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Posted By: Walter F. Mathers on: 06/14/2002 21:04:52 CDT
Subject: Signal Corps Reenactor Uniform/Equipment Recommendations (Round Two?)

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You and Chuck (and Ken and Chip too) are all lifting a very critical and long planted rock when it comes to what style(s) of uniforms signal-men actually wore during their war-time service (detached or permanent) with the signal service (US or CS). I think your concerted efforts will produce much fruit for us all.

One needs only look to JW Brown's account on page 59, paragraph 3 to see that, "The [US signal corps] members were collected from all points of the compass..." And like you say, they wore what came on their backs. Unlike to-day, these detached men may have chosen to continue wearing what they had so long as it was serviceable, while others with a little jingle in their pockets may have opted for the spiffy roundabout with nine, ten, eleven, twelve (or even fourteen) buttons. Did I mention that some US enlisted signalmen also took a rather strong fancy to sport'g general staff buttons on their jackets?

We know that although the Federal signal service was established in 1863, some of the men who had been on detached service up to that point continued in detached status through 1864 and beyond. We're told that even Major Myer never wore the midnight blue staff officer's shoulder boards but prefer'd instead to continue wearing the green shoulder boards of the medical service.

On the Confederate side of the coin, only officers and sergeants were supposed to have been given billets in the permanent signal corps (established in 1862) and that all privates were to be detailed from the ranks of the various services and returned thereto when their services were no longer required of them.

Our best bet for documenting the variety and styles of signal corpsmen uniforms will undoubtedly come from the study of photographic evidence. (Are you listening out there DWG?) In addition to this, requistions, monthly returns, descriptive lists, and perosnal accounts (such as Greg Acken's pend'g work on Lieut. Fortescue) may provide addition insight.

Keep up the excellent posts. Its so good to hear from you.


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Signal Corps Association (1860-1865)
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