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Federal Infantry Impression Standards
Generally: The impression sought is a Federal infantryman of late 1862. In essence that means no obviously late
war arms or accoutrements; such as Spencers or Henrys, or blatently wrong items such as Paint horses or modern saddles.
What follows is a detailed review of acceptable items and the details of what makes them so.
Do not let these details prevent you from participating - contact the Federal commander if you have any questions
about your equipment
- US Enlisted Man's (EM) Hat & Cap Trimmings: Less is better. If you have either a hat or a cap, keep it plain. No hat cords on enlisted men and no other ornamentation except what is listed in the 1861 regulations. Corps badges hadn't been "invented" yet and will not be part of the impression. Numbers from other regiments on caps will have to be removed.
- Civilian Hats : Discouraged
If you have a civilian hat, it should have a sewn-on edge binding of silk ribbon and a sweat band of leather or cotton duck. It must be made of fine wool felt and should not be fuzzy. The following colors are acceptable: medium to dark gray, medium to dark brown, or black, with black being the preferred color.
- US EM Fatigue Blouse : Preferred
Constructed of wool flannel with a visible wale' in the fabric, in a shade between a medium and dark blue color. A "wale" means you can see the diagonal weave. Avoid the blackish-blue material that fades to purple; it is the wrong color and it is too heavy. The correct blouse has a short collar and faced lapels and cuffs. Four evenly spaced US eagle buttons should fit into hand-worked buttonholes. Sleeves should have a small, scalloped vent in the rear of the cuff. Unlined versions have all seams flat-felled. Lined versions should have a one-piece body lining of wool or wool/cotton weave and a sleeve lining of muslin.
- US Dress (aka "Frock") Coats : Permitted
- US EM Jackets :Permitted
- State Pattern Jackets. It is preferred that this item be made of dark blue kersey or satinette, not heavy navy-blue wool that turns purple. General features are a six-piece body, and a two-piece sleeve and a 9-button front. It should not have trim or piping of any other color. The body should be lined and quilted, and it may have functional epaulets and a chevron cuff on the sleeves. This jacket can be seen in photographs of Illinois and Ohio troops early in the war.
- Infantry Uniform Jacket : Discouraged
Try to avoid this shell jacket for the event. Generally a six-piece body, and a two-piece sleeve. Made of wool and completely hand sewn. Should not have trim or piping of any other color. Eleven button closure, with high quality hand-sewn buttonholes and a functional cuff.
- Commercial Items - Discouraged
Commercially made or private purchase items should be represented in limited numbers. We are trying to represent the common soldier of the early war period, not the anomaly, and are trying to build a regiment equipped in standard issue items. If you do not have an authentic option in regards to an issue sack coat or jacket, an authentically reproduced private purchase item will do.
- US Musician's Coats:
Tape trim to be of worsted wool, in the appropriate weave color. Musicians do not need full musician's coats; standard fatigue blouses are preferred.
- US Trousers, Foot:
Your trousers should be made of a sky-blue kersey-weave wool, and cut so that the top of the waist band reaches your navel, with a rise even higher in the back. No pleats, should have a watch pocket. Buttons should be paper- backed tin. This is another item in which properly WEARING the garment as it was worn then, much higher than we wear modern trousers today, will have a significant effect on your overall appearance.
- US Trousers, Mounted:
These are made of a kersey-weave wool, and cut so that the top of the waist band reached to at least the wearer's navel. Will have a seat reinforcement and instep strap, but be identical in cut to the foot pattern in all other respects. Major features of foot and mounted trousers are a thin, tapering waist band; narrow, three to five button fly; yoke in back; raised back; side pockets that start below the waist- band; right-side watch pocket; facing cuffs.
- US Issue Shirts : PreferredFederal Issue domet or gray flannel shirt is the very best option for a US impression. The domet flannel shirt will have three tin buttons: one at the neck and one at each cuff. Domet flannel is a cotton warp and wool weft, in an off-white color.
- Non Issue Clothing :Shirts should be made of 100 percent natural materials in period-correct colors and/or patterns. Buttons will be either metal or a natural material such as bone, wood, or mother-of-pearl. Please only wear a civilian shirt if absolutely necessary! If you must wear a private purchase shirt however, this is one area of your impression that you have a bit of latitude. Either a fall down collar was worn or a banded collar, with or without a detachable collar. One, two or no pockets. Period patterns called for the skirts to be longer than modern shirts. Small shell, glass, mother of pearl, bone or small wood buttons can be used. Shirts should not be made from calico and should not have oversized wooden buttons.
- Suspenders: Not a military issue item, so there is some latitude here as well. They are not required if your trousers will stay up without them. Stick with a plain fabric pair of a period pattern.
- US Drawers:
Drawers are of 100 percent natural material. Buttons will be either metal or a natural material such as bone, wood, or mother-of-pearl. Issue drawers were made primarily with Canton flannel. Wool knit, cotton flannel and wool flannel were also used. They closed with two tin buttons. There is no known correct pattern for issue knit drawers. Correct pattern civilian drawers are acceptable. While some drawers of the period were made from colored fabric, white or natural was the most common. No, were not going to inspect your drawers but the right ones are not only right, they are far more suitable for the weather we are likely to have in Highland County in early May.
- US Socks:
Socks are to be made of a solid-color yarn, in any of the following colors: off-white, gray, buff, blue, or bluish-gray. They should not have rings or bands of contrasting color. No elastic. Socks should be made of wool, cotton or a wool/cotton union. No modern stuff, please.
- US Shoes:
Shoes are to be constructed from rough-side-out leather, with leather or rawhide shoelaces, leather soles and leather heel lifts. The shape of the toe can be square, or broadly rounded, but not pointed in the manner of modern wingtip shoes. Try to avoid the really fuzzy' looking leather; if your shoes are too rough, they can be finished smooth with some elbow grease. Hobnails, double soles, and heel- plates are optional. As to civilian shoes and boots, there is great latitude here, but keep in mind that the cut construction and materials must all be in keeping with the period.
- US Boots:
Should be made of rough-out leather, black color. Maximum height of upper 12 inches. Leather soles and heel. No engineer boots.
- US EM Overcoat, Foot:
Overcoats are encouraged and are appropriate for the scenario. They should be of kersey with 5 large buttons, 9 small buttons on cape. Same material as the trousers. Single breasted. Standing collar. Lined with heavy cotton, jean or wool. Single button adjustable strap in the back. Unfinished bottom. Sleeves should also be lined.
- US EM Overcoat, Mounted: foot pattern, more buttons
- US Waterproofs (Ponchos, painted & gum blankets):infantry impressions, the use of blankets is encouraged over the use of ponchos. Ponchos and blankets will have small 3/8 diameter or less grommets. Rubber cloth or painted canvas are acceptable.
- US issue Woolen Blankets:
Wool blankets should not have edge binding. They should have "US" stitched into center, in any of the following shades: gray, brown, and grayish brown. No modern blankets with modern bindings or finished edges.
- US Chevrons Minimum Requirements:
Worsted or kersey wool for company level NCOs. In the proper branch color.
Officers and NCOs:are no walk-ons, and there are no walk-on officers or NCOs either. Anyone with rank will know that before the event. Officer rank must be backed up with numbers of troops, unless you are a selected staff officer. The number of non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers will be in correct relation to the number of privates within each company. Rank insignia needs to be worn by all officers and NCOs. If you are not asked to be an officer or NCO, do not wear insignia or stripes. All chevrons and rank insignia should be worn as per regulations or as represented in period photographs.
Officers are encouraged to wear officers' blouses as opposed to frock coats. Contemporary accounts refer to officers being in blouses rather than frock coats during this battle and campaign.
Canteens must have a cork retaining system corresponding to the model of canteen. The canteen will have a strap consistent with the style of canteen as well: russet leather (no chrome buckles) or cloth strap - herringbone twill webbing (not modern plain-weave webbing) for Philadelphia canteens, and folded & sewn drilling or duck for all others. Straps and covers to be made of 100 percent natural materials. Textile straps will be white or off-white. Covers will be in one of the following colors, listed in the order of preference: gray or brown, dark blue, and sky blue. The preferred strap for the time period is a leather strap, but if you do not have a quality reproduction leather strap, a correct cloth strap is acceptable. The M1858 canteen is the preferred style to be carried by the rank and file. The use of patent filter canteens is strongly discouraged. Do not purchase the oversized canteen commonly seen in sutler's stores, and avoid the stainless steel canteens.
- Haversack, (Waterproofed Version) :
The haversack has a black waterproof coating upon it and is not black-dyed cloth. The roller buckle must be japanned, painted black, or unfinished iron; nickel or other plating is unacceptable. The usable length of the carrying strap must be no longer than 42" (40" being closer to the historical norm). Carrying strap is to made of folded and sewn cloth. Leather fittings to be finished black.
- M1855 Knapsack:
The knapsack has a waterproof coating upon it; black-dyed cloth is not acceptable. The roller buckles must be japanned, painted black, or unfinished iron; nickel or other plating is unacceptable. All exterior leather fittings to be finished black. If you cannot get one by the event then go with a bedroll. No regimental designation other than the regiment being portrayed will be painted on the knapsack. The wrong regimental designation can be painted over with washable black paint for the event, if necessary.
- US tentage:
Shelter half - Light canvas with hand sewn grommets and bone buttons. Paperbacked tin buttons accepted.
- Tin Cups and boilers:
Cups and boilers should be tin-plated steel or iron, with a flanged, flat bottom (not rolled and crimped like a modern tin can).
- Tin Plate:
Plate (whether a purpose-made plate or a canteen half made into a plate) shall be made of tin- plated iron or steel. No stainless steel.
- Flatware: Plain or tinned iron.
- Frying Pans:
Minimum Requirements: Frying pans will have a separately-attached handle. This handle will be either forged or stamped iron or steel, be of single-piece construction without any maker's logos or other conspicuous markings. Do NOT bring heavy cast iron one-piece fry pans.
- Personal Items:
Proper bottles, flasks, fry pans, looking glasses, tooth brushes, pipes, tobacco pouches, housewives (needles, thread, thimbles, buttons), writing utensils, paper, combs, matches, handkerchiefs, shaving equipment, gambling paraphernalia, wallets, etc. are encouraged.
- Arms & Ammunition
Shoulder arms: All firearms must be in safe working order to be on the field, and will be inspected. Muskets should be kept as bright as possible.
No carbines or revolvers etc. 1853 three-band British Enfield rifle muskets are the preferred weapons for the event. 1861 Springfield is a good second choice. 1863 pattern Springfields are not appropriate to this event, but will be reluctantly permitted. Please try to borrow something else if you can. Rifles (two-banders) will be permitted only if they are clustered in separate companies, with the approval of the overall Federal commander. Each man will have at least 120 rounds. Each cartridge for .58 cal. rifles or rifled muskets will have no more than 65 grains of black powder. .69 cal. muskets will contain no more than 80 grains of black powder. No pyrodex or smokeless powder. No "wonder wads. Cartridge box tins are required. An effort should be made to have packages of cartridges with proper labels, according to the impression. All participants in the Union forces must be 16 years of age or older in order to serve with a firearm. All participants regardless of age must demonstrate proficiency at correct drill and knowledge of blackpowder firearms safety in order to participate in any drill, demonstration, tactical or battle scenario involving handling, presentation or discharge of such arms.
Pistols: The only individuals permitted to carry sidearms are officers, artillery DRIVERS, and cavalry.
- Musket Slings, Springfield: Made of brown or russet leather with a single-hook size adjustment.
- Accoutrements: There will of necessity be leeway as to accoutrements. Several US patterns are appropriate to the scenario, but black is the only color permitted per Federal regulations.
- US EM Infantry Waistbelts and Plates: Minimum width 1-3/4" Maximum width 2". Constructed of black-dyed (not painted) leather. Waistbelt plate to be constructed in a manner consistent with the model of plate, of materials appropriate for the same. According to regulations they should be 2" wide and 42" from buckle to keeper. 1854 pattern calls for a keeper, although many original belts are cut short of the keeper. NO STATE BUCKLES. U.S. PLATE ONLY. Belts should have the leather loop.
- Cap Pouch: Made of black-dyed leather, with an inner waterproof flap. The finial to be made of unplated yellow brass. Should have a pick loop and made of strong leather so they do not collapse. A Gaylord style or front shield type is preferred.
- Bayonet: The bayonet will fasten securely to the piece. It will be equipped with a locking ring (model specific). Any anachronistic markings must be ground off. Bayonets should be the socket-type, made for your musket and should slope to the right (lock plate) side of the musket when affixed.
- Bayonet Scabbard: Constructed of sturdy, black-dyed (not painted) leather. Will have a brass tip securely fastened to the end. Try to avoid completely riveted scabbards. e. Infantry Cartridge Box & Sling Boxes shall constructed in a rigid manner with flat end pieces. Model 1861 or earlier boxes will have an inner flap with end pieces. To be finished black. If a plate is present, it is to be mounted in the visual center of the box flap.
- Ammunition: All rounds brought to an event and not stored for immediate use in the cartridge box should be packed in 10-round/12 caps packets with an off-white paper wrapping, and tied with a natural- colored cotton or linen cord. Cartridges will be rolled with off-white paper. Further Reading: "From Round Ball to Rimfire"; "How to make an Authentic Cartridge" (Hardcracker Handbook). Also the Columbia Rifles Research Compendium.