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Posted By: Walter F. Mathers on: 06/06/2002 12:41:41 CDT
Subject: RE: Uniform Standards

Message Detail:

Tnx for your offer to help with developing an 1864 Atlanta
Campaign/Chattanooga area impression. While Chuck Lee is saying 'uniform standards' in his post, after reading it, I think he might have better said 'Signal Uniform Standards'. I'm sure that even the Federal signallists (and Confederates too!) were seen in 'alter'd' uniforms during Sherman's force march to the sea.

While some military fads came and went (i.e. the McDowell forage cap, havelocks and epauletts in field service), the signal corps seemed to take on their own distinctive dress seperate from even the department they may have been serving in at the time. Brown's signal history book makes one thing quite clear: signal-men oft times moved back and forth between different departments and from one campaign to another. Its like transfering Hooker, Butler and Bragg to the Western Theatre and sometimes multipying that by five.

On the otherhand, some signallist trained up at Paducha, KY were shipped East and initally no doubt brought with them the look of a Westerner detailed for signal service.
I'm seeing a trend among signal re-enactors to tighten or narrow the standards in order to help recruits or tranferees get it right the first time when purchasing and also make an attempt to keep things from being confusing but all the while we may well seem to be going against the basic prevalence of documentable signal clothing individuality.

I'd really like to find out what you might be able to come up with relative to US or CS signalmen clothing accounts of those serving during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign/Chattanooga campaign.

Basically, standard attire for the rest of the army was not necessarily standard for the signal corps. And one more point. If an individual infantry/cavalry/artillery unit were issued new uniforms (say during the summer of 1863) a signalman on detached service from that unit may still be wearing that unit's uniform issued a year earlier.

As the case is often debated, in some ways, it was easier to create in 1861-65 than it is to re-create in 2002. Minus the illness, lack of supplies, exposure and the occassional round of grape shot or Mini ball.

Ken Dombrowski, Chuck Lee and I were hoping to form a committee in an effort to nail down some sort of guidelines for signal uniforms. Ken's group does an 1863 Federal impression while Chuck and I may be going for an early to mid-war timeframe. Would you be interested in joining us? Anyone else out there? Although the Atlanta to the Sea campaign would be extreme late war, we may have some signal re-enactors who'd want to portray no other time period that this. It so, your source information would be invaluable to them.


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