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Bugler Don
09-11-2008, 04:36 PM
I realize this question may blow up in my face, but I figured I would post it anyway. I was wondering how authentic an Infantry shell jacket with musician's trim is. I have seen them in Glory and on reenactors but I have trouble finding pictures of them on the original musicians. I know if they had them that not EVERYONE had them. I may have found one picture, but I wanted to see if anyone has seen any others. As a short reenactor I was considering getting one, but I don't want to get something that a sutler may have invented.:lol:

dedogtent
09-11-2008, 05:52 PM
I realize this question may blow up in my face, but I figured I would post it anyway. I was wondering how authentic an Infantry shell jacket with musician's trim is. I have seen them in Glory and on reenactors but I have trouble finding pictures of them on the original musicians. I know if they had them that not EVERYONE had them. I may have found one picture, but I wanted to see if anyone has seen any others. As a short reenactor I was considering getting one, but I don't want to get something that a sutler may have invented.:lol:


Don,

I am no expert here in uniforms but I took a quick glance in the Echos of Glory Union book. On page 236 it shows a Infantry Field Musician's coat. It says "Federal musicians were uniformed identically to the other enlisted men of their corps, except for the addition of worsted lace about the jacket bibs. The color of the lace-here sky blue-was dictated by the color assigned to a particular corps."

The coat looks the same length as a Frock coat. Then on page 240 it shows a Bugler's jacket from Union Horse Artillery and Musician's Cavalry Jacket which are shell jackets.

I know not much help but a good question. I will keep looking to see if I can find more research.

Bugler Don
09-15-2008, 04:00 PM
Thanks for the info; I am probably going to get the frock. It is weird though that you can never find pictures of them, but many reenactors wear them.

Ross L. Lamoreaux
09-15-2008, 04:18 PM
It is my understanding that the musicians coat was indeed a frock coat, issued like that of all branches as the service uniform. Any jackets with the branch trimmed "birdcages" (modern term, not period) were cut down frocks. There is evidence of that being done in the field with some infantry troops, but I've never seen a period image or contemporary description for a musician during the war. It is one of those practices that has become a "reenactorism" and stems from the "look" or cheaper cost than that of the full frock, with little basis on historical practice. My view is that more than likely there were indeed some cutdown musicians frocks, due to the other evidence from the field, but I would hasten to add that until more evidence of the practice turns up through contemporary sources, I would shy away from it and just spend the money on a quality uniform coat.

Pvt_VP
09-18-2008, 07:22 PM
A friend in my unit wears one, a shell jacket with the light blue infantry worsted lace piping. I wondered the same question, but when looking at a book, (Terrible Swift Sword, published by Chelsea House Publishing) I noticed that both an artillery trumpeter and an infantry drummer had the shell jacket with the worsted lace in the color of their branches. As well, the book states "Light artillery trumpeters likewise wore the ornamental worsted lace on the chest of the jacket, as did the cavalry in yellow, dragoons in orange, and the mounted rifles in emerald green." However, I have seen other pictures wherin the musicians were only wearing a normal sack coat, no piping. Hope this helps.

Hardtack Herring
09-19-2008, 01:05 AM
Most period images from the Civil War of Federal Field music (Fife and Drum Corps) would indicate that a Infantry Sack Coat was most common.

Pictures tell a 1000 words. Look at a few and then you decide. Do not take my word for it.

Bugler Don
09-19-2008, 02:59 PM
I am not looking for what most musician's wore. Just whether they wore a musician's infantry shell. Obviously most wore whatever their unit wore.

Hardtack Herring
09-19-2008, 09:52 PM
Well then, of course there were federal musician frock coats and jackets.

Some survive today and there are period images of musicians wearing them so they did exist.

Heck I have seen an original Federal Artillery Musicians Frock.

If you plan to get a reproduction of one of these that would be fine. I would make sure it was of good quality if I were to spend the money on a musicians frock or jacket. Or I would make it myself considering one constructed using a correct pattern and material would probably cost about 500.00 dollars.

Also I am a bit confused about some of your statements. First.....

You said you saw a musicians coat in Echoes of Glory but did not want to get a uniform a sutler invented. Echoes of glory only has original artifacts in it. That is an original coat form the Civil War you are looking at. Some sutler did not make that coat up.

Secondly you stated you did not want to know what musicians wore, only if they wore musicians coats. That is contradictory.

If I were you I would be interested to find out what the musicians wore in the unit you most often portray. This can be done by looking for original images of the Field Music for that Regiment. That may be hard to do. It may not even exist.

Second I would search for quartermaster records of that regiment. You should be able to find clothing reports for just about any federal regiment. A musicians coat very well may noted.

If all else fails... I would just wear a sack coat. This seems to be the most common garment in the Federal Army as well as for group images of Federal Musicians. After all we as living historians try to portray the average soldier.

Example.... And this is going way out there.

There were way more examples of musicians frocks being worn than leopard skin pants. But Leopard skin pants did exist. We know this to be a fact. There is one image of a CS soldier in the Trans Mississippi theater who wore a pair, at least when he had his picture taken. Does this mean it is ok to wear leopard pants at a civil war event? Well it is authentic right? It is documented right? I think we all know the answer to this question. Heck no......

Are there any other musicians in your re-created regiment? If so what do they were? If they only were sack coats do you really want to stick out with your bird cage on your chest?

My point is....Keep it simple.... Keep it common....

I hope you find this info helpful. It is meant to be constructive.

Bugler Don
09-20-2008, 05:04 PM
I know that they wore Frock Coats, Sack Coats, and Musician Frock Coats, and that Artillery and Cavalry have musician shell jackets. I was just curious if the actually had infantry musician shell jackets. I have not seen them in Echoes of Glory and am not really interested in getting one; just was curious if they were really worn by musicians or something reenactors invented. I recently found one picture of a fifer from the 54th Massachusetts wearing one, so I answered my own question.

Hardtack Herring
09-21-2008, 01:55 AM
Good Job Don.

Could you share the picture with us on this forum please. I as well as others would love to see it!

Bugler Don
09-21-2008, 10:48 AM
http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/%5BIMG%5Dhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g276/lopuzzdo/shelljacket.jpg%5B/IMG%5Dhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g276/lopuzzdo/shelljacket.jpg

Only one I could find; not the normal birdcage however. He is a fifer from the 54th Massachusetts.

Hardtack Herring
09-21-2008, 09:47 PM
Wow that is cool. Do you happen to know his name?

panzerbob
09-29-2008, 11:19 PM
I have leopard (well actaully they were jaguar) skinned pants w/matching holsters that I wear on occasion. Actually I only sport them when people get anal and start telling me that Zuave is not "correct" for Civil war, because it is not documented enough. There is one person who gives me **** for having a zuave uniform,whenever he gets too noisy about it I throw on my Jauguar pants, and he quiets down about zuaves for a few months.

Ross L. Lamoreaux
09-30-2008, 12:17 AM
http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/%5BIMG%5Dhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g276/lopuzzdo/shelljacket.jpg%5B/IMG%5Dhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g276/lopuzzdo/shelljacket.jpg

Only one I could find; not the normal birdcage however. He is a fifer from the 54th Massachusetts.
Great image! It appears to me to be a Schuykil Arsenal jacket and not a cut down frock due to the fit, length of front, small buttons instead of 3/4 inch general service buttons down the front, collar, and cuffs, with the added trim features made post production. I'd love a high-res scan of that to verify a couple of key points, like the details of the cuffs, but my humble opinion says its an SA jacket with expertly applied trims.

hendrickms24
09-30-2008, 01:20 PM
Wow that is cool. Do you happen to know his name?


Musician John Goosberry Co. E. 54th Mass.

One of the twenty-one Black recruits from Canada, twenty-five-year-old Goosberry, a sailor of St. Catharines, Ontario, was mustered into Company E on July 16, 1863, just two days before the fateful assault on Fort Wagner. He was mustered out of service on August 20, 1865, at the disbanding of the regiment.

I found this information for the following web site.

http://www.masshist.org/