Part 2

by Leslie D. Jensen


FIG 1  
The three types of Richmond Depot jackets

    It is rather difficult to determine the first pattern of jacket issued by the Richmond Depot. Apparently none survive; but based on photographic evidence, and later Richmond prac­tice, it is believed that the first pattern jacket, herein designated the Richmond Depot Type I, was a jacket with a six piece body and two piece sleeves, with a nine button front, shoulder straps and probably belt loops. There were generally no buttons on the cuffs. The lining was probably a cotton osnaburg. The distinctive point about the first pattern jacket, and the feature that distinguished it from the Type II, was that it was trimmed on the collar, shoulder straps and cuffs with either tape or piping. However, because all of these details must be either gleaned from photographs or inferred from later practice, there is still much that is open to discussion. Moreover, because these jackets were produced during the official commutation period, they may very well have had in­dividual differences created by the demands of unit com­manders. An internal note written to the clothing bureau commander in 1862 is a good indication of this:

"Col. Starke wishes a stripe on the pants for his Regt. a bar on the shoulder to be added to the cost of course. You are authorized to comply with his wish..."

   More important, there is compelling evidence that this basic pattern was copied by non-government manufacturers, with the result that jackets of very similar pattern existed from the same period which were clearly not Quartermaster products. 50

Chief Trumpeter Charles H. Powell, 
Co. F, 4th Virginia Cavalry
wearing a Richmond Depot Type I jacket

A photograph of Charles H. Powell, 4th Virginia Cavalry, taken 22 February 1862 (above) is one of the earliest pieces of evidence to show this pattern. Like later Richmond jackets, the material is rather thick and the edges appear to be top­stitched. It appears to be made of a rather light colored gray wool. The trim on Powell's shoulder straps is tape placed on the surface of the strap, as is the collar, but the cuffs may be piped.

Unidentified Artillery Private 
in Richmond Depot Type I jacket

Sergeant Austin S. Morris (left)
and friend. Morris wears a 
Richmond Depot Type I jacket
(photo by Charles Rees in Richmond)

Sergeant Thomas Crowder Owens,
9th Virginia Infantry

 There exist a number of photographs of soldiers, mainly from Virginia, photographed in Richmond wearing this same jacket with either piped or taped trim, or a combination of both. An unidentified artillery private photographed by Charles Rees of Richmond shows this jacket (FIG 3), as does another Rees photograph of a pair of sergeants from Lynchburg, Virginia, Austin S. Morris and Richard A. Williams. Except for button size, the jacket worn by Morris appears to be identical to the pattern under discussion (FIG 4). A photograph of Sergeant Thomas Crowder Owens of the 9th Virginia Infantry, who was killed at Gettysburg, also shows this pattern uniform (FIG 5).

FIG 6 
Private William Moore and friend,
Parker's Virginia Battery, Spring 1862 in Richmond Depot Type I jackets   

Corporal Theodore C. "Doc" Howard,
Parker's battery

    A photograph of Private William Moore and a friend of Parker's Battery, probably taken in the Spring of 1862, shows the Type I in a rougher, darker material with tape trim (FIG 5), as does a photograph of Corporal T.C. Howard, also of Parker's Battery (FIG 6). Other photographs are known from other units showing this same pattern. All of these photographs are a strong indication that the Type I Jacket, with variations, was being produced by the Richmond Depot at least as early as February, 1862.

   Although no example of the depot product of the Type I appears to have survived, an extremely intriguing jacket does exist that is probably a tailor's copy of it. Its construction details are not typical of those later produced by the depot and appear to be more typical of a civilian tailor than those resulting from the putting-out system used by the depot. It would be logical and tempting to attribute this uniform tc either a regimental issue or North Carolina state issue, and it may be. If so, however, this jacket is so strikingly similar to those in the photographs cited above, particularly those of Owens and Morris, that there must be a relationship.

FIG 8 
Jacket of Sergeant E.C.N. Green 
of the 47th North Carolina State Troops

   The jacket in question was worn by Sergeant E.C.N. Green of the 47th North Carolina State Troops, who was killed 1 July 1863 at Gettysburg (FIG 7). Sergeant Green's jacket is made of a very fine quality cadet gray cloth, and is lined in light brown silesia in the body and light blue cotton in the sleeves. It is trimmed around the collar, on the edges of the shoulder straps and at the cuffs with 1/4" dark blue cotton tape. It has eight large script "I" buttons down the front manufactured by S. Isaacs and Campbell, two small buttons of the same type at the shoulder straps, and two at each non­functioning cuff. There are no belt loops. Sergeant Green's chevrons have been separately applied, each stripe being made of 1/2" wide black velvet. The ends of the chevrons extend into the sleeve seam, indicating they were put on before the sleeves were closed. 51 These chevrons are virtually identical to those of Sergeant Morris.

   The Richmond Depot Type II jacket is characterized by a nine-button front, no buttons on the cuffs, top-stitched edges, shoulder straps, belt loops on each hip, an unbleached cotton osnaburg lining and interior pockets. It has a six piece body and two piece sleeves. Generally, it has no trim, although examples with partial trim do exist. In the early stages of production, it was probably made concurrently with the Type I, since, after all, it is only a Type I without the trim. Gradually, however, it superceded the Type I to become the only pattern produced, until it was itself replaced by the Type III. It appears to have been produced by Captain Weisiger's operation from at least the Spring of 1862 until at least mid­1864.

   Seven of these jackets have survived, and there are a num­ber of identified and datable photographs that show them in use. Because these jackets were produced over a considerable period of time, and because they were made from materials available at different times, variations in the coat material and the number of buttons have been noted.

Type II Richmond jacket of Private John Blair Royal, 1st Co., Richmond howitzers.
Note the piped shoulder straps.

The example shown above was worn by Private John Blair Royal of the 1st Company, Richmond Howitzers. He had it on when he was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, 1863. The left sleeve shows the mark of the incoming Union shell that hit Royal and killed another man on his gun crew. Royal apparently preserved the jacket as a souvenir of his close escape, and did not use it subsequently, for the hole shows neither a repair nor an indication of further wear. Therefore, this jacket is a rare survival from the mid part of the war, and helps to establish the dating for this pattern. Made of a rough wool/cotton combination material, it has red piping on the shoulder straps, and displays the six piece body, two piece sleeves, nine button front, plain cuffs, osnaburg lining and belt loops that characterize the pattern. 52

FIG 10
Sergeant John French White
Co . K, 32nd Virginia Infantry

15 May 1863

 FIG 11
Ernest Hudgins, 
Mathews County, Virginia

A photograph of Sergeant John French White, Company K, 32d Virginia Infantry, taken 15 May 1863, shows this same pattern, and again aids in dating. (FIG 10) White had evidently drawn this jacket in February upon returning from furlough, although his regiment drew 75 jackets on 4 April and another 60 on 26 May. Whether the one in the photo was drawn in February or April, it came through the Army of Northern Virginia's main supply source, the Richmond Depot. Like the Royal jacket, it had a nine button front and shoulder straps 53

FIG 12 
E.A. Timberlake,
Laurel Brigade

FIG 13
Pvt Alexander Harris, 
Parker's Virginia Battery.
He was discharged 1 Nov. 1862

 FIG 14
Private C.J. Rush,
Co. E, 21st Georgia Infantry
Photo taken after 17May 1865 
at Lincoln General Hospital

   Other photographs of Army of Northern Virginia soldiers wearing these jackets include those of Ernest Hudgins, of Mathews County, Virginia (FIG 11), E.A. Timberlake of the Laurel Brigade (FIG 12), Alexander Hams of Parker's Battery (FIG 13) and Private C.J. Rush of the 21st Georgia (FIG 14). In addition, there are a number of photographs of unidentified soldiers, some demonstrably taken in Richmond, that show the same jacket. 54

   The photographs of Harris and Rush are of particular importance. Harris was discharged from the army 1 November 1862, 55 and it is likely that his photograph had been taken the previous spring when his battery was mustered in. The photograph of Rush, who was captured at Fort Stedman on 25 March 1865, was taken sometime after 17 May 1865 when he was admitted to Lincoln General Hospital in Washington, D.C. In Rush's case, the jacket may have been one which was already at the hospital when he arrived, for two photographs of Private Rush exist, and he wears a different jacket in each. As a possible indication that the jacket was not originally his, it should be noted that the buttons on the Type II Richmond jacket worn by Rush are Mississippi infantry pattern. Rush, of course, served in a Georgia regiment. 56

FIG 15
Confederate prisoners at White House, Virginia in June, 1864

Thus, the Type II Richmond Depot jacket may have been in production as early as the Spring of 1862, judging from Harris' picture, with the transition between the trimmed Type I and the untrimmed Type II being somewhat gradual and overlapping. The Type II was certainly in use in 1863 and 1864, based on the White photograph and also on the well known view of Confederate prisoners captured at Cold Harbor in June, 1864, in which the majority wear jackets with shoulder straps and belt loops (FIG 15). At least three of the dead Confederates photographed at Fort Mahone in April, 1865 have shoulder straps on their jackets, although the majority do not 57 Therefore, at least some of these jackets were still in service at the end of the war.

A Type II jacket worn by Private George N. Bernard of the 12th Virginia was made of a rough, dark greenish gray woolen material. The lining, however, was the cotton osnaburg to be expected in this pattern. It had a nine button front and belt loops, and once had shoulder straps. These straps had been deliberately cut off, probably during service, but the ends were still in the shoulder seam.58

FIG 16
Richmond type II jacket

Another jacket of this same pattern, but in heavy wool cadet gray kersey surfaced in early 1988. Unfortunately without a solid history, it is believed to be a part of this group based upon the overall pattern, the button count, the shoulder straps, belt loops and lining and the fact that this kersey material saw extensive use in the Army of Northern Virginia late in the war (FIG 16).

FIG 17
Richmond Type II Jacket 
worn by William Ramsey, 17th Va. Infantry

Finally, a jacket of the same pattern, but without the belt loops is in the Smithsonian collection. Itwas worn by Private G. William Ramsey, 17th Virginia Infantry (FIG 17). Ramsey joined the 17th Virginia in November, 1863 and served until the end of the war. Clothing rolls which might date the issue of this particular jacket to Ramsey do not exist, but because he surrendered at Appomattox and apparently wore the jacket home, it probably dates to the last six months of the war. This particular jacket may be a transition piece both because it lacks belt loops and because it is made of heavy cadet gray kersey. 59  As will be seen, this kersey material was used almost exclusively in the Type III Richmond Depot jacket, which dates to the last part of the war. This, plus the fact that the same material is found in a group of Irish-made jackets described below, argues strongly that this gray kersey is English-made cloth run through the blockade.

   Another jacket of the same type, also without the belt loops, was used by J. Rhodes Duval of the 62d Georgia Partisan Rangers, which served in Lee's army from May until July, 1864, when it was disbanded. Duval's coat is identical to the others except that it has been trimmed with yellow wool challee. The shoulder straps have been cut off. 60

   Captain George Pettigrew Bryan of the 2d North Carolina Cavalry wore a Richmond Type II jacket similar to Duval's except that it was made of a rough gray tabby weave wool. Like Duval's, it has been piped, this time in a yellow worsted cord. Bryan used this jacket sometime between his promotion to captain in 1863 and his death on 16 August 1864. 61

   The last jacket in this group has the most radical departure from the pattern, in that it has only six buttons down the front. Made of a thin cadet gray wool with an unusual weave, it is lined with the expected osnaburg, has the belt loops and once had shoulder straps, again cut off. This jacket was worn by George H.T. Greer, Military Secretary to General Jubal A. Early. He had it on when he was wounded at Summerville Ford, Virginia on 17 September 1863. 62

   The troops' practice of removing shoulder straps and belt loops, seen in the Bernard, Duval and Greer jackets, may have been the impetus behind the production of the Type III. This pattern is identical to the Type II except that it lacks shoulder straps and belt loops. All of those found thus far are made of heavy cadet grey kersey. Otherwise, the pattern, lining, button count and other characteristics are identical to the Type II.

At least fourteen of these jackets survive, indicating widespread issue. This high survival rate, plus the "last uniform" rule, indicates that this must be the last pattern issued to Lee's army from the depot.  

FIG 18
Richmond Depot type III jacket 
worn by E.F. Barnes, 1st Co., Richmond Howitzers

The jacket worn by E.F. Barnes, 1st Company Richmond Howitzers, is a good example of the type (FIGs 19, 20). Made of cadet gray wool kersey, it is lined in the standard cotton osnaburg used by the depot. The nine buttons on the front, seven of which are Virginia state seals and two New York, are probably period replacements. The jacket shares the six piece body and two piece sleeves common to the depot. 63  Barnes was paroled 17 April 1865 at Richmond. 64

A circular from the Adjutant & Inspector General's Office dated 3 June 1862 allowed officers to wear a fatigue uniform in the field consisting of a plain frock coat or a gray jacket, without embroidery "on the collar only." The convoluted language of this order probably meant, or at least seems to have been interpreted to mean, that only collar insignia and not sleeve braid must be worn. 65  An 1864 General Order allowed officers to draw enlisted clothing once all the men had been supplied.66 Two examples of Type III jackets acquired in this manner by officers have survived, one with an interesting modification that allows close dating.

FIG 19 
Richmond type III jacket
worn by Brigadier General William Fitzhugh Payne

A jacket worn by Brigadier General William Fitzhugh Payne is a standard Type III with the addition of colonel's stars on the collar (FIG 21). The original infantry buttons still remain on the jacket, despite the fact that Payne was a cavalry officer.67

FIG 20
Richmond type III jacket 
of Lt ThomasTolson, 
2nd Maryland Infantry

2d Lt Thomas Tolson of the 2d Maryland Infantry wore a Type III jacket adorned only with his rank insignia on the collar. The lining in Tolson's uniform is most unusual, consisting of heavy gray blanket material. A clue to this feature was Tolson's diary entry for 10 February 1865: "Pay $100 to have my jacket and pants fixed in Petersburg. The weather wet and very cold." 68 Otherwise Tolson's jacket is identical to the others [see Ross Kimmel's article in this issue, FIG 9 for a photograph of this jacket].

Other known Type III jackets are listed in the footnotes. All of them date from 1864 or 1865 and all are attributable to elements of the Army of Northern Virginia.69



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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See, for example, the photograph of Private John O'Ferrell of  Crenshaw's Battery, Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library, Museum of   the Confederacy, Richmond. Crenshaw's Battery was uniformed,   not by the Quartermaster's Department, but by the personal funds of  its captain, William G. Crenshaw. Louis H. Manarin and Lee A.Wallace, Jr., Richmond Volunteers, The Volunteer Companies of the City of Richmond and Henrico County, Virginia 1861-1865 (Richmond, 1969), p. 37, 40. 

Collection No. 21.10.2., North Carolina Division of Archives & History, Raleigh.  

Collection no. 0985.13.442., Museum of the Confederacy.

Letters, John French White to wife, 26 February 1863,16 May 1863,  Private Collection; CSR, Col. E.B. Montague, 32d Virginia Infantry.

William A. Turner, Even More Confederate Faces (Orange, 1983),    pp. 89, 119, 145; Philip Katcher, American Civil War Armies (1) Confederate, Osprey, No. 170), p. 14.  
CSR, Alexander Harris, Parker's Battery; Robert K. Krick, Parker's Virginia Battery, (Berryville, 1975), p. 32
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
William A. Frassanito, Grant and Gee, The Virginia Campaigns, 1864-1865 (New York, 1979), pp. 170-171, 346-364.
Originally in the Centre Hill Mansion Museum, this jacket was stolen from the Petersburg Siege Museum in January, 1979.
Collection no. 220760/67033M, Division of Armed Forces History, Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Collection no. 7.1.22., Louisiana Historical Association, Confederate Memorial Hall, New Orleans; Joseph H. Crate, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, 1987), p. 115.
Collection no. 14.236.14., North Carolina Division of Archives &History.
Collection no. 0985.13.570., Museum of the Confederacy.
Collection no. 0985.13.571., Museum of the Confederacy.
CSR, E.F. Barnes, 1st Co., Richmond Howitzers.
Circular, A&IGO, Richmond, 3 June, 1862.
GO 28, A&IGO, Richmond, 4 March 1864.
Private Collection.
Maryland Historical Society Collection, Scrapbook: "Maryland Troops in the Confederate Army, From original sources;" originally published in The Telegram (Baltimore, 1879), p. 169
Richmond Depot Type II jackets studied include those of: 
John Lamas Rembert, Alabama Dept. of Archives and History  
M.B. Pilcher, Manassas National Battlefield Park 
George M. Wilson, Dement's Maryland Battery, Smithsonian Institution
John Kennedy Coleman, 6th South Carolina Infantry, Private Collection
John C. Henry, 2d Maryland Infantry (7 button front, altered) Collection no. 7.1.20b., Confederate Memorial Hall, New Orleans.
Allan C. Redwood, 1st Maryland Cavalry, Collection no. 0982.14.1., Museum of the Confederacy
Henry Redwood, Co. B,. 3d Local Defense Troops, Collection no. 0982.14.2., Museum of the Confederacy
C. Hardee, Collection no. 7.1.7x. Confederate Memorial Hall, New Orleans
Unidentified, UDC Museum, Charleston, SC.
T.A. Flippen, Sam Davis Home, Smyrna, TN 
Joseph P. Lyle, 63d Tennessee Infantry, Private Collection.

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