View Full Version : Soldier Numbers

bob 125th nysvi
03-04-2006, 03:22 PM
The sarge finally got around to updating the soldiers numbers for those of us in the company that didn't have them.

I'm curious as to what you have used to mark your gear with your number? And what gear did you mark?

Obviously the more authentic the better.


Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
03-05-2006, 09:38 PM

In brief and over-generalize...
While it can be hard to tell what was soldier "ID'd" at the time from what might have been later be "commemorated" in the post war by a veteran or family member...

A quick review of surviving ID'd clothing and gear seems that the man's number in the company record book was rarely used as "ID."
The Revised Regulations for marking, Article XII, Section 85 spoke to
"Every article, excepting arms and accoutrements, belonging to the regiment, is to be marked with the number and name of the regiment."
Section 86 said, "Such articles as belong to the companies are to be marked with the letter of the company, and the number and name of the regiment; and such as belong to men, with their individual numbers, and the letter of the company."

Article XIII Section 110 and 111 talks about knapsacks and Section 112 talks about marking haversacks.

While the "regs" are not further specific, it would seem that they were seldom formally followed, while a number of men did ID their "stuff."
In looking at "ID" marked stuff, it is not uncommon to find first initials and last names, followed by company letters and regimental numbers. Sometimes both first initial and middle initial and last name. Sometimes name and company. Sometimes company man number written such as "N. 24" and company letter and name. Etc., etc.

One thing to consider, though, about IDing clothng and gear, is that it can serve to limit one's impression over time. Some lads, do changing multiple impressions of actual different men in different units, at different events, and having just "one's name" can sometimes get in the way.
(As using one's "modern' name and then developing a persona or multiple personae.)

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt

Pvt Schnapps
03-06-2006, 09:16 AM
How the soldier ID'd materiel might depend on what it was.

Technically, only clothing should have been marked with the soldier's name or initials. This would extend beyond what the soldier actually wore to include wool and rubber blankets. It did not include such items as hat brass and 1st sergeant sashes, which were company property. Clothing issuances were tracked in the Clothing Book.

Also company property, by regs to be marked only with a number, would be the "camp and garrison equipage, including haversack, canteen, knapsack, tent or shelter half, tools, and mess pans. Typically these were assigned to sergeants and tracked by them on a special register. Thomas Wentworth Higginson mentions a practice of marking tent poles with the name of the sergeant.

I suspect that, late in the war, the haversacks and knapsacks began to be viewed along the lines of clothing, as they begin to show up in soldiers' "inventory of effects." Or perhaps that was just a common clerical error.

Ordnance, including leathers and attached brass, all technically remained the personal responsibility of the company commander. Officially these items were never actually "issued" to the men, but were tracked on registers similar to camp and garrison equipage.

FWIW, clothing and camp and garrison equipage were issued by the Quartermaster's Department and in the U.S. Army, after July 1862 (in a change that never did make it into Kautz), reported on monthly rather than quarterly. Ordnance fell under the purview of the Ordnance Department and continued to be reported on quarterly through the war.

With the turnover experienced in actual service, it's difficult to imagine everyone having consistently numbered gear, or the above rules being universally applied, but it's always nice to realize that not every item provided by the government was treated the same.

bob 125th nysvi
03-14-2006, 09:21 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate the input.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance NY