Union Surgeons' Uniforms
I am sure at one point this topic has been discussed, but I have only been able to locate bits and pieces of what I am looking for.
I know that the regulations called for a frock coat and dark blue trousers with a gold stripe. My question is would an Assistant Surgeon be wearing that in field with the troops? I know that members have commented that there were surgeons with the troops out in the battlefield. Would a sack coat with straps on it be suitable for the field? Then regarding the sack coat, would be enlisted or an officer's pattern?
In regards to the straps, was the MS script regulation or something that was more of an embellishment? I was thinking of adding a pair of unadorned straps to a sack coat for my field impression while saving the frock for more formal occasions.
As always, opinions and information is greatly appreciated.
Asst Surgeon, 67th NYSV
It depends on the date early or late war also on your preference. For my self if its early war 61 or most of 62 Frock. 62 thru the rest, sack for the field frock for more formal, full dress (Frock with epaulets) for balls and some parades. My sack coat is a private purchase 5 button sack coat with custom pocket arrangements. Again its your preference if you would rather use an enlisted fatigue uniform and attach your straps then do so.
As for the straps when I was "appointed" my surgeon gave me his old set of captains straps with the MS in them. I since use the style with the ms in them in order not to be confused with a staff officer when not wearing my green sash and in contact with the "brass" and not to be held as a combatant when in contact with the "enemy"
As an officer, you would have been responsible for providing your own uniform pieces. For what a medical officer might consider "fatigue" duty, a civilian pattern sack coat might be a logical commissioned choice. A tailor-made sack coat would differ in pocket placement and lapel/collar configuration than an issue fatigue blouse. Many officers took the convenience of purchasing issue uniform pieces and then "tweaked" with insignia. Going this route you should follow the specifications of fatigue blouses issued to the enlisted in your company.
Specifics of the "MS" on the straps can be found here.
I do realize this doesn't answer when it is appropriate to wear, but hopefully it gives an understanding of the conditions under which the choices were made.