Both Federal and Condederate soldiers had similar uniforms, only in different colors, blue and grey respectively. The Federal soldiers were almost always well uniformed. There were differences among Federal units. Federal soldiers were issued "sackcoat". Arsenal made coats were lined. Army Regulations called these "Recruit Coats". Many commercial contract blouses were unlined. Arsenal made blouses were typically made from 12 oz wool flannel, while contract blouses were made to the specifications given by the Army to the contractor at time of order. Army sutlers sold commercial grade blouses to soldiers who preferred not to take the Army issue clothing. Confederate uniforms were much more varied than Federal uniforms. Many Conderate soldiers infact fought without standard uniforms. Drummer boys in both armies were uniformed in standard enlisted uniforms. We note some period images of boys in uniform. Some of these are students at military schools rather than drummer boys. We have not yet assessed major fashion changes associated with the Civil War. We note that some boys' suits were styled like military uniforms such as Zouave uniforms. We note Zouave styled suits in the 1850s even before the War.
Both Federal and Confederate soldiers had similar uniforms, only in different colors, blue and grey/beachnut respectively. There were variaions as to service units (infantry, artilery, cavalry), over time, mustering diferences, and other factors. The uniforms were especially vried at the beginning of the War because the soldiers were uniformed by states, towns and wealthy individuals rather than the Federal and Confederate governments. Thus we see quite a varied collection of styles and colors worn by both Confederate and Federal soldiers. A stanadrd blue uniform soom became estanlished for the Federal soldiers. The situation for the Condereacy was more complicated.
French Zouave units earned a reputation for valor in North Africa. Some egiments in both the Federl and Conderate armies wer outitted in Zouave uniforms, although this was more common in the north. Thes units were organized at the beginning of the War. Some suffered significant casualties. As the fighting became more grim, no ne Zouave units were organized to replace them.
Drummer boys in both armies were uniformed in standard enlisted uniforms. Most of the really young boys entered the Federal and Confederate Armies as musicians. One source estimates that were places for 40,000 muscians in the Federal Army alone. Many of the younger boys served as drummers and fifers. There were many more drummers than fifers. These instruments were best suited for younger boys. While much attention is given to drummers, perhaps because they were often the youngest boys, there were also many bugglers. Large numbers of bugglers were also required as the buggle was important in communicating orders in the heat of battle in the years before modern communication. The buggle could often be heard when voice commands were impossible. With the buggle, lung power was essential, making it suitable for slightly older boys or youths. Some younger boys, however, also served as bugglers. One source writes, "There are numerous tales of buglers too small to climb into saddles unaided, who rode into pistol-and-saber battles with their regiments.
We note a variety of period images of boys in uniform. Some of these are students at military schools rather than drummer boys. Several military academies existed in the United States when the Civil War broke out in 1961. The most famous was the U.S. Military Academy at West Point which many of the major Fedeal and Confederate best known officers attended as wll as Confederate President Jefferson Davis. There were several other less known academies, some of which were for younger boys.
We have not yet assessed major fashion changes associated with the Civil War. We note that some boys' suits were styled like military uniforms such as Zouave uniforms. We note Zouave styled suits in the 1850s even before the War.
American boys' clothing styles did not change radically in the 1860s. Little boys continued to wear dresses. The 1860s were, however, a dividing point between early and late 19th Century fashions. The styles such as skeleton suits had completely disappeared. Tunics were becoming less common. Victorian styles such as sailor suits and kilts grew in importance. Collars that had once been open were now universally worn tightly buttoned, except for small boys who still might wear dresses with low necklines. Some of the new styles such as kneepants began to appear. The Civil War in America engendered some popular fashion trends as well as initiating some changes in the image of childhhod. Pants styles were varied. Most boys wore long pants after breeching--even quite young boys. Other mostly younger boys from affluent familiesd began wearing kneepants cut at various lengths. Knickers blouced at the hem were also worn. The mostreadily observable trend was before the War American boys generally wore long pants after breeching. After the War kneepants begin to become increasingly popular. This does not, however, seem to be an impact of the War as the same trend is observable in Europe. It may be that American fashion trends were not as affected by the War as they were still largely influenced by European fashions.
Robin Smith, Chris Collingwood (Illustrator). American Civil War : Union Army (Brassey's History of Uniforms: January 1997) .
Ron Field. American Civil War Confederate Army : Confederate Army (Brassey's History of Uniforms).
Michael J. McAfee, J. Phillip Langellier. Billy Yank : The Uniform of the Union Army, 1861-1865 (Greenhill Press: April 1996)
John P. Langellier. Bluecoats : The U.S. Army in the West 1848-1897 The G.I. Series : The Illustrated History of the American Soldier, His Uniform and His Equipment (Stackpole Books, September 1995).
Les Jensen. Johnny Reb : The Uniform of the Confederate Army, 1861-1865 G.I.Series (Greenhill Press, October 1996).
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