Federals Looking 1863
While reading these guidelines, please understand that they are only intended to be just that, guidelines. It is our hope to portray, as accurately as possible, the soldiers of the period. We will be performing inspections before each battle, but we will not be counting the thread count of your uniform, nor will we be weighing or judging you on the type of material your uniform is composed of. We simply want you to look the part as best as you possibly can. Use this opportunity to make some small adjustments to your kit to make it look better. We are not asking you to be absolutely perfect. Small adjustments across the whole event make a much better impression across the board.
Material type is only one aspect of the hobby. But what would increase both your knowledge and enjoyment of an event, is tailoring your impression to the specific event. This allows you to learn more about the material culture as well as give the public a better vision of the troops of the period.
This is the event for a uniform-soiled look. With the majority of uniforms and gear now being issued by the National Government combined with the hard campaigning seen by these boys, a dusty and worn-out look to your kits is encouraged.
In order to illustrate the items, I have original photos of these items with the description. Be sure to view them carefully, and I have found if you look at them for a minute or two, do something else, and then go back, you will see details that normal viewing does not pick up.
Keep in mind these suggestions only cover the period from Mid June to late July 1863, and are not intended for other periods.
There are three basic choices for this period. For most units the Standard Federal Forage Cap is the rule, however some units, such as the Iron Brigade, were wearing Dress Hats, and some like NY State troops were wearing State-issued Kepis.
Some photographic evidence exists of many units wearing Civilian Hats, but be sure to document this to the unit or units you are portraying for the weekend.
Havelocks were not worn during this period.
CORPS BADGES MUST BE CORRECT FOR THE UNITS YOU ARE PORTRAYING!
There are several options for this as well:
The most common would be the Standard US issue Fatigue Blouse, made out of 8-ounce wool flannel and lined. There are many photographs of field adaptations to these garments, from adding additional buttons to pockets, both inside and out.
US Issue Dress Coat (Frock). These were worn heavily during this period, especially for units such as the Iron Brigade.
During this period the Standard Issue Foot Trousers in Sky Blue Kersey would be the most prevalent.
US issue Brogans would have been most common, with private purchase boots also represented.
This is the event for the Leather Sling or canvas sling Smooth side with a jean or blanket cover. Only the first canteens ordered had the sky blue cover, the rest were either sack coat lining (jean, flannel) or out-of-US-issue Blankets. Take a look at the color photo of extant Sack coats and the various hues to see what color the canteen lining may have been.
Most units would have been carrying the US pattern Double Bag knapsack, although many units may have been using blanket rolls, both the short and long roll.
Federal Issue Flannel Shirts would have been the most commonly seen, with State issue and Civilian shirts also acceptable.
Good Luck, and I look forward to seeing you Looking 1863!