View Full Version : Question about Chaplaincy?

"Doc" Nelson
04-29-2007, 07:24 AM
I have a friend that is interested in portraying an Army Chaplain. He asked me about it and, I have no idea where to direct him :confused:. If you have any thought, suggestions, advice . . or anything for that matter. Please feel free to let me know. Either with a reply to this posting or, just "PM" me.

He asked about Sutlers, information about researching, etc. I've been "googling" and found a ton of information regarding the history of the Chaplain Corps and such. But, not really anything on clothing, nor equipment.

Thank you for your time.;)

Micah Trent
04-29-2007, 08:25 AM
You can check out this link:


Hope this helps.

"Doc" Nelson
04-29-2007, 08:37 AM
You can check out this link:


Hope this helps.

Thanks Micah,
That was one of the links that I sent my friend. As far as researching information . . I've found quite a bit. Now, I'm just looking for suppliers of "Chaplain" uniforms, equipment, etc. Thanks brother.;)

Micah Trent
04-30-2007, 08:12 AM
I don't know of any sutler or vendor who makes a "chaplains uniform", but you might want to check with Carter & Jasper, they maybe able to help you.

David Meister
04-30-2007, 09:26 AM
Quartermaster shop makes chaplain uniforms they are kind of expensive but they may give you an Idea.


David Meister
04-30-2007, 09:55 AM
C and C sutlery also has them


05-02-2007, 08:00 AM
Dr. Charles Quintard was the Chaplian of the Army of Tennessee (started out as chaplain of the First Tennessee Volunteers) and was the Second EZpiscopla Bishop of Tennessee. He also founded St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, which was built during the summer of 1864.

Dr. Quintard published his memoirs and they provide an excellent source of the duties and every day life of an army chaplian.


05-02-2007, 09:06 AM
It is my understanding that there was no "army chaplain's uniform" as such, either Federal or Confederate. They were more civilian contractors, if you will, that members of the military. They wore civilians' clothing, or their denominational clergy "outfit." Cassock, preaching bands, etc. Field equipment would probably be similar to an officer's since they had to provide for their own equippage as well.

There was a book that came out just couple years ago on religion in the Civil War armies, and no doubt would provide lots of information, both in its writing and in its bibliography.

I would think twice about buying a "chaplain's uniform."

Rob Weaver
05-02-2007, 11:08 AM
I've portrayed a Federal chaplain. I am ordained clergy and a former US Army chaplain (for real). There was no official chaplain's uniform, despite the regulations laid down by Congress when the branch was created in December of 1861. In original photos you see chaplains in the prescribed black frock, sometimes with black buttons, sometimes with military buttons. You see them with and without swords. You see 4-button fatigue coats and you see civilian clothing. You indeed do see clerical robes on clergy whose traditions were wearing them (i.e. Roman Catholics), but this is in the context of leading worship. There was tremendous leeway available for the chaplain, as he was an officer without troops, and virtually his own boss. No regimental commander was going to tell his chaplain how to dress. PM me for more.

"Doc" Nelson
05-02-2007, 12:31 PM
Well, I have to beg a difference. There was a "General Order" put out, specifying a uniform for a Chaplain. Which is as follows:

"General Order No. 102 (1861), had authorized that the "uniform for chaplains of the Army will be a plain black frock coat, with standing collar, and one row of nine brass buttons; plain black pantaloons, black felt hat or army forage cap, without ornament." This remained the standard approved uniform throughout the conflict."

"Doc" Nelson
05-02-2007, 08:47 PM
Here are a few photos of Chaplains, that I found, while doing some searching:

Chaplain S.H. Weston, 7th NY Infantry . . . . . Chaplain T. Quinn, 1st RI Light Artillery . . . . . Chaplain G. Winslow, 5th NY Infantry
Chaplain A. A. Harris, USA . . . . . . . . Chaplain J.F. Sutton, 102nd NY Infantry

Micah Trent
05-02-2007, 09:28 PM
Unlike the other photos, the one of Chaplain G. Winslow sticks out, becasue of not only his uniform, but his shoulder bars. I guess the thing to look at now would be if that photo was taken prior to or during the order that was issued for chaplains uniforms.
Part of me is saying that it was during...but that's just my two cents.:rolleyes:

Rob Weaver
05-03-2007, 04:45 AM
The order about shoulder boards was in the creation order, so it was always there. It was simply discregarded fairly regularly. Winslow was in the 5th NY, which can explain a number of the excentricitities of his dress. I've seen other photos of chaplains with shoulder boards as well. They were worn to gain some respect among other staff officers. I have seen both staff officer and cavalry officer boards in photos; the latter a logical extension of the fact that chaplains were paid as captains of cavalry. The Navy used boards with a cross between the rank insignia; the current reenactor ones seem to be based on this model, but I can't say I've ever seen originals on an Army chaplain. I have also seen a chaplain's photo with small Latin crosses on the collars of his fatigue coat. Weston is wearing a uniform of his own creation (sometimes pictured with a pistol in his belt, and Quinn something that looks like a Rhode Island blouse. Sutton is one of my favorite pictures, possibly the most regulation of all those pictured. As you can see there was extensive variation. Winslow, by the way, was a particularly well-liked and effective chaplain, and drowned while the regiment was enroute by sea in 1864.

05-03-2007, 11:31 AM
I have just been accepted by the United Methodist Church as a "Seeking Candidate" for the ministry--this means that I am just starting the whole process with interviews and meetings with my mentor.

In the future I will be laying asside my role as Battalion Commander and take on the impression of a Confederate Chaplain--any guideliens or information available besides the little I have been able to glean?--which amounts to "mostly civilian, sometimes military garb, but not too military."

I am leaning toward the black frock coat, myself.

Rob Weaver
05-03-2007, 01:44 PM
Confederate chaplains are a different ball of wax altogether, as there was never any uniform prescribed for them. They came into the service in a different fashion than Federal chaplains, and were seen as missionaries from their home churches. There was a Texan who wore a black frock with gren piping on the sleeves, but this was utterly unique to him, so I wouldn't steer you in that direction. I can't ever recall seeing a photo of a Confederate chaplain in uniform, tho I've seen several in civilian clothing. Best wishes and many blessings to you.