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Thread: A Quality Federal Impression

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    54

    Default A Quality Federal Impression

    I've now procured all the gear I need to portray accurately a federal soldier in a PA regiment. I have a few questions, though, regarding the proper wear of the equipment.

    1. Did Federal soldiers wear their accoutrements high on their waist as Southern soldiers did?

    2. While in the field, did Federal soldiers often blouse their trousers into their socks?

    3. How often were pieces of tinware stored outside the knapsack (strapped onto the bottom fasteners)?

    4. Any advice you have is well appreciated. The unit is 105 PVI Co. C

    Thank you gentlemen well in advance for your expertise and help!
    In war, discipline wins the day.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
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    408

    Default

    There is a handy book I see around Charleston called the "Civil War Handbook"... I think it answers your questions. Or you can go to a decent event and see some fine fellows who've researched and put in practice what federal Soldiers did during the civil war.

    I hate trolls.
    Last edited by Spinster; 03-27-2010 at 11:51 PM. Reason: Pete does research I need. I fix spelling when he's in a hurry. His job takes a lot more time than mine does.
    Your Obedient Servant,

    Peter M. Berezuk

    Proud Member of...
    69th NYSV Historical Association - USMC Historical Company - Washington Guard

    Builder and Maintainer of the Ray Prosteen Memorial Event Calendar

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    University Park, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    579

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PVT Kitchen View Post
    I've now procured all the gear I need to portray accurately a federal soldier in a PA regiment. I have a few questions, though, regarding the proper wear of the equipment.

    1. Did Federal soldiers wear their accoutrements high on their waist as Southern soldiers did?

    2. While in the field, did Federal soldiers often blouse their trousers into their socks?

    3. How often were pieces of tinware stored outside the knapsack (strapped onto the bottom fasteners)?

    4. Any advice you have is well appreciated. The unit is 105 PVI Co. C

    Thank you gentlemen well in advance for your expertise and help!
    I do not believe that this man asked for excuses or snarky suggestions, with all due respect, but for answers.

    1. Equipment is to be worn at the natural waist line, pretty much around your gut. Not around your ribs, yet not around your thighs. Keep your belt buckle just ever so slightly below your belly button. As for haversack and canteen, don't let them hang down way down low, they'll get mighty annoying while double-quicking. The straps should be adjusted so that they ride right on your hip.

    2. Some troops would blouse their trousers into their socks so as to keep stones, grass, etc. from going up into their trousers while going into the field, however, this practice is seemingly frowned upon by the reenacting community.

    3. As far as I know, plates and such things would be kept in the knapsack, however a tin cup may be slung onto the haversack or canteen strap.
    Brandon T. Benner,
    -151st PVI, Co. D
    -Washington Guards

    The Pennsylvania State University
    Undergraduate, Political Science/History

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Baltimore
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    Default

    I suggest trying to get your hands on the CRRC, Columbia Rifles Research Compendium. I was able to borrow one from a CR and found it to be one of the greatest reads I've ever read!

    YOS
    Bob Martin
    Chesapeake Volunteer Guard
    Company A "Chesapeake Rifles"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Gloucester, Mass
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    Default

    Have you uniform and kit ready to do double duty as campaign, or "home front" impressions. "Home front" meaning parades or training camp events where clothing should be clean and equipment polished and shiny.
    Respects, Scott B. Lesch

    My History and Toy Soldier "blog"

    http://ilikethethingsilike.blogspot.com/


    Helping my employers achieve the American Dream since 1978.

    If there's one thing I can't stand seeing, it's Americans fighting Americans.
    ~Dan Aykroyd as Sergeant Frank Tree in 1941

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Port Wentworth, GA
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    Default

    One of the best things you can do is to study period images of both studio portraits and pictures in the field.. that will give a much better understanding of what a soldier looked like. You'll get a better idea of how the uniform hangs, and how the traps are worn than words from anyone.

    I would suggest taking a gander at some of these images

    http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/cwp/


    Good Luck Pard!
    Bobby Hughes
    Co A, 2nd Battalion Ga Sharpshooters/64th Illinois Vol Infantry "Yates' Sharpshooters"
    Savannah Republican Blues
    Co C, 3rd US Infantry
    Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum & William Scarbrough House, Savannah, GA


    "I hope to live long enough to see my surviving comrades march side by side with the Union veterans along Pennsylvania Avenue, and then I will die happy." - James Longstreet at a Memorial Day Parade in 1902.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    358

    Default About the Bloused Socks.....

    Dear Sir:

    I'd like to offer the following regarding sock blousing:

    1. Most modern socks are made with ribbing at the top of the leg, which helps to hold the sock top up your leg. If you blouse your trousers into these, you'll stretch out the ribbing in short order, and will have your sock tops drop down around your ankles at all times when they aren't bloused around your trouser legs. Some have had to resort to tieing their socks to their legs to keep the sock tops up.

    2. If you were a Federal soldier, the chances were excellent that you were wearing Federal Issue stockings, which are made without ribbing in the legs. They are held up by blousing them over your drawers (through most of their lives). Once they've stretched out to the point that your drawer legs won't hold them up, you graduate to blousing them over your trouser legs.

    3. The vast majority of reenactors who have hand knit socks would prefer to try and keep the ribbing in their socks as long as possible, hence you see less blousing of trouser legs.

    My two cents,
    Karin Timour
    Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
    Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
    Email: Ktimour@aol.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Gloucester, Mass
    Posts
    5,110

    Default "Do my socks make me look fat?"

    Yep. Blousing the socks does it to most men with "modern" proportions. As Karin wrote, blousing them to your drawers is period. (I thought I had a picture handy) It also does the trick for keeping things and creatures out.
    Respects, Scott B. Lesch

    My History and Toy Soldier "blog"

    http://ilikethethingsilike.blogspot.com/


    Helping my employers achieve the American Dream since 1978.

    If there's one thing I can't stand seeing, it's Americans fighting Americans.
    ~Dan Aykroyd as Sergeant Frank Tree in 1941

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Esperance, NY
    Posts
    1,992

    Default For Starters

    Quote Originally Posted by PVT Kitchen View Post
    I've now procured all the gear I need to portray accurately a federal soldier in a PA regiment. I have a few questions, though, regarding the proper wear of the equipment.

    1. Did Federal soldiers wear their accoutrements high on their waist as Southern soldiers did?

    2. While in the field, did Federal soldiers often blouse their trousers into their socks?

    3. How often were pieces of tinware stored outside the knapsack (strapped onto the bottom fasteners)?

    4. Any advice you have is well appreciated. The unit is 105 PVI Co. C

    Thank you gentlemen well in advance for your expertise and help!
    Ignore people who tell you "use the search function" or "do your own research", real veterans TEACH new soldiers, have since the first organized army existed, did during the Civil War and still do today. The real trolls are the ones who won't help.

    As to your questions:

    1) The belt is worn at to just ABOVE (unless you are exceptionally long in the torso) not below your belly button. Remember the southern soldiers were taught by West Pointers just like the northern boys were. The idea is not to accommodate your stomach (which they didn't have like we do) but to put you cap pouch and scabbard in a certain place to make loading and fixing the bayonet easier. The top of the haversack and the canteen spout should be about level with the top of your belt. This isn't an exact science so anywhere in the neighborhood will do.

    2) Blousing of socks occurred (mostly) for two reasons, to keep critters out or to keep the socks up due to their loss of staying power as they got worn. I'm sure someone somewhere wore it as a fashion statement. Basically if you are the only one in your unit doing it, who cares, if everybody in your unit is doing it, your all wrong. Everything in moderation.

    3) Unless you are carrying excess 'tinware' like a frying pan/coffee pot then your plate and cup should be able to fit in your haversack when properly packed. If you use a canteen half that can go over the canteen spout but get some twine and tie it down so it doesn't flap around. If you're carrying a coffee pot, well that has to hang off of something, but remember if you hang it off the bottom of the knapsack, you're going to get a fanny beating and the guy behind you isn't going to be your friend anymore. Try hanging it from the greatcoat strap or with a string off the side. The frying pan can go between the pouches. But as a suggestion, don't carry either. Coffee can be boiled in a cup and things can be fried in a plate or canteen half. Less is more.

    Finally, it is considered polite manners around these parts to sign your name to your posts.
    Bob Sandusky
    Co C 125th NYSVI
    Esperance, NY

    "Out beyond the ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -
    Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi

    "If you find yourself in a fair fight, someone screwed up." - A new variation of Murphy's Law based on current Military experience in Iraq:

    “In war the first principle is to disobey orders. Any fool can obey orders!” - First Sea Lord Admiral Sir “Jackie” Fisher

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Dear Sir,
    I posted the paragraph below a while ago.
    Tucking your trousers into your socks does keep ticks etc. out and make it easy to locate for removal. This is not done on dress parade but only fatigue/combat conditions. Good luck.
    all for the old flag,
    David Corbett





    One of Sheridan's staff officers, Major George A. (Sandy), Forsyth , wrote in "Thrillling Days," page 160, abouth the Battle of Cedar Creek:
    "Everywhere along the line of battle, men might been seen to stoop and retie their shoes; to pull their trousers at the ankle tightly and then draw up their heavy woolen stockings over them."
    When we observe this in the hobby we revile the stocking pullers as "farbs," or worse, yet paintings and drawings illustrate this practice. Questions arise: is this a practical thing to do? Why did they do it? Why don't most of us do it? Should we do it in a field situation?
    all for the old flag,
    David Corbett

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