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Dec 29 07 4:11 AM

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My Belgian friend recently emailed me a question about the "correct" color for the piping on Confederate NCO uniforms. The immediate response that came to mind was "black", but I'm not sure there is a correct answer.

I suggest that we get a discussion going on Confederate uniforms.

Here's a question to get the discussion going, "What color was 'butternut'?".

Please excuse the Yank spelling of color, you may have surmised I meant colour.
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#1 [url]

Dec 29 07 9:00 AM

now i have the right frind here who can help hes a confenderate renactor il get intouch with him and get him involved with this thread

i dont know much about the acw at the mo but iv got a few 2nd hand books to get me going

so painter to start me of hunting what is the butternut the colour off please ?

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#2 [url]

Dec 29 07 2:26 PM

Butternut is just about any shade of brown that you can imagine. It runs from almost gray to almost pink. Mixed in with bits of re-dyed captured Union clothing and bits of 'regulation" uniform it gave most Confederate troops, especially after extended periods in the field, a very ragged look.

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#4 [url]

Dec 29 07 5:51 PM

And in fact, many instances of butternut may actually have been the faded and weathered grey material.

I have some interesting colour shots of original uniforms, and oen can see the subtle underlying hint of grey remaining in some of the "butternut" ones.

"Cosmetic" stuff like piping etc... Again, a lot of the original uniforms I've seen simply didn't have any of that stuff. It was possibly more common early in the war.

"Just because somebody's a member of an ethnic or religious minority, doesn't mean they're NOT a nasty, small-minded little jerk".
Commander Sam Vimes. Ankh Morpork City Watch.

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#5 [url]

Dec 29 07 5:51 PM

based on the colour of the vegetable called Squash in USA I think

Every mans death diminishes me for I am a member of humanity.
Therefore send not to ask for whom the bell tolls
It tolls for thee

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Grumpy Old Man

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#6 [url]

Dec 29 07 11:27 PM

Confederate Dress uniform regs specified a style very similar to that of the Federal government, in appearance.
Infantry A sky blue kepi with dark blue band at the base, a grey frock coat with sky blue collar and cuffs, sky blue trousers, and black brogan shoes. Equipment straps black leather, with black knapsack/backpack.
Cavalry, same except for a yellow crowned kepi and yellow collar and cuffs, and Artillery likewise with a red crowned kepi, red collars and cuffs.
The piping on shell jackets should be in the Arm of Service colour.

As you can see each Arm of Service had its own colour Infantry:sky blue. Cavalry ; yellow, and Artillery: Red.
These colours would appear on collars, trouser stripes and chevrons for NCOs and kepis. (The same Arm of Service colours as used by the Union Army). The NCO trouser stripes varied in width according to rank.

NCO badges of rank were almost identical to the federal ones, the officers distinctions were very different, being worn on the coat collars, and in the form of Austrian knots embroidered above the cuffs of the coat or jacket.

Needless to say this proved impossible to maintain, as the Confederate government made each state responsible for outfitting its own troops. At the start of the war many units were made up of militia troops, and most regiments were made up of 10 companies, each one being a militia unit in uniforms different from the rest of the regiment. These uniforms proved very unsuitable for combat, and many rebs relied on captured clothing, especially Yankee trousers and shoes, and Yankee greatcoats in sky blue were very popular. They also wore their own clothing bought from home.

One or two states outfitted their troops very well, North Carolina being a good example, but they refused to supply to other states. At the end of the war there were reportedly over 50,000 new uniforms sitting in North Carolina depots that could have clothed the bulk of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Hope this brief guide helps, but I would be happy to answer queries in more detail.

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#7 [url]

Dec 31 07 9:52 AM


One or two states outfitted their troops very well, North Carolina being a good example, but they refused to supply to other states. At the end of the war there were reportedly over 50,000 new uniforms sitting in North Carolina depots that could have clothed the bulk of the Army of Northern Virginia.



Yep. You've hit the nail into the coffin lid with that one, Grumpy.

Same applied to weapons and other supplies. We hear a great deal about the South losing because of its shortage of men, weapons and supplies, but those things were there. It just proved impossible for the Confederacy to use them effectively.

The Confederacy was not a real nation. That was the whole point of secession, and it was this fundamental dichotomy that made the rebel states' defeat a foregone conclusion.

Those states did not WANT to be a "part" of a lerger nation, but unless they abandoned that basic principal, they could not survive the conflict once it started. As that principal was the whole point of secession in the first place, they were screwed by their own internal contradictions.

Edited for bloody typos!!!

"Just because somebody's a member of an ethnic or religious minority, doesn't mean they're NOT a nasty, small-minded little jerk".
Commander Sam Vimes. Ankh Morpork City Watch.

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Grumpy Old Man

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#9 [url]

Dec 31 07 1:25 PM

Yes and no Uriah. It is a mistake to see the issue of slavery as the main cause of the war. It was the clash of two completely different cultures, the brash gowing industrial North with increasing immigration, and the rural South with its (white) population made up of families that could trace their ancestry to pre revolution days.

The states that made up the Confederacy did not want war, merely the right to govern themselves, using the federal government as a point of reference. there was resentment of the grubby Yankees making decisions for people that felt they had nothing in common with. The confederacy itself was a compromise, seeing that the state legislatures realised the Union was not about to let them opt out. It was not a dissimilar political situation to that of pre revolutionary war America really. Secession was the only alternative for the "rebel" states, I believe they would have rather avoided war altogether, given the choice.

But in country of the size of the USA, and the diversity of its poplation such dissent is inevitable at some point.

However I digress, like I said I would be happy to answer any further uniform queries, and in more detail than the potted answer I first gave.

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#10 [url]

Dec 31 07 2:14 PM

I have to say that this is one of the reason I like gaming the ACW.

One doesn't have to get too pedantic about the uniform details, especially with the Rebs.

"Just because somebody's a member of an ethnic or religious minority, doesn't mean they're NOT a nasty, small-minded little jerk".
Commander Sam Vimes. Ankh Morpork City Watch.

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#13 [url]

May 2 08 1:56 PM

On the trim colors, the Confederate blue was a little darker than the standard Sky Blue...

They mostly had black trim for Infantry units prior to the war, basically militias. When the war started, it was a combination of Blue and Black, depending on who outfitted the unit. Later, it was usually just blue.

Remember that at this time, if you had money, you could buy 1,000 rifles, design a uniform, and make 1,000 of those, find a thousand suckers to fill the uniforms, and you would be made a Colonel in the Army, and be allowed to lead that regiment into battle. Of course most of these "Colonels" were plantation owners, and dint know what the hell they were doing, but that’s where things began. Luckily, promotion from that point on was based on performance, well, and politics...


Andy

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Bydand!!

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Grumpy Old Man

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#14 [url]

May 3 08 9:54 PM

Appreciate your point on the colours, but I think thats a rather simplistic generalization on how regiments came together. A lot of Confederate regiments were militia companies coming together to form larger units, as I have said before. I think it diminishes the memory of those men on both sides, and to any soldiers to refer to them as suckers.

The American Civil War interests me mainly because it was one of the first large "volunteer" wars where many of the soldiers fought for belief in a cause and not because it was the will of the state and they were merely professionals. Its not a decision I would be happy to make, to go to war for a cause however noble or even ignoble. But the ACW stands in an important position in history as a rite of passage for a great country.

I am sorry to say that now the politicians of this country and the USA are no longer worthy of the sacrifice of men and women in uniform, and the deaths of service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan saddens me deeply, But I would never refer to them as suckers.

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#15 [url]

May 3 08 10:57 PM

Grumpy Old Man,

Sorry I offended you; it wasn’t my intention at all, just having some fun there. I am a big ACW buff myself. I am a member of the SCV, which is The Sons of Confederate Veterans. I have personally replaced 6 headstones of confederate soldiers buried here in Southern Maryland whose stones have been worn by time, and neglected. I have also served in Uniform in the United States Marine Corps. I only mention all of this to show that my last post was not meant to be a slight to anyone, I understand the sacrifices made by these men, and respect them for it. I have discovered and researched 13 ancestors who fought for Virginia, and 1 who fought for Ohio, I feel a very close tie to those men, though I know little about them.

Anyway, my apologies, one of the things I hate about communicating over the internet, it is easy to mistake ones intentions or meanings…

Andy

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Bydand!!

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Grumpy Old Man

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#16 [url]

May 4 08 12:15 PM

Andy,

appreciate you taking the time to write that, and no apology is needed. Your words and actions speak for themselves. I just get a little tetchy when people make, what I see as derogatory remarks about soldiers, especially volunteers. You are quite right, in that, the written word can so easily be misinterpreted, and so I apologise to you for that.

In the UK we are struggling to get proper recognition for our men and women serving overseas, and so............Anyway I hope you don't think I went overboard, even though I did a bit. Good to see another ACW buff here with all these lovers of khaki and French blue.

I hope we can now move on.

Tim aka Grumpy Old Man

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Grumpy Old Man

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#18 [url]

May 7 08 10:06 PM

Nope thats not possible, having just seen the pictures of your games room. I now hate you and am plotting an invasion of the US with a large van. Super set up and how cool are those drinks holders.

Just joshing.
8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-)

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#19 [url]

May 7 08 10:25 PM

Your going to need more than a van if you want it all, but if you are selective enough, the van will likely pay for the expedition. I don’t relish the thought of EVER moving again. I bought a 1 story house, incase I get to the point I can’t use stairs when I am older. I tell everyone my next move will be to a hole in the ground, or an old age home against my wishes, I won’t go willingly!

If you ever come over for a convention, let me know, I can put you up and we can play something. I had a few friends over from the UK a few years back, I toured them around some local battlefields, and we played some games, then went to the convention, and played some more games...

I was supposed to go to Salute last year, but my wife got pregnant, still not sure how that happened. But, I had to call off the trip because of it. Looks like it will be a few years before I get to plan it again…

Andy

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Bydand!!

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Cacadores

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#20 [url]

May 7 08 10:28 PM

I suppose the passage of time forces generalisations. Anyone who fights in a doomed war is a 'sucker' in some sense and I don't think SMP meant any more than that!

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