Use of Federal Items
Since most of the Army of Tennessee's soldiers had little contact with the enemy for about nine months, only durable items would be appropriate. Only Federal style canteens, blankets, knapsacks, haversacks, Hardee hats, gum blankets, accoutrements, and weapons should be used. Federal sky blue enlisted man's foot trousers would have been extremely rare if seen at all. Jefferson brogan pattern shoes are acceptable.
Eyewear and Glasses
Spectacles (what we call glasses today) were not a common item amongst Civil War soldiers or even civilians of that era. Hence, try to get by without glasses if you can while doing Living History or contact lenses. If you must wear glasses, visit antique stores and purchase a 19th century pair and have the lenses replaced with one of your prescription, preferably with safety lenses. No modern glasses may be worn at anytime as part of a Living History program.
Non Comissioned officers were important to the functioning of the line of battle in combat. The ratio of sergeants to privates was about one to seven or eight and the ratio for the corporals was about one to nine. Living History companies should be equipped the same as privates. Chevrons are not neccesary and their use should be limited. The stripes should be hard sewn directly to the jacket with no backing. Non Commissioned officers should know the drill and duties expected of them.
Individual items of civilian attire are acceptable as identified above. The presence, through, of a recent recruit in the ranks entirely in civilian attire would occasionally possible. Usually in small numbers, Confederate units saw recruits sent to their ranks by the efforts of conscript officers, provost marshalls, and pure volunteerism. Most new men were uniformed in about a month after joining the unit, but in a period of active campaigning, some time could pass before the usual military clothing could be issued. A Living History unit should have no more than two men in largely civilian attire. By the summer of 1863, the Quartermaster's Department was meeting the basic clothing needs of almost all of the Army of Tennessee's soldiers. Hence, use of civilian coats or jackets and pants would have been limited. A Living History unit should reflect this.
Not every soldier was to have every possible personal effect. However, having at least a few of these little items helps complete and enrich the impression. In choosing personal effects, remember that you will have to carry them.
Vests, civilian or military pattern
Playing cards, correct styles on non laminated paper
Various games (Pocket chess sets, cribbage board)
Novels, books, or newspapers
In addition to having the appropriate Living History equipment and material, it must be used and worn correctly. Pants and waist belts were worn at the real waist (i.e. the naval) and not at the hips, clothes were not form fitting. Haversack and canteen straps and cartridge box belts were adjusted so that those items did not slap the soldier on the back of the legs or buttocks on the march. Haversacks carried food and individual mess equipment and not personal items, personal items were carried in pockets and knapsacks. Hats and jackets were worn whenever in public, pants were rarely tucked in socks. By adopting the appropriate 19th century use and appearance, the Living History impression is remarkably improved.
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