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Shiloh Discussion Group


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Everything posted by CSuniforms


    Hello, My name is Thomas Arliskas. I am the author of the book, Cadet Gray and Butternut Brown, Notes on Confederate uniforms. I have been selected to be one of the Speakers at the Kenosha Civil War Museums annual Fall symposium. This years topic will cover the Battle of Shiloh. I will be sharing the stage with the likes of Professor Tim Smith and Larry J. Daniels. Good Company! My topic will be the material culture and the common soldier who fought there. Will cover the uniforms and the types of weapons used by both sides. I have been doing research type projects for over 40 years on the Civil War and Shiloh was a part of that. I originally started out with studying Illinois in the Civil War and from there Confederate clothing and uniforms. I have started my research for the Fall presentation, and found this site. Lots of information here! So, how important is the study of uniforms and clothing at Shiloh? Some will say none at all, some will say a lot. It has to do with what your interests are. If you just like reading casually about the Civil War; Generals, Campaigns, Battles, Politics, Lincoln, Davis, your focus will not be how the 1st Louisiana or 32nd Indiana were uniformed at Shiloh. Blue and Gray is enough for you. But now--- If your ancestor was in those Regiments, if you are commissioned to do a painting, if you collect memorabilia, or if you own an original Civil War firearm from these Regiments, you are going to want to know how they looked, maybe their Regimental Flag, and what firearms were issued to see if yours matches ordnance records. Shiloh carries a mystique all its own. Even the men who fought at Shiloh remember it as a horrible Battle, not a game changer, just another slug fest to contend with and then move on. Island No. 10, got more Press in the papers! Few Books are available covering the Battle itself, as opposed to Gettysburg or Antietam. Yet there are hundreds, thousands of diaries, letters, memoirs, pamphlets, stories about the Battle of Shiloh everywhere ready to be found. I have promised the NPS and the folks at Shiloh Park that when done I will send them what I have found on the Armies at Shiloh, North and South. Their uniforms, clothing, firearms, flags, and comments on all of it. Of course I will cover other aspects of the Battle. Like both Grant and Johnston-- though not in the common soldier category, they certainly had a role to play in the history and outcome. If you do have any information you feel I could use- please let me know-- This is a project in search of knowledge to be compiled for all those interested on just another piece of Civil War History. Sincerely, Tom Arliskas Happy to be a Forum Member.
  2. Battle deaths caused by bayonets.

    I came across an account by a soldier at Shiloh-- on the 2nd day-- while fighting over a Rebel Battery-- there were several charge and counter-chargers to retake the Battery. He states that Bowie knives were used with impunity. Now that is hand to hand!! I am sure bayonets were used to!! Tom
  3. Weapons at Shiloh

    At Shiloh-- the type of arms issued to a Regiment did make a difference on how deadly they were. Remember, the tactics used at the beginning of the War were meant for troops armed with smoothbore muskets-- Closed ranks, firing volleys, and then a bayonet charge. The invention of the rifled-musket changed all that. They went from marching in ranks, stopping and firing-- to take cover, avoid frontal assaults if you can, dig trenches or embrasures for the infantry and artillery to save the men. The Rifle did that, not the smoothbores. Ranger Allen believes the terrain and dense woods on the Shiloh Battlefield made the smoothbore not such a bad choice. Well, I will tell you-- I shoot these guns in competition and have been doing it for 40 years and a smoothbore in the hands of a practiced shooter-- firing hundreds of rounds in his or hers personal smoothbore, can hit a man size target at 50 yards almost every time. Now---------- take someone who never fired one [they have no rear sight, just a front sight on the top barrel band] loaded that cannon up-- try to aim where??? up-down?? and let go-- you would be lucky to hit 1 out of 5 at 50 yards and at 75 to 100! guess??? The same with a rifle in the hands of a new shooter-- you would aim to high or to low until you got the feel of the gun. That is why the soldiers were told to aim for the opponents legs-- this negated firing high... And if in the woods-- I personally would rather have a rifle-- shooting at a target 50 to 75 yards away-- you almost could not miss. Now in the woods, with canister and shells bursting in the air in the trees-- balls and minies flying all over-- some enemy in the woods in front of you coming your way.. you had to be a hell of a man to just stand there and aim till you knew you had him... research continues...

    Those troops were Louisiana soldiers who from letters, received from their Governor, new dark blue uniforms. They were either in the Crescent Regiment or one of the other Louisiana Regiments-- I have the notes, but not handy right now. Also, The early Louisiana units in New Orleans adopted blue uniforms and red caps back in April-May 1861-- Did they have these outfits almost a year later-- maybe-- They were encamped in cities on the Coast which would have enabled them to take care of and store this clothing. The Great Appeal for clothing for the LA. volunteers over the winter of 61-62' was in full swing as well. So a combination of uniforms and donated clothing? I would say it happened-- so why not... The Black uniforms-- a poorly dyed cloth will show up black in the shade... or look like black from a distance. Thanks Again-- Ozzy! As you can attest, this uniform stuff is not easy to find-- Maybe, that is why we dont have a set of comprehensive notes available for us... Tom

    Yes-- But that is then and this is now-- many years have passed since Don did Shiloh. We have much more in the way of research and new things are found all the time. I just pulled out my 14th Illinois notes and they received their new jackets in December of 1861. AND! the gray jackets-- seen in this picture-- were issued just shortly before that! Tom

    Awesome image! Where did you find that one! Of course the 14th by Shiloh were in blue jackets-- But a great image. Don did Shiloh, if I remember, because people at that time were asking for something Western. He had a hard time finding how Johnston was dressed at Shiloh-- after much research he came with this rendition. The Arkansas troops, their uniforms are based on research done by myself and Jerry Coats of Gettysburg. Jerry dug out the ordnance and clothing records in the National Archives. Using some photos and flag research we put it all together for this painting. Jerry said his Western stuff just did not sell as well as his Eastern Battlefield paintings and prints. Remember when it was all Gettysburg and Antietam 25 years ago!!! Not so much today, but that was the way it was back then. I will fill in the gaps. I did do the research for 10 Western figures for Don.-- Tom

    Research is continuing-- Found some good information on some of the different Louisiana Regiments. Will share in time, when I get it all together. Tom

    Research is continuing-- Found some good information on some of the different Louisiana Regiments. Will share in time, when I get it all together. Tom

    The Alabama Volunteer Corp- The Alabama State Army, Their Official Uniform Regulations were for a uniform of dark blue. And, many of the Alabama Volunteers and Companies wore blue in the first months of the Civil War. Is it possible that some of the Officers continued to use their Alabama coats-- of course. Tom

    Thank You Ozzy, ---Your help is appreciated! Two heads are better than one, or three or five! On the 12th Illinois, I have the complete history on this-- wagons of blue uniforms distributed the morning of April 6th. The same situation could have involved the 9th Illinois Infantry. Some of them still in gray, but am not done with that research. On the Blue uniformed Louisiana troops, yes.-- They came up from New Orleans dressed in blue jackets and gray trousers-- not a great uniform appearance for Shiloh. Working on that one too. Just found some more descriptions on their appearance during the Battle. On the 40th Illinois and the 2 Ohio Regiments not being properly uniformed-- FILL ME IN ON THOSE-- Still working on Ohio Quartermaster operations for the Fall of 1861- Spring of 1862. The Flags, I have notes, but have not yet dug into those. The Regiment told to reverse their jackets, I have that somewhere-- but FILL ME IN on that too! The Union Army did have three Zouave Regiments at Shiloh. The 11th Indiana still dressed in gray at Shiloh, according to one veteran. The 53rd and 54th Ohio were in Zouave type uniforms at Shiloh. McArthurs' Brigade wore Scottish tams into Battle. The Confederate were said to have a number of Zouave Companies in their ranks from Louisiana. The Washington Artillery-- and other Artillery units had distinctive uniforms. On the Scouts-- a white band attached to the hat or arm, was also used in Missouri by Union Home Guard Companies, so ordered by General Lyon himself to distinguish them from the Missouri State Guard. Thank You Again for your help. Tom

    Sorry, we are there already-- Tom!

    Yeah! The 14th, 16th, and 18th Wisconsin-- they won the Battle of Shiloh single-handed you know!!

    Stan!!! Wahoo!!! That was awesome. I don't know if everyone on the Forum has seen that, but it is a great find for uniform researchers. For the record, the Don Troiani painting of Johnston at Shiloh with the Arkansawyer's, I helped with the research on that one. I have done 12 or 13 research projects for Don that ended up as paintings in his book. I have also done research for many Civil War authors and other painters like Don. As to Ozzy's comments. For the Confederates they were under the Commutation System for clothing. A sum of $25.00 later raised, was given to the soldiers by the CS Government to help pay for clothing for service or a uniform. Some confusion reigned in the opening weeks of the Civil War when three sets of unofficial regulations for CS uniforms appeared in the papers. Several States, [Republics] authored their own Regulations for their "State Army," which also led to a sea of different cuts in uniforms and colors. By the late summer of 1861 all this finery and fluff was gone. Now it was getting cold and the soldiers needed warm clothing. The CS Government did not have the resources to produce 200,000 new uniforms for its Forces. Instead they opted for an "Appeal"-- the "Great Appeal" for warm winter clothing by donation by its citizens. And it worked. All manner of clothing was sent out to the Camps and Forts for the Confederates. Some of it was uniform in nature, the largest part homespun walnut dyed clothing of the Bush Variety as it was described. So they got their donated clothes! You might get a black pair of pants, a red or white cotton shirt, a civilian blouse or uniform jacket or frock as part of the big pile of clothing placed in front of you. Wool pants cost you more than cotton, and a uniform jacket more than a civilian blouse, and it came out of your commutation money$$$. Or ---if you were lucky Mom or your Wife sent out some new clothes just for you. From that you had for Spring, 1862, descriptions of "no-two dressed alike," or "half-civilian half military," when looking at a Confederate Regiment or Brigade on parade. The result of the Commutation System and the Great Appeal for donated clothing for the winter of 1861-1862. This is the exact description we get of Confederates, how they appeared at Shiloh. Each Confederate Company and Regiment had their own story as to how they were dressed at different times during the War. The Louisiana Troops, the State Militia Troops that came with Bragg to fight were much better uniformed than those from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. Tom Arliskas

    Stan! Of Course I remember you! I am a big follower of yours. I was just browsing through the photos you have on this post and find them wonderful as to uniforms and firearms. The Wisconsin men in the 4 button State Blouses; Unique canteen and haversack straps; their Dresden-Suhl Muskets. The 23rd Missouri in their St. Louis Depot jackets. The Illinois men in their State Jackets. Iowa in the Regulation frock coats and caps! You have it. Not done the Confederates yet. One thing at a time. The one Group mentioned the most often were the troops from Louisiana-- the Crescent Regiment-- and their appearance on the Battlefield of Shiloh. Dressed in blue and marching in perfect step! I am going to cover them in my presentation. Thank You for your support already! Tom Arliskas