View Full Version : Question about "Gettysburg"

04-23-2009, 07:55 PM
In the movie Gettysburg, throughout the movie, Buster Kilrain, a former sergeant demoted to private as said in the book, wears dark blue trousers with a light blue sergeants' stripe, the opposite of the prescribed uniform for infantry sergeants. Was this trouser pattern actually used in the army for anything, or was it just used to distinguish Kilrain from other enlisted men?

04-23-2009, 07:59 PM

04-23-2009, 09:01 PM
Here's what I have. The 20th worn dark blue trousers as far as 1862 (one on-line source.)


You could also ask these folks....


Costume Design by Michael T. Boyd

26. Gettysburg (1993 )
27. Class of '61 (1993 ) (TV)
29. Alamo: The Price of Freedom (1988 )


1. Alamo: The Price of Freedom (1988 ) .... Captain John Baugh
2. "North and South" (1985 ) TV mini-series .... West Point Instructer (unknown episodes)

Costume and Wardrobe Department:

1. Son of the Morning Star (1991 ) (TV) (costume supervisor: military costumes)

Miscellaneous Crew:

1. "North and South" (1985 ) TV mini-series (re-enactment coordinator) (unknown episodes)


Costume and Wardrobe Department
Anna Abbey .... costumer (as Anne Abbey)
Marsha Barton .... seamstress
Dana Campbell .... key set costumer
Jay Anna Dorsey .... assistant costume designer
Stanley Moore .... costume supervisor

04-23-2009, 09:42 PM
The Regular Army uniform trouser was dark blue for full dress (See http://www.sykesregulars.org/)

This would possibly explain why the 20th ME had dark trousers early on in the war. Hollywood takes over when Kilrain still has his trouser stripe. I dont doubt that when the took his chevrons, they would have taken his trouser stripe as well.

04-23-2009, 10:46 PM
Maine issued grey and blue uniforms to it's volunteers. The 20th recieved the luck o' the draw. I wonder if any reenactor/extras made any comments back in 91?

04-24-2009, 08:05 AM
Actually dark blue trousers were issued to the majority of Federal volunteers in the early part of the war. This practice stopped as it was cheaper to dye the wool light blue instead of dark blue. Check out an article on our group's website: http://www.libertyrifles.org/research/darkblues62.html

The dark blues for enlistedmen were not issued much past mid-late 1862, but you still seem them throughout the war. Interestingly there are two yanks who are wearing them in a photo taken at Appomattox Court House in the spring/early summer of 1865.

-Kyle M. Stetz

04-24-2009, 09:21 AM
Generally speaking, though, it is wise to be cautious about expecting accurate historical information in any movie. And the more you kinda like the movie, the more you have to fight trusting it.

Kilrain's character in the movie was the author's persona. It gave Shaara a chance to add some thought and perspective to color the story with his personal flavor without some heavy-handed third-person narrative. What worked great in a Pulitzer Prize -winning novel sticks out like a sore thumb in the movie version, when you get to ask yourself "Who is this old goat and what's he doing calling the colonel darling all the time?" Nothing he does makes any sense and he seems to have some kind of exalted status not granted to the rest of the rank and file. That's what happens when poetic license hits the big screen. :-)

When it gets to costuming: That's when you want to deploy your caution with alacrity. One movie some of us did, it turned out the primary actors and actresses had final say over their personal appearance, contract stipulation. So a researched and carefully done period hair arrangement got tossed in favor of loose tresses because the actress thought she looked too tight and not right. Contrast that with how good everyone thought Stonewall's wife looked in Gods and Generals: She went with the period look. Can't remember her name, just remember she immerses herself in every role she takes on.

Anyway two cents.

04-24-2009, 11:52 AM
You don't remember Kali Rocha?

A friend of mine made the horror films, "The Un-Nameable" and "The Un-Nameable II" In the second film a 17th century woman, freed from a spell in the present, (and nude) is offered some clothing from some college students which she rejects. She then sees woman student with a white dress with full sleeves. The woman gives it too her. I turned to my friend and said, Great! She took the clothing that looked like 17th century women's clothes! My friend replied that they hadn't planned that at all, it was just costume the actress picked.

04-25-2009, 06:18 PM
I remember the actress, not the name. I'd say advancing senility, but I've never been good with names. :-)

04-25-2009, 06:30 PM
It's just one of my hobbies. She was the bright spot in a dreary film.