As part of the Chris Anders' Along the Potomac on 21-23 October 2011, I have been authorized to recruit a campaign company to portray Co. A of Col. Baker's First California Regiment. Similar to what Senator Baker did in forming a regiment, those with California ties are being sought to fill this company. Although native and transplant Californians are the target of this recruitment effort, non-Californians are also welcome to participate.
This will be a campaign company. No tentage other than individual shelter halves will be allowed. The "camp-no camp" rule will be in effect. Bring all the gear you want, but carry all you take be it on the march, up the bluff or into battle.
Impression standards :
As recently as three weeks before Ball's Bluff, the regiment had been attired in gray light jackets, red striped gray trousers, gray felt overcoat and a "very heavy and entirely impervious fatigue cap." Member of the unit felt like second class soldiers. An expedition in early October where the gray clad California Regiment clashed at night against green clad Berdans and a squadron of Federal cavalry was a factor in the provision of proper uniforms. As Per Francis Donaldson of Co. H complained in a letter to his brother, "Who is responsible for sending upon such an expedition men dressed in the garb of the enemy?"
Shortly thereafter, the regiment was finally issued new uniforms, specifically : "dark blue jacket, light blue pants and dark blue fatigue cap." Per Donaldson, "They are of a very superior and substantial quality and add greatly to our appearance. Indeed we look like a new regiment just come out."
Accordingly, the uniform for Company A will be :
HEADGEAR :The items in the impression standards are noted by preference. The first item is the most preferred. The each item down the list is an allowable, but less preferred, item. Although some allowance is allowed for individual items at the bottom of the spectrum, each participant is expected to have the bulk of his uniform and kit toward the higher end of the spectrum, not the lower end.
a. Forage cap with appropriate company letter only. No regimental number, crossed cannons, fancy names or other brass junk allowed. No exceptions.
a. Lined fatigue blouse (sack) : Schyulkill Arsenal preferred. Sacks from other makers allowed.
a. Light blue overcoat, preferred.
b. Gray overcoat, discouraged, but allowed.
- Although the 15th Mass possessed gray overcoats with red linings at Ball's Bluff, there is no indication yet whether the 1st California was reissued its old gray overcoats from the beginning of their original service or were issued new overcoats. Having received standard issue uniforms, it is most likely also they received proper issue overcoats. Accordingly, each man should bring a light blue overcoat. Some gray overcoats allowed.
- Under no circumstances will a sutler grade overcoat pass muster because there is no telling what the weather will be like next October. A functional overcoat made from proper pattern, proper material and properly lined will likely come in handy.
a. Domet flannel, Federal issue pattern.
a. Schyulkill Arsenal, light blue in color, preferred.
b. Gray, some allowed, but are generally discouraged.
a. Federal issue pattern of canton flannel preferred,
b. Period civilian patterns permitted.
a. Federal Issue patterns of cotton or wool
b. Hand knit civilian pattern
a. Federal issue Jefferson Bootees.
a. 1861 Springfield.
d. 1842 Springfield.
- Company A is one of the two skirmish companies sent forward during the battle. Under the general principle that line companies carried smoothbores and skirmish companies carried rifles, the preferred weapon is 1861 Springfield. Austrians, Enfields and 1842 Springfields allowed in that order by preference.
a. Triangular pattern with a functional locking ring required
a. All sewn Gaylord pattern bayonet scabbard preferred.
b. Multi-rivet patterns permitted.
a. 1857 pattern waist belt (with leather keeper) and US belt plate (puppy foot or paw backs) preferred. Belt maybe of waxed or blackened buff leather.
b. Other patterns permitted.
a. All sewn 1850 Pattern cap pouch preferred,
b. Others permitted.
a. Appropriate pattern for the weapon carried.
b. NOTE : US cartridge box and Eagle sling plates required.
a. Federal pattern SMOOTH SIDE canteen with cloth cover required. Bulls eye canteens not allowed.
b. NO STAINLESS STEEL CANTEENS. Any found in the ranks will be destroyed upon discovery.
a. Federal, painted cloth haversack required.
a. 1855 pattern double bag knapsack. This is the only allowed type of knapsack.
b. Go without.
a. Grey Federal Issue blanket, preferred
b. Brown blankets, allowed
Per the Regulations :
Blanket woolen gray with letters US in black four inches long in the centre to be seven feet long and five and a half feet wide and to weigh five pounds
GROUND CLOTH and BED SACKS :
a. Neither required, but both encouraged.
a. Tin Plate, cup, utensils required.
b. Plates and canteen halves okay.
c. Stainless steel items w
a. No modern glasses, wrist watches, cell phones, or other modern items.
This is a unique opportunity for Californians to portray an Eastern unit with a decent percentage of Californians in its ranks. (More than 200 persons identified as Californians participated in this regiment.)
More information will be provided as event details are revealed. Registration has not yet opened.
This is a unique company of a unique regiment being recruited for an event on actual ground. This battle reenactment will be worth putting on your calendar.
- Silas Tackitt, a native Californian