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    A couple questions for ya'll. Can someone give the specifics for the brogans used by the federal army? How to make them, size, cut, etc. Also, can anyone tell me what the insoles were made of for the brogans or for mens shoes in general? Thanks.

    Nathanial Collins
    Nathanial Collins
    1st New York Volunteer Engineer Regiment
    Blue Grass Mess

  • #2
    Re: shoes

    Nathan, I would encourage going to a museum and taking the time to examine an original pair and take notes on them. I am certain that there are some members here that would recommend a great place to start your research. Good luck!
    Tyler Underwood
    Moderator
    Pawleys Island #409 AFM
    Governor Guards, WIG

    Click here for the AC rules.

    The search function located in the upper right corner of the screen is your friend.

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    • #3
      Re: shoes

      How to make shoes is a complicated and skillful practice. I would not expect that someone would get the needed information in this format to be able to make shoes. It also takes some tool and special equipment to make it happen. Federal issue shoes are made entirely from leather however different types of leather would be used for different parts of the shoe. For the other questions I think some more specifics might provide you with more feedback. For example, what do you mean by size? Do you mean what size/dimensions the Quartermaster Department specified to be made?
      Respectfully,

      Jeremy Bevard
      Moderator
      Civil War Digital Digest
      Sally Port Mess

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      • #4
        Re: shoes

        To support that which has been suggested, research is the key. Then you can be more specific in your query.

        Ernest W. Peterkin researched and sketched many items of Civil War material culture. Unfortunately, he died in 1995. Fortunately, Colonial Williamsburg has boxes of his research, to include studies of Jefferson brogans, which were also published in The Journal of The Company of Military Historians.

        You could contact CW directly about this collection through this link

        http://research.history.org/JDRLibra.../PeterkinE.cfm

        Jan Berger could provide some perspective on the challenges of making Civil War footwear, too.
        Last edited by Ambrose Bierce; 01-14-2015, 06:50 PM.
        Ivan Ingraham
        AC Moderator

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        • #5
          Re: shoes

          Well, as Jeremy already stated. Period footwear was made entirely from leather( ususally). So insoles were made of leather too. If you have a look at original shoes in museums ond on period photographs you will find out that there was a great variety of patterns and footwear was not as standardised as it was in the 20th century.
          It is easy to ask how to make shoes but hard to answer, it is like: How do I sew a frock coat.
          The research files offered by CW seem to be a very good option for you to start with. If you want to make your own shoes the biggest problem will be the lasts.
          Specifications about the federal footwear can be found in the QM -Manual 1865. You might get an excerpt in the QM Museum in Petersburg.
          Jan H.Berger
          Hornist

          German Mess
          http://germanmess.de/

          www.lederarsenal.com


          "Und setzet ihr nicht das Leben ein, nie wird euch das Leben gewonnen sein."( Friedrich Schiller)

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          • #6
            Re: shoes

            I should be more specific sorry. I am trying to find written evidence to dispel the myth that the shoes were square toes and could be worn on either foot. I know lasts were used but just wondering if there are sources to support this? The insole question is in regard to something else that i have read but unable to support. I read somewhere that the insoles were made of cork. Sorry for the confusion, but a lot of my resources are in storage. Thanks
            Nate

            Mr. Collins, please sign your full name to every post. This includes multiple posts in the same thread. - Silas Tackitt, one of the moderators
            Last edited by Silas; 01-14-2015, 03:44 PM.
            Nathanial Collins
            1st New York Volunteer Engineer Regiment
            Blue Grass Mess

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            • #7
              Re: shoes

              Hallo!

              In 1851 the U.S. Quartermaster issued orders that production of straight last based shoes should end. "They must in the future be all rights and lefts according to the new regulations."

              That being said, War time shortages and expediencies sometimes saw an obsolete straight last shoe better than no shoe.

              I am not sure what you are looking for with squared toe as a "myth" as the issue shoe was NUG "square toed."

              More specifics on material, form, and construction can be gleaned from the specifications found in the (unpublished) "1865 Quartermaster Manual."

              Curt
              Curt Schmidt
              In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

              -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
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              • #8
                Re: shoes

                As Ivan Ingram pointed out one of the best articles on Civil War Brogans was written by the late Ernest Peterkin if I'm not mistaken the Brogan Article is in the MCH Issue dedicated to the Union?
                Mike Brase
                Proprietor
                M.B. Young and Co.
                One of THEM!
                Member Company of Military Historians

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                • #9
                  Re: shoes

                  The MC&H article on Union bootees is an excellent piece. See also The Watchdog Vol 7 # 2 on Federal Brogans (if you can find a copy floating around). It includes some reviews of available (at least back then) authentically made reproductions. My impression is that Curt is correct on the square toed style being the normal std for mid-19th century US Army bootees.
                  Last edited by Craig L Barry; 01-14-2015, 10:43 PM.
                  Craig L Barry
                  Editor, The Watchdog, a non-profit 501[c]3
                  Co-author (with David Burt) Suppliers to the Confederacy
                  Author, The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy
                  Member, Company of Military Historians

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                  • #10
                    Re: shoes

                    "Squared" is and expendable term. Look at original photographs, some footwear really has square sole tips that are straight at the end, others ar a little more rounded and even round ones can be found as well although these are more found on civilian footwear.While symetrical lasts WERE still used during the war. Asymetrical lasts were standard for US footwear since 1851 if I recall correctely. However asymetrical lasts of the time are far more symmetrical than modern day lasts. You have to look a little closer to see that. You can still find period lasts on ebay.com
                    Jan H.Berger
                    Hornist

                    German Mess
                    http://germanmess.de/

                    www.lederarsenal.com


                    "Und setzet ihr nicht das Leben ein, nie wird euch das Leben gewonnen sein."( Friedrich Schiller)

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