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RD II Question

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  • RD II Question

    I'm thinking about making a RD II along the lines of this coat and was wondering if anyone had seen this coat in person and might know what kind of material it might be made out of. From what I can gather the material for this jacket came from the Crenshaw Mill. I have seen that they made broadcloth, but in the same article they talk about switching from an English cotton warp to a domestic cotton warp made in NC. I'm guessing it's a blueish grey jean cloth of some sort from those details, but was wondering if it could be 100% wool broadcloth from the description. Thanks for the help.Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    The jacket you show is I believe in the North Carolina State Museum of History. It was owned by Sgt. ECN Green of the 47th NC State Troops who was killed on July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg. I have never studied it but Les Jensen discusses it in his landmark article published in the fall 1989 issue of Military Collector & Historian which is now on-line (CONFEDERATE ISSUE JACKETS, PART 2 ( You should read what he has to say about it, but Les concludes it is not a product of the Richmond Clothing Bureau which made the government issue RD jackets but rather was made by a private tailor or seamstress for Sgt. Green. It closely mimics a RD type 1 jacket in its trim decoration but deviates in construction and materials from the Government QM issue jackets in a number of ways.

    With respect to the material used in the body shell, the question of whether it is Crenshaw fabric is indeterminate. Jensen describes it as "fine cadet gray cloth" but does not say whether it is 100% wool or a wool-on cotton blend. There is one officer frock reportedly made from Crenshaw 100% woolen fabric in the Collection of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond. I have seen it in the display case but have not studied it in detail nor photographed it. Sgt. Green's jacket could be the same but from this photograph it is impossible to tell.

    Crenshaw Mills produced textiles for the Confederate Government QM Dept. for enlisted uniform manufacture and also sold textile on the commercial market for officers and civilian customers. Much of this commercial grade fabric appears to have been 100% wool but what was sold to the Government for common soldier's uniforms was wool-on cotton blend (jeans cloth, cassimere, etc.) Jensen told me that based upon his research, Crenshaw fabrics were still being sold by a Petersburg merchant in 1864 a year after the Mill burned in May of 1863.

    Without any further information it is possible that Green had his jacket made by a tailor in Richmond from Crenshaw wool as a private purchase. The pattern used in RD jackets was directly derived from the common six-panel body "wrapper," two piece sleeve pattern typically used in civilian frockcoats from the 1840's. A private purchase, tailor made jacket it very likely would have been similar in appearance to the Government issue ones but more finely constructed and, often, made of better fabrics. It is also worth noting that North Carolina was itself importing a huge amount of English gray cloth throughout much of the war, a significant portion being fine quality fabric for officers uniforms. The jacket could also have been made for him there.

    I hope this is helpful

    Dick Milstead
    Company of Military Historians
    Liberty Rifles
    Last edited by rmilstead; 07-15-2021, 08:54 PM.
    Richard Milstead


    • #3

      Thank you for the information. It was very helpful and I appreciate it.

      Bobby Clester