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North Carolina Issued Garments & The State Quartermaster Dept.

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  • North Carolina Issued Garments & The State Quartermaster Dept.



    North Carolina Quartermaster Issued Garments


    Enjoy

    Prior to the war nc had 39 cotton mills and 9 woolen mills (majority producing just woolen yarn) once the war began N.C. textile industry was in full blown production as fast possible. Unfortunately the state wasn’t prepared for the demands of an active army and couldn’t produced finished fabric fast enough at the beginning of the war. So the state sent out purchasing agents through out the southern states to find anyone selling finished fabric, using cotton cards to purchase the fabric. which basically told the seller once the fabric was delivered to the state, they would receive a shipment of cotton. The State also imported a lot of finished fabric, garment kits and completed garments from Europe. Through the efforts of John white, state European purchasing agent, he was able to land contracts with several companies in England and had some of the first shipments coming in as early as mid 62 which included army cloth for enlisted soldiers and fine broad cloth for officer uniforms. The state employed several blockade runners to bring in the imported goods in several ports along the coast, the most active being the port of Wilmington. Between June of 1863 and the fall of ft fisher an estimated 250,000 yards of cloth for uniforms came through the port of Wilmington alone! This does not include the other ports in the state.

    Listed below are the types of cloth the state purchased for uniforms.
    • Plains
    • Linsey’s
    • Cassimeres
    • Denim
    • And jean

    From existing records the state used any fabric they had on hand, using jean for the majority of its uniforms. All cloth would have been dyed “Grey”, a 19th century term for “without color”, with natural dyes such as “Sumac” and “Logwood” which gave the fabric a more “Blue-Grey” color, which after being in the sun would fade to a olive green or a light brown color. These finished fabrics were then sent to textile mills and state contracted cutting house, located in various locations across the state, to be cut out according to a pattern or descriptions (I have yet to come across an actual pattern in state records) that was provided by the state adjutant generals office.

    There was 3 patterns the state issued during the war, all of them were designed by the state adjutant general, then later the state General QM. state provided proper names for each issue and should not be called “NC Depot” Garments. The first was the warrant issue, this is the famous state regulation sack coat. It was a two piece sleeve, a 6 button front four piece body that stops halfway down the thigh, Falling collar and depending on the branch of service, it would have had either red ,yellow, or black, trim on the shoulders that was 3 1/2 inches inches wide at the shoulder seam and tapered to 1 1/2 inches at the neck.

    The second issue was in winter of 61-62 the state re-design the coat into a jacket to save on materials by removing the bottom skirt but also changed the black trim to a sewn on epaulet. The last revision of the uniform was June of 62 called the “M1862 General Service Uniform”. It was given this name because any soldier could wear the jacket regardless of what branch of service he served in. They were able to because the state removed the black trim/epaulets from the shoulders as well as the falling collar and replaced it with a standing one. They also replaced the two piece sleeve with a one piece and added belt loops on the back, positioned on the jacket front side of the side seam. This would be the last revision to the state uniform, but evidence in original garments shows that they didn’t always follow the state patterns. This can be seen when comparing any of the originals to one another. Example: the “MacRae” jacket has a curved collar, Belt loops on the back and curved inner facings that stop at the side seams. Compared to the “Williamson” jacket that has a square square collar, no belt loops and straight inner facings that go along the entire edge of the jacket.

    After cutting the pattern pieces out of fabric the mills and contractors would then assemble the pieces into kits that were sent to lady societies and soldier aid societies who actually assembled the garments.

    These societies would assemble the jackets with both hand and machine stitching in a system very similar to an assembly line. They would divide into groups where each group would assemble a different piece of the garment, this can be seen in the numerous variations in both construction methods and quality of workmanship in the existing garments.

    (*Note: On the majority of original garments, where they used a sewing machine, you will find it was only used to top stitch the garment and they would hand sew the rest of the garment. It was new technology and they didn’t trust it, but they still wanted to show off that they owned one so they just used it for top stitching.) The societies would then ship these finished garments to Raleigh, where upon arrival, they were inspected by a assistant quartermaster to ensure they meet the state standard. The state would then ship these jackets to the various storage warehouses located in several parts of the state. The major warehouse locations were in Richmond-VA, Raleigh, Bermuda, Salisbury, Charolette, Goldsboro, Wilmington and Weldon. When the garments arrived at one of those locations they would then be re-inspected by a another assistant Quartermaster and placed in the warehouses for storage. From these locations is where the jackets would sent to troops in the field upon receiving a “Form 40” request form. Example: Col. Bennett of the 14th nc would send a “Form 40” to the Quartermaster Dept in Richmond, for a order of 5 jackets. They would inform the NC warehouse located in Richmond of the order who would then ship them to the regiment in the field. Upon receiving the jackets, Col. Bennett would perform his own inspection and would sign his name on the receipt that all items were received. This is the famously known “NC Depot System”. As stated before Nc garments should not be called “NC Depot” garments due to the fact that for one it’s not the historical given name, but also the depots never manufactured garments. The depots were railroad depot stations that had warehouses located at them to easily transport items and goods needed for the army. The states quartermaster dept. continued to operate and issue uniforms and supplies all the way till the final months of the war. Once word got out that Sherman was on his way, the state began destroying its warehouses and its reserve stock of supplies under orders from General Johnston.

    I hope you enjoy this read I know it’s long and winded, but informative. Hope this helps.

    By TJ Miller

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    Last edited by Eric Tipton; 06-14-2019, 11:20 PM. Reason: Formatting
    T.J. Miller “Gizzard”
    The immortal guard

  • #2
    Re: North Carolina Issued Garments & The State Quartermaster Dept.

    Thank you.
    Adam Dintenfass

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