Confederate Uniforms

Zuave uniform

Early in the war, Confederate soldiers generally received their uniforms - if and when they had uniforms - from a variety of sources. There were many differences, depending on unit, location, time, and other variables.

CSA uniformUniform of a CSA General

Some companies had uniforms made up by the ladies at home, some units were issued militia uniforms by their states, and some commands had uniforms made up by local tailors. The Confederate government, especially in the Western theatre, didn't really get into the swing of making and issuing uniforms on a large scale until later in 1862. So you can see how early Confederate uniforms could have a great variety.

CSA Colonel uniformUniform of a CSA Colonel

Until about December 1862 the Confederacy depended on the "commutation system" to clothe its troops. That is, each man was expected to supply his own clothing, for which he would be paid at a set rate. Obviously, this system didn't work, and the government quartermaster took over the making and issuing of uniforms. The commutation system left lots of Confederates serving in plain old civilian clothes and just parts of uniforms, through at least mid-1862, and especially in the West.

CSA Major uniformUniform of a CSA Major

Officers were only rarely issued uniforms (and usually much later in the war) they were paid on a scale to allow them to purchase their own.

CSA Colonel uniformUniform of a CSA Colonel of Engineers

Some units were very quickly uniformed, while others not so. Some men had pre-war militia uniforms, many (if not most) went to war in civilian clothes.

CSA Surgeon uniformUniform of a CSA Surgeon

Gray vs. blue.....Early in the war this rule didn't apply. There were many Federal units that went to war wearing pre-war militia cadet gray (bluish gray), and many Confederate units wore dark blue early in the war (one Louisiana unit that went into action at Shiloh wearing blue coats took them off and turned them inside out, because they were taking friendly fire from their own forces).

CSA Captain uniformUniform of a CSA Captain

Uniform of a CSA LieutenantCSA Lieutenant uniform
CSA Corporal uniformUniform of a CSA Corporal
Uniform of a CSA Infantry PrivateCSA Infantry private uniform
CSA private with overcoat uniformUniform of a CSA Private With Overcoat
Uniform of a CSA Cavalry PrivateCSA Cavalry private uniform
CSA CSA Cavalryman uniformUniform of a CSA Cavalryman
Uniform of a CSA Foot SoldierCSA foot soldier
CSA Drummer uniformUniform of a CSA Drummer Boy
Uniform of a CSA Zouave SoldierCSA Zouave uniform
CSA field soldier uniformUniform of a CSA Soldier in the Field

The picture below has been identified as a Louisiana buckle that was found near Bristoe Station, Virginia (actual relic).

Louisiana Buckle

Many buttons made during the war were called "muffins" because of their shape (actual relics).

Muffin buttons

"A man who has never been a soldier, does not know, nor indeed can know, the amount of comfort there is in a good soft hat."
These were the words written by one Southern private.

Hats provided soldiers with warmth in winters and shade in the summers, they offered some protection from rain, and served as a handy bag for carrying foraged eggs and blackberries.

The original 1858 foraged caps, had a narrow leather visor and a high crown with a round, usually a perfectly flat, top that flopped forward at a sharp angle. The kepi was a French style forage cap with a lower crown and a top which tilted at a much smaller angle. Where the top of a forage cap was flat, a kepi usually had a raised roll around the outside of the round, or otherwise, flat, top.

CSA Zouave hat
CSA hats
Actual relic below is part of a belt plate.
belt plate section

Actual clothing relics.
CSA jacketCSA jacket CSA jacketCSA jacket
CSA jacket

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