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jacket or coat

1861 - 1865

companies 1, 2, 3, & 4


enlisted man's frock coat

before september 1861

In the earliest part of the war, the men of the Washington Artillery wore the dark blue frock coats of the antebellum period.  Those frock coats were dark blue, and ornamented in such a way that they virtually shared identity with the Federal artillerymen's frock coats.  The resemblance was so great that the men of the Washington Artillery in fact found themselves being fired upon by other Confederate soldiers, forcing them to turn their frock coats inside out to momentarily end the visual confusion.  By September 1861, new jackets that had been ordered finally arrived.  The men of the first four companies of the Washington Artillery would thereafter have Richmond Depot-style jackets in what William Miller Owens would call "...that Crenshaw Mills stuff", a blue-grey wool.

enlisted man's richmond depot jacket

september 1861 to war's end

The jacket worn from September 1861 forward through the end of the war is of Richmond Grey wool in a Richmond Depot II shell jacket style. Details for that design include:

- Epaulets made of the same Richmond Grey wool as the jacket, piped with red piping that covers the outside edges of the epaulet (except the straight edge of the epaulet which is sewn to the jacket where the shoulder meets the sleeve). The epaulet is secured on the edge nearest the collar with a tunic-size (13/16" diameter), solid cast Louisiana pelican button.

- The top of the collar and the front of the jacket are trimmed with red piping.

- Nine (9) tunic-size (13/16" diameter) Louisiana pelican buttons secure the front of the jacket.

- Two (2) belt loops on the sides of the jacket (one on each side) with red piping are sewn on at the base of the belt loop, and secured with one tunic-size (13/16" diameter) Louisiana pelican button at the top of each belt loop.

- Two (2) kepi-size (11/16" diameter) Louisiana pelican buttons are sewn on each cuff. In relation to the rear seam on the sleeve, the buttons are to be located thusly:

With the jacket laying down, front up and facing you, the jacket's left sleeve will be in line with your right side.  Turn the sleeve over to see the rear seam of the sleeve.  The buttons for the jacket's left sleeve are to be located 1/2" on center to the right of the rear seam; the first button located 1" on center from the cuff's edge, the second button 2 1/4" on center from the cuff's edge, above the first cuff button.  

In like manner, the jacket's right sleeve should be turned over to see the rear seam.  The buttons for the jacket's right sleeve are to be located 1/2" on center to the left of the rear seam; the first button located 1" on center from the cuff's edge, the second button 2 1/4" on center from the cuff's edge, above the first cuff button. 

- A line of red piping that forms a chevron on the outer portion of the sleeve is sewn on the sleeve. The chevron on the sleeve peaks at approximately six inches (6") from the edge of the cuff, and maintains a parallel line to the edge of the cuff of approximately three and one-quarter inches (3 1/4") from the edge of the cuff.

- All buttons on the uniform jacket should be Louisiana pelican buttons, solid castings in brass. The emblem of the pelican on the buttons should not include the word "Louisiana" on it, nor should it contain the state motto; the background of the buttons should be lined. although a plain background is acceptable.

- The jacket should be lined. A breast pocket in the jacket is optional.

Total buttons required: 9 (nine) tunic-size, 4 (four) kepi-size.

 

frock coat - commissioned officers


Washington Artillery
Junior Officer's Frock Coat

(Note: We recognize that, in the early war period, officers of all ranks within the Washington Artillery (which, in the prewar and very early war period, included Corporals on up to, but not extending beyond, Captains; it was only until some months had passed in the war period that ranks higher than Captain were created for the Artillery) were not actually noncommissioned or commissioned, but all were elected within the hierarchical structure of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans. However, that was not the case for too long during the war, and it is simpler to make distinctions between the two essential gradations of officers by using standard nomenclature. We are therefore taking that liberty here.)

Frock coats were the uniform tunic of choice for commissioned officers. In the prewar Washington Artillery, distinctions between levels of commissioned officers were made through the style of frock coat. For 2nd Lieutenants, 1st Lieutenants, and Captains, the frock coat worn was a single-breasted frock coat. For Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, and Colonels, the frock coat worn was a double-breasted frock coat. Whether single-breasted or double-breasted, however, all prewar officers' frock coats had red wool cuffs and collars.

That was not the case with the Civil War era frock coats, however. All the "new" frock coats for commissioned officers, whether of Richmond Gray or some other gray wool (of which there were several exceptions to the rule) were double-breasted.

Unlike the enlisted men's jackets, epaulets - cloth or brass - were not standardly worn with the officers' frock coats.

????????Something about the contrafoil on the sleeves???????

????????Did they have red cuffs & collars???????????????????

- The top of the collar and the front of the frock coat are trimmed with red piping.

- (HOW MANY?) (?) tunic-size (13/16" diameter) Louisiana pelican buttons secure the front of the frock coat.

- ???????????Two (2) belt loops on the sides of the jacket (one on each side) with red piping are sewn on at the base of the belt loop, and secured with one tunic-size (13/16" diameter) Louisiana pelican button at the top of each belt loop.???????????????????

- Two (2) kepi-size (11/16" diameter) Louisiana pelican buttons are sewn on each cuff.

- ????????????A line of red piping that forms a chevron on the outer portion of the sleeve is sewn on the sleeve. The chevron on the sleeve peaks at approximately six inches (6") from the edge of the cuff, and maintains a parallel line to the edge of the cuff of approximately three and one-quarter inches (3 1/4") from the edge of the cuff.?????????????????

- All buttons on the frock coat should be Louisiana pelican buttons, solid castings in brass. The emblem of the pelican on the buttons should not include the word “Louisiana” on it, nor should it contain the state motto; the background of the buttons should be lined. although a plain background is acceptable.

- The frock coat should be lined.

- The skirt of the frock coat should not be hemmed.

- A breast pocket in the left breast lining, or a pair of breast pockets (one in the right, one in the left breast lining) of the jacket is optional.


greatcoat

The greatcoat is an optional item, although you may not regard it as such when the weather turns cold.  

The greatcoat was a regular issue item for every soldier in both armies during the Civil War, although it is not a given that every soldier received one.  Shortages resulting from the supply of men exceeding the ability of supply depots to supply in the earliest days of the war, and the occasional shortages of supply resulting from the Federal blockade of Southern ports (which effectively intercepted or blocked one in nineteen shipments, a negligible impact on imports) caused numbers of Confederate soldiers had to do without the blessings of a greatcoat.  Federal soldiers likewise had to sometimes do without greatcoats, pointing up the inadequacies and inefficiencies of the peacetime quartermaster system. 

A greatcoat differs significantly from the frock coat and uniform jacket.  The wool weight of a greatcoat was much heavier than that used in frock coats and jackets.  Like the frock coat, the greatcoat had a long skirt; but its skirt extended further down than did that of the frock coat, ending somewhere around the knees rather than on the thigh.  Not all jackets and frock coats were lined, but the greatcoat was designed to be lined with wool flannel or cotton.  The frock would seem to match the greatcoat most closely, and yet for inclement weather the greatcoat had yet another advantage over the frock coat, for it had a cape, lined or not, which gave the wearer the option of buttoning it up so that the wearer had even greater protection from cold and wind.  The collar, depending on the style of the greatcoat, was either a standup or a roll collar. 

Appropriate for cool to extremely cold weather, the greatcoat was far too heavy for campaign wear.  In the earliest days of the war, before cold weather was a consideration and when men jettisoned all but the most necessary equipment when they marched long distances or went into battle, many soldiers abandoned the heavy greatcoats along their way.  Soldiers were expected to retain their greatcoats, unless ordered to return their coats to the Quartermaster when warmer weather came so that their greatcoats could be reissued them in the fall when the armies went into winter quarters.  When cooler weather swooped in before the fall issue of the coats, soldiers who had returned their greatcoats to the Quartermaster had to do the best they could to stay warm.  

Both sides used sky blue wool for greatcoats, primarily because it was less expensive than other colors that the military would consider using.  Due to a short-lived shortage of wool in the early days of the war, there was even a limited run of canvas greatcoats for the Confederacy.  However, the shortage was very brief in duration, and apparently did not reach Louisiana Confederates. Whether buying a greatcoat or a pattern for a greatcoat, we recommend that you use the Mounted (or Cavalry) pattern greatcoat in order to have the correct look for both our Confederate and Federal impressions.

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