One of my favorite subjects of research is of officers on the campaign. To me it seems that as reenactors when portraying an officer, you want to be noticed as most people portraying an officer will be wearing shoulder straps. However the more and more research I do, the more first hand accounts and photo's I dig up proving the opposite. As early as 1862 you read accounts of officers wearing enlisted clothing for field service, as to not stand out. You also see photo's of generals wearing enlisted blouses on the campaign. One excellent photo which shows a mix of both subdued rank, and regular officers uniforms can be seen on this page here http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic...lerVII_181.htm
This photo is taken post the battle of Gettysburg. Another excellent image is of Capt. James Young 60th NY, in Gregory Coco's book the Civil War Infantry Man. Capt. Young's photo was taken in 1863, and shows him in complete enlisted uniform, with only the officers belt, sword and haversack to Identify him as an officer. He is wearing no rank, 13" tall boots,blanket roll and a black civilian hat.
Another interesting photo of an officer of the 122nd NY can be found here http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic...ersonMarks.htm
Capt. Morton Lewis Marks is in all civilian attire except his regulation officers forage cap, no rank at all.
There's another good immage here http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic...ersonGowdy.htm
Capt. James Gowdy of the 56th NY, notice the commercial blouse with no rank and the civilian hat. His trousers appear to be enlisted, but its hard to tell.
Another famous immage 3 officers from the 105th Ohio show officers devoid of rank http://hometown.aol.com/jlowry3402/105ovi.html
Theres another photo in a book about the Gettysburg campaign, which I do not own and cant recall the title, but shows an officer of the 63rd PA on the march in a commercial blouse with no rank, a beat up what appears to be a dress hat, and carrying an enlisted haversack.
Another account read of an officer in the 86th NY, who drew from enlisted stores a pair of enlisted trousers from his cousin who was in the regiment. He owed his cousin the money for the trousers, however his cousin would be killed in action before he would see his money.
General orders issued in 1863 to the Army of the Cumberland, and General orders issued in 1864 to the Army of the Potomac, finally take note and condone the use of subdued rank insignia although it had been in use as far as we can tell as early as 1862.
So being that the info is out there, why do they make the regulations for events so that you have to wear rank insignia? We must remember 1 this was the personal preference of the officer(s), 2 its historically correct.
Myself personally I preder the enlisted uniform to that of the officers uniform for field service, it does not make me stick out (although theres no reall bullets flying) and it keeps my officers uniform nice for garrison, or permanent camp duty.
If anyone else has any immages to share as there is a ton out there, and I only nipped the tip of the ice berg with photo's please share them as well as your thoughts.