* Enlisted men’s frock coat
* State Issue Jackets (Ohio, Illinois)
* Federal issue fatigue blouse
* Federal issue eagle
* State buttons
* Federal issue sky blue
* Federal issue dark blue
Suspenders of civilian pattern, cotton webbing, canvas, or ticking with either button holes or leather tips with tin or brass buckles (no nickel plated metal).
* Federal Issue – domet –flannel shirt
* Civilian woven checks or strips, period prints –EXTREMELY LIMITED
Military issue or civilian style in cotton or wool flannel if worn
* Forage cap
* Slouch hat
Hats should have as appropriate the proper sweatband, lining, ribbon, and stitching. Trim and insignia should be limited. No dead animal parts.
* Brogan pattern shoes
* Military or civilian pattern boot
Wool or cotton knit socks in white, a basic color, or natural color; hand knit are best.
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 wear 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.
Civilian attire should be extremely limited. Some civilian attire would be present such as shirts and certainly under clothing as in any volunteer military organization, but the majority of all clothing and accouterments would be military issue as they seemed to be in abundance.
Not every soldier has 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. Common items were combs, toothbrush, pocketknife, housewife, handkerchief (bandannas/railroad scarves are not acceptable; they should particularly not be worn as attire or adornment),
vests, civilian or military pattern wallet, writing paper pen and ink, pencil, mirror,
playing cards, various game pieces’, books or newspapers.
During the Kentucky Campaign many of the Federal soldiers were not yet veterans. Some regiments such as the 105th Ohio endured an ugly march from Lexington to Louisville, but had not yet been on any lengthy campaigns. These men would still maintain a “fresh fish” veneer rather than the look of a veteran of numerous campaigns. Several regiments particularly in the 10th Division were completely new to military service.
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 (including the tin cup if there was room) and not personal items; personal items were carried in pockets and knapsacks; hats and coats were worn whenever in public; pants were rarely tucked in the socks. By adopting the appropriate 19th century use and appearance, the Living History impression is remarkably improved.
Tentage and Camps:
The living history program was developed to allow the visiting public to understand the workings of a fixed military encampment. Tents are encouraged and allowed. However, only A-Frames or Sibley tents are acceptable for enlisted men.
If you are going to construct a she-bang– Federal “rubber blankets” or “gum blankets”
Shelter halves do not appear in the Western Theater until the end of December 1862.
Per the Federal Command - Only functioning and appropriate period civilian interaction with the military will be allowed to camp with the army: i.e. laundress, contract cook, civilian contractors, skilled laborers such as blacksmiths, tin smiths, etc. and refugee. Civilians simply cooking for reenactment units are not considered a functioning or appropriate impression for the military camps.
Each soldier should carry a period tin cup, knife, fork, spoon, and tin plate. More extensive cooking items such as period individual frying pans (even improvised ones from old canteens) are not necessary and should be very limited Cooking during the Kentucky Campaign was done in messes (four or five to fifteen men) sharing the cooking duties and using large cooking utensils such as kettles, camp kettles, frying pans, coffee pots, dutch ovens, large spoons and forks, butcher knives, mess pans, wooden water buckets, axes, etc. These large items were carried in the regimental baggage wagons which accompanied the troops except in the presence of the enemy. They were often packed in wooden boxes serving as mess chests. When the soldiers were issued rations (normally in three to five day increments), the baggage wagons with the cooking utensils were present except on rare occasions. In some units, the soldiers assigned to the wagon trains did the cooking and the rations were delivered cooked to the troops in the ranks. Tables, chairs, and stools were not provided for soldiers or even company officers.
Due to the impression they will be allowed in the fixed encampment scenarios, but they must be period correct.
One flag per regiment/battalion. The park owns a good many reproduction flags and will issue the correct flags to be carried upon the field.
ORDNANCE AND ORDNANCE STORES
* M1855 or M1861 “Springfield” pattern .58 Caliber Rifle-Musket.
* M1853, Type III, .577 (.58) Caliber Enfield 3-Band Rifle-Musket.
Side arms only for officers and approved cavalry impressions.
Cartridge box and cartridge box belt
* M1855/61 box and tins
* Enfield box and tins
* M1842 box and tins
* M1845/50 pattern
* Enfield style
Waist belt and waist belt plate
* State Buckles
Waist belt should be of appropriate Federal Issue and appropriate to the buckle.
Bayonet and Scabbard
Appropriate for the weapon and bayonet being carried.
* Double bag pattern
* Other common period patterns
Numerous primary resources site that knapsacks were dropped by many Union regiments before entering the Battle of Perryville. It would be reasonable to see several soldiers without knapsacks. An accurate impression would be to leave knapsacks in camp under guard before assembling for the battle.
* Federal pattern--smooth side
* Other common period pattern
“Bullseye canteens are post Perryville and not appropriate for the impression.
Straps should be cotton, cotton webbing, or leather sewn together or with a buckle or button. As few as two-thirds or one-half of the men need to carry canteens
Appropriate Black Federal pattern
* Union issue blanket
* Blanket made from period pattern wool
Gum blankets/ground cloth:
Any appropriate Federal issue gum blanket
Noncommissioned 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 corporals was about one to nine. Living History companies should manifest about the same ratio. Noncommissioned officers should be equipped the same as privates. Chevrons are not necessary and their use should be limited. Noncommissioned officers should know the drill and duties expected of them.
The general ratio of commissioned officers to noncommissioned officers and enlisted men in the campaign averaged one to ten. Companies typically had three, sometimes two, of their four authorized officers. Therefore, if there are ten or more soldiers, it would be appropriate to have an officer represented, probably a second lieutenant. With twenty or more soldiers, there should be one or two officers, a first or second lieutenant. Thirty to forty soldiers should have a captain and two lieutenants.
Command Structure and Company Size
Park staff will designate an overall command structure who will portray field grade officers. Other field grade officers will be acceptable if the minimum amount of participants is reached to constitute a battalion.
In order to adequately represent the Union Army in the field – organizations portraying a company must contain a minimum of 25 men. Battalions must consist of at least 3 companies.
Individuals and unattached messes are welcome and invited to participate. We will work with you to find you an appropriate regiment/battalion.
Minimum Age to Participate – To carry a weapon at the Battle of Perryville you must be at least 16 years old. No exceptions!
If these standards for participation are acceptable then you are welcome to register for the Battle of Perryville.
Haver, Thomas T., Forty-Eight Days, The 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Camp Cleveland, Ohio to Perryville, Kentucky.
OR, Vol. 52, Pt. 1, p. 51 – 53
OR. Vol. 16, Pt. 2, p. 746-747
Primary Resources provided by Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, Manuscript Collection.
Tobey, John E., The Columbia Rifles Compendium, 2nd Edition.
Time-Life Books Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of The Union, Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy, 2 volumes (1991).
Special thanks to the staff at Chickamauga National Battlefield for their assistance in developing these impression guidelines.