Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Confederate Artillery Impression

Working on the South Mountain Cannon Detachment, I have several different artillery impressions. For the main 1862 impression, you would see artillery uniforms of all shapes and colors, from the basic frock to the standard shell jacket. Some of the uniforms would have red trim such as tape, piping, welting, or even solid cuffs and collar, with a wide range of materials being used. Our gun detachment typically wears mostly shell jackets that may consist of a Commutation jacket, Richmond Depot Type I jacket, or the basic cloth saving jacket known as the standard shell jacket.

So for our programming that we do at South Mountain State Battlefield, Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park, and Antietam National Battlefield our uniform standards reflect the wide range of uniforms that would have been worn by the Confederate soldier. Some of us have a standard Richmond Depot Type I with red trim on the cuffs, collar and shoulder straps made from satinette or cassimere, while others may wear a frock coat. The frock coat features a nine button front and is made from a homespun material, and for the most part, is untrimmed. Another type of jacket that can be worn is a standard six or seven button shell jacket with red trim on the collar and cuffs.

When we do the Labor Day weekend artillery demonstration at Gettysburg National Military Park, our gun detachment adopts the mid war appearance where the Richmond Depot Type II jacket is the primary choice. Our trousers are still patterned after the Richmond Depot, however, kepis that have a colored band featuring the branch of service, are replaced by the common Richmond Depot kepi that is plain. Some members wear a slouch hat in place of the kepi. Materials for our uniforms are still a mixture of jeans-cloth and satinette, however a few of our jackets are made from the British imported material known as kersey.

From time to time, we are asked to assist Monocacy National Battlefield and Belle Grove Plantation on the Cedar Creek Battlefield. We again adopt another uniform standard for 1864. Our uniforms are basically the same with the exception of our jackets. Some of us will replace the Richmond Type II jacket with the Richmond Depot Type III jacket that is made from kersey. At Belle Grove Plantation on the Cedar Creek Battlefield, at least one or two of our members will dust off the Peter Tait jacket and wear that.

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