~~ 6th Alabama Infantry ~~
Uniforms & Weapons
HATS - Kepi
"No regulation uniform had at this time been adopted for the field officers, and in deference to the wishes and the somewhat quaint taste of Colonel Seibles, the regimental commander, the mounted officers of the Sixth wore double breasted frock-coats made of green broadcloth, with brass buttons of the United States army. These green coats-more suited to Irishmen than to Americans -were not discarded during the entire term of our first enlistment for twelve months, nor until we were enrolled as a part of the army that was to serve until Southern Independence was won or lost." John B. Gordon, Reminiscences of the Civil War.
Confederate enlisted man's uniform:
This coarse and simple uniform became widely used by Confederate troops, particularly the Western Theater. The uniform was originally gray in appearance; however, it turned a "butternut brown" when exposed to the sun. The dye used in these inexpensive wool and cotton blend uniforms often came from butternuts, walnut shells, and rust. Their earth-tone color is what caused the Federals to sometimes call Rebels "Butternuts."
TROUSERS - Gray or Blue or Butternut
Our local uniform expert says that if Federal troops wore drawers, they were likely to be of Osnaburgh cloth, another rough cotton weave. Drawer material (civilian and military) was often similar to dress shirt cotton of today. It was called muslin but was not the same as today's rather stiff muslin. Osnaburg was also used as lining material for CS uniform coats.
You hit a real good point on the clothing of the Confederate soldiers. One of the weaknesses --- and there were many --- in the Confederacy was the lack of a central quartermaster system when it came to clothing and equipment. It is certainly something which could have been set up --- it existed in the "Old Army." But few of the Confederate high command had been in the logistical part of the Regulars --- no dash there! Instead, it was left up to the states. There were constant complaints from Lee, Davis and the Confederate War Department about warehouses full of uniforms in North Carolina, Georgia and elsewhere which could only be distributed to the volunteers from those various states. States rights as a detriment which played havoc particularly with those Trans-Mississippi soldiers in the ANV and it only got worse after 1863 and the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson.
Jean (or jeans) cloth is a made from cotton and wool woven together in a 2/1 progressive twill weave (a type of fabric in the fustian classification). The warp was cotton and the filling was wool. Linen and wool were often combined in the same way. This material was an economic use of wool in areas of the United States where sheep/wool production was not plentiful, and cotton was. The cloth is sturdy and can by dyed in the thread or after weaving. It was used in the production of men's clothing before the war. Many CS uniforms were made of jean cloth.
I would think that they would be uncomfortable. Jeans was originally a type ov canvas used for sails or sailors' trousers, typically in Genoa, whence the name. Levi Strauss appreciated that the toughness of the cloth made it suitable for miners' pants, and an American legend was born. Our local uniform expert says that if Federal troops wore drawers, they were likely to be of Osnaburgh cloth, another rough cotton weave.
INSIGNIA/BUTTONS - Infantry Rank Insignia Has a fill color of BLUE.
One of the biggest problems with shoeing the armies wasn't even the basic supplies, but how shoddy so many of them were. They wore out or simply fell apart altogether. Indeed, reminiscences are full of complaints over the quality of footwear. And yes, a great deal of these boys were farmers but not on feet that had to make some of the rapid force marches which the armies did in the Civil War such as Jackson in the Valley and the Army of the Potomac on its way to Gettysburg. And then there was the winter ... Indeed, it was common for troops in both armies to strip the dead of good footwear no matter which side they were on. Indeed, the only army that was extremely well shod as a whole was the Union army during the Appomattox Campaign.
On Feb. 5, 2003, James D. Allen, creator of this website passed away
There is no doubt that he would want the work on the
6th Alabama Infantry to go on.
With that in mind, this site is dedicated to him.
We miss you, Jimmy.
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2006