by Leslie D. Jensen
Another pattern of jacket dating from late in the war was the product of the Confederacy's purchasing operations abroad. A relatively large group of them survive, indicating widespread late-war issue. Characterized by an eight button front, they have distinctive five piece bodies, two piece sleeves, and collars of a fine wool broadcloth. All are made of the same cadet gray kersey used in the Type III Richmond Depot jackets. Those whose original linings have survived have linen, rather than cotton linings. It is significant that in 1860 there were only four linen factories in this country, all of them in the north.70 Linen linings therefore would indicate a non-domestic product. A vertical slit pocket is set into the lining on the inside left breast. The front edges of the jacket are machine stitched, with a distinctive double line of stitching on the right side where the buttons attach. The left front is turned under but the facing piece is cut raw.
The linings are stamped with one of two types of size markings. One is a set of figures such as "5-9/ 38-40" or "5 Ft. 9/ 38-40" indicating a size for a man 5 feet 9 inches with a chest measurement of 38-40 inches. This is a distinctively British Army sizing system, which continued in use as late as World War I. Only one of the jackets has the other type of mark, in the American system, "SIZE NO. 2." This is the only known group of Confederate jackets to have markings of any kind. Only two of these jackets still carry the original buttons, but they are critical in attributing the group, for they are stamped "P. Tait/Limerick."
Peter Tait was a ready-made clothing manufacturer in Limerick, Ireland. He got his start during the Potato Famine of the 1840's and later as a uniform contractor to the British Army during the Crimean War. By the American Civil War, he was one of the largest ready-made clothing manufacturers in the world. According to the company history, Tait contracted with the Confederacy for uniforms and delivered them in his own blockade runners, the Elavey, Eveline and Kelpie.71 A Limerick newspaper account of 1866 indicates that at least one cargo in the Evelyn arrived in Wilmington on Christmas Eve, 1864.72 A Quartermaster's book from the Richmond depot confirms the arrival of the Evelyn at Wilmington on 29 December carrying 4400 jackets and pants as part of the Collie and Tait contract.73
The jacket illustrated in FIG 22 was worn by Private Alfred Goodwin of Sturdivant's Battery, a unit of the Army of Nothern Virginia. It has the five piece body, eight button front and distinctive front stitching of the pattern, and the original pocket survives. However, it has been relined, and the loose red flannel on the collar and cuffs is a replacement. The buttons, Virginia state seals, are also replacements. Goodwin described this jacket in later years as an "Artillery standard uniform made of English goods." S turdivant's Battery served in the trenches at Petersburg until the end of the war.74
Private William A. Harrison of the 2d Maryland Infantry wore the jacket illustrated in Ross Kimmel's article, FIG 8. His garment is essentially unaltered except for the buttons. The pattern, button count, linen lining, stitching and other features, plus the collar, are all original and distinctive features. Marked in the lining is: "5-9/38-33." Clothing rolls for the4th Quarter, 1864 indicate that Harrison drew a new jacket on 13 November 1864.75
Another jacket of the same pattern, also with an Army of Northern Virginia history, surfaced in the last two years. It belonged to a soldier of the 63d Tennessee, and is identical to the others except that it has shoulder straps in the same color as the collar. The markings are of this same system but have not been recorded.76
An extensively altered Tait jacket was used by Quartermaster Sergeant M. Glennan of the 36th North Carolina, a member of the Fort Fisher garrison. It has been shortened and taken in, and the collar has been adorned with a triangle of gold braid. Markings are: "6-0/41-36." Sergeant Glennan was captured 15 January 1865, but had been paroled and was in Richmond before the war ended. He could have drawn the jacket either at Fort Fisher or in Richmond.77
Generally, the jackets located have histories that tie them to either northeastern North Carolina, the Petersburg front or the Appomattox retreat route. Conversations with relic hunters indicate that Tait buttons generally come from only those areas as well. Therefore, the discovery of a jacket owned by Private Garrett Gouge of the 58th North Carolina was at first of matter of some concern (FIG 23). The 58th was an Army of Tennessee unit, and never saw service with either Lee or at Fort Fisher. However, the regiment's last service was guarding Quartermaster stores in Greensboro.78 The jacket in question is in near mint condition; it has not seen hard service and obviously was drawn just before Gouge went home. Like the others, it has the five piece body, two piece sleeves, eight button front, distinctive stitching and linen lining. Like the 63d Tennessee jacket, it has shoulder straps, but these are of the same material of the coat and are piped in blue. However, the shape is distinctively the same. The collar is also piped. The markings read: "5 FEET 10/30-34." The most important feature of this jacket is the buttons. All are obviously original to the coat, and are stamped "P. Tait/Limerick."79
final piece of evidence that links these jackets to both time and place
are the photographs taken by Thomas Roche at Fort Mahone at Petersburg on
3 April 1865 (FIG 24). They show the body of a Confederate soldier
wearing a Tait jacket. It has the correct
button count, the distinctive double line of stitching, and under a glass
it can be seen that the collar and shoulder straps are of a finer material
than the rest of the jacket. The shoulder straps in this case have been
rather crudely cut off. The original photographer's label indicated that
the jacket was gray with red trim.80
The Department of South Carolina, Georgia,. and Florida had a clothing depot at Charleston, SC. Details on its establishment are foggy, but the Chief Quartermaster, Major Hutson Lee, had been on the job since 1861 and at some point established a manufacturing facility. Captain George L. Crafts was in charge. An Assistant Quartermaster in Charleston (at least as early as February, 1863) by June, 1864 Crafts was using as his address: "Bureau of Clothing and Camp and Garrison Equipage." He was officially placed in charge of the "Established Manufactory," on 8 November 1864 by the order of the Adjutant and Inspector General. At that point, his depot became one of the general depots, whose operations and issues were under the exclusive control of the Quartermaster General.83
Records of this operation are extremely fragmentary, although there is strong evidence, over and above the name assigned to the facility, that clothing was indeed manufactured. Crafts transferred the following stores to Captain R. Ward, at Adams Run, SC on 7 February 1863:
11 Blue Cloth Pants
In December, 1864, Crafts sent 200 Jackets and 200 Pairs of Pants to Captain C.L. Davies, AQM, Greenville, SC.84
Identifying the products of this depot is extremely difficult, but there are two surviving jackets that may be from Craft's operation. One was used by 1st Sergeant T. Grange Simons of the 25th South Carolina Infantry. This regiment was stationed in the Charleston area until early 1864, when they were transferred to Lee's army. They came back to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in late 1865.85 The other jacket was worn by Private William Kirby Brown of the Palmetto Guard. His unit served as siege artillery until the evacuation of Charleston in the spring of 1865, when they transferred north as part of Johnston's army and surrendered at Greensboro, NC, 26 April 1865.86
Both jackets are made of the English wool kersey found in both the Richmond Type III jackets and the Tait contract. Both have linings made of unbleached cotton osnaburg. However, these jackets have six piece bodies with one piece, rather than two piece sleeves, and only five buttons down the front. Simons' jacket has block I buttons imported by Courtney & Tennent of Charleston, while Brown's has CS staff buttons made by Hammond, Turner & Bates of Manchester, England. Neither jacket has shoulder straps. Unlike Richmond products, the collars of these jackets are interlined. Finally, and perhaps the most conspicuous feature, other than the button count and the lack of shoulder straps, are the belt loops. Unlike any other pattern, these belt loops are extremely large, 4 1/8" high by 1 3/4" wide on Simons' jacket and 5 5/ 8" high by 2 5/8" wide on Brown's. Moreover, these loops are. shaped like shoulder straps, flat at one end and tapering towards the top.
Unfortunately, until more jackets of this pattern are found, we cannot be absolutely sure of the provenance. But the existence of these two, from different units of the Charleston garrison, strongly suggests that they are products of the Charleston depot.
The Atlanta Depot is probably the best documented of these operations. It was in production at least as early as October, 1862, and was set up as the successor to the Nashville Depot, which had fallen that spring. After the fall of Atlanta, the operation appears to have been consolidated with Augusta.89
The Quartermaster at Atlanta was Major V.K. Stevenson, but the depot itself functioned under Major G.W. Cunningham. An April, 1863 inspection report is the source for much of our information on this depot, and it indicates a large operation producing upwards of 130,000 uniforms per year.90
The depot at Columbus was described at one point as the largest in the Confederacy.91 Certainly it was an important depot. Its products probably saw service in every theater of the war, and it continued to function uninterrupted until Columbus fell in April, 1865. Major F.W. Dillard was the Quartermaster. A report for the 4th Quarter, 1863 showed 13,036 jackets already on hand, 6,455 purchased and 23,194 manufactured, for a grand total of 42,752. The manufactured total would indicate a yearly production of about 92,000.92
The depot at Athens was established by one of Bragg's quartermasters, Major Lemuel O. Bridewell, after the 1862 Kentucky campaign. Bridewell was ordered to take the wool and other unmanufacturerd goods acquired in Kentucky and begin producing clothing with it.93 By July, 1863, he was able to ask the Quartermaster General if he should issue the 10,000 complete suits he had on hand to Bragg's Army, in line with Bragg's request.94
it is not at this point possible to differentiate with confidence between
the products of these three depots. Apparently they were very similar. All
three depots used woolen jeans for the basic material, and osnaburg for
linings. Several groups of western uniforms survive, and on the basis of
their histories it may be possible to at least narrow their possible
source to one or two depots.
One rather large group of jackets is represented by at least six examples, in two variations, all but one with histories tying them to the Kentucky Orphan Brigade. They date from as early as November, 1862 to the end of the war.
jackets are made of a butternut colored wool jean, probably originally
gray wool on an unbleached cotton warp. They have medium blue wool kersey
or wool flannel collars, and straight cuffs made of the same material.
Linings are made of the standard cotton osnaburg. Most have a six button
front, although one has five and one has seven. What appears to be the
earliergroup has pockets on the inside only, while the latter group has
one exterior pocket.
These jackets are made of a butternut colored wool jean, probably originally gray wool on an unbleached cotton warp. They have medium blue wool kersey or wool flannel collars, and straight cuffs made of the same material. Linings are made of the standard cotton osnaburg. Most have a six button front, although one has five and one has seven. What appears to be the earliergroup has pockets on the inside only, while the latter group has one exterior pocket.
For this group, unlike for most Confederate uniforms, we have a diary description that matches the pattern relatively closely. Washington Ives of the 4th Florida Infantry, noted on 21 October 1863: "Our regt is just drawing some excellent clothing; jackets of gray, blue cuffs..." A few days later, he described them in more detail: "...The coats are dark and light gray (mostly with blue collars and cuffs ...it is worsted cross between cassimere and jeans, very warm and disireable... " 95
A photograph of two Confederate prisoners, taken on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, probably in November, 1863, shows this same pattern.96
Although one cannot be absolutely sure, the only large depot known to have distributed clothing as widely as would have been necessary to reach the units noted here, over this long a period of time, appears to have been Columbus. Therefore, a very tentative attribution of these jackets to that depot is made here. Those without exterior pockets are designated Columbus Type I while those with exterior pockets are designated Type II.
The earliest jacket in this group, a Columbus Type I, was worn by Private Elijah C. Woodward, Co. "C," 9th Kentucky Infantry (FIG 25). Woodward enlisted in September, 1861 and deserted in November, 1862. His jacket has a five button front, and two inside pockets in the right and left breasts.97
The next jacket chronologically, also a Type I, was used by John McDonnell, Company G,1 st Mississippi Light Artillery. McDonnell enlisted 14 May 1862 and served through the Vicksburg campaign. He did not return to the army after his parole on 4 July 1863. His jacket is like Woodward's except for a six button front.98
Private David Fenimore Cooper Weller, Co. "C," 2d Kentucky Infantry, served all the way through the war. He was wounded severely at Fort Donelson. After his recovery, he was detailed to hospital duty at Forsythe, Georgia during the spring and summer of 1863. He rejoined his unit briefly in the fall of 1863, then returned to hospital duty in November and did not rejoin his company until September-October, 1864. His Type I jacket is like McDonnell's, with six button front and pockets inside the right and left breasts.99
The remaining three jackets in the group, all Type II's, have less definite histories. One was used by Private A.W. Randolph, Co. B, 6th Kentucky Infantry. Randolph, too served throughout the war, and appears on a receipt roll for clothing in December, 1864.100 Another was used by John F. Jenkins of the Breckenridge Guards, a cavalry company attached to General Nathan Bedford Forrest.101 Finally, the history of the last jacket, which is now in the Oklahoma Historical Society, is somewhat in doubt, but it appears to have belonged to either James Dunn, 2d Missouri Infantry, Robert Reece of Forrest's Cavalry or 2d Lt. William S. Phillips, Quartermaster, 1st Kentucky Brigade, most likely the latter.102 All three of these jackets have an outside pocket on the left breast, with a large facing piece the length of the pocket and 5/8" to 1 1/2" wide across the opening. Jenkins' jacket and the Oklahoma Historical Society example have six button fronts, while Randolph's has seven.
A small group of three jackets appears to be tied to the Atlanta Depot. Made of a rough tabby woven wool that looks something like salt and pepper burlap, they are lined with unbleached cotton osnaburg. They have six piece bodies and one piece sleeves, and all three have a six button front. The buttons are missing from two of the jackets, but the third has wood buttons of a type observed on a number of different Western jackets and also on some from Lee's army. One of the jackets has a belt loop on the left side only. A peculiarity of this group, also observed in the Charleston pattern, is that the two front panels were apparently cut from different patterns, for the collar, which is cut the same size on both sides, comes to within about an inch of the edge of the coat on the right side, and flush with the edge on the left. The result is a collar that comes together in the center, and a right front that considerably overlaps the left. That this feature was the result of a concious tailoring decision there can be no doubt, since it appears on all three jackets.
All of these jackets date from 1864. One was worn by Pvt. Joseph Israel Daniel of the 5th Georgia Cavalry when he was wounded on 20 June 1864 at Noonday Church, Georgia during the Atlanta campaign.103 Another was the property of 1st Sgt. J. Fuller Lyon of the 19th South Carolina Infantry, Manigault's Brigade, and he had it on when wounded at Lovejoy Station, Georgia on 28 July 1864.104 Finally, a jacket worn by J.B. Stanley was worn at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, 30 November 1864. Unfortunately, Stanley has not been identified completely, but he lived after the war in Greenville, Alabama and may have served in the 22d Alabama Infantry.105 These jackets are attributed to Atlanta based on their closeness to that depot in terms of time and place. It is important to note that Daniel's unit had just come to the Georgia theater from Florida and South Carolina when he was wounded, while Lyon's unit had been serving in Tennessee. The central depot that both these units would have drawn from was Atlanta. The fact that the history of the Stanley jacket post-dates the closing of the facility by only two months argues that it may have been among the last to be issued from there.
OF ALABAMA JACKETS
The last group of jackets to be covered here are all associated with units of the Army of Tennessee that were assigned to Richard Taylor's Department of Alabama after the abortive Nashville campaign. Taylor noted the efforts to resupply these troops in his memoirs as occurring in February, 1865.106
All of these jackets are made of woolen jean, with a six piece body and two piece sleeves. All have linings of cotton osnaburg, and all have collars made of dark blue wool jeans, (dark blue woolen weft on a brown cotton warp). All have five button fronts, and all have one exterior pocket, though they vary from one side of the jacket front to the other. Two have small single belt loops, shaped like shoulder straps on the left side only. One is missing the original buttons, one is missing all its buttons, but the remaining two are equipped with wooden buttons like those seen on the Columbus jackets. Taylor's main source of supply, particularly to troops on the Meridian, Mississippi- Mobile, Alabama line appears to have been the large depot operating at Columbus, Mississippi. In July, 1864, the Quartermaster there, Major W.J. Anderson, was disbursing approximately $130,000 per month. He boasted that "...The clothing material is excellent and the workmanship superior to any I have seen made elsewhere..." The depot at Columbus was operating as late as November, 1864, but by 15 March 1865, Anderson was being listed as a "Manufacturing Q.M." at Demopolis, Alabama. It is therefore possible that the jackets described here were made in either Columbus, Mississippi or Demopolis, Alabama." 107
The jacket of John A. Dolan, Austin's Battalion, Louisiana Sharpshooters, is perhaps the best documented of the group. Written in ink in the lining is "John A. Dolan/Enlisted Aug 17 1861/N.O. LA/Surrendered/May 12/ 1865/ Merridian/Miss./Austin Batt. Comp. A/ SHARPSHOOTERS/ Gibson Brig/ Clayton Division/ Hardee Corps/Hood's Army/ C.S.A." and "May/1865/J.A.DOLAN/C.S.A." 108
The jacket worn by Private Thomas Jefferson Beck of Fenner's Louisiana Battery is virtually identical to Dolan's, except that it is interlined, while Dolan's is not (FIG 26). Fenner's Battery was requesting an extensive amount of new clothing on 17 March 1865, while stationed at Mobile.109 The Beck jacket has wooden buttons, as does one believed to have been worn by a member of the 31st Mississippi.110 Finally, a jacket exists that was worn by a J. Donald or J. McDonald, described as being a member of the "Missouri Infantry." The only J. Donald found to fit this description was J.M. Donald, Co. I, 6th Missouri Infantry. However, he was paroled at Vicksburg in 1863 and did not return to the army. However, there was a John McDonald of Co. F, 8th Missouri, who was paroled in New Orleans 26 May 1865, as well as a Sergeant J. A. McDonald, same company paroled at the same time and place. In addition, Lt. John F. McDonald, Co. I, 9th Missouri Infantry, was paroled at Shreveport, LA.111 Of these four, it would appear that one of the two men paroled in New Orleans is the likely candidate. This jacket is identical to the others except for Confederate local staff buttons.
What appears to be a variant example of this pattern is the jacket worn by Silas Calmes Buck, Co. D, 12th Mississippi Cavalry.112 It is virtually identical to the pattern above, except that the collar and cuffs are made of a green wool twill material. All other features are the same, including a belt loop on the left side. Buck's unit, while not part of the former Army of Tennessee, did serve in the Department of Alabama. Stationed at Pollard, Alabama in March, 1865, they were engaged at Fort Blakely near Mobile, performed guard duty during the evacuation of that city and retreated to Demopolis before being paroled at Gainesville, Alabama. There is every reason to believe, therefore, that this jacket is also a product of the same depot.113
Although some of the attributions remain tentative, and there is a great deal of work yet to be done, it is hoped that this article will at least define the broad outlines of Confederate Quartermaster issues and demonstrate the possibility of identifying Confederate central government Quartermaster products. Perhaps more important, hopefully it will help demonstrate that the Confederate nation was able to respond in an effective manner to the demands placed upon it by the war. The Confederate Quartermaster system was only one part of a burgeoning of Confederate industry that was cut short by Union victory. The full extent of that industrial base is yet to be understood, but the continuing study of Confederate material culture is the most effective means of learning about the industrial and logistical bases that supported the rebel armies in the field and sustained the war for four long years.
This article is only a broad brush approach to a subject that demands, and will have, book length treatment. It is hoped that in that volume the author may be able to properly thank all the many individuals and institutions who have opened their collections over the years, and who have supported and encouraged the continuing study of Confederate Quartermaster clothing.
However, I cannot omit in this article to thank the staff of the Museum of the Confederacy, most importantly the late Eleanor S. Brockenbrough, and those of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum, Columbia, SC, the United Daughters of the Confederacy Museum, Charleston. SC, and the Confederate Museum of the Louisiana Historical Association in New Orleans.
Numerous private collectors provided access to th- _r treasures, in particular Bill Turner, Dave Mark, Michael Kramer, Mickey Black, Bob McDonald, Lewis Leigh, John Graham, Bob Parker and Lewis Hall, Jr.
Company Fellow H. Michael Madaus has been a constant help and inspiration, pointing the way to obscure sources and collections, and serving as a foil for various theories and ideas. Fellow Michael P. Musick of the National Archives continues to be indispensable. Fellows William L. Brown, III, Burton K. Kummerow, Ross M. Kimmel, Donald E. Kloster, Russ A. Pritchard, Frederick C. Gaede, Michael J. McAfee and Michael L. Vice, and Company Members Charles R. Childs and Denis E. Reen provided cogent comments and observations that proved of significant help. Juanita Leisch provided the computer that finally got the article written. Finally, and most importantly, Pat Jensen not only helped research, write notes, take photographs, and assist with numerous ideas, but provided comments and continuing support that were of immense importance in formulating this manuscript.
This article was originally published in the Fall and Winter 1989 issues of The Military Collector & Historian.
Copyright 1989 Company of Military Historians.
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Census of Manufacturers,
"Peter Tait International, The Past," Limerick, n.d., n.p.
"An enquiry from America reminds us of the days when... Limerick Clothed the World's Armies..." Limerick Chronicle, 3 February 1968. Cites Limerick Chronicle, 11 February 1866.
Ch. V, Vol. 227, QMD Memoranda Book, NA.
Collection no. 0985.13.170., Museum of the Confederacy, now on display at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Maryland Historical Society; Clothing Rolls, 2d Maryland Infantry, RG 109, NA.
Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis Shrine, Biloxi, Mississippi.
Collection no. 0985.9.54., Museum of the Confederacy; CSR, M.Glennan, 36th North Carolina State Troops.
Clark, North Carolina Regiments, III, p. 444.
Greensboro Historical Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Frassanito, Grant and Lee, pp. 360-362.
Private Collection; Warren Rifles Museum, Front Royal, VA; Private Collection; Citadel Museum, Charleston, SC.
Inspection Report, York's Command, 28 January 1865, Report No. 21P51, M935, R14; Inspection Report, York's Command, 22 February 1865, Report No. 14P62, M935, R15, NA.
CSR, Cpt George L. Crafts; see also G.O. 13, A&IGO, Richmond, 31 January 1863.
CSR, Cpt George L. Crafts.
Washington Light Infantry Collection, Charleston, SC; Confederate Military History, edited by Gen. Clement A. Evans (Reprint, n.d.), V, pp. 837-838. Cited hereafter as Evans.
Collection No. 7528, UDC Museum, Charleston. SC; Evans, V, pp. 483-484.
GO 13, A&IGO, Richmond, 31 January 1863.
Myers to Dillard, AQM, Columbus, GA., 17 March 1863; Letters Sent, CSQMG.
CSR, G.W. Cunningham, Major and QM.
OR, I, XXI1T, 2, pp. 766-769.
A.R. Lawton, CSQMG to LTC J.L. Corley, 12 December 1864, O.R., XLII, III, p. 1268.
Record of Articles Issued by Major F.W. Dillard, Quartermaster at Columbus, Georgia, RG 109, Ch. VIII, Vol. 64, NA.
CSR, Major L.O. Bridewell.
Telegram, Bridewell to Myers, 11 July 1863, CSR, Major L.O. Bridewell.
Jim R. Cabaniss, Civil War Journal and Letters of Washington Ives, 4th Fla., C.S.A. (Privately Printed, 1987), 21 October, 31 October 1863.
Editors, Time Life Books, The Civil War, Master Index (Alexandria, 1987), P. 82.
Kentucky Military History Museum, Frankfort, KY; CSR, Private E.J. Woodward. 9th Kentucky Infantry.
Collection No. 60.16.3., Mississippi Museum of History, Jackson, MS; CSR, John McDonnell, Co. G, lst Mississippi Light Artillery.
Kentucky Military History Museum, Frankfort, KY; CSR, Private D.F.C. Weller, 2d Kentucky Infantry.
Kentucky Museum of Western Kentucky University; CSR, A.W. Randolph, 6th Kentucky Infantry.
Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, OK.
Midway Museum, Midway, GA; CSR, Private Joseph I. Daniel, 5th Georgia Cavalry.
South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum, Columbia, SC; CSR, 1 st Sergeant J. Fuller Lyon, 19th South Carolina Infantry.
Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, AL; CSR's, J.B. Stanley.
Richard Taylor, Destruction and Reconstruction, Personal Experiences of the Late War (New York, 1900), p. 217.
CSR, W.J. Anderson, Major and QM.
Confederate Museum, Louisiana Historical Association, New Orleans, LA.
CSR, Capt. Charles L. Fenner, Fennel s Louisiana Battery.
Steuart Collection No. 228, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA; Private Collection.
Collection No. 0985.0.29., Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA; CSR, J.M. Donald, John McDonald, J.A. McDonald, John F. McDonald.
Record of Events, Muster Rolls, 12th Mississippi Cavalry, NA.
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