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Thread: Cotton Uniform

  1. #11
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    It sounds like a cotton jacket might not be such an outrageous idea. With Confederate uniforms coming from such a bewildering variety of sources, including home made, cotton uniforms must have been used. Though I'm going to do a little more research before I show up wearing cotton.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by roundshot View Post
    Actually it is an often overlooked fact that the CS government did differentiate between a summer and winter uniform. QM General A. R. Lawton reported to the Confederate Congress on January 27, 1865: "By using cotton clothing in the summer and spring and reserving the woolen goods for fall and winter it is hoped and believed that enough [clothing] may be to hand to prevent suffering next winter. We will get through this season without much trouble. The supply of cotton clothing has heretofore been abundant and is now ample."

    By "cotton clothing" Lawton is no doubt referring to mixed jeans and "woolen clothing" to kersey.
    Some Confederate officers could certainly afford to have summer uniforms made by civilian tailors.....if that's what they wanted.

  3. #13
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    Just found this, actual evidence of Confederate jackets made from cotton.

    http://historical.ha.com/itm/militar...-72299.s#PHOTO

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by California Joe View Post
    Some Confederate officers could certainly afford to have summer uniforms made by civilian tailors.....if that's what they wanted.
    Except by the time Lawton wrote that the CS dollar was down to about two cents in gold and four cents in greenbacks. I believe that to compensate for the rising price of everything, the CS army had already begun issuing officers uniforms and rations in lieu of making them purchase such out of their pay. It also sounds like Lawton is writing prospectively.

    Others will no doubt chime in, but I'll add that the idea of wearing cotton because it's cooler is probably misguided. Nothing's really cool in humid summer weather, the question is what works better on your back once it's soaked in sweat. In that regard, it's hard to beat what the vast majority of civil war soldiers actually wore.
    M. A. Schaffner
    Midstream Regressive Complainer

  5. #15
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    I'm sure you're right about that, although I'm thinking cotton might be a little cooler than jean wool in the blazing California sun when the temperature hits triple digits.

  6. #16
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    Are we looking for history or are we looking for a reason to wear something that may not be historically correct?
    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. Maybe you should look up the history of the 83rd Pennsylvania too, they make the 20th Maine look like the rookies they were.
    There are some very good books out there about the fighting on Culps and Lower Culps Hill. Vincent's Brigade had nothing on those boys at the other end of the line.

  7. #17
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    There are rare examples of twill woven cotton clothing used as uniform at various points in the war, including the blue and white cotton twill issued to the Alabama Hilliby Blues. (I know this obscure factoid only because I saw a unit run of these in the making a decade ago, and now a pair is in my work basket to have the cuffs robbed to patch the knees and 'do something' about the seat' ) This was a cloth of shortage and exigency as far as uniforms were concerned. Texas was the largest producer, from everything I can find.


    The theory that cotton clothing is cooler is a lovely piece of marketing brought to you by the Cotton Council of America. In fact, they started all that back in the same advertising blitz that brought you such illustrious films as 'Reefer Madness' in order to destroy the hemp agriculture in America. Hey, free enterprise and competition, all is fair.......Its too bad that hemp cloth wears better and longer than cotton, and is easier to grow.

    At any rate, wool wicks perspiration better than cotton, and cools you better. You'll do better in a domet shirt in hot weather, with its slightly open weave and breathable fibers than in a tightly twisted cotton shirting weave.

    Last weekend, I attended that engraved invitation to **** : The Battle of Mobile Bay--Coastal Alabama in August, in the EZ Bake oven that is the 180 year old Fort Morgan. Saturday, I wore the normal complement of underpinnings, a wool petticoat, a small hoop, a wool petticoat, and a wool work dress, in order to do laundry. Sunday, I wore the normal compliment of underpinnings, a cotton petticoat, a large hoop, a cotton petticoat, and a sheer cotton dress. No real temperature change from one day to the next, but Sunday I was dying. Wool breathes better than cotton does . It keeps you warm when its cold, it keeps you warm when its wet, and it wicks your sweat so you can stay cool.

    There's a reason folks wore it then. They knew that. We've not gotten smarter since then........especially about living out of doors
    Last edited by Spinster; 08-13-2014 at 09:34 PM.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lincolnsguard View Post
    Are we looking for history or are we looking for a reason to wear something that may not be historically correct?
    I'm looking for information that confirms (or invalidates) the historical accuracy of cotton uniforms offered by sutlers.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinster View Post
    There are rare examples of twill woven cotton clothing used as uniform at various points in the war, including the blue and white cotton twill issued to the Alabama Hilliby Blues. (I know this obscure factoid only because I saw a unit run of these in the making a decade ago, and now a pair is in my work basket to have the cuffs robbed to patch the knees and 'do something' about the seat' ) This was a cloth of shortage and exigency as far as uniforms were concerned. Texas was the largest producer, from everything I can find.


    The theory that cotton clothing is cooler is a lovely piece of marketing brought to you by the Cotton Council of America. In fact, they started all that back in the same advertising blitz that brought you such illustrious films as 'Reefer Madness' in order to destroy the hemp agriculture in America. Hey, free enterprise and competition, all is fair.......Its too bad that hemp cloth wears better and longer than cotton, and is easier to grow.

    At any rate, wool wicks perspiration better than cotton, and cools you better. You'll do better in a domet shirt in hot weather, with its slightly open weave and breathable fibers than in a tightly twisted cotton shirting weave.

    Last weekend, I attended that engraved invitation to **** : The Battle of Mobile Bay--Coastal Alabama in August, in the EZ Bake oven that is the 180 year old Fort Morgan. Saturday, I wore the normal complement of underpinnings, a wool petticoat, a small hoop, a wool petticoat, and a wool work dress, in order to do laundry. Sunday, I wore the normal compliment of underpinnings, a cotton petticoat, a large hoop, a cotton petticoat, and a sheer cotton dress. No real temperature change from one day to the next, but Sunday I was dying. Wool breathes better than cotton does . It keeps you warm when its cold, it keeps you warm when its wet, and it wicks your sweat so you can stay cool.

    There's a reason folks wore it then. They knew that. We've not gotten smarter since then........especially about living out of doors
    I wonder if anyone makes uniforms out of hemp?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by California Joe View Post
    I'm looking for information that confirms (or invalidates) the historical accuracy of cotton uniforms offered by sutlers.
    It's very easy - rather than discount what has been provided in this thread by several knowledgeable people, go to the actual sutler/vendor offering a cotton product and ask them what original they based it upon.
    Ross Lamoreaux
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