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vincentdoc
03-11-2007, 11:48 PM
Hi all - My name is Sherri & I'm an EMT-B in Pennsylvania, and I've been reenacting for 5 years, most of which as our company's Hospital Steward. Big hello to anyone I've met at events - looking forward to seeing y'all again in the spring!!!

I don't typically get into the living history end of Civil War medicine much, my role has always been typically to stay behind the lines of troops in my brigade and tend to those who are actually wounded on the field or in camp (heat stress, burns, cuts, sprains, stings, etc.) at events, and other medical responsibilities. I carry 21st ct first aid supplies in my haversack, along with canvas buckets with extra water/gatorade mix, rags and ice for the hot weather events. And the list goes on...

ANYWAY, I was recently promoted to 2nd LT. Assistant Surgeon, so now comes the $$$ part of upgrading the entire uniform ensemble.

For those of you who have been doing impressions of Assistant Surgeons, I need to pick your brains, if you don't mind.

Here's what I have now - is there anything I can adapt, or do I need to buy all new stuff? (Since I'm not kin to the Hilton or Trump families, this will mean a few dents in my forthcoming paychecks, and the tax return).

For HS, I currently wear the customary frock coat with crimson piping & chevrons, kersey blue trousers with crimson trim, etc...a wool slouch hat with the silver US, wreath, green/gold braid & a Hardee hat I typically use for dressier parades, etc. Also the NCO red sash. I have a Pennsylvania belt buckle. And of course, the brogans from ****.

Just to make sure I have all of my t's crossed with the new season approaching, let me ask y'all if if this sounds correct-I don't want to give the thread-counters the chance to say "that's not correct", ya know?:

1) I should wear a single breasted jr officer's frock coat, & navy trousers (I just purchased the "MS" 2LT shoulder boards and a green sash from Regimental QM).
2) What other hat trim would I need to replace what is on my Steward's hats (slouch & Hardee), and
3) any piping/stripes needed along the sides of navy trousers?
4)Also, can I finally burn my long-suffering brogans & use officer's boots?
5) Must I also give up my Pennsylvania belt buckle for an officer's? Which one would be appropriate for this rank? I will not be carrying a sabre on the field, as it could interefere with my ability to render aid if needed, so I'm not jumping through hoops to get one yet. Anything else needed for the belt? (I have my hands full enough schlepping my over-stuffed haversack, canteen, the two buckets & yellow flag all over the field). Any special haversack or is my traditional black still ok?
6) I currently have a kersey blue vest, should I invest in a navy blue one?
7) Any other essential uniform acoutrements needed?
8) Do I need a navy blue greatcoat?
9) I finally had the JJ Woodward manual memorized, is there a manual for Surgeons I should learn for this new role?
10) Also, where should I park my A'frame along the company street? I'm not setting up a "field hospital" or the like at this time. I love the company I usually fall in with, so I don't want to ruffle anyone's feathers. If I ever do upgrade to a larger tent, which one would be appropriate?

Thanks in advance to all for your advice.
Yer Obd't Servant,
-Sherri

NoahBriggs
03-12-2007, 07:34 AM
1) I should wear a single breasted jr officer's frock coat, & navy trousers (I just purchased the "MS" 2LT shoulder boards and a green sash from Regimental QM).

There ain't no such thing as a "2nd Lt" assistant surgeon. They were commissioned as first lieutenants, gradually promoted to captains. "MS" on the strap is not necessary, but it is seen. For God's sake, make sure the branch of service color on the strap is black, not green. You are a battalion staff officer, not a sniper. "Shoulder boards" is a modern naval affectation. Shoulder straps are what you want. Straps on a fatigue blouse (misnomered "sack coat") is fine. Jarny makes enlisted and officer's fatigue blouses and frocks. Jarny will ignore your size and give you a 22inch neck on your coat. I had to wash mine in hot water to get it to fit right - tight on the chest and under the armpits.

2) What other hat trim would I need to replace what is on my Steward's hats (slouch & Hardee),

You need no other trim on your hat - unless you want officer's cords. I stay with a plain EM forage cap. But that's just me.

3) any piping/stripes needed along the sides of navy trousers?

You can, but it's extra paying. I keep my trews plain.

4)Also, can I finally burn my long-suffering brogans & use officer's boots?

Boots are optional, and not necessarily officers only. They are also made cheap by Mexicans and grossly marked up by the merchants for $155. You might as well invest in better bootees from Robert Land or Mattimore Harness.

5) Must I also give up my Pennsylvania belt buckle for an officer's? Which one would be appropriate for this rank? I will not be carrying a sabre on the field, as it could interefere with my ability to render aid if needed, so I'm not jumping through hoops to get one yet. Anything else needed for the belt? (I have my hands full enough schlepping my over-stuffed haversack, canteen, the two buckets & yellow flag all over the field.

If you want to keep your buckle as a relic of old decency, go ahead. I skip the belt, since I do not bother with a sword. As you pointed out, it's extra stuff. Keep the sash. Lose the yellow flag, since you would not necessarily be in the immediate line of fire.

Any special haversack or is my traditional black still ok?

Get one haversack for your mess furniture, and the other to carry your personals- pain meds, bandages, personal surgical instruments, and whatever other doodads you carry. See the conversation with Lewis Sullivan in the previous posting.

6) I currently have a kersey blue vest, should I invest in a navy blue one?

FOX News flash - believe it or not, vests in this era, especially in the field, are totally optional. I wear a silk one from Corner Clothiers, with a plaid that makes you wonder where the upholstery from that rusiting 1972 Pinto is. I stay away from the standing collar vests.

7) Any other essential uniform acoutrements needed?

A good pair of drawers, good wool socks. A good, warm sleeping cap.

Do I need a navy blue greatcoat?

Dunno. How often are you in a freezing cold environment? I use my old EM greatcoat and wear every stitch of clothing underneath at Winter of 64. Life is interesting when you spend your morning thawing out your iodine and your ink and your chamberpot contents over the stove. At the same time.

9) I finally had the JJ Woodward manual memorized, is there a manual for Surgeons I should learn for this new role?

Pasted from the Lewis Sullivan conversation, who was hoping for free research handouts - Your new best friend should be Google Books. Keywords, Henry Beasley, John Erichsen and George Wood, fifth edition. Edward Parrish, too, if that's your thing. Noticing a trend? The "Search" function on this board can be a godsend. Especially the previous postings in the Medical Conference.

10) Also, where should I park my A'frame along the company street? I'm not setting up a "field hospital" or the like at this time. I love the company I usually fall in with, so I don't want to ruffle anyone's feathers. If I ever do upgrade to a larger tent, which one would be appropriate?

It's called a wedge tent. Park it next to the captain for now. You do not need to "upgrade" your canvas. It's yet more stuff to lug around. When I am with the Columbia Rifles I typically bunk in the dirt with the rest of the pumpkin rinds, or in the officer's quarters at Winter of 64.

For more information consult the previous conversation with "Lewis Sullivan" in this conference.

Google doth await, like the loyal puppy it is.

Looks like I need to post my AAR for Paynes Farm. It contains the field-tested model for How To Do A Campaign Surgeon Sans Excess Doodads.

cwmed
03-13-2007, 05:01 PM
Dear Madam,

What Noah says is for the most part true but keep in mind that some of the Asst. Surgeons could aford delux uniforms. Expecially Sack Coats I have a sack frock and shell all in delux wool and exterior pockets. However, if you are truely wanting to be authentic I would buy a ver nice embroidered leather belt and spend the frocks money on a very nice trimed sack with pockets, quilted lining, the works. Please send me an e-mail with any further questions at cwmed@bellsouth.net

Luke

1863doc
03-23-2007, 03:24 PM
Noah; Luke;

Question: Luke and I talked about this at Shiloh, with the surgeons/assistant surgeons being "staff" officers the shoulder straps are supposed to be background "black" what about the cuffs, and additional trim color on the Frock coats? Is the sash the only "medical green" to be seen on the surgeon......My uniform (federal) a gift to me, and "it must have shrunk" LOL cause I now need to replace it, has green cuffs, and tail trim....

1863doc

"Doc" Nelson
03-24-2007, 11:57 PM
Noah; Luke;

Question: Luke and I talked about this at Shiloh, with the surgeons/assistant surgeons being "staff" officers the shoulder straps are supposed to be background "black" what about the cuffs, and additional trim color on the Frock coats? Is the sash the only "medical green" to be seen on the surgeon......My uniform (federal) a gift to me, and "it must have shrunk" LOL cause I now need to replace it, has green cuffs, and tail trim....

1863doc

Doc,
There is documented proof, that a Surgeon had his Frock Coat trimmed in green. And, Gordon E. Dammann has a photo of one in his book. I don't know where my book is, right at the moment. I do remember seeing a photo of one , in one of his volumes. He has 3 volumes in the series: "Pictorial Encyclopedia of Civil War Medical Instruments & Equipment". This was not regulation though. It must have been custom made for him (or at least that's my guess). The collar and cuffs are to be of dark blue velvet, as per the 1861 Revised Army Regulations # 1443 (which follows). And, the shoulder straps are to be a dark blue background or, field, as it's also called. The regulation stating that is down towards the bottom, which is # 1540. Hope this helps. Thanks for your time.

For Commissioned Officers
1442. All officers shall wear a frock-coat of dark blue cloth, the skirt to extend from two-thirds to three-fourths of the distance from the top of the hip to the bent of the knee; single breasted for Captains and Lieutenants; double-breasted for all other grades.

1443. For a Major-General--two rows of buttons on the breast, nine in each row, placed by threes; the distance between each row, five and one-half inches at the top, and three and one-half inches at the bottom; standing-up collar, to rise no higher than to permit the chin to turn freely over it, to hook in front at the bottom, and slope thence up and backward at an angle of thirty degrees on each side; cuffs two and one-half inches deep to go around the sleeves parallel with the lower edge, and to button with three small buttons at the under seam; pockets in the folds of the skirts, with one button at the hip, and one at the end of each pocket, making four buttons on the back and skirt of the coat, the hip button to range with the lowest buttons on the breast; collar and cuffs to be of dark blue velvet; lining of the coat black.

1444. For a Brigadier-General --the same for a Major-General, except that there will be only eight buttons in each row on the breast, placed in pairs.

1445. For A Colonel--the same as for a Major-General, except that there will be only seven buttons in each row on the breast, placed at equal distances; collar and cuffs of the same color and material as the coat.

1446. For a Lieutenant-Colonel--the same as for a Colonel.

1447. For a Major--the same as for a Colonel.

1448. For a Captain--the same as for a Colonel, except that there will be only one row of nine buttons on the breasts, placed at equal distances.

1449. For a First Lieutenant--the same as for a Captain.

1450. For a Second Lieutenant--the same as for a Captain.

1451. For a Brevet Second Lieutenant--the same as for a Captain.

1452. For a Medical Cadet--the same as for a Brevet Second Lieutenant.

1453. A round jacket, according to pattern, of dark blue cloth, trimmed with scarlet, with the Russian shoulder-knot, the prescribed insignia of rank to be worked in silver in the center of the knot, may be worn on undress duty by officers of Light Artillery.


Shoulder-Straps
1537. For the Major-General Commanding the Army--dark blue cloth, one and three eighths inches wide by four inches long; bordered with an embroidery of gold one-fourth of an inch wide; three silver-embroidered stars of five rays, one star on the centre of the strap, and one on each side equidistant between the center and the outer edge of the strap; the centre star to be the largest.

1538. For all other Major-Generals--the same as for the Major-General Commanding the Army, except that there will be two stars on the strap instead of three, the centre of each star to be one inch from the outer edge of the gold embroidery on the ends of the strap; both star of the same size.

1539. For a Brigadier General--the same as for the Major-General, except that instead of two, there shall be one star instead of two; the centre of the star to be equidistant from the outer edge of the embroidery on the ends of the strap .

1540. For a Colonel--the same as for a Major-General, and bordered in like manner with an embroidery of gold; a silver-embroidered spread eagle on the centre of the strap; two inches between the tips of the wings, having in its right talon an olive-branch, and in the left a bundle of arrows; an escutcheon on the breast, as represented in the arms of the United States cloth of the strap as follows: For the General Staff and Staff Corps--dark blue; for Artillery--scarlet; Infantry--light or sky blue; Cavalry--yellow.

1541. For a Lieutenant-Colonel--the same as for a Colonel, according to corps, but omitting the eagle, and introducing a silver-embroidered leaf at each end, each leaf extending seven-eighths of an inch from the end border of the strap.

1542. For a Major--the same as for a Colonel, according to corps, omitting the eagle, and introducing a gold-embroidered leaf at each end, each leaf extending seven-eighths of an inch from the end border of the strap.

1543. For a Captain--the same as for a Colonel, according to corps, and introducing at each end two gold-embroidered bars of the same width as the border, placed parallel to the ends of the strap, at a distance from the border equal to its width.

1544. For a First Lieutenant--the same as for a Colonel, according to corps, omitting the eagle, and introducing at each end one gold-embroidered bar of the same width as the border, placed parallel to the ends of the strap, at a distance from the border equal to its width.

1545. For a Second Lieutenant--the same as for a the same as for a Colonel, according to corps omitting the eagle.

1546. For a Brevet Second Lieutenant--the same as for a Second Lieutenant.

1547. For a Medical Cadet--a strip of gold lace three inches long, half an inch wide, placed in the middle of a strap of green cloth three and three-quarter inches long by one and one-quarter inches wide.

1548. The shoulder-strap will be worn whenever the epaulette is not.

1863doc
03-25-2007, 08:56 AM
Doc Nelson;

Thank you! I have the Dammann's volumes, but must have missed the photo, I will read them again. My aim is to get as accurate as possible.

1863doc

"Doc" Nelson
03-25-2007, 09:57 AM
Doc,
Hey, I found my Dammann books. The coat I was referring to, is in his first volume, on page 78. The coat belonged to a "Major William S. Newton" Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Hope this helps. Thanks.

NoahBriggs
03-26-2007, 08:18 AM
I almost went on a "Mommie Dearest" rant this morning when I read the latest posts (Why, why, WHY???). Instead I now view it with mild amusement and as an ameteur sociologist. One of the upsides to being a Sith Reenactor is patience.

It seems many reenactors (myself included) sometimes have a severe allergy to PEC - Plain, Everyday, Common. In the military especially, the knowledge that officers were allowed a lot of latitude in uniforms sometimes leads to what I call the "Leopard Skin Trowsers Fallacy" which states, if there is at least one photographic documentation of an item, then it must okay for every impression you do. Is there one frock with green trim for a surgeon? Sure was, right there in Dammam. However, that's one coat. If you are doing that particular surgeon, then go ahead and wear it.

Thinking like soldiers, though, remember this - you may look good, and stick out on the field so you can spot yourself in the next horrible reenactment commemorative video. But on a real battlefield more often than not, you will be dead on in a sniper's sights. Yes, you could wear a green sash and be surrounded by flunkies in red armbands. But some snipers don't get the memo about noncombatants and the Lieber Code. (A downside to working independently of the rest of the Army.) Anything in fancy insignia or distinctive trim is an open invitation to get shot.

Recommended uniform -
Plain frocks with plain, dark-blue background straps. Or a fatigue blouse, either EM-issued, or custom done. Dark trousers or light blue enlisted trowsers, gold trim on the side optional. Officer's kepi if you want, but I use a plain, non-adorned enilsted forage cap. Boots or Jefferson bootees.

Gone from this list -
Dead animal parts, ethnic badges, Masonic doodads, hillbilly floppy hats with sagging officer's cords and embroidered "officer's badges", "bloodstained" aprons. Not only does it improve your look, it saves you some money by not buying extraneous stuff.

We are not only surgeons, we are also officers and should attempt to comport ourselves accordingly. :D

My useless contribution.
YOS,

"Doc" Nelson
03-26-2007, 05:52 PM
In the military especially, the knowledge that officers were allowed a lot of latitude in uniforms sometimes leads to what I call the "Leopard Skin Trowsers Fallacy" which states, if there is at least one photographic documentation of an item, then it must okay for every impression you do.

Thanks Noah,
You know, I thought about it but, didn't put it down in writing. Sorry man :oops: .

cwmed
03-26-2007, 09:16 PM
Dear all,

Guys, keep in mind that Army Regulations of 1861(and before that) state that a surgeon is a "Staff Officer" that means that you need BLACK background on the shoulder boards as well as the correct mushroom style "Staff Officer Buttons"

hanktrent
03-27-2007, 08:11 AM
Not saying it applies to anything discussed here, but don't forget to keep in the back of your mind, black fabric dyed in the period often faded to dark green over time.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

"Doc" Nelson
03-27-2007, 11:55 AM
Dear all,

Guys, keep in mind that Army Regulations of 1861(and before that) state that a surgeon is a "Staff Officer" that means that you need BLACK background on the shoulder boards as well as the correct mushroom style "Staff Officer Buttons"

Luke,
I couldn't find anything in Army Regulations from 1861 that states "black". Could this be a revision, sometime later in the War? The article in the 1861 Regulations states the following:

Shoulder-Straps
1537. For the Major-General Commanding the Army--dark blue cloth, one and three eighths inches wide by four inches long; bordered with an embroidery of gold one-fourth of an inch wide; three silver-embroidered stars of five rays, one star on the centre of the strap, and one on each side equidistant between the center and the outer edge of the strap; the centre star to be the largest.
1540. For a Colonel--the same as for a Major-General, and bordered in like manner with an embroidery of gold; a silver-embroidered spread eagle on the centre of the strap; two inches between the tips of the wings, having in its right talon an olive-branch, and in the left a bundle of arrows; an escutcheon on the breast, as represented in the arms of the United States cloth of the strap as follows: For the General Staff and Staff Corps--dark blue; for Artillery--scarlet; Infantry--light or sky blue; Cavalry--yellow.

And, as far as the buttons. This is all that I have found in the Regulations:

BUTTONS
1460. For General Officers and Officers of the General Staff--gilt, convex, with spread eagle and stars, and plain border; large size, seven-eighths of an inch in exterior diameter; small size, one-half inch.


I may be mistaken but, I haven't found it elsewhere. Please let me know. Thanks a bunch.

rkrispies
03-29-2007, 02:37 PM
Noah-

Thanks for the list of what not to put on. However, as a Bucktail, I have to remove the "dead animal parts" from the list. Some of us like having a deer's $%# on our heads! Obviously, non-bucktails can skip the dead animal parts.


Chris
Asst. Surgeon, 1st PA Rifles