"Authentic," "authentic," "authentic" is all you hear if you are new or a hard core reenactor. You look all over to find period Civil War Uniform articles. But when you finally get them, do you feel like you know what to do with them?
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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Coach McCoach has been a Civil War reenactor in the 4th North Carolina Infantry, 2nd Virginia Regiment, and 21st Virginia Company B. Coach has received the "Authenticity Award"from these companies several times for his Civil War Uniform Impression. Coach’s Civil War uniform designs have been seen in the movies GETTYSBURG, Antietam Visitors Center, ANDERSONVILLE. Coach’s famous Civil War cookbook HARDTACK, CORNBREAD AND CHILI contains recipes for reenactments as well in your own home kitchen. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.