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Frock coat of Col. Francis Eugene Whitfield, 9th Mississippi Infantry

Stan Hutson
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From the Friends website:



Col. Francis Eugene Whitfield
Here is an amazing piece of history from the battle of Shiloh. This is the original Confederate uniform that was worn by Col. Francis Eugene Whitfield. Col. Whitfield served with the 9th, Mississippi Infantry "Corinth Rifles". During the fierce battle of Shiloh, Whitfield held the rank of major and personally captured Union Col. William Shaw of the 14th, Iowa Infantry in the famous "Hornets Nest" he was wounded in the hip later that day and was expected to die. This is the actual coat that he was wearing when he was wounded during the battle of Shiloh. The Regiment, as a token of honor, promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. When he recovered, and went back to accept his rank Confederate General, Braxton Bragg had already appointed a replacement and refused to honor his promotion. Whitfield reported what had happened to the military in Richmond, including Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the President directed General Bragg to honor the promotion, which he did. Whitfield served honorably throughout the west of the war and was wounded again at the battle of Resaca, in 1864. When he recovered from that wound he served in command of the military post in Meridian, Mississippi. After the war he returned to Corinth, Mississippi, where he practiced law.

As for the uniform itself, it is a classic example of one of the early war production frock style uniform coats worn by officers of the South. The coat is constructed of a classic Confederate blue/gray wool material. It still retains 8 of the original 9 uniform buttons going down the front. As with many of the early Confederate coats, the tailor utilized the pre-Civil War Union Infantry Eagle “I” buttons that were produced by the Scovill Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut.

After the Civil War, the family applied to cotton cloth labels to the front of the uniform. The 1st documents the provenance of the owner “Col. Francis Eugene Whitfield / Colonel of the 9th Miss Regt. / Anderson’s Brigade / Wither’s Division / Polk’s Corps / Army of Tenn”. The 2nd label documents the position of the bullet hole that wounded Whitfield. The label reads “Bullet received at the battle of Shiloh April 6, 1862”. These ancient labels attest to the valiant service of Major and future Colonel Whitfield.

We now have the opportunity to bring this amazing piece back where it belongs, back to Shiloh. This coat has been offered to the National Park Service for $40,000. With the help of your donation we will be able to add this to the collection of the National Park Service where in the future the coat will be a center piece of their collection and display.
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Shiloh; Photographs at Shiloh and relics of the battle

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