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  • Blankets

    Howdy, just another thought going through my head after a recent reenactment,

    with the federal government running low on issue blankets so early in the war, and the request to bring blankets from home, I noticed a number roughly around 70 or so percent of the federal reenactors carrying issue blankets, specifically the tan emergency issue ones, and it just seems to me like there's too many of the (early) issue blankets. Is it just me?
    Ryan Schuda
    Co. C, 45th IL / Co. G, 15th TN
    Dirty First Mess

  • #2
    Re: Blankets

    Depends on the time period you are portraying. Didn't take long for the US government to gear up to make blankets.
    I am sure the number of Federals carrying issue blankets was almost 100% by 1864 if not earlier. Just a guess but the number of Confederates using US blankets was also probably quite high.
    Jim Mayo
    Portsmouth Rifles, Company G, 9th Va. Inf.

    CW Show and Tell Site
    http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/j_mayo/index.html

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    • #3
      Re: Blankets

      Ryan,

      I'm sure someone will chime in with a more detailed (better) response but to begin it seems that the first question would be the source of the blankets you are noticing at which reenactment. At many reenactments you will probably notice a wide range of whatever blankets re-enactors have chosen to purchase for their impressions. These blankets can range from really cheap "modern" wool/wool blend (or ??? fiber) types, to the other end of the spectrum - i.e. a reasonably accurate reproduction of an actual Civil War blanket (correct fiber content, weave, ,measurement range, weight, nap, color range, etc., etc.).

      There is a really nice overview of Federal issue blankets in the Columbia Rifles Research Compendium by Ed Quigley. Here are a few quotes...

      "..both before and during the Civil War, French, British and other foreign mills produced most of the blankets issued by the U.S. Army. Domestic blanket mills could not keep up with the demand even before the war; and the enormous demands of wartime mobilization increased the blanket deficit further. The superintendent of the Schuykill Arsenal wrote: ...the only domestic branch of manufacture which has not shown capacity to supply the army is that of blankets. The department has been obliged throughout the war to use a considerable proportion of army blankets of foreign manufacture."

      "The government specification found in the 1861 Regulations is as follows: 1599. BLANKET - woolen, gray, with letters US in black, four inches long in the center; to be seven feet long, and five and a half feet long, and to weigh five pounds. This specification was repeated in the unpublished 1865 Quartermaster Manual. Some of the variances seen from this regulation in surviving blankets are due to manufacturer's exceptions, some are due to age, and some are due to modern misinterpretations of the terms."

      Mr. Quigley continues with further information regarding Color, Weave and Finish; Dimensions; Markings; Packaging, etc.

      Basically, you will see a fairly wide range of blankets offered to reenactors from various vendors so, if you are in the market for one, do your research and decide what you think is correct for your impression; let others do as the they will.

      Lastly, I'm not entirely convinced it is accurate to divide blankets issued by the Federal (& State?, there's another can of worms) governments as either "regulation grey" or "emergency tan", there was surely acceptable variations within the established guidelines but it doesn't mean anything goes.
      Last edited by BobRoeder; 11-02-2014, 12:55 AM.
      Bob Roeder

      "I stood for a time and cried as freely as boys do when things hurt most; alone among the dead, then covered his face with an old coat I ran away, for I was alone passing dead men all about as I went". Pvt. Nathaniel C. Deane (age 16, Co D 21st Mass. Inf.) on the death of his friend Pvt. John D. Reynolds, May 31, 1864.

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      • #4
        Re: Blankets

        For whatever reason, it never came to mind that they continued to issue blankets throughout the war...

        Thanks,
        Ryan Schuda
        Co. C, 45th IL / Co. G, 15th TN
        Dirty First Mess

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