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Posted By: Chuck Lee on: 06/05/2002 14:43:59 CDT
Subject: Uniform Standards

Message Detail:
I like the idea of having Uniform Standards to which I can refer new fellows interested in joining our little group here in Louisiana. Some of these fellows have never reenacted before, so using the uniform from their present branch of service doesn't work. And this is a virgin effort, not just because I'm new to the Signal Corps, but I've never tried to put together a group for reenacting before. I've been a member of one for about 8 or 9 years, but never tried to put one together.

We're working toward a narrow scope with a broad number of variables. An un-uniform uniform, if you will. All of us looking like we belong together, but not in a Zouave-esque way, if that makes any sense.

I've noted some interesting things along the way, though. In Brown's book - which I commend to all of you if you don't have it yet - money very well spent - it appears to me that most of the enlisted fellows in the photographs aren't wearing forage caps, but kepis. That's kind of different from what I would hav expected.

Also, it appears that an awful lot of the fellows have dark blue trowsers instead of the sky blue kersey. Pretty distinctive.

Are those two variances from what I would have expected due to their trying to stand out from the rest of the crowd, or were they mainly Regular Army before the war began, and that's what they already had issued to them?

I note also the roundabouts many seem to wear. In fact, just this past week I lifted a CDV off the Internet of a Signalman who had a 14-button roundabout with 4 cuff buttons per sleeve. It looks really formal and really official and really - well, it really looks like he made up his own uniform as he went along. Hmmm.... I think I'll put four buttons on the sleeves, and that ought to REALLY sparkle in the sunlight..."

Some of these fellows look so spiffed up that it reminds me of my own 16-year-old son who really doesn't care to reenact any more, but he thinks he's the prettiest thing that ever was when he puts on his Washington Artillery uniform - it makes him positively STRUT, he looks so good. That's how a lot of these fellows look to me - proud as peacocks.

What are we leaning toward by way of footwear? For those who were mounted, wouldn't the most likely footwear of choice be boots? And then, of course, they'd have worn spurs... Hey! It sounds like my 16-year-old peacock... errr, my youngest son could make up the Uniform Standards!

So will we be relatively all right for our Federal impression if we go with:

1. A roundabout with fewer than maybe 30 buttons (anywhere from 9 to 12 down the front, and two to three on the sleeves, let's say?), and make all of the buttons Staff Officer buttons; with or without a Signal Corps insignia on one sleeve;
2. Dark blue trowsers (although some may wear sky blue kersey if they so choose) in the mounted pattern, with a watch pocket;
3. Kepis in place of forage caps (with forage caps a choice left to the individual) with no brass, and no Signal Corps insignia unless we're reenacting something later than early 1864?;
4. Boots with spurs, or Jefferson bootees, depending on the individual and his role;
5. White flannel shirts, or something homespun;
6. Braces of our own choosing - probably white, though, if we're afraid the colors might not be colorfast;
7. Wool or cotton socks, depending on the season;
8. Union suits (long johns of some description);
9. 2" wide black leather belt with belt plate (should it be an enlisted man's sword belt plate? should the belt be a sword or sabre belt? and if so, should we have a sword or sabre, just in case - and as an option?);
10. Black, tarred haversack with name and unit stenciled on it; and
11. Smoothside canteen with dark blue wool covering it, stenciled with name and unit

Does that pretty well cover it? What's wrong with this picture (or list)? Let's try and get that narrowed down, and then work on other items - weapons as a separate category, then signal equipment. In our region, we try to work within the guidelines of the North - South Alliance, 1st Confederate Division; and they prohibit even the wearing of sidearms onto the field, which makes our choices much simpler as far as the guns we might tote around.

Does anyone have dimensions or a pattern or plans for an equipment bag? How can I get them?

(If ignorance was bliss, you'd think I'd be a whole lot happier than I am...lol.)

Chuck Lee

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