttons on them. You may want to put some Federal buttons on your jacket as "replacements".

Confederate jacket and frock suppliers:

County Cloth
Charlie Childs
13797-c Georgetown St. NE
Paris, OH 44669
330/862-3307
CRChilds@bright.net

Cotton City Tailors
7590 Meadows Drive South
Mobile, AL 36619
(334) 666-2792  
Their Confederate jackets are some of the best being reproduced at this time.

T, B&B (Ben Tart)
PO Box 28
Spring Hope, NC 27882
252-904-3788
Great fabrics and finished garments.

Socks – Civilian or U.S./C.S. issue wool (winter) or cotton (summer) in white or gray.

 

T, B&B (Ben Tart)
PO Box 28
Spring Hope, NC 27882
252-904-3788
Repro Confederate Army socks.

Confederate Socks (Mickey Black)
6378 US 601
Salisbury, NC 28147
704/637-3331
BlackM@cone.com

Evergreen Acres farm
Camp Riversite
Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085
414/564-3101
Good Civil War wool socks at reasonable prices.

Blanket – Gray-brown preferred, but any natural color twill weave wooljean or tight woven wool blanket(s). U.S. issue blankets were gray-brown with gray-black end stripes, and usually had "US" applied in the center of the stripe.
Note: Blankets that weigh less than five pounds do not provide much warmth.

Family Heirloom Weavers
125 O'San Lane
Red Lion, Pa 17356
(717)246-5797
Good Civilian and Confederate blankets. Working on a line of Federal Blankets also.

County Cloth
Charlie Childs
13797-c Georgetown St. NE
Paris, OH 44669
330/862-3307
CRChilds@bright.net
US, Confederate and NC issue blankets.

Quartermaster Woolens
20473 Idaho Ave.
Lakeville, MN 55044
Authentic US issue Blankets.

Haversack – U.S. issue black painted canvas haversack. Haversacks were used to carry food. Regardless of what you are actually carrying in your haversack, the impression should be that it is carrying food.
Note: Soldiers of both sides adjusted the straps of their haversack, canteen, and cartridge box for comfort on the march. They wore them high, so they would not beat their hips and thighs for miles on end. The canteen and haversack were worn over the belt. If the straps are properly shortened for comfort, the haversack usually will not fit under the belt anyway.

Chris Daley
PO Box 402
Burkittsville, MD 21718
301/834-8828
Federal cloth issue.

Missouri Boot and Shoe Co.  
Bob Serio
951 Burr Crossing Rd.
Nesho Mo. 64850
417/451-6100
Excellent tarred Federal Haversacks.

The Haversack Depot
PO Box 311262
New Braunfels, TX 78131
830/620-5192
Federal Haversacks.

Artifakes
1608 W. Peral St.
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715/341-5893
Federal haversacks.

Canteen – U.S. issue Model 1858 "smoothside" canteen with brown or gray wooljean cover. Usually, natural wooljean was used to cover canteens because it was cheaper. The good material was saved to make clothing. Unfortunately, most sutlers sell canteens with blue wool coverings. Blue was used as a canteen cover color, but gray and brown were predominant. If you purchase one of these, you should change your canteen cover as soon as possible.
Note: Canteen straps should be cotton, cotton webbing, or leather, sewn together or made with a buckle or button (easier to put on and take off, or a good place to hang a tin cup, if it will not fit inside your haversack). 

Tin cup and Tin Plate – Original sizes and shapes varied, but most reproductions are basically alike. You also have the option of obtaining a canteen half, which you can use for cooking and as a plate. Buy from a sutler, who sells lead-free, solder tin ware. If you are allergic to tin, drink out of a period bottle, or a clay, copper, or pewter cup.
Note: Do not purchase enamelware, graniteware, speckle ware, etc.

Knife, Fork, and Spoon – Any one of these items could be considered optional, although most men prefer them to their fingers! Original wooden, bone, or plain metal handled utensils are still commonly found in antique stores, and are usually inexpensive. Also, reproduction combination utensils are available from sutlers.

These items can sometime be found at event sutlers but do your research. Here are some sources for correct reproductions:

Carl Giordano - Tinsmith
PO Box 74
Wadsworth  OH  44282

G&P Mercantile
PO Box 354
Rockvale, TN 37153
615/898-0629
Hot dipped tin like it was originally done.

C &D Jarnagin Co.
PO Box 1860 
Corinth, MS 38835-1860

(662) 287-6033
Good tin ware…make sure you ask for what you want.

Ground Cloth/Poncho – This item could be considered optional, but is a very handy piece of equipment to have. U.S. issue "gum blanket" (solid piece of painted or rubberized canvas cloth). The "poncho" was basically a gum blanket with a reinforced slit cut in the middle, but these were generally issued to the cavalry.

C &D Jarnagin Co.
PO Box 1860 
Corinth, MS 38835-1860

(662) 287-6033

U.S. Waist Belt – U.S. issue Model 1856 waist belt with U.S. issue Model 1856 oval "US" belt plate that is stamped sheet brass over lead backing.

C.S. Waist Belt – There was enough variation in C.S. belt plates to give you a choice of selection. Those most prevalent in the Army of Tennessee are listed below in the order of most commonly used:

Frame Buckle: cooper (either forked tongue, or "Georgia frame" straight tongue)
Rectangular "C.S.A.": copper or brass, solid cast with the letters slightly of center to the left.
Crimp-cornered "CS": copper, solid cast
Oval "CS"
: stamped sheet brass (no backing)
Snake Buckle: solid brass, English import
Captured "US" belt plate (see US waist belt)

Cartridge Box – U.S. Model 1855 .58 caliber cartridge box and cartridge box belt (with breastplate) This cartridge box could be attached to the belt for extra support, so that the "sling" (contemporary term) was not needed. Most men seemed to prefer the sling due to the weight of a fully loaded cartridge box (live cartridges are much heavier than blanks).

Cap Pouch – U.S non-regulation, shield-front cap pouch
or: U.S Model 1850 cap pouch

Sling – U.S. issue leather musket sling.
or: Enfield rifle-musket sling, if appropriate
or: no sling

Knapsack – U.S. issue Model 1855 double bag knapsack (this was the most commonly issued Federal knapsack, though made by many sources with many minor variations).
or: U.S. issue Mexican War softpack
or: no knapsack (use a blanket roll instead)

Quality Leather goods are very important. The price of these goods may very with the amount of quality construction. Take into consideration the time frame and order leathers that can span a wider range of time period. Avoid specialty products.

Artifakes
1608 W. Peral St.
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715/341-5893
Federal knapsacks.

Missouri Boot and Shoe Co.
Bob Serio
951 Burr Crossing Rd.
Nesho Mo. 64850
417/451-6100
A wide variety of good leathers and knapsacks.  

Trans- Mississippi Depot Co.
PO Box 875
Tyler, TX  75710
903/526-1191
903/526-1192 (FAX)
Confederate accoutrements.

LD Haning & Co.
9560 Neiswander Rd.
Ashville, OH 43103

(614) 837-5475
Knapsacks, leathers and groundcloths.

Bayonet – Appropriate bayonet and one piece U.S. model 1855 bayonet scabbard for the long arm you have chosen.

Long Arm

Take your choice:
English Model 1853 Enfield rifle-musket (.577 caliber)
U.S. Model 1861 Springfield rifle-musket (.58 Caliber) The .58 caliber U.S. Model 1863 Springfield would be another option, except for the fact that reproductions are rare.
U.S. Model 1842 Springfield smoothbore musket (other .69 caliber smoothbores including "conversion" muskets would be additional options, except that such reproductions are also relatively rare and expensive)
Most reproduction rifles, muskets and bayonets are not exact replicas of originals. You will probably have to purchase your weapons at the best prices and modify it with the help of experienced gunsmiths. These suppliers have experience in these modifications:

The Company Quartermaster – defarbed Enfields
258 Zimmerman St.
North Tonawanda, New York 14120-4509
Phone:
(716) 693-3239 Ask for Terry.

Lodgewood Mfg.
P.O. Box 611
Whitewater, Wisconsin 53190-0611
262/473-5444

John G. Zimmerman
P.O. Box 1351
(1195 Washington Street)
Harpers Ferry, WV. 25425
304-535-2558

 

APPENDIX:

PATTERNS AND FABRICS

These sources are for well researched fabrics and patterns. They may provide you with and alternative to purchasing wholesale. Be sure to do your research before beginning your sewing project as construction is as important as the fabric itself.

 

T, B&B (Ben Tart)
PO Box 28
Spring Hope, NC 27882
252-904-3788
Great fabrics and finished garments.

Family Heirloom Weavers
125 O'San Lane
Red Lion, Pa 17356
(717)246-5797
Wide variety of correct fabrics at reasonable prices.

James Country Mercantile
PO Box 364
Liberty MO 64068
816/781-1470
Homespun patterns, best overall patterns on the market today.

Past Patterns
The Historical Pattern Co.
P.O. Box 2446
Richmond, IN 47375-2446

Good Federal pants pattern….but that’s all.

Go to Optional Uniforms and Equipment