I understand Ross, and I meant no hard feelings or insult to anyone. We all have our own reasons for being in this hobby. But even those on a budget can have some fun with uniforms/gear.
So you pick up a flannel shirt from the sutlers, what $30- $40 bucks, stop by Jo ann's and get some trim/tape and a needle and thread. A few nights of sewing while you watch TV and bang you have a battle shirt! Now I know that is not the whole deal, but a good overshirt or battleshirt can work for so many events! And clearly The same is true for a good 4 button CS sack coat or a Commutation jacket. Even the nicest of these jackets can be had for under $200,(yes that means you will have to give up one of your B-day or Christmas gifts to get the coat!), but it works for so many events early and late war!
I had two coats I used from 1982 to 2004! At the 140th of Spot's Courthouse I decided to up my impression. I ordered one of Chas. Cantrell's Mystery Jackets in a sumac dyed jean w/Federal Eagle buttons. I cannot explain to you the joy and excitement in owning a jacket like this! I wore it for the first time at the 140th of Franklin using all my old gear, the only other new item I had was a pair of used trousers I got for $30. The use of that jacket changed everything! It changed how I felt about the event, my role at that event, my enjoyment, you name it...... had a blast!!!
Since then I have changed the buttons on that coat to simple coin buttons and folded down the collar to use it as a civilian coat at many local events, and now I am working on adding some trimmings and some civilian buttons I got off this forum to make a Commutation jacket for next year. Now I am sure there are some purests here that would look down on that, but I plan to get as much use out of this jacket as possible.
You just have to ask questions and do a little research and buy smart. I friend of mine makes Federal Sack coats as good as any of the "Big Bugs" can make, and only charges $70. And I know it really turns folks soar when one of these "Dealers" is selling an unlined, Union Sack Coat, 100% machine sewn w/only the button holes hand done...... for $200 or more!
OK I'm rambleing, gotta get off the soap box for awhile, gotta fix some fence before the horses get out again.
Hope everyone is having agreat Labor Day W/E!
"In the heat of battle it ceases to be an idea for which we fight... or a flag. Rather... we fight for the man on our left and we fight for the man on our right... and when armies have scattered and when the empires fall away... all that remains is the memory
of those precious moments... we spent side by side."