16th Tennessee Volunteer
Clothing, Arms and Equipment
for any re-enactors of the 16th Tennessee Infantry
who wish to use the dates 7th July to 23th October 1863,
inclusive, for their impression.
1/ State issue dark blue/grey frock coats made in jeans cloth, with seven or nine buttons, with medium blue collars and cuffs?
2/ Possibly a Richmond Depot Jacket, either type II, with shoulder straps and belt loops, or the III. Made of cadet grey wool kersey, or jeans cloth, with nine buttons.
3/ Columbus jackets of either cadet grey wool kearsy or dark grey, quite possibly with medium blue collar and cuffs. These would most likely have six buttons, but could have five or even seven. These would most likely be the most numerous CSA jacket and would be the type I with no exterior pocket.
4/ Civilian type ‘homespun’ sack coats made by relatives with, or without, turned-down collar these would most likely ‘butternut’ but could be other colours. These were made in jeans cloth or wool, but could be possibly satinettes or broadcloths. They had one or more pockets and between four and seven buttons.
5/ ‘Commutation’ style jackets funded by prominent wealthy civilians, in either grey or ‘butternut’.
These last two types would most likely be the predominant type of jacket in the Regiment at the start of the date we depict but Columbus Depot jackets were increasingly being issued by the end. *1
1/ Civilian 'homespun' with contemporary diaries and memoirs listing jean cloth as the most widespread civilian trousers. They would have a button fly and be high waisted.
1/ Richmond Depot style with mule ear pockets, with top button showing, and a buckle on a rear adjuster belt.
2/ Georgia Relief style with side seam pockets, top buttons not showing.
3/ Other issue style with side seam pockets, a button fastened rear adjuster belt, top fly showing, one has no rear lower waist-belt lining, the other has.
If military style the Georgia Relief would seem to be the type, as side seamed pockets are well documented in the West. We know that they were issued in light and dark grey, could possibly have a black, green stripe or blue stripe, but most likely no stripe. There could also wear captured sky blue Federal but the wearing of civilian trousers in some shade of brown jeans cloth is most likely. Military trousers would also be high waisted.
Civilian ‘homespun’ would seem to be the predominantly type of trousers worn in the Regiment.
The front from a light-weight wool, in grey or brown, or cotton/wool blend, with a white cotton lining, with the backs brown or black 'polished' cotton.
These would be of natural fibers and were white or unbleached muslim, with the most common colours being red and white; although blue and white striped cotton; blue linen; yellow check and birds eye calico also existed, many were civilian.
These would either be captured Federal, most being sky blue, and its quite possible that these were dyed, with the odd dark blue; those from home of any colour, but mainly brown; maybe some Confederate issue grey, either light or dark in colour.
Summer wear would be cotton, and shoudn't fit well, but winter wear flannelette, like long johns with a button fly and tape ties at the waist and ankles.
These would be the civilian felt slouch hat, civilian slouch or a few Confederate 'issue', most likely in either grey or black but could be tan or dark brown. They could have either high or low crown, possibly with a rolled brim, possibly with a narrow silk ribbon band around the brim, and a ribbon around the base of the crown. Maybe a few kepis.
Would be handsewn and made of wool, and would be grey or brown in colour.
These were made of cotton, canvas, and ticking. The adjustment was made by two or three small buckles. The buttonhole ends were of leather, or the ends could simply be turned back with holes.
Typical glasses of the period were oval, round, or rectangular shape, and could have a blue coating. *2
The early May ‘Reports of Inspection’ for the Corps states that there were 385 Endfield Rifles and only 376 effective men in the Regiment. The unit should be armed with Endfields at this time.
These were usually issued with the Enfields.
These would quite possibly be Confederate made and would have one, possibly two, belt loops with lead, brass or wood finials, possibly some US shield front and US M1850’s. The Confederate issue copies would have been made of leather, many with the makers name stamped on the front, possibly with the odd painted canvas or cloth ones.
Leather made Confederate issue cartridge box worn by sling or on the belt, with roller buckle, maybe some Endfield , US M1839, M1842 and M1857. Confederate issue with lead, brass or wood finials No cartridge box plates.
Early rifle slings were of leather but with the later shortages sometimes only the ends were leather, with canvas or linen center piece, and even the sling, sometimes blackened, could be linen.
Both canteen and cartridge box slings were usually of linen but, although a few could be leather.
Early belts were of US 1856 style and originally made of black leather, although un-dyed leather was also used; its possible that by mid 1863 heavy cotton cloth, sown in multi-layers and painted black were in use; even more were made of untreated 'cotton duck'. A few were imported from England.
Confederate issue scabbards, for the M1855 Richmond copies, were black and plainer than US with a sewn frog, and could have a white metal finial instead of brass. If captured US the one with 2 rivets could possibly be around but in 1863 the 7 rivet was issued to US forces. P1853 Enfields were issued with the scabbard.
These could be Confederate, or English imports, and be either black or natural. The foolhardy could be barefooted.
CSA buttons are not documented with the Army of the Tennessee and should not be worn, and the Tennessee buttons available the wrong type. Mainly Federal staff or eagle; brass flat coin type; wooden; or a few with ‘I’ buttons.
Shirt, drawers, and waistcoat, buttons were wood, bone, glass and mother of pearl.
Buckles/letters/numbers /breast&box plates
The majority of buckles would be 'Georgia Frame', the 'two-toothed'’; another prominent buckle would be the cast CSA ‘Atlanta style’, more reddish brass; the odd plain oval CS buckle or pewter CSA buckle; maybe an upturned US buckle. With officers or NCO's, the two piece wreath buckles and maybe imported British 'Snake Buckles'. Two members of the Regiments photos exist they have roller buckles.
It is most likely the use of Company letters and Regiment numbers on hats or kepis were removed by 1863 due to the possibility of sharpshooters (snipers) being about.
Breast and box plate were not worn.
Photos show up to 40% wear them but lively discussion suggest that this could be as high as 70%. These Mexican war pattern; Federal issue; Confederate issue; with the odd British army issue.
Confederate issue was made of thin cotton fastened with one or more buttons of either pewter, wood, or bone, but could have a buckle. Captured black, tarred, U.S. issue that closes with a buckle
Gum blankets/ground cloths
These would be of linseed soaked canvas; Confederate issue oil cloth or few captured Federal issue rubber blanket, poncho or oilskin.
They would be the drum type canteen, with possibly the odd wooden one. Covered in cloth of some colour, grey, butternut, or sky blue, and could have the Company and the Regiment of the owner. Straps could be cotton, cotton webbing, or leather sewn together or with a buckle or button
Period frying pans can be made out of canteen halves, all other plates, mugs etc can be found in Lords 'Civil War Collectors Encyclopedia.'.
A three-pronged utensil with handles of either of bone or wood. Or separate knife, fork, spoon. A tin, or the odd copper cup.
There are many illustrations on the internet of both tents and camp equipment. We depict the Regiment when it was in a static camp for nearly four months, and during that time regularly visited by families so it would be safe to say that tent flies, shelter halves, and even blankets, used to sleep under, would over this period of time be replaced by something more substantial. With camp furniture provided by the families. *3
Initially even Companies had flags but by this period flags were strictly carried no lower than the Battalion and Regimental level.
*1 By the end of 1862 the commutation system was finishing as Confederate Quartermasters now had enough clothing to issue but when initially going into camp its more than likely that the Civilian 'homespun' and the 'commutation' jackets would have predominated but by the end of their stay many would have been issued Columbus jackets.
*2 Glasses were not common amongst Civil War soldiers, or even civilians, of this era so we should try to get by without them or wear contact lenses.
*3 Regarding tentage each soldier should carry one shelter half each, with two making a 'dog tent', or alternatively utilizing tent flies, with at least 10 sleeping in each one. Just before the dates above while on campaign little tentage was carried due to a lack of transportation as most of it had been left in Middle Tennessee around Tullahoma, June 1863 so none! If short of tentage a blanket could be used for the same purpose.