|By: Paula and Coach McCoach|
Following are some researched tips on how to wear your Civil War Uniform once you have gathered it all together:
*Civil War soldiers wore their haversack and canteen on the left side. A typical soldier’s haversack included a pipe kit, tobacco, coffee, a sewing kit, rations, personal photos and letters.
*Purchase an inexpensive shirt from a sutler. Learn how to do a little bit of stitching - all you need to learn is a basic running stitch. Top stitch around the pockets, cuffs, collar and give the shirt a more authentic look with the hand stitching. Your $20 shirt is now worth $100.
For a definitive book on the Civil War Uniform, ECHOES OF GLORY contains accurate pictures and descriptions of arms and equipment of the Civil War.
*When Confederate and Union soldiers were on the march, keeping clean was difficult. Camping by a stream was a chance for them to wash some of their clothes as well as themselves. To add some authenticity to your impression at a reenactment, pin your socks to your uniform and dry them out, as they would have done. Sling your shoes over the other shoulder and go barefooted. You know barefooted soldiers were a very common site, especially in Lee's army.
*Civil War Reenacting is one of the few hobbies where buying used items is actually more desirable that buying new. Soldiers in that era wore uniforms for 4 years daily! No one had on new clothing. So, if you have a choice between new and used - go for the deal. Civil War Reenacting is one of the few hobbies where the longer you have a piece of clothing, a haversack, a hat - the more valuable it is - and then you can resell it at no extra charge for the wear and tear!
*Confederate and Union soldiers were hard core coffee drinkers. Therefore,tin cup was a vital part of their haversack gear. The Tin Cup was also used as a coffee pot to make coffee and then used as a cup to drink coffee.
*Due to the hard campaigning done by the Civil War Soldier, pants would usually last about 1 month before they started to get ragged or, as the Victorians would say 'tattered'. Jackets would be 'tattered' within about 2 months on the march. A word often used to describe their uniforms was 'rubbed out' not worn out, as we would say in modern times.
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