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Posted By: Chip on: 06/13/2002 23:04:42 CDT
Subject: RE: Civilians & The Signal Corps - Guidelines

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Chuck and Ray,

Throughout the war, there were in fact many civiians who worked for both the Signal Corps and Telegraph Service.
These laborers were listed as, "Helpers," on the #2 forms filled out when they were to be paid. By the end of the war, these folks were being paid at the rate of $35.00 per month. Of course, if they were ill or did not work because of an injury there was no income. They were basically just paid for the days that they worked. Compared to a soldier's pay, this might seem to be high, but these laborers did have to provide their own clothing and were also responsibe for buying their own food. In some areas, purchasing food was an enormous expense.

Since these laborers were typically in contact with many soldiers and sailors, there was always the chance that they could pick up some used uniform items. For example, if a soldier were issued a new pair of pants, he might decide to sell off an old pair if he had more than one in the first place. The only real issue was that of any rank being displayed on the clothing. Soldiers bartered all the time amongst themselves, and often with civilians as well.

Officers did this quite often too. They were responsible for purchasing their own uniforms. For example, if a Captain were promoted to the rank of Major, he would typically need to go out and purchase a new double breasted coat, and to help pay for the new coat, he would sell off an old single breasted coat to a junior officer. Officers often owned more than one uniform coat and more than one pair of trousers in the first place. (This subject is well documented in the regimental history of the 33rd Iowa Volunteer Infantry)

Just my basic thoughts on this topic...

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