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KeystoneGuard
02-13-2007, 03:54 PM
Gents,

Been doing some research (nothing better to do in PA when its snowing) and found that some officers preferred to use hook & eyes to attach their shoulder boards. This would make sense so that they could be easily taken off and on, especially for those who had the dress epaulettes. What I would like to know is how common and versatile it is for re-enactors portraying officers to have these. I've found that the Quartermaster Shop sells them with the clips. I may be worrying over nothing but it seems to me that they would have a better chance of falling off during an engagement:confused: . Any comments or suggestions would be great!

Thanks in advance!:D

Memphis
02-13-2007, 04:04 PM
Shoulder boards? Are you doing a modern naval impression? :confused:

Bummer
02-13-2007, 04:08 PM
I had an original ID'ed Artillery Captain's commercial sack coat with shoe strings stitch attached to each corner of the shoulder strap and a small circular eyelet stitched in the coat's shoulder where each corner was to be--the strings were threaded through and tied in a bow inside the shoulder. Was a neat arrangement. Perhaps this could be done? I have not seen an original hook and eye arrangement (not that they maybe didn't exist) but I have seen this method which is just as easy.

KeystoneGuard
02-13-2007, 04:57 PM
I have one coat (officer's sack) I wear for both of my officer impressions and what I'm looking for is an authentic/easy way to switch the boards (General to Captain) without having to spend a lot time sewing them on. Any reasonable suggestions would be great.

Bummer
02-13-2007, 05:14 PM
Try the shoelace method metioned above--authentic and very easy.

SW~

harley_davis
02-13-2007, 05:29 PM
Sir,
I have a QM Shop frock that used I switch from Captain to First Lt. with the hook arrangement. I can not speak to the correctness of the arrangement. However, I can speak to the effectivness. It does work....sorta. When you install your straps, you need to pull outward on the material to "lock" the hooks into the eye (actually more of a bar than an eye). Even then, as you put your coat on, they will occassionally fall off. If you are important enough to have an orderly (or a wife), they can help with that. Once on your shoulders, the straps are generally secure but be aware that I have had them come off in the field. What I did was to stitch them in each corner with a couple of quick stitches which eliminated the falling off. So, yes, it does work but it aint the perfect answer. I did not know about the shoe string method mentioned above and that sounds like a much better way to go frankly. I may try that one myself.
I remain, respectfully,

TimKindred
02-13-2007, 06:09 PM
Comrade,

Forgive me for being so forward, but why are you bothering with shoulder straps on a blouse? Seems to me that more than half of the images I've seen of officers with blouses show either with no rank or reduced rank.

As a general officer, you don't need any rank. Everyone around you knows who you are, and depending upon your efforts in the field, so do those above you, for better or worse :)

As a Captain, if you are portraying one from, say, mid 1863 onwards, then odds are you'd have reduced rank or no rank visible.

It would be far easier to have two pairs of pants than removable shoulder straps. Dark blue w/ a gold welt for your general impression, and plain or light dark blue for field use (as officers were allowed to purchase enlisted trousers for use on campaign).

Respects,

KeystoneGuard
02-13-2007, 06:21 PM
Tim,

I understand where you are coming from.

From the pictures I've seen of Barlow in the field (which are very few), he has on shoulder boards with his sack coat and jr. officer's shell. As for the use of "subdued" rank, I have never tinkered with it and would be open to suggestions on how to make it or where to purchase it.

On the subject of the trousers I have both pairs as you stated and concerning trousers for General Officers the U.S. Regulations have this to say:

1468. For General Officers and Officers of the Ordnance Department--of dark blue cloth, plain, without stripe, welt, or cord down the outer seam

However as we all know officer's bought their uniforms and veered from the regulations. But another thing concerning the shoulder boards, Barlow had an ego and it seems he wanted his rank known to the world.

KeystoneGuard
02-13-2007, 06:24 PM
Harley,

Thanks for the insight. I think to that the shoe string method would be more practical and safe too. I don't want to search the country side for a lost board, ha ha.

Union Navy
02-14-2007, 10:23 AM
Because naval officer uniform regulations changed 4 times during the war, I often have to change straps between 1861 regulations (single anchor for Lieutenant-commanding) and anchor-and-oak-leaf straps (for Lieutenant Commander after July 1862) and none (for undress uniform epaulettes 1861-1863 as in the avatar above). Since the 1861 dress uniform specifies hook-and-eye for the collar closure, they must have been in use at the time. I use small black hook-and-eye attachments. The hooks are sewn onto the strap corners and the eyes on the uniform - they hardly show when not in use. As mentioned above, make sure the eyes are farther apart than the hooks to put tension on the attachments. I have yet to lose one, though I have to check the attachments frequently to make sure they are not coming loose.

TimKindred
02-14-2007, 01:28 PM
Harley,

Thanks for the insight. I think to that the shoe string method would be more practical and safe too. I don't want to search the country side for a lost board, ha ha.


Andre,

It's a strap. Boards were(and still are) used by Navy officers.

Respects,

KeystoneGuard
02-14-2007, 04:48 PM
Tim,

No hard feelings by the following, not attacking you or anyone else, only asking why our forefathers used the terminology they did.

Thank you for correcting me however I believe that we should be correcting our lovely sutlers of all caliber as well, seeming how they refer to them as shoulder boards also:p

This would make a great thread if it hasn't been tackled yet!

They are not always called straps in "Infantry" diaries eventhough U.S. Regs call them straps. Now I understand that this is no basis for calling them boards. This may be a never ending crusade for someone. In my opinon, which doesn't matter because its been done and over with, that they should have been called boards for those not in the Navy since they resemble a board instead of a strap. I would be happy to hear how our Navy personnel feel on the matter.

To all the Gents who helped:

I would like to thank you for your comments and service. I have come to the conclusion that when I use the "straps": 1. hook and eyes will be a pain, 2. I need more documentation of their use from an infantry stand point, 3. they won't stay on when I am active in the field. I don't want to have to be searching the battlefield for them.

TimKindred
02-14-2007, 08:13 PM
Comrade,

I didn't detect any note of concern in any of your posts. No umbrage taken. Sometimes it's hard to judge the intent of someone's words absent any inflections.

I meant to meantion that, should you desire to effect a permanent attachment to the coat, then make it a point to remove the cardboard stiffening strip from inside the board before you sew it into place. You'll find that it lays much better, looks much more like the straps do in period images, and won't act as a stop to tug and catch all of your slings and belts.


Respects,

KeystoneGuard
02-14-2007, 08:58 PM
Tim,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give your idea a try. I think too, that they will lay better and look more "authentic".

easttnfed
02-15-2007, 02:08 PM
Another trend that I have seen in some images, on originals in museums, in private collections, and from some of the civil war shows that I go to, the officer would take a shoulder strap and cut away the rest of it just leaving the rank attached to a small square patch of wool. This is one way that they reduced their "officer's look" later on in the war. From far off the officer would have blended into the ranks as if he was a regular private and advoid being detected by the enemy. Far safer than having those jaunty looking things rising off of your shoulder shouting "I'm an officer, please shoot me!"

This is easily done and all you need is just one strap to do it. Take the strap and cut both insignia off of it leaving a little square of fabric to help you sew it onto the jacket. Place the insignia on the shoulder and sew it on. Its simple and cheap.

Forquer
02-15-2007, 03:14 PM
Another trend that I have seen in some images, on originals in museums, in private collections, and from some of the civil war shows that I go to, the officer would take a shoulder strap and cut away the rest of it just leaving the rank attached to a small square patch of wool. This is one way that they reduced their "officer's look" later on in the war. From far off the officer would have blended into the ranks as if he was a regular private and advoid being detected by the enemy. Far safer than having those jaunty looking things rising off of your shoulder shouting "I'm an officer, please shoot me!"

This is easily done and all you need is just one strap to do it. Take the strap and cut both insignia off of it leaving a little square of fabric to help you sew it onto the jacket. Place the insignia on the shoulder and sew it on. Its simple and cheap.

Re: "subdued" officer's rank insignia, it's cheaper still to buy a set of them from Wendy Osman.

YOS,