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Officer's Great Coats

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  • LibertyHallVols
    replied
    Re: Officer's great coats

    There is a good example of a woolen talma (hooded cape) from the John Henry Kurtz auction, probably viewable at www.ha.com.

    Leave a comment:


  • DougCooper
    replied
    Re: Officer's great coats

    John and Ivan bring up a great point on the capes and Talma's. Capes are great - they were common and completely useful - warm at night and on cold days, don't restrict your movement and then can be folded into the knapsack on warmer days.

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  • Ambrose Bierce
    replied
    Re: Officer's great coats

    As Mr. Schwartz has posted, the difference in regulations can be traced to officers being targeted by marksmen due to their ostentatious dress. This manner of dress became increasingly indistinguishable as the war progressed (per the later regulation cited), and included subdued rank insignia and less conspicuous jackets and commercial sack coats.

    So, to your query, it really depends on the coat you want to have and wear. Messer's Cooper and Wickett bring up great points and you could even get away with a Talma (a sort of hooded cape) if you wanted, as period photos support. Coats like that worn by Col. Ezra Carmen in the French style are certianly flashy, but also likely contributed to high casualty rates sustained by officers.

    My recommendation is that you look at the kind of coat you want to wear based upon researching what officers in the 7th NJ wore, if available. Barring finding that information, you will be well-suited with an enlisted coat (which you can also wear at events for which you do not portray an officer), or get one made from dark blue material. That will suit an officer's needs and not be as readily identifiable, if that is your intent.

    Lots of options out there, as has been stated, and an officer's great coat is not an insubstantial investment, so research is key to get the one that suits you.

    Leave a comment:


  • LibertyHallVols
    replied
    Re: Officer's great coats

    Nutshell:
    Officers had to purchase their equipment and uniforms. So, as an officer, one would have had
    1) freedom to purchase a taylored garment that could be a "more or less" militarized version of a civilian coat. Or...
    2) he could purchase an issue garment from the quartermaster.
    ...or anywhere in between.

    I think "plain everyday common" would lead me to some sort of private purchase item. Whether it is "plain" or "elegant" depends on your pocketbook, much like it did for the officer of the period.

    If funds are tight, you could always purchase a cape (e.g. you are carrying the cape from your overcoat only), rather than the whole overcoat. Many overcoats featured detachable capes. The cape on its own can fit nicely in a knapsack, whereas the whole coat is pretty bulky.

    And, from experience, the cape on its own can keep you pretty warm.

    Just a thought...

    Leave a comment:


  • DougCooper
    replied
    Re: Officer's great coats

    Joshua Chamberlain himself wore an enlisted great coat (mounted version) during the winter of 62-63, according his own words, in research by Don Troiani. His painting of Chamberlain is here: https://www.google.com/search?q=cham...FPBnK5huhDM%3A

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  • LeftCoastYank
    replied
    Re: Officer's great coats

    I found this image here. So there is evidence of an infantry officer wearing an enlisted man's foot pattern greatcoat in at least one instance. The linked website cites General Orders No. 102 (November 25, 1861) as permitting officers to wear the mounted pattern enlisted man's greatcoat. Apparently General Orders No. 286 (November, 22 1864) directed officers to wear the same pattern greatcoat as the men under their command, without rank insignia.

    Last edited by LeftCoastYank; 02-22-2016, 09:47 PM. Reason: grammar

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  • RickD
    started a topic Officer's Great Coats

    Officer's Great Coats

    I was looking for some help researching different types of options officers had for great coats. Besides the fancy coats with the frog closers that are commonly seen in photos, were they allowed to wear enlisted coats. I'm a new officer in a Union infantry company and want to wear the proper coat. Is there a place to find this information? I was "told" they could wear a mounted coat with a dark blue color but don't want to go by what someone "thinks". Thanks.
    Rick DePamphilis
    Captain
    7th New Jersey
    Co D
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