Tuesday, January 25, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- The Military Dress of the South Carolinians

The Richmond Daily Dispatch
January 25, 1861

A possible South Carolina Confederate.
One of the buttons on his jacket may be
a Palmetto button, but it is uncertain.
(CDV, M.D. Jones collection)
Military dress of the South Carolinians.
   The Charleston correspondent of the Baltimore American gives the following description of military uniforms in use there: The appearance of the militia of the Republic is quite prepossessing, though, like all militia, the variety of uniform adopted by the different companies would mar the general effect on review. For the most part, however, there is some attempt at uniformity in dress. This is rendered necessary by the quality and texture of cloth from which the clothing is made. Grey is the predominant color. The cloth is manufactured chiefly in North Carolina and Georgia, while some of it is imported from England direct. The material is generally serviceable and warm, and, affording no glaring or marked appearance, is particularly adapted to warfare. In clothing the men for service the gaudy tinsel and finery of the peaceful volunteer is left behind for quieter times. As yet the State has ordered the observance of no uniformity in the dress of her warriors.--The chief officers, nevertheless, have adopted a kind of undress uniform that is simple, neat and tasteful. I notice the Brigadier General and the members of his staff at times on the street with blue-black cloth frock coats, silver-washed Palmetto buttons, and a Palmetto tree worked upon the shoulders within a parallelogram of silver cord. The fatigue cap adopted is of the same cloth as the coat. Its shape is of the "rakish" wide-awake style so much in vogue with all our military companies; still the hat is rendered peculiarly South Carolinian by the inevitable Palmetto worked with silver upon the front. the cap is otherwise trimmed with silver cord.
   The dress of the aids of his Excellency Gov. Pickens, is substantially the same in style as that of the strictly military men, though it is much more tasty. The coat is trimmed with gilt buttons and bullion Palmetto decorations on the shoulders.

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