As presented on the Southern Division Artillery Uniform Requirements, the 1862 -2012 season will encompass an early, mid-war impression. As the season starts out, the cannoneer should be basically well shod and equipped as he is coming out of his first winter quarters. Supplies from home are still being received and the ranks are starting to fill up from the first summer of war. As we go through the 2012 season, adjust your impression to reflect the situation that you have just been through. After the Seven Days battles you would be worn down a bit. You are still being uniformed from home using the commutation system and maybe a little from Richmond. After all, you were close to the rail lines and Richmond’s supply depot. If you were in the Valley with Jackson, you may have supplemented some of your worn out gear with Federal supplies but still marching light.
After 2nd Manassas, you would another opportunity to up-graded your equipage with dis-carded Federal gear but still you were on the march. In general, ever since you left the battles around Richmond you have been on the move. Moving on to Maryland, liberated Federal leather, knapsacks, haversacks and or canteens would be seen, but not in huge numbers. If you kept your original haversack, it would be dirty and greasy. You may have been lucky and picked up a Federal blanket and threw away your lice infested blanket, however, use good sense with this stage of your impression. Federal gear would be seen but not in over-whelming numbers. The artillery was behind the infantry and unless you moved on through a retreating enemy, chances of obtaining Federal gear may have been slim. The infantry boys may have cleaned up the spoils.
As the season progresses, your jacket would be worn and dirty from several months in the field non-stop. Trousers would be thin and just as fatigued. Slouch hats would be taking on their own character from daily use. If your jacket was from home, put a little trim on it…..but don’t overdo it. If you want a plain jacket, maybe put some ¼” wool tape or 1/8” wool piping down the legs of your trousers. Better yet, just go with a plain jeans jacket and trousers.
Talk to your detachment members. Find out who is wearing what and try to mix it up. Not everyone should have a Federal canteen or tarred Federal haversack. Everyone should not have on the same color or trimmed jacket. Talk as a group about your first person impressions. I have found if you give yourself a persona, you can tailor it and make better uniform decisions. You may be from a wealthy family and therefore, fully trimmed and better quality clothing is normal. You may be the “dandy” of your mess. Or, you come from a dirt poor family, barley able to make ends meet. Your mother or wife has to really struggle to get you a suit of clothes. When you do get them, they are of a rough woven quality, poorly dyed and are adorned with plain brass or wood buttons. Or,you are in the middle. Your family has sent you a new jacket cut like the jacket you came home wearing last winter. They were able to get some nice brass floral buttons and even put a small amount of piping around the collar and epaulettes. Soldierly but not over the top.
Study photographs and drawings. In addition, read the Southern Division Artillery Uniform Requirements from the web-site. It goes in to more detail for each part of the uniform. Let’s make the Southern Division artillery the most authentic Confederate artillery in the Country. Our infantry is continuing to lead the way in their individual impressions. Let’s us join them.
I remain your servant,
2nd Co. Washington Artillery of New Orleans