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Thread: Question regarding ranks and side arms

  1. #11
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    Chamberlain of the 20th Maine fame, wrote in two of his three books, he didn't carry a sidearm. Finding photos of officers in the field or in winter camps is easy, they're on the L.O.C. website. There's where you want to look. Photos from studio's aren't going to give you a sense of what was real in the field.

    http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/cwphome.html

    I don't see a handgun in the bunch...


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    Of course, this is only 3 of hundreds and hundreds of available photographs taken of officers in the field.
    Last edited by lincolnsguard; 01-14-2013 at 02:00 PM. Reason: spellin'
    Eli Heagy
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    The 137th NY performed way, way better than the 20th Maine at Gettysburg. They just didn't have a self promoting blow hard of a Col. leading them.
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  2. #12
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    There's a NCO sword and baldric but alas, no handguns:


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    114th Pa...no handguns


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    50th Pa at Gettysburg...I don't see a sidearm:



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    You get the idea. Have fun with it. These High Resolution photos at the L.O.C. are a wealth of information. And by pressing "Cntrl +" or "cntrl -" you can zoom in and out. You'll be amazed how closely.
    Eli Heagy
    187th PV

    The 137th NY performed way, way better than the 20th Maine at Gettysburg. They just didn't have a self promoting blow hard of a Col. leading them.
    "I didn't do my homework when I was in school. And, you expect me to do yours for you? Not happening."

  3. #13
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    I have read a few times in officer memoirs and/or diaries where a sidearm was mentioned. At the moment I can't think of one where it was said to be fired in combat. I remember one story where it fell out of the holster and was lost. It was replaced from a dead officers belongings whom he knew.
    One actually talked about the revolver being in his trunk and only strapping it on when he was going out on a campaign. So, if this is the case in more than just this example even camp photos could be deceiving on what an officer wore into combat. Just to muddy the water some more.
    Respectfully,

    Jeremy Bevard
    Sally Port Mess
    Historic Fort Wayne Coalition
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    "If the men pursue the enemy as vigorously as they do the whores they will make very efficient soldiers."
    Charles B. Haydon, 2nd Michigan-May 6, 1861

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  4. #14
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    Muddy, no kidding. Here's a photo from "Under the Red Patch." bunch of fellers took a moment to have their images struck; on their way to Gettysburg!



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    This photo's one of my favorites. I really think, this is a great snapshot of a Federal line officer on campaign. Boots, infantry trousers, blanket roll tied with what appears to be an overcoat strap. Enlisted haversack. Slouch. Dipper on the outside of his haversack. This feller was built to travel light and in comfort. His sack looks to be about 2 sizes too big too. Looks like he has some kind of bandanna tied around his neck too. I love photos.

    I guess now everyone will think it's cool to re'nact with a bandanna around your neck. Snicker.
    Last edited by lincolnsguard; 01-14-2013 at 02:42 PM.
    Eli Heagy
    187th PV

    The 137th NY performed way, way better than the 20th Maine at Gettysburg. They just didn't have a self promoting blow hard of a Col. leading them.
    "I didn't do my homework when I was in school. And, you expect me to do yours for you? Not happening."

  5. #15
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    This is the first image that comes to mind when discussing officer's with side arms. These three men are under the rank of captain, carry swords, and two have visable pistols. Also, the photo was taken while "on the campaign" in 1863, I think during the Tullahoma Campaign. This is probably my favorite photo of Federal officers.

    http://www.ohiocivilwar.com/105.jpg
    Herb Coats
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  6. #16
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    We've had discussions before about officers carrying rifles, but it included the idea that carrying a rifle was, like smaller rank insignia, a way to avoid becoming a more valuable target, not intended for actual use. From a distance, you're just another guy with a rifle. I can't see that helping so much in line formation. On the other hand, no one has ever shot at me for real, so I can't say what I might try. Running away, perhaps. Anyway does anyone have any letters home or anything at all to back up our speculations about officers carrying long arms?
    Bill Watson
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coatsy View Post
    This is the first image that comes to mind when discussing officer's with side arms. These three men are under the rank of captain, carry swords, and two have visable pistols. Also, the photo was taken while "on the campaign" in 1863, I think during the Tullahoma Campaign. This is probably my favorite photo of Federal officers.

    http://www.ohiocivilwar.com/105.jpg
    I like that one too. Line officers new it was important to look like your men. At 2 or 300 yards, you were hard to pick out. Those fellers certainly weren't heading to any big dress up ball were they? LOL.
    Eli Heagy
    187th PV

    The 137th NY performed way, way better than the 20th Maine at Gettysburg. They just didn't have a self promoting blow hard of a Col. leading them.
    "I didn't do my homework when I was in school. And, you expect me to do yours for you? Not happening."

  8. #18

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    Hallo!

    Viewer's left to right: Lt. Reuben Morgaridge, Co. C, Captain William Wallace, Co. I and Lt. Albion Tourgee, Co. G taken during the Tullahoma Campaign in July of 1863.

    Curt
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    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
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  9. #19
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    Another incident to muddy the waters, so to speak, that shows at least in the early part of the war as a newly commissioned officer, sidearm usage existed for line officers at least. On Aug. 18, 1862 Capt. John Marsh & 46 men of Co. B 5th Minnesota were attacked by Dakota warriors at Redwood Ferry Minnesota. Sustaining heavy causalites during the intial ambush, Capt Marsh led 16 men along the Minnesota River towards Fort Ridgley. Capt Marsh decides to cross the river to better facilitate his escape. As he crosses the river "holding his revolver and sword above his head", Captain Marsh suffers a cramp and the fast moving current pulls him under and he drowns. No mention of what the revolver was and no known photos of John Marsh have surfaced. When I portray an officer, I occassionally wear my 1860 Army into the field but generally not in camp. Why? Damned thing is heavy!!!
    Harley
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  10. #20
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    The 2nd Nebraska Infantry were issued Remington revolvers when serving as provost guard in Saint Louis. Muskets were left in the barracks.
    Andrew Grim
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