Thursday, November 18, 2010

The 3rd Alabama Infantry Regiment (Gilmore) Impression Summer of 1862

The 3rd Alabama Infantry was organized in Montgomery, Alabama in April, 1861. By the summer of 1862, it was attached to General Robert Rodes’ Alabama Brigade that consisted of the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 12th, and 26th Alabama regiments and was attached to General Daniel H. Hill’s Division. Prior to the Invasion of Maryland, Hill’s Division was not engaged at Second Manassas, but the 3rd Alabama Infantry was the first to plant the "stars and bars" in Maryland. On September 14th, 1862, Rodes’ Alabamians were engaged in the Battle of South Mountain, taking up a thin defensive line north of Turner’s Gap in an area known as Frostown. Later in the afternoon, the Alabamians engaged General George Meade’s Pennsylvania Division. By September 17th, it was again engaged at Antietam. A year later, in 1863, the 3rd Alabama Infantry participated in the Pennsylvania Campaign and fought at Gettysburg. A year later in July of 1864, Rodes’ Division engaged Union cavalry near Crampton’s Gap and participated in Early’s Raid through Maryland and Washington.

This enlistee is wearing what is known as the Gilmore Jacket. The jacket is named after the wearer John Gilmore, and there is a surviving example that can be seen in the “Echoes of Glory, the Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy.” This jacket is made from tan cotton and features black pointed cuffs, collar and sewn down epaulettes. It has seven Alabama buttons down the front and the jacket tapers outward along the hips. The enlistee is also wearing brown cotton civilian style trousers and has a Richmond Depot kepi. His haversack is made from cotton duck and his canteen is the Federal smoothside issue. He carries his cartridge box, cap box and bayonet scabbard on a Georgia frame belt and buckle. All of his personal belongings are carried in his double bag knapsack.

It is uncertain if this type of uniform made an appearance in Maryland, as the original owner of this jacket was wounded at Malvern Hill, Virginia in July of 1862. It is possible with the lack of engagements that a few jackets like this did make their way into Maryland in 1862. The jacket would have been well worn and almost in rags. Another option would be the Alabama state jacket which at that point of the Civil War, could very well be the Murphee jacket.

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