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Posted By: Ken Dombroski on: 12/01/2019 16:02:46 EDT
Subject: Signal Corps Shell Jacket

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In your archives, do you have a list of uniform contractors that supplied 11 button shell jackets to the Signal Corps camp of instruction in DC circa early 1864 and in New Orleans circa fall of 1864?

In doing some research on Signal Corps jackets, I identified an existing one last held by the Gettysburg National Military Park (tagged GETT 28212) as belonging to Daniel P. Byam of Chelmsford, Mass. The photos taken by Chris Daley a decade ago show an interesting addition to the jacket: a miniature hand sewn facsimile of a red signal flag on the white lining of his jacket on the upper right side. None of the photos show any stamps, so we're not sure who manufactured it, but Andrew Kasmar thinks it might be from JT Martin. It does not look like a privately made jacket.

After a previous enlistment in the 6th Mass. Vol. Infantry (1862-63), Byam enlisted in the Signal Corps on 31 March 1864. He was sent to the Signal Corps Camp of Instruction at Georgetown, where, according to his diary, he was issued a "very good" uniform on 8 April 1864. In May, he was sent to the Dept. of the Gulf in New Orleans. He drew another jacket there in Oct. 1864. Brown lists him as having been sent to FL in March 1865. Discharged in Nov. 1865. His transcribed diary (April 1864-March 1865), along with a CDV in his infantry uniform and his family's genealogy, are online at the Chelmsford Historical Society web page. Byam is listed in Brown's roster and his photo (from the CDV) is on page 600.

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