Page 1


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

2


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest In This Edition

To Advertise: Send advertising inquiries to: Connie Payne - digesteditor1@gmail.com Phone: 231-519-6614 Advertising rates can be found on our website at: www.citizenssoldiersdigest.com

N

To Contribute: Contact any of the editors to submit an article for consideration, or to inquire as to writers guidelines. Articles can be submitted via email to: Bill Christen: gwjchris@earthlink.net Craig Barry: craiglbarry@aol.com Connie Payne: digesteditor1@gmail.com Lynn Kalil: gtysbrglek@aol.com Or send to: The Watchdog Review PO Box 1675 Warren, MI 48090-1675 Writers guidelines are also available on our website at: www.citizenssoldiersdigest.com

N

For general business and Publication sales contact: Bill Christen: watcdogreview@sbcglobal.net or (586) 801-6199

N PRESERVATION CONTRIBUTIONS

3

From the Editors

4

Preservation News

6

“Their Words”

9

The Evolution of 19th Century Social Dance

10

Product Review: Pedersoli P53 Enfield

14

Civilian Photo Analysis

20

On the Trail: Overland in July & August

22

The Watchdog Review REVISITED: Fall, 2000 - What Makes a Tin Cup Authentic?

30

Product Review: Village Timsmithing Works “Cairo” Tin Cup

33

Natures Gems: Pearls

35

The Imported Pattern 1854 Waist Belt

39

Contributors

Covers

- Lynn Lucking - Anita Lauramore - Elizabeth Stewart Clark - Glenna Jo Christen - David Burt - Craig Barry

Front: Library of Congress Back: Todd Harrington: 13th PA Reserves, 150th Anniv. of Balls Bluff. On the original battlefield - Leesburg, VA. Oct. 23, 2011

Since The Citizens & Soldiers Digest is presented with no subscription rate, we kindly ask our web visitors to consider making a tax deductible preservation donation of a minimum of $10 or $15 dollars per year.

THE WATCHDOG REVIEW:

Checks or Money Orders (payable to “The Watchdog” should be sent to the PO BOX liusted above. Payments can be made though PayPal (http://PayPal.com) using watchdogreview@sbcglobal.net as the “pay to” e-mail address.

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest is a publication of The Watchdog Review, an IRS approved 501(c)3 educational non-profit corporation. Its mission it to raise funds for preservation of Civil War battlefield sites and other historical sites related to the social and material culture of the 1850-75 period of United States history. Using publications, demonstrations, lectures and consultation, the Watchdog Review staff hopes to educate the public and create an awareness of the need for preservation, conservation and increased scholarship about this period in United States history.

At the end of the year, the Watchdog Review trustees will make donations to at least four preservation sites or activities.

Board of Trustees William Christen - Craig Barry Connie Payne - Lynn Kalil

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

A Little History, and “Welcome” from the Editors

BILL CHRISTEN We Should do it Right! One June weekend thirty-five years ago (I was thirty) I attended my first Civil War “event” as a spectator. It was the Muzzle loaders Festival at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. This festival was a NorthSouth Skirmish Association (N-SSA) skirmish and weekend long displays by a few units that shot with the N-SSA and did historical interpretation. I was fascinated by the colorful uniforms, the martial music, the soldiers marching, platoons firing their weapons at targets, cannons booming during live fire demonstrations and scores of civilians attired in “costumes” said to be of the era. I was hooked. My previous Civil War experience had consisted of pouring over black and white images in history books, Disney’s The Great Locomotive Chase, and a boyhood trip to Gettysburg. By the end of that summer I had acquired most of my uniform and equipment in the process of joining the Seventeenth Michigan, a unit with members in the N-SSA and one that also did “living” history and (re)enacting. In fact, the summer before they had fallen in with Thomas’s Mudsills at the 1976 Gettysburg event that took place under the shadow of the old, but not terribly missed tower. I had “enlisted” just as the Civil War (re)enacting community was reaching a new plateau of awareness about the military material culture. A few field merchants and suppliers were starting to make uniforms and accoutrements with a noticeable degree of difference between “costume” and “uniform.” The days of sky blue jeans from J.C. Penny and Texaco filling station uniforms were beginning to ebb. My very first “campaign” event at Sayler’s Creek (historic spelling)

came the following April. It consisted of several days of running tacticals and overland marching. I carried only what I needed and spent the entire weekend in another time. This experience set the tone for a realistic experience and my expectation that this was what (re) enacting was all about. For the next ten years the Civil War and Civil War role-playing became an obsession. I was traveling to events several times a month and spending money like some people do on other expensive hobbies like golf and classic cars. My library of Civil War books and publications grew as well. I was also digging deeper into several historical research and preservation “experimental anthropology” aspect of my (re)enacting led to a greater appreciation of the life experiences of those who lived in the third quarter of the nineteenth-century. At that point I had reached positions in the organizational aspects of several units (local and national) where I felt I was a role model. I took another look at my impressions (now civilian as well as military) and decide that improvements were necessary. Our community was going up to another level based on new research, new motivation for accuracy and new challenges to go beyond portraying companies to battalions and brigades. The civilian impression population was also growing. The high point may have been the 125th anniversary events. Near the end of this period, I took over the publication of The Watchdog from Nicky and Susan Hughes. This put me in the position of needing to increase my knowledge of the material and social culture of the period. This lasted until the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first-century. Now too old to properly portray a soldier in the ranks, I was doing civilian role-playing and sometimes just attending events to visit with friend and subscribers. I took stock of myself and the community:

4

participation seemed to be decreasing, the anticipated and hoped for move next level of accuracy did not happen. Instead we had two real wars, a national economic downturn, the growth of the online communication and a severe polarization within the Civil War (re)enacting community— greater than at other times since the 1970s. Participation seemed to be on the decline as well. And, indeed, the Watchdog Review, Inc., even with modest success in its ten years, came closed to striking the tent as late as last winter. This spring, Connie Payne and Craig Barry advanced a proposal to once again enter the arena of providing historical background, research and a communication entity for our community. I might add for all our community from those of a parochial pageantry mind-set to those whose passion takes them in the direction of total immersion. If all the aspects of remembering, honoring and enjoying the past and those citizens who authentically experienced, we do need to accurately and faithfully try to replicated for ourselves and others. We should do it right, if we do it at all!

CRAIG BARRY

The Watchdog started out almost twenty years ago. It began as a Quarterly publication in 1993 by Editor Nicky Hughes, the sine quo non of the “history heavy” side of the Civil War hobby. In those early days it was not much more than a newsletter, limited to eight pages and a few hundred subscribers. The original mission was to serve as a sort of “Consumer Reports” for reproduction material culture with eye toward “getting it right.” In 1997, Nicky Hughes comrade-in-arms Bill Christen took over as Editor and I joined the staff about five years later as an Associate Editor. By that time The Watchdog had grown to several

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012 thousand subscribers and ran about 24 pages, give or take. The mission had expanded somewhat to include Civilian and Military material culture and took on a much more formal research based tone and style. In addition, The Watchdog started publishing books and pamphlets including For Fatigue Purposes by Patrick Brown (2003), The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy by me (2005), the pamphlet “Making Cartridges” by Patrick Reardon (2006) and The Columbia Rifles Research Compendium 2nd Edition, edited by John Tobey (2007). In 2007 I took over as Editor and The Watchdog phased out as a Quarterly publication due to steadily increasing printing costs and the beginning of the decline in interest and participation which we are still seeing in evidence today. To honor our commitment to the existing subscribers, The Watchdog ran articles for a year or so in Camp Chase Gazette, which took over all remaining subscriptions in exchange for monthly research articles from The Watchdog. There was (of course) a certain clash of cultures with the publisher there and so in 2009, The Watchdog came out as a monthly column in Civil War News, where it still runs. In addition more books followed which include, a Second Edition of The Civil War Musket released in 2011 with 100 pages of new content, and The Unfinished Fight: A Handbook of Confederate Material Culture (also by me) which is due out in late 2012. Subscription based print and online media, as well as internet chat forums have all struggled in the past five years. Even publications with very good content and high quality images have failed quickly in both formats. Subscribers have been jilted, which only exacerbated the lack of interest in a new subscription based magazine in any format. However, there was growing nostalgia for what became termed “The Old Watchdog Quarterly” and all the remaining back issues of it from 1993 to 2007 sold out. The technology finally caught up with the

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest vision of The Watchdog editors, and we are re-launching a research based on-line periodical with both Civilian and Military historians in mind. With the roll out of The Citizens & Soldiers Digest which we think is the best of both worlds--free of cost to readers and easily accessed on-line--The Watchdog is back in a “magazine” format. There will be research articles, product reviews with recommendations and period material culture analysis in each issue. Being a non-profit 501(c)3, any proceeds after expenses are donated to battlefield preservation. There is a link if you wish to donate to The Watchdog battlefield preservation fund. We hope you enjoy reading what we have to offer here and thanks for checking it out.

CONNIE PAYNE

I never set out to be an Editor of Civil War publications. I was a photographer and a reenactor, and a person who always felt more comfortable in the 19th century than the 20th and 21st. I preferred music that included mandolins and dulcimers over anything modern that the radio had to offer, and there was a time when my Civil War closet was nearly as full as my “real life” closet. My “career” in publishing was not planned in any way, and when the opportunity presented itself in 2005 to take over the helm of The Citizens’ Companion, I questioned my ability to do it justice. With absolutely nothing to start with, not even a rolodex with a single name in it, I waded my way through taking over a magazine, and for nearly 7 years, loved every minute of it. When The Camp Chase Gazette hit a low spot in 2008, I was asked if I wanted to take on a SECOND magazine, and I quickly agreed to do so. Being a civilian reenactor, this challenge proved to be a monumental, one, and far more daunting than The Companion. I was faced with the challenge of cleaning up the layout, making amends with readers,

5

advertisers and contributors, and trying to fill the pages of a magazine that many said would never recover. I would like to think that it did....it at least survived. Feeling that military reenactors really weren’t ready to accept a female editor, I was given the title “Sr. Staff Writer”, having absolutely no time to actually write anything. Admittedly, it was an area of contention, doing the work and never being given credit for it, but I enjoyed editing the Gazette nearly as much I did the Companion. When the decision was made just recently to move the magazines “inhouse”, my tenure with the magazines ended, and the opportunity immediately presented itself to work with two of the finest men I know to put out a new, different, & fresh publication. I never hesitated, knowing that I wasn’t ready to hang up my editing hat, and feeling confident that the reenacting community was ready for something new It was decided that we would incorporate BOTH facets of the hobby, civilian AND military, and provide the reader with well-researched and unique articles of interest in keeping with the history and reputation of The Watchdog Review. We also felt that providing the historian and reenactor with as much FREE information as possible is the right and proper thing to do, which is why the FULL version of each edition will be available on our website at no charge. Of course there will be kinks to work out and issues to address; all new publications have them, but the support we are receiving is encouraging, and we ask for your patience as we get our feet wet....yet again. Bill Christen & Craig Barry have supplied the reenacting community with some of the finest research material out there, and I consider it an honor to work with both of them. I am thrilled to continue to be able to work with longtime friends and colleagues, as well as an entirely new group of individuals that I hope to get to know better.

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

ENJOY!


July/August, 2012

HELP US SAVE GAINES’ MILL We’re almost There!

$3,050,000 Down....$150,000 to Go! Late last year, we announced a new $3.2m campaign to save 285 acres of the Gaines’ Mill battlefield. This magnificent and historic tract would more than quadruple the amount of battlefield land saved at Gaines’ Mill. The good news is that we have now raised almost $3m to pay for this tract. Now we are still far from done. We still need to raise another $150,000 to reach our goal by the deadline of September 4th. We need your help to push this tract into the saved column.

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

Gaines’ Mill included the largest charge of the American Civil War and proved to be Robert E. Lee’s first battlefield victory. Let’s make sure this threatened land becomes a protected battlefield that we and future generations will be able to visit.

285 Acres Targeted Donation Match: $2.67 to $1 Our Goal: $150,000 Learn about our 60-day challenge to save this battlefield & view the 285-acre tract at Gaines’ Mill by logging onto the CWT’s website: www.civilwar.org

Battle of Gaines’ Mill June 27, 1862 In this, the third of the Seven Days’ Battles, Gen. Robert E. Lee

6

renewed his attacks against Fitz John Porter’s Union Fifth Corps. In the early hours of June 27, 1862, Porter’s troops abandoned their position at Beaver Dam Creek and established a new defensive line behind Boatswain’s Swamp, just north of the Chickahominy River. Lee was determined to drive the Army of the Potomac across the river and sent the bulk of his force in search of the Yankees. Shortly after noon, Confederates drove in Yankee skirmishers and encountered stiff resistance along Boatswain’s Swamp. The Federals beat back successive waves of disjointed Southern troops, inflicting some of the heaviest casualties the war had yet seen. By dusk, however, Lee’s Confederates were more organized. With daylight fading, the reinforced Southerners assaulted Porter’s anemic defensive line and sent

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012 the Northerners fleeing toward the river. Only the approaching darkness prevented Porter’s corps from being decimated. During the night, the Federals limped across the Chickahominy and burned the bridges behind them. The defeat at Gaines’ Mill convinced McClellan to abandon the campaign against Richmond and “change his base” to the James River. Gaines’ Mill was the most sanguinary engagement of the Seven Days’ battles.

Ten Facts about the Battle of Gaines’ Mill How much do you know about the Battle of Gaines’ Mill (June 27, 1862)? This largest battle of the Seven Days Battles played a significant role in shaping the course of the American Civil War and yet it remains a mystery to many.

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest at Gaines’ Mill would be the first of many for Robert E. Lee and his aggressive tactics in the Seven Days would force McClellan’s army away from the Confederate capital. 2. The Confederate assault at Gaines’ Mill, by many estimates, was the largest of the Civil War At the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, Robert E. Lee’s soldiers had made a number of attacks against Porter’s lines. At 7pm, with additional Confederate forces now in position, Lee unleashed upwards of 32,000 men - sixteen brigades - in a powerful assault against the Federal lines. While not the most organized affair, this assault was likely the largest of the Civil War. By comparison, more famous assaults such as Pickett’s Charge with its roughly 12,500 men, and Hood’s attack at Franklin, with its 20,000, are far smaller in size than Lee’s 7pm Gaines’ Mill attack.

1. Gaines’ Mill was Robert E. Lee’s first major victory of the Civil War

3. By late June 1862, Gaines’ Mill was the second bloodiest battle in American history

On June 1, 1862, Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Army of Northern Virginia, at the Battle of Seven Pines, was seriously wounded. With the Army of the Potomac at his Richmond doorstep, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Robert E. Lee to become the new commander of the largest Confederate army in the East. While Lee had a sterling prewar reputation, his 1861 defeat at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and his focus on building fortifications around Richmond, led many to believe that Lee’s best days were behind him. But at Gaines’ Mill, Lee would quickly move dispel any doubts as to his energy and determination. His bloody victory

When one considers combat casualties (killed, wounded, or missing), the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, at its conclusion, was the second bloodiest battle in American history. Only the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) was bloodier than Gaines’ Mill. The 15,500 casualties suffered at Gaines’ Mill is comparable to the suffering found at Cold Harbor, Chattanooga, and Fredericksburg.. 4. Gaines’ Mill is one of those rare battles where Confederate forces significantly outnumber Federal forces It has become almost axiomatic to believe that the Union

7

forces greatly outnumbered the Confederate forces at most major Civil War battles. But at Gaines’ Mill the opposite was true. Robert E. Lee was able to amass 60,000 to 65,000 Confederate soldiers at Gaines’ Mill. Union forces, under the command of Fitz John Porter, numbered roughly 34,000 at the battle. 5. The Confederate victory at Gaines’ Mill radically shifted the strategic initiative in the East to Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia In early June 1862, the Army of the Potomac was just miles from the Confederate capital of Richmond. The Union forces, often plodding in their approach, were well in place to take the Confederate capital and to greatly shorten the American Civil War. But starting at Gaines’ Mill, Robert E. Lee would wrest away the initiative from George McClellan and drove the Federal forces away from the threatened capital. Shortly after the conclusion of the Seven Days Battles, Lee quickly sent his army northward, producing victories at the battles of Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, and Chantilly. And in September 1862, just a little more than two months since the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, Lee’s forces crossed the Potomac and invaded Maryland. 6. Led by John Bell Hood, the famed Texas Brigade achieved its first great feat of combat arms at Gaines’ Mill Considered by many to be the toughest fighting brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Texas Brigade (comprised of the 1st TX, 4th TX, 5th TX, 18th GA, and Hampton’s South Carolina Legion at Gaines’ Mill) led the charge

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012 that broke the Union line atop the Watt House plateau. It was this determined charge that helped seal the Confederate victory at Gaines’ Mill. Section of the Civil War Trust Gaines’ Mill battle map showing Hood’s attack near the center of the Union line. The section in yellow is a portion of the 285-acre tract that the Civil War Trust is working to preserve in 2011. 7. Seven different Union soldiers, including Gen. Daniel Butterfield, were awarded the Medal of Honor at Gaines’ Mill The determined Union defense at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill produced seven different Medals of Honor for soldiers who fought on June 27, 1862. Among the seven are Charles Hopkins, who would live until 1934, Ernest von Vegesack, a Swede who would later become a member of the Swedish Parliament, John Henry Moffitt, who would later become a US Congressman from New York, and Brig. Gen. Dan Butterfield, who would later compose the famous bugle call, “Taps.” 8. Gaines’ Mill represents the first instance when observation balloons from both sides flew at the same time The Union army employed a number of observation balloons during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. At Gaines’ Mill, one of the more famous and active balloon camps was set up next to Dr. Gaines house. Four miles away from the battlefield, the Confederates also employed one of their balloons. The Gazelle had been brought forward

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest from Richmond by train and was providing the Confederates with intelligence on Union movements. As such Gaines’ Mill is the first instance where observation balloons were being used by both sides and the same time - a notable moment in American aeronautical history. 9. Brig. Gen. Phillip St. George Cooke, the officer who led the desperate Union cavalry counter attack at Gaines’ Mill, was the father-in-law of J.E.B. Stuart Phillip St. George Cooke’s Federal cavalry made a desperate and illfated charge against Confederate troops holding the crest of the Watt House plateau during the Battle of Gaines’ Mill. This cavalry charge did little to change the ultimate outcome of the battle, but Federal horsemen did add to the growing confusion that reigned towards the end of the battle. Cooke, a native of Leesburg, Virginia and a 1827 West Point graduate, made the difficult decision to remain loyal to the Federal cause that he had long served. J.E.B. Stuart, the famed commander of the Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry, was Cooke’s son-in-law. Upon learning that his Virginian fatherin-law had decided to remain loyal to the Union remarked that “He will regret it only once, and that will be continually.”

8

the battlefield under National Park Control around the Watt House. This 60-acre tract is just a small fraction of the more than 2,000 acres that comprises this battlefield. In 2011, two small preservation efforts were completed by the Richmond Battlefields Association and the Civil War Trust - the first preservation successes at Gaines’ Mill since before World War II. Now, the Civil War Trust’s new 285-acre “Longstreet Attack” tract will greatly expand the amount of preserved land at Gaines’ Mill. Hopefully future campaigns will bring more of this important battlefield into state of perpetual preservation.

10. By saving the new 285-acre “Longstreet Attack” tract at Gaines’ Mill, the saved land at this important battlefield will increase 400% Until 2011, the only preserved portion of the Gaines’ Mill battlefield was the 60-acre section of

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizen

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

Their Words

Dyer, Thomas G. Secret Yankees: The Union Circle in Confederate Atlanta, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1999. Pg. 287. [Jan. 20, 1864 entry in Cyrena A. Stone’s Atlanta diary prompted by a visit from a sickly 16 year old girl who stopped at her home on the way to town to get sewing. She quotes the pay women got for sewing different uniform parts (in Confederate money of course).] ...One dollar for pants, a dollar and a half for coats, and fifty cents for shirts ... Calico is ten and twelve dollars a yard. Is it any marvel that crime and prostitution are so common? This girl is intelligent and refined in her feelings, and she often cries when she tells me of the insults she receives from the men who deal out the work.... Many a woman walks eight or ten miles to town to get sewing; they often have no shoes, or only those made of cloth “pitched within and without”— rarely even wear stockings — for the simple reason they have none. The dresses of these countrywomen are sometimes made of flour sacks dyed with bark; gingham ‘sun bonnets’ were long ago dispensed with — and those make of straw or the long leaved [sic] pine take their place. Pg. 290. [March 12, 1864 entry, after getting a back issue of Harper’s Magazine.] But O Mr. Harper — if you had only harped more upon the fashions! for the fair ones in Secessiondom are longing to know of the latest styles for their ‘homespun’ frocks… This magazine is rather of an ancient date - but just as good for us benighted heathens. Pg. 296 [March 22, 1864 entry] The following announcement is made in one of the morning papers. “We have been permitted to examine a February number of Godey’s Lady Book. It appears from the fashion plates, that Yankee women still dress as gaudily as ever. We observe no new styles of mourning dress for the many thousands of their Yankee brothers who are manuring Southern soil with their rotting carcasses. They wear hoops, very small collars and pretty high hats. As large numbers of their men have been killed, we ‘guess’ the Yankee girls are preparing the way to dress as nearly like men as possible, just to keep up the idea that men are about.” Then advice is given to the Dixie girls to make their own fashions for all time to come — to show their independence — and to manufacture their hoops out of grapevine if nothing better can be had, etc.

9

The Soldier Camp Parapet , Sunday, August 24, 1862 1

Dear Mother, Once more we are at our old quarters after going through an eventful and interesting period. Many a poor fellow that went away with us full of vigor and manhood are now under the sod. Of my company, eight are gone; of Company K (Lieutenant Fairchild’s), ten and a lieutenant are gone. We were very fortunate in the battle, but disease has made havoc amongst us. We evacuated Baton Rouge on account of alarm down here. Our lines were too much extended and our force to small here. We are threatened with an attack here, but are ready for them. The day before we left Baton Rouge we were under arms all day. The Rebels were apprised of our intention to evacuate and thought that they could attack us when we had partially embarked, but a few shell sent toward them showed that we was ready for them and they backed off. The night before three of my men were sent out as scouts The returned a little too near and one of them had his horse killed under him The three had a very narrow escape for their lives. Bullets whistled all around them. I hated to leave our pleasant quarters in Baton Rouge more than any place we have been quartered in. The flannel suits you sent out are fading sadly. Flannel for suits should be Navy blue, which is very dark. I am getting sadly in need of pants and boots. If the pants were the same as the nice ones you sent me, only the goods before spotted very easily. Anything acidy took the color out before the pants were half wore out. I was ashamed to wear them. As for boots, the last pair fit me splendidly, but the legs were too small. Make the same size and kind of a boot, but have the legs longer. Then too, I want a trunk. My trunk is played out. Perhaps I had better have my trunk sent out. I hear that there is a box on the way from Miss Ward. I have seen nothing of it yet. No matter where I am while the head of the department is in New Orleans anything sent through there will finally reach me I sent my overcoat home last spring, [but] have never heard that it reached you. It was sent in a box with the Lieutenant Colonel’s coat. John and I are good health. Best love to Father, Mary, Grandmother, Mother and all the family. Write soon and give me all the news, Hoping this will find you all well, I remain Your Affectionate Son Elliot Camp Parapet was a Civil War fortification at Shrewsbury, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, a bit more than a mile upriver from the current city limits of New Orleans. 2 Captain Elliot Curtis was a company officer in the Ninth Connecticut Infantry. This excerpted letter is from a large collection of Curtis family letters being transcribed by Bill Christen for family members. 1

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

The Evolution of 19th Century Social Dance

10

By Mrs. Lucking The evolution of ballroom dancing from the late 18th century and into the 19th reflected social changes that swept across Europe and the United States. Dances changed from elaborately choreographed dances with intricate steps performed by sets of elite dancers to round dances done by anyone with access to inexpensive instruction manuals and a piano. Society, as always, struggled with these changes, with some embracing them immediately and others resisting for decades. While change did not come easily, the love of dancing persisted throughout our time frame. Residents of the young state of Minnesota were no different, and seized any opportunity to dance.

Eighteenth century court dancing, the forerunner of modern ballroom dancing, required mastery of intricate patterns of movement, classical steps and exacting body positions. Chamber ensembles provided the music. The minuet provides a perfect example. Only the wealthy had both the time and money necessary to acquire the expertise to perform these dances with any proficiency. As the nineteenth century advanced, economic changes encouraged those of the middle and lower classes to try to emulate the behavior of the upper classes. Mastering dancing and its associated etiquette became ways to join the “right” class, as did having the “right” place settings or wearing the latest fashions. New dances shifted from the elaborate court style to one of all couples continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

dancing identical easier steps around the perimeter of the ballroom. Changes in printing processes made inexpensive sheet music widely available and quickly disseminated, and the development of pianos and keyed brass instruments allowed amateurs as well as professionals to play the most up to date tunes. These same changes made mass production of instruction manuals possible, allowing people of lesser means the ability to learn the latest craze. Of course, the older dances did not die away. Quadrilles and reels remained immensely popular, although the steps of the quadrilles became far simpler over time. Quadrilles make up at least half the dances on most period dance cards, with many different ones to choose from. If nothing else, they provided a chance to catch one’s breath between more energetic efforts! Some dances combined the two types, with waltz and polka steps between and during the steps of the set quadrilles. The triplet gallop quadrille fits this description. The country dances (think Jane Austen) popular at the start of the 19th century consisted of long lines of men and women facing each other. As the dance progressed, each person partnered with every person of the opposite gender as they moved up and down the lines. If all attendees were of the same social class, this presented no problems. However, people of different classes attended many dances. Even in the United

11

States, which liked to think of itself as equality-minded, people did not want to be forced to mingle with social inferiors. Quadrilles provided a neat solution. Since they required only eight people, floor managers could more easily group people of like standing together. Even in Minnesota, with its sparse population, people took care of their social standing. Matilda Rice, wife of Henry Rice (an early Minnesota Senator), told a story of her first ball in St. Paul in the early 1850s. She was asked to attend by a local gentleman, who told her she would be the eighth lady, allowing for two complete sets. Much to everyone’s chagrin, one woman proved unable to attend, meaning only one set could dance. A “gallant” man tried to solve the problem by inviting a pretty young chambermaid. She happily accepted, having been the belle of the ball ever since arriving in the territory, due to the scarcity of women. According to Rice: A new complication arose, for the gentlemen, jealous of their social standing, refused to dance with the P.C., and even the one who had brought her from the boat joined, with charming inconsistency, the ranks of the ungallants. There was a politician-statesman, we called him then, present, however, and he saw the opportunity of a lifetime. He would show the people that he was democratic, that he drew no social lines, that his sympathies were with the struggling masses. Before his enchanted vision his column of votes grew higher and higher. With a courtly bow, he requested the honor of dancing with the P.C. So the ball proceeded. The first of the round dances was the waltz. Its origins are somewhat murky, although it appears to have started as a peasant dance. It made its first appearance as music, rather than a continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

dance, leading to some confusion about the date of its start in the ballroom. Its life as a dance began as figures in other dances, not as a stand-alone item. In the early nineteenth century, waltzes were performed with several arm positions and varied steps. For years, some people performed it with hands on their partner’s elbows, not in what we think of as ballroom position. This persisted into the 1850s in Minnesota. The waltz caused no end of scandal, with its close hold, intertwined limbs, and rapid, dizziness-inducing turning. Queen Victoria was unable to dance it at her own coronation, due to the lack of a gentleman of sufficient social standing. While some places adopted it immediately, others resisted it for decades. Some examples from From the Ballroom to Hell: From 1833: The waltz is a dance of quite too loose a character, and unmarried ladies should refrain from it altogether, both public and private. From 1836: Vertigo is one of the great inconveniences of the waltz; and the character of this dance, its rapid turnings, the clasping of the dancers, their exciting contact, and the too quick and too long continued succession of lively and agreeable emotions, produce sometimes, in women of a very irritable constitution, syncopes [fainting], spasms and other accidents which should induce them to renounce it. From 1855: True, there have been violent objections (to waltzing); and to those who believe that a woman should never come into any near personal contact with any gentleman but a near relation, or a probable or actual husband, must still object to this and all similar dances, but more especially to this; for in no other are the spheres of two persons so entwined with each other, and none exercise so great an influence over the personal magnetism, the senses and the emotions. Doubtless it should be engaged in with caution by all sensitive organizations. A woman, especially, ought to be very sure that the man she waltzes with is one worthy of so close an intimacy; and one

12

who understands her nature and relations well, will not waltz with any other. From 1866: The rotary motion is injurious to the brain and spinal marrow. The polka did not suffer the same fate. It seems to have also started as a peasant dance. After its introduction to the European ballroom in the mid 1830s, it swept across the continent, debuting in London in 1844. It leapt across the ocean and swept west across the states. It began as a dance of five specific figures, with careful and precise steps, but soon changed to the Polka Turn, “the buoyant rotation of couples around the ballroom.� One person characterized it as combining the intimacy of the waltz with the vivacity of the Irish jig. It may well have lessened the scandalous nature of the waltz, as references to the waltz as dangerous

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

diminish after the polka’s introduction. More dances and dance variations followed, including the schottische, the redowa and the mazurka, many reflecting the new interest in Eastern Europe and national dances. Through it all, people’s love of dance continued. In early Minnesota, dances were held for every occasion, and people traveled miles to attend, no small task. Men often outnumbered women, so women could often attend public affairs for free, whilst men paid fifty cents or a dollar. To add polish to their education, parents paid for dancing lessons for their children. According to Bob Skiba, “Instead of the idea that everyone was equal, democratic society was beginning to mean that everyone had equal opportunity to be better than everyone else. Children who behaved like ladies and gentlemen might pass for them, no matter what their birth. What surer sign of gentility than the ability to dance well?” Oh, that that sentiment persisted to this day! Sources: Library of Congress, American Memory, Western Social Dance, 19th century Social Dance hƩp://memory.loc. gov/ammem/dihtml/diessay6.html. This site allows access to original source material, such as dance and eƟqueƩe manuals, as well as videos based on the dance manual to illustrate the dances Here, Everybody Dances: Social Dancing in Early Minnesota Bob Skiba Minnesota History, Vol. 55, No. 5 (Spring, 1997), p 220 Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press (his sources are period newspapers, dance cards and programs) Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess CharloƩe and the Unexpected Rise of Britain’s Greatest Monarch, Kate Williams, BallanƟne Books, NY 2008 From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in NineteenthCentury Dance. Elizabeth Aldrich, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill., 1991. Dance cards from collecƟon of Tom Pinkerton, member of The Living History Society of Minnesota, Inc. InternaƟonal Encyclopedia of Dance: A Project of Dance PerspecƟves FoundaƟon, Inc., Selma Jean Cohen, ed., University of Oxford Press, New York, 1998. ArƟcles on 19th century social dance, the waltz and the polka.

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

13


Product Review -

July/August, 2012

By Craig L Barry The reproduction Enfield Pattern of 1853 “long rifle” holds an interesting position in the modern US Civil War hobby. Whereas the US Model 1861 rifle-musket was the hands down favorite among infantrymen on both sides of the conflict, it is not true with today’s reproduction Civil War arms. There are no recorded instances of a Civil War soldier discarding a US 1861 in working condition and exchanging it for any other arm of any type. A Union solider on Little Round Top at Gettysburg recalled the following: “July 4th… We went out and picked up Springfields and left our Enfields. Nearly everyone did so.” [1] However, in the modern day hobby the reproduction P-53 Enfield is the hands-down favorite on both sides. They are nearly ubiquitous at events large and small, Eastern, Western or TransMississippi events, US or CS. The reasons for this particular oddity are perhaps a subject for another day. The facts of the matter exists none-the-less. The P-53 Enfield reproduction outsells every other model by a fairly wide margin. The best reproduction P-53 Enfield ever made was the original Parker-Hale produced in Birmingham England beginning in the mid-1970s. It was produced from original tooling and gauges still on hand in the Royal Armoury museum (currently in Leeds). It featured a .577 caliber barrel, it was light in weight (like the original) and the lock was case hardened by the original bone/

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

14

New Pedersoli P53 Enfield

charcoal method. The ParkerHale became the “Holy Grail” of reproduction Enfields among (re) enactors. Armi Sport and Euroarms both based their reproduction P-53 Enfield from the Parker-Hale rather than an original P-53. As a result, they also copied a few of the oddball mistakes with the ParkerHale, as well as adding a few of their own invention. A regular cottage industry currently exists to “de-farb” or fix these historical accuracy mistakes. In the 1990s, Parker Hale folded and Euroarms bought the rights to the “name.” They began making some of their Enfields under the Parker-Hale nameplate, which were not anywhere close to the quality of those produced by Parker-Hale years earlier in Birmingham. Two years ago in 2010, Euroarms folded and was purchased by Pedersoli. Rather than just manufacture an improved version of the Euroarms reproduction Enfield, Pedersoli decided to essentially start from scratch and produce a historically accurate P-53 that would be good or better than the original Birmingham Parker-Hale, right out of the box. In the interest of full disclosure, The Watchdog assisted in the design and development of the project with Pedersoli for almost a year. Pedersoli selected the “short butt” version for their new reproduction Pattern 1853 Enfield long rifle, even though doing so required extensive re-tooling and re-design. What was the so-called “short butt” P-53 Enfield? Of modifications ordered

by the War Department to the P-53 over the years, there were not new “sealed patterns” created for each successive change. Despite (more or less) four distinct typologies used by modern collectors, the English referred to all versions as the P-53. For example, in 1859 the War Department approved a change which shortened the P-53 stock at the butt plate by one inch, with the distance to the trigger being reduced from 14 inches to 13 inches. The reason for the change was to accommodate soldiers of slighter stature. In the English War Department of P53s made by the Royal Small Arms Manufactory (RSAF) at Enfield, the ratio was approximately two “short butt” Enfield long rifles issued for each “long butt.” It is not known (or least if documented it is lost to history) exactly how many of which type were produced on contract by the commercial gun-makers in Birmingham and London and shipped out to the US and CS during the Civil War. [2] We do know that both “long butt” and “short butt” versions were shipped to America and in fact they were among the first to arrive in 1861. During the summer of 1861, the initial efforts of Confederate buyers Caleb Huse and Major Edward Anderson resulted in the purchase of English infantry arms of which 3,500 were the coveted Pattern 1853 Enfield. They were made by several London and Birmingham firms. These were loaded on the seven hundred

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

ton Blockade Runner Bermuda, which sailed on August 22, 1861, arriving in Savannah, Georgia, on September 18, 1861. The majority of these Enfield long rifles were made by J.E. Barnett & Sons, surviving specimens with consecutively marked rack numbers suggest many were State of Georgia marked. The shipments aboard the Bermuda were the first Enfield rifles to reach Confederate soil since the start of the war. Surviving examples of both “long butt” and “short butt” Enfields have been identified with Civil War provenance from this initial shipment. [3] The primary point to remember here is that the “long butt” and “short butt” are just variations of the P-53 Enfield three band “long rifles” with 39” barrels, not to be confused with the P-56 Enfield “short rifle” with two bands and a 33” inch barrel. In terms of previous reproductions of the P-53 Enfield, the best was undoubtedly the Parker-Hale version made in Birmingham beginning in the mid-1970s. Hence it is probably the best for comparison purposes, even though it is no longer in production. Comparing the locks, the Pedersoli closely copied the Parker-Hale lock internals, which is a good thing. The stamp P-H (for Parker Hale) is clearly visible on the bridle. Pedersoli is well known for the quality of their springs, and this is no exception. The lock plate of the Parker Hale is incorrectly marked ENFIELD 1853 and single line engraved. The Pedersoli is correctly marked “Tower 1861” and is double line engraved. This is important because to de-farb the lock plate stamp on the ParkerHale or any of the other Italian reproductions involves grinding the markings off the face, which thins it out slightly. For the lock and lock plate, the nod goes to the Pedersoli. It is good or better inside and much, much better marked outside. Additionally, the hammer is larger in size like an original P-53 and more correct in proportion than the Parker-Hale (or other Italian reproductions). The contact face between the

15

Above: Parker Hale P-53 Enfield lock plate marked “1853 ENFIELD” (image courtesy of author)

ABOVE: Pedersoli P-53 Enfield lock plate marked “TOWER 1861”. Note larger hammer (image courtesy D. Pedersoli)

continued... RIGHT: Original Enfield P-53 marked “TOWER 1861” (collection of author)

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

16

ABOVE: Side by side rear of stock with original showing “short butt” v “long butt”

hammer and the percussion cone is dead center. Next, the stock of the Pedersoli is American walnut, which is much lighter than the European walnut widely used on all other reproductions, except the India/Pakistan smoothbore version which uses Teak. [4] The use of American walnut contributes to the lighter weight of the Pedersoli Enfield which weighs in right below 9 lbs. The Parker-Hale was just a few ounces heavier, but in the same ball park. However, in terms of shape the stock contours of the Pedersoli more closely match the original commercial contractor type III P-53 (1858-65) design than the Parker-Hale which is a copy of the later type IV version. Here again, the nod goes to the Pedersoli for a lighter weight walnut stock which is better shaped, and has the Birmingham Small Arms Trade roundel in front of the butt plate on the stock flat where it belongs. It is a tad larger than the original in my collection, but this size roundel can

be encountered as well. The stamp is legible but could be stamped harder. No doubt the regular production models will be. The hardware on the Pedersoli is excellent. The front sling swivel has a centered front stud and a bell-shaped rear swivel. The lock plate washers (escutcheons) are square-eared as they should be. The Parker-Hale has an offset front swivel for reasons never fully explained and the type IV oval rear swivel. It also has the incorrect round-eared washers. These are all incorrect features that the other Italian gun-makers elected to copy from the Parker-Hale. The barrel bands on the Pedersoli are excellent copies of the Palmer variety the correct width and are nicely blued. The Parker-Hale uses the Baddeley design barrel bands again from the RSAF type IV they copied. These would be very uncommon on any P-53 Enfield with US Civil War provenance. For hardware, the nod goes to the Pedersoli for not only better historical accuracy, but for

getting the small details correct. The barrel on the Pedersoli is a match grade .577 caliber bore and 39 inches long made in Italy. Likewise, the Parker-Hale had an excellent .577 barrel, also 39 inches made in Birmingham. The Pedersoli has both the required modern proof marks (Valtrope/Gardonne) placed where they can be easily removed and also the original Birmingham proof house marks engraved in the barrel near the bolster. The modern markings on the Parker-Hale barrel are more numerous, deep and harder to remove. The Parker-Hale barrel had progressive depth rifling, while the Pedersoli is button grooved which they state is a “form of progressive depth rifling from the manufacturing process” and both are the correct 1:78 rate of twist. This one is a toss-up. The Pedersoli barrel is much better than either the Euroarms or ArmiSport, which are not .577 but .58 (or so). Taylors & Co reports the twist on their Enfield .58 barrel as 1:66,

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

17

ABOVE: Original bands (bottom) and Pedersoli (top)

which is not historically accurate. [5] Euroarms is no longer in business, but claimed the rate of twist was 1:78, like the Parker-Hale. Measurements of the bore with a micrometer taken from both a Euroarms and Armi Sport .58 barrel came out at .584 to .585. This is quite far off the mark. Hence, one can conclude that the new Pedersoli P-53 is good or better in almost every department (lock, stock & barrel) than the highly regarded Parker-Hale of 30-35 years ago. This is high praise indeed. If you want the best reproduction Enfield available, this is it. The Pedersoli is dramatically better than the currently available Italian-made reproductions and by a much greater margin. In fact, there is no comparison in terms of historical accuracy or quality to other currently available reproduction P-53s. It is like comparing a Ferrari to a Fiat. There were a few minor adjustments that were made to the Pedersoli proto-type for my personal

preferences. For example, the trigger pull needed to be lighter on this one—production models will be in the 5 lb to 7 lb range. Additionally to fit a socket bayonet, a little filing was necessary (to the bayonet socket) to clear the front sight blade. These minor issues are not uncommon with new reproduction muskets. It is uncommon to be able to recommend any reproduction “out of the box” which you could be proud to take the field without being de-farbed. The Pedersoli is the happy exception to the rule. A topic of conversation among those interested in a better reproduction Enfield has been the retail selling price of the Pedersoli vs the cost of an original P-53 Birmingham Small Arms Trade Enfield in shooting condition. In summary, even if the cost is comparable the problem with original firearms “in shooting condition” is that they often look 150 years

old (which they are) and if lost or damaged, so is a piece of history. Second, the replacement parts for the grade two/hand-made Birmingham P-53 can be very hard to find and will likely not interchange with another original (even from the same maker) without quite a bit of fitting.

Notes: 1. Diary excerpt of William L.

Livermore, member of the Color Guard, 20th Maine Infantry, in an article entitled, “From a Veteran’s Diary,” from the Lincoln County News, June 1883.See Rick Simmons, The Watchdog Civil War Quarterly, Fall 1998, “Reproduction Martial Arms.” 2. Peter Smithhurst, The Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle, Osprey Publishing (Oxford), 2011, p. 16-17. 3. There is one “short butt” P-53 in particular which was referenced in The Civil War Musket (Watchdog Publishing, 2006) that was marked “Tower” and Barnett/London.

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

18

ABOVE: Side by side full size original (bottom) and Pedersoli (top)

This Enfield was included amongst the cargo of the steamship Bermuda which ran the blockade and landed in Savannah, Georgia in August 1861. There were also a number of LACs aboard the Bermuda, but for whatever reason there are no known “short butt” P53s produced by LACo for the War Dept, or for shipment to America…all are believed to be P53s of the “long butt” variety. 4. American walnut weighs 2.8 lbs per board ft, and European walnut weighs 4.0 lbs per board ft. 5. See Armi-Sport “Civil War Arms Specifications” on the Taylors & Co website, www.taylorsfirearms.com.

Special Offer 2-issue Free Trial Subscription to

Civil War News

The monthly current events newspaper features:

 Calendar of events  Book reviews, letters  News, photos & features  Columns about medicine, preservation, firearms, images, round tables, The Watchdog  150th & other news briefs  Display & classified ads Facebook.com/CivilWarNews

Call or go online for a

FREE 2-issue Trial Subscription

Mention this ad to receive $5 off gift subscriptions!

(800) 777-1862  mail@civilwarnews.com

www.civilwarnews.com A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

19

Look!

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

CivilianPhoto Analysis

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

20


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

An Older, Fashionable Widow By Mrs. Christen

It was one of women’s roles in mid 19th century society to display the state of mourning for her family. The most elaborate and longest displays of mourning with the most clearly defined guidelines and social expectations were for the death of a woman’s husband. Few widows chose to be photographed in deepest mourning with their ‘dead’ black dresses with crape trim, crape covered bonnets and waist length crape veils. As the social restrictions and preferences for privacy eased after the earliest stages of mourning passed women were more likely to have their photograph taken, as was the case with this woman who, according to the back mark, had her photograph taken by Kertson’s Photograph Gallery at the corner of Market and Broad Streets in Newark, N.J. She appears to be past her first year of widowhood as she has relieved the unrelenting black with what is probably white in the subtle check of her fine wool dress. She also shows a bit of elegant shine in her ribbon belt. There is also a non-mourning flash of gold in her brooch which appears to hold hair, a sentimental rather than a memorial piece. The lock or locks of hair displayed under the center glass would have been collected and braided or otherwise arranged while the donor of the hair was still alive. It may contain a lock of her husband’s hair, an intertwining of his and her hair from their engagement or early marriage years or locks of their children’s hair. We will never know for sure. The stylish pleated, self-fabric trim along the outer seam and around the wrists of her very full coat sleeves is another indication she has moved out of first mourning as she is clearly taking an interest in fashion again. The only indications that she is still in a later stage of mourning is her deep black collar, most likely made of folds of crape and her black widow’s cap which shows she is in mourning for her husband rather than another family member.

21

have been a further indication of her continuing love or respect for her husband. It could also have been a visible sign that she had no interest in remarriage. (Who could blame her? Her elegant and well-fitted attire indicates she was financially very comfortable so why risk that by marrying again and losing control of her money?) As stylish as she is in the photo, I doubt that she followed the pattern of some women of her generation and older who continued to wear the frilly white caps fashionable in their younger married years by returning to them when she felt ready to give up her widow’s cap. FOOTNOTES: 1. “Crape” was the preferred 19th century spelling for the deeply crinkled dull black sheer silk used for mourning. When made in white or other colors for bonnet and other trims, this fabric was spelled crepe, our modern spelling. 2. While it is impossible to be certain of the colors in collodion photographs, there are times when it is safe to make some assumptions when the options for colors of some garments were standardized, as is the case with women’s collars and caps. These were almost invariably white, except for mourning when collars were black and widow’s caps were black or black with white and/or shades of lavender to purple accents.

Young widows, especially ones with children, were encouraged to stop wearing a widow’s caps soon after the end of the first year of mourning, indicating they were again eligible for marriage. Many older widows, such as this lady, continued to wear their widow’s caps far longer, each for their own reason or reasons. The widow in the photo is still wearing her wedding ring so her cap could

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

On The Trail:

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

22

OVERLAND IN JULY & AUGUST

Meekers 1907 Map of the Oregon Trail

By Mrs. Elizabeth Stewart Clark If the early weeks on the westward roads served to season travelers, gear, and stock alike, the second phase of the journey, across the open, unsettled territory spanning Nebraska and Wyoming, leading up to the crest of the Rocky Mountains, and across the inter-mountain west to the Blue Mountains was a test of endurance. Leaving behind the last outposts of settled life for the wide prairies and plains of the central continent, they began to experience the full weight of the task before them. We do not have to imagine the middle passage of the emigrant’s journey; we have numerous accounts from travelers of all ages, men and women. Space does not permit mention of the thousands of fascinating stories and experiences; these stories fueled dreams for new emigrants all through the era and serve as excellent background for living history context and depth. At just fourteen, Albert Dickson noted: “Thus far I have sketched

out trip in a somewhat cursory manner, taking very little account of the personal equation. This is partly owning to the fact that we had been passing through scenes which though trivial in themselves were ever new and changing. Now it was different. There were long days of dust, of increasing heat, of endless prairie. Deadly monotony that turned one’s mind inward. Oxen are good, faithful creatures, but they are slow.” Facing the enormity of the plains, smaller wagon groups often combined forces with others along the way. Fort Kearney provided a rest stop and rally point for many such small groups. However, being among other emigrants also increased risk to the stock. Albert reported: “It was along here that we began to put out night guards. Roving bands of Indians were becoming frequent. They were ostensibly hunting, but we suspected that they would not be above helping themselves to some “slow elk.” I took my turn with the rest on day and night shifts. Day shift was

from the time we turned out till nine o’clock in the evening; night shift from nine till four next morning. Later we put on two night shifts, one from nine till twelve, the other from twelve till four. When not standing night guard I was called at four in the morning to run in the cattle. In a fit of self-pity, I considered myself the small boy that was given the dull hoe and told to keep it up.” Most emigrant parties judged themselves “on schedule” if they reached Independence Rock near the first part of July. This landmark had “tourist” notoriety by the 1860s. Albert Dickson wrote: “We were now gradually reaching a higher level and the oppressive heat of midsummer was considerably modified by cool breezes from the snow-clad mountains. In the late afternoon of July 12, we came to Independence Rock. It stands apart from the nearby mountains—then known as the Rattlesnake range—as though flung by a giant hand out upon the plain. Our road skirted the north

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

ABOVE: Pilgrims On The Plains by Theodore R. Davis

side of the rock and some of us got out to add our names to the many thousands inscribed upon its western face. Here the rock rises sheer to a considerable hight, perhaps a hundred feet or more, receding inward toward the base and effectually protecting the inscriptions from the elements. Many of the names were carved high above our heads. I still remember the signature of Kit Carson and generals Harney, Fremont, and Kearney.� As emigrants worked their way across Wyoming territory, the brutal realities of the trek took a toll. Albert continued...

23

BELOW: JG Bruff’s Sketch of Chimney Rock

described his experience as his company reached

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

24

THIS PHOTO: Emigrant Encampment at Independence Rock, with Devil’s Gate in the background PHOTO BELOW: Devil’s Gate, 30 feet wide at the base, 300 feet wide at the top, sketched by Charles R. Savage

Devil’s Gap, along the Sweetwater River. “This is a great rift in the rocky wall where the Sweetwater, bending northward, breaks through the range of mountains of the same name. Our course was generally westward up the valley of the Sweetwater nearly to its source. During the afternoon we passed the carcasses of many animals, mostly cattle. The stench became more nauseating as we advanced. Why they had perished here in such numbers we could only conjecture. The day was sultry and a cloud of fine dust enveloped us. Our throats were parched with it. The oxen were restless and wanted water. At an early hour we turne out, having selected a place as free from

the odor of carcasses as possible. The oxen, relieved of their yokes, started for water ahead of us. Most of them drank deeply from some

standing pools before we could them hazed on down to the river. Feed was good and we left them

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012 grazing gently. Wearied with the day’s journey, we retired early. Next morning when I went out to look for the cattle, there lay Jerry, my off wheel ox, stark. He would never carry a yoke again. Red Tom, one of Dad Ridgeley’s leaders, was just able to rise. The others, including the two cows, were in a bad way. We thought that it must have been the stagnant water. Like more tenderfeet we knew nothing of alkali or its effects upon stock.” On July 21, he wrote, “We lay over here for the day. The nights were cold at this elevation (about 6000 feet) and this night ice two inches thick formed.” By the last day of July, Dickson’s party had reached South Pass, which he described: “The dividing ridge is about eight miles from here, and the Salt Lake road goes over or through the South pass, which seemed to be simply a level place over the ridge where a road was possible, and is not a cap or canyon as might be inferred.” With tension over encounters with tribes, stock weariness, and the monotony of the trail, small interludes provided relief. Albert Dickson noted that the first of August brought the opportunity for a rest. “Chokecherries were already ripe in the draws and wild plums were turning. Currants and gooseberries were plentiful. We decided that here was just the place for a lay-over. While the usual round of washing, baking, and general tinkering was going on at camp some of us youngsters went out and brougt in loads of these wild fruits. The women folk speedily made up quantities of preserves and “jell,” which, served with hot biscuits and store tea, were a sym-

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest phony in eating. That evening, our work finished early, we sat around the camp fire, telling stories and watching the world go by.” In the 1860s, the western trails were no longer the trackless wilderness encountered by early emigrants in the 1840s. Stage stops, military forts, farms, ranches, mining towns, and even developing cities (such as Denver and Salt Lake) peppered the way, providing better re-supply points, better communication, and a more varied experience in general. As war threatened, and then blossomed in the East, military troops were stretched thin in the West; at the same time, increased permanent settlement saw white encroaching on tribal lands, and emigrants faced increasing conflict with Indian tribes. Louisa Cook, who came west in 1862 with her young daughter after her husband abandoned them, traveled with a company well-supplied with mules, and made better time than emigrants with ox teams. She sent letters home to Ohio as often as she was able, and gave family members forwarding and address information in her letters, expecting the mail coaches to reach point further ahead well before she did, as the greater density of stage stops hastened mail travel overland. However, even with increased settlement across the “Western Desert”, Louisa Cook noted that the population of Fort Laramie included some 600 male troops, and only two white women. Her letters, as many letters and diaries seem to do, contain a curious mix of information in each entry. “July 7th Started at 6. Passed through the creek and over

25

a very rough road until about 10 when we came down again into the Platte bottoms where the road was more level. Through all our journey we have found many flowers that remind us of home. Among these are the larkspur, which grew in great perfection, June pinks, morning star, snowdrop, flowering current, etc. Hear many reports about Indians and some of the ladies are very much frightened. Musketoes (mosquitoes) have troubled us for several nights.” Not every emigrant was an upright, law-abiding citizen. The same wide mix of citizenry came west as lived in the east, though the consequences of law-breaking in the west varied widely. A thief or con-man might operate for some time undetected. More flagrant crimes were often dealt with swiftly. Louisa Cook noted: “July 13th. About noon we found a grave near the road. On a board at the head we were informed that John Scott had been killed by Youngs, who was traveling with him, and that he was buried here by emigrants July 6th. Further down the board we were told that Youngs had been overtaken by emigrants, tried, and shot, and two miles further on we found his grave.” Louisa took the time to note geographic wonders, and frequently included natural science comments that indicate her desire to share her adventure with those “back home” in a more tangible way. “July 16th. The nights for two or three of the past days have been very cold and this morning I ate my breakfast shivering with my shawl wrapped close round me. When I combed my hair there

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

26

was so much electricity about it that I could scarcely get it done up. For the last 200 or 300 miles the soil in places is strongly impregnated with alkali or saleratus so as to be white with it in spots. The grass is much greener in these places, and is very bad for teams. I will send you a little in this letter. We find some fine stones which I would like to send you specimens of: cornelian and agates etcetera.” Casual notes sometimes provide tremendous clues as to the View of South Pass, By William Henry Jackson trail experience. “July 18. At an early hour we by way of Salt Lake and the Boise River. Even with were on our way, passing two camps, one of 25 and the hardships of overland travel, she seemed satisfied. one of 18 wagons, all drawn by cattle, half of which are “July 22nd. We are within 100 miles of Salt Lake and I cows. All the trains we pass nearly have cows yoked in look forward anxiously for letter from home. My health to the wagons.” Just a few months into their trek, many is good and so is Mary (her 7-8 year old daughter). I companies found their animals exhausted by the conhave lost the sallow sickly look that I had at home and stant pace, often poor feed and water, and unfamiliar am only black now. Remember me to the friends and let terrain. As male oxen dropped out, cows (often brought Uncle’s folks and any who wish read my letters. I will along for destination stock and milk along the trail) send this to Emma and she can send it on to Mother. If were pressed into service. we stay long at Salt Lake I will write you from there and Many emigrants had a very specific destination let you know my ideas of Mormonism.” in mind. For Louisa Cook, emigration provided a fresh By July and August, most emigrants crossed start, and she seems to have taken the adventure very the Rockies through elevations few had ever walked. much “as it came,” changing her original California goal to settlement for a time in the Walla-Walla area, continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012 They had weathered the early seasoning weeks of the journey, seen the vastness of their undertaking on the central plains, and endured the struggles of the approach to the Rockies. Just as the strains of travel began to take an even heavier toll on livestock, equipment, and people alike, they entered one of the more difficult stretches of the trail: the path through what is now southern Idaho, between the Rockies and the Blue Mountains. One traveler noted the terrain past Fort Hall: “We move on, where soon we came to a parched sandy waste where not a sign of animal or vegetable life is seen, only rocks and sand. Our eyes soon began to pain where was nothing to rest upon but bleaching sand... reach Lost River, which rises and sinks because of its running through a volcanic region where great piles of molten rock and black sand have intercepted the river bed, turning it hither and thither and often causing the absence of any river at all. No vegetation was visible except an occasional parched up bunch

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest of sage brush. An occasional lizard could be seen darting into a hole of a rock as we approached. The whole scene could only remind one of the black valley of death. We were compelled to remain at night in this uninviting place where a few sprigs of dry grass were gathered and water from a pond among the rocks was found. We were glad to leave this place of barrenness as soon as we could see to travel. The road bed is only known by the rocks and lava being crushed by the many teams passing over it. Another twenty five miles of this road is before us, so all day long we slowly creep along, lacerating our horses’ feet and threatening wheels, axles or some portion of our outfit. All along were pieces of broken wagons which had met with such accidents. At sundown we reach water on a mountainside dripping down from the constant melting of snow on the mountains at this season of the year... This proved to be the hardest part of our travel, and yet we must go on or perish by the roadside.”

27

In some areas, the trail ran along bluffs that plunged a hundred feet to the river bed; to travel in ear-shot (and even smell) of fresh water, but have little ability to reach it, increased the sense of hardship in this stretch of the passage. Some measure of relief came with entry into the camas-covered valleys on the approach to the Boise River, and Boise City, which served as a cross-roads for travel and trade, as emigrants moved about the territory, and merchants brought in supplies and “fine goods” for emigrant and mineral boom commerce, as well as a few novelties. Harriet Loughary, traveling in 1864, wrote that on August second, their wagon company met with a circus from Oregon going to the mining towns. Past the brief respite of the Boise valleys, the next obstacle was the Burnt River and Powder River territories on the approach to the Blue Mountains. By 1864, numerous small ranches were being opened in the area, as irrigation renders the land productive, but in

Lave Flow in the Lost River Range, Idaho Territory

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

28

Deep gorges along the Snake River kept wagon companies traveling on the bluffs, high above fresh, running water.

non-irrigated areas, much of the land remains inhospitable even today. Many companies took to stopping, driving livestock up the narrow gorges to better grazing, and leaving men to stand guard all night while the animals fed, as grazing on the trail itself grew increasingly scarce, both due to the natural terrain, and to normal summer drought in an area that received an average of 11 inches of precipitation yearly. Even with the hard travel, Harriet Loughary kept a sense of humor (or at least, dry sarcasm.) Describing one camp site in the Burnt River stretch, she wrote, “Aug 8. Make eighteen miles over a rough country and reach a muddy The inter-mountain crossing required all the endurance emigrants could muster. Image by Henry Bryan Hall spring at dark, no grass or wood, except a little green sage brush. The wind was that Paul’s shipreck on the Island of Melitas was not so driving great clouds of sand into our eyes, victuals, and bad as this, for he had dry sticks when he got ashore bed. Our horses tied up until morning and we eating a little hard tack, lay down and waited for day. It seemed continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

29

on accounts in book eight, covering 1862-1865. Visit www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/ feature/wilkins/ for a great on-line exhibit of sketches from the overland trails, drawn in 1849 by James F Wilkins. Look for works by another period artist, Alfred Jacob Miller, who painted western life with wonderful feeling and accuracy.

About the Author:

“True, he found a snake, and we did too,” The Burnt River country was just one more stretch of challening terrain facing overland travelers

Elizabeth Stewart Clark is a daughter of the West, descended from pioneering ancestors, and loves sharing our nation’s family stories with anyone who’ll hold still long enough to hear. She is the author of The Dressmaker’s Guide and numerous patterns for the 1840-1865 era. Find more articles, free projects, and patterns at www.thesewingacademy.com

and they bundles, while we only got green sage brush growing and too dark and stormy to find it. True, he found a snake, and we did too.” With the varied start dates, travel delays, Wagon ruts are still visible on Virtue Flats, near Baker City and alternate routes available to emigrants, the in the Blue Mountains end of August found companies spread out from South Pass to the Powder and Burnt River country, to the Blue Mountains, and The Dalles on the Columbia River. Some, fearing dangerous mountain crossings late in the season, stopped to winter over in Salt Lake, the Grande Ronde valley in north-eastern Oregon, or Walla-Walla, in eastern Washington territory. Most emigrants had at least 1500 miles invested in their path toward a new life, with the last steps yet to come. Read More About It: - Covered Wagon Days, edited by Arthur Jerome Dickson, University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 9780-8032-6582-0 This record comes from the personal notes of Albert Jerome Dickson, who was only fourteen when he emigrated with Joshua and Rebecca Ridgely. - Covered Wagon Women, edited by Kenneth L Holmes, University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-80327297-9 This series covers most of the span of western emigration; for the purposes of this article, I focused

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

The Watchdog Review... Revisited

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

30


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

31


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

32


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

33

Product Review

Village Tinsmithing Works “Cairo” Tin Cup By Craig L Barry After procuring a well made hat and a good tin canteen, the one other item that can greatly improve an overall impression and is relatively low in cost is a quality tin cup or “dipper.” And conversely, a modern looking stainless steel or speckled enamelware “dipper” ruins an otherwise good impression just as quickly as the flash of a wrist watch or modern eyewear. The dimensions of military issue tin cups varied, and as a general rule the civilian style cups were smaller is size, being designed primarily for drinking beverages, not cooking. The “issue” cups did double duty, were thicker, larger and as a result held a greater volume. In fact, upon filling a “common size” 4 inch tall by 4 inch diameter cup you

will be surprised how much liquid it will hold. There is a fairly wide permissible latitude in dimensions ranging from 3 1/8 inches in height by 4 inches in diameter on the small side, to 4 ½ inches in height by 4 ½ inches on the large side. Images of mess equipment and camp finds suggest a variety of tin cups were in use. The characteristics of the period manufactured tin-ware include: a flat bottom, wire rolled lip and lead soldered seams inside and out with the handle riveted at the base. Some tin-cups were quartermaster issued while others were privately purchased from sutlers or given out by the US Sanitary Commission. [1] In the single month of May 1864 the USSC gave out 7,406 tin cups to Union troops in Virginia. All modern reproduction tin-

ware is unfortunately, not the same. Even if a tin cup for sale at an event is the right dimensions and looks half decent, it may well be electro-plated, a process which was not used until the 1880s. This process is widely used in the third world countries were much of the lower priced sutler row reproduction tin-ware is made. In the 1860s the hot-dipped method was most widely used. Simply put hot dip tin is not plated—there is no chemical or electrical activity-rather the article is dipped repeatedly in melted tin until it builds up a satisfactory coat. Since tin melts at 450 degrees, it does not require an extremely hot fire. A skim of tallow kept the air from oxidizing the tin between dips. [2] To avoid a lumpy surface after dipping the excess tin must be removed either by shaking or slinging. It can take six to eight “dip-andslings” to build up a uniform covering of the sheet iron. Failure to do so results in bare spots or drips. Village Tinsmithing Works (www.csa-dixie. com/villagetinsmith) uses early-to-mid 19th century machinery and hand tools to create tin ware which is researched, source documented and correctly made. The proprietors, Bill and Judy Hoover have been in the tinsmith (whitesmith) business continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

for well over twenty years. After twelve years of hard use, the black coffee concoction from the campfire finally ate through the bottom of my trusty “US 1851 military specs” (4” x 4”) tin cup and a replacement was sought. Their new “Cairo” (Illinois) reproduction is based on a camp find from that area. It is 3 ½” x 4” (.025 thick) hot dipped tin with three corrugated rings around the middle of the cup, intended to strengthen the sides. As with original cups, the handle is off center of the seam so the rivet at the base does not go through and weaken the seam. The top of the handle is nicely soldered and attached with copper wire. This cup is large and sturdy enough to serve as a porringer or a combination bowl, plate and drinking vessel. Besides functional, the appearance is attractive and stands out from the pack. You will be unlikely to get it mixed up around the campfire. Notes 1. Documents of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Volume 2, US Government Printing Office (Washington, DC) published 1866, Report # 76, Appendix A, p. 6. 2. Edwin Tunis, Colonial Craftsmen and the Beginnings of American Industry, World Publishing Company (New York, NY) 1999, p. 65

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

34


July/August, 2012

By Mrs. Lauramore Pearls are considered nature’s gem. Pearls, unlike gemstones are a product of living animals. They form as a mass in a living mollusk, a soft bodied invertebrate animal bearing a hard external shell. In some cases the pearl is formed in response to an irritation from a foreign body. A pearl is a calcareous body composed of layers around a nucleus. A pearl produced in this manner is called a natural pearl or fine pearl. Pearls can be perfectly round but are commonly irregular in shape. The shapes are varied. Pearls come in many colors, from perfectly white through the color wheel to black. Fossil pearls have been found dating back 225 million years ago. Cultured pearls became available due to the hard work of Kokichi Mikimoto. In the late 1800’s Mikimoto experimented with pearl cultivation, he was successful in 1905. From the middle ages marine pearls were imported from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka. At the turn of the nineteenth century most of the pearls were coming from this region. Pearls were also imported from Venezuela, Australia and the South Pacific. In North America at this time fresh water pearls were coming out of rivers in Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Mississippi.

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

35

Natures Gems

Pearls have long been a favorite among Royalty. The Greeks felt pearls formed from lightening strikes. The Romans felt they were frozen tears of the Gods. India held they were dew drops captured by clams. Victorians liked seed pearls as a border on mourning broaches to represent tears. The English and American upper class in the mid-Victorian era felt pearls were less ostentatious then large gemstones. They favored pearls in more relaxed settings such as at home or outdoors. Empress Eugenie of Spain married Napoleon III in 1853. This blue eyed, red hair beauty was helping to set the pace for fashion and jewelry. She had a preference for multi-strand pearl necklaces and multiple pearl bracelets. Seed pearl jewelry became fashionable at the beginning of the Victorian era. These tiny pearls were usually 2mm in diameter. They were sewn to a mother of pearl template with white horse hair. They were fashioned into

delicate lace like patterns or flowers. Sometimes they would attach a springed trembler so the piece would quiver when the wearer moved. Seed pearl jewelry was considered very genteel and pure. Often the seed pearl jewelry came in parure consisting (but not limited to) of a necklace, two bracelets, a pair of earrings, a small brooch and a large brooch. Mary Todd Lincoln was fond of seed pearl jewelry (see full page image next page). Pearls were considered an appropriate gift for weddings in the nineteenth century. George Kunz of Tiffany & Co., was heard to say “What a wealth of pearls seen at the marriage of the Emperor Fredrick III of Germany with the Princess Victoria, the daughter of Queen Victoria, in 1858. The bride received a gift of a superb necklace of pearls from her bridegroom”. Because of the cost and rarity of real pearls, imitation or fake pearls have been used for centuries. There have been recordings of imitation pearls in the Roman Empire. Over time, there were several techniques for producing imitation pearls. A popular type in the fifteenth century was grinding up glass, fish bones, seed pearls, adding snail slime plus egg whites for binding. In seventeenth century Paris, a jeweler named Jacquin was using iridescent fish scales to produce imitation pearls. A test for determining whether pearls are imitation is done by

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

36

continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

37


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

38

rubbing the pearls against ones teeth. Natural pears will feel gritty while imitation pearls will feel smooth. You can also go to a reputable jeweler and have then looked at under a microscope. Take good care of you pearls. They should be wiped with a soft clean cloth after your wear them. Avoid perfume as this can damage your pearls. Never put them in an ultrasonic cleaner. Never steam clean them or use any type of chemical. They should be strung on silk cord and should be restrung every few years. If taken care of they should last your life time and will make a great family heirloom. Wearing pearls will enhance your impression at re-enactments and help to complete your ensemble. However, it should be noted that images of women wearing pearls with “everyday” clothing are virtually never seen, and the vast majority of images suggest that women chose to wear pearls at balls and other formal events. Pairing a strand of pearls with work clothing, or even a nice day dress would be historically questionable, and should be avoided.

Join Us! We are an organization formed in 1949 dedicated to the study and preservation of military history and material culture of the Americas. Our objectives are to promote and advance the research of military history and traditions through publications, exhibits and meetings. We are collectors, historians, writers, artists, modelers, and those involved in living history. We offer a legacy of scholarly standards and first class publications. We publish the quarterly journal, Military Collector & Historian and an ongoing series of color plates, The Military Uniforms in America.

References: 1. Jewels and Jewellery Clare Phillips - Victoria and Albert Museum 2. Old Jewelry - 6th Editon - C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G 3. Metropolitan Jewelry The Metropolitan Museum of Art 4. The Queen’s Jewels The personal Collection of Elizabeth II 5. Five Centuries of Jewelry 16th to 20th Century, Jan Laniller and Marie-Anne Pini

We also maintain a website that hosts a forum where questions are asked and answered. We host an exciting, event filled annual meeting.

We invite you to join our ranks!

THE COMPANY OF MILITARY HISTORIANS For a free sample issue of our journal, contact David M. Sullivan, Administrator P.O. Box 910 Rutland MA 01543-0910 Phone: 508-799-9229 E-mail: cmhhq@aol.com or DSulli7875@aol.com

http://www.military-historians.org A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

The Imported Pattern 1854 Waist Belt

By David Burt The snake buckle itself dates to antiquity, appearing in the 3-piece style we are familiar with by the 16th century. The snake was intended a symbol of wisdom, the eternal, the universe and the world of regeneration and rebirth. The snake buckle experienced a revival of popularity in British martial fashion in the late 18th century, after which it saw continuous use with British regulars, volunteers and colonial forces, as well as constabulary organizations and school uniforms, through to the 20th century. The Volunteer Rifle Corps were raised in 1859 in response to a threatened French invasion of Britain; this followed an attempt on Napoleon III’s life by Felice Orsini in January 1858. It was discovered Orsini’s bomb was manufactured in England and the militarily disaster-prone French Army were massing at the border to invade “Perfidious Albion.” Newspapers in England called for the formation of Volunteers to augment the regular army in times national crisis, the so-called “Second Volunteer Movement.” The newly formed Rifle Volunteers according to the regulations were to equip themselves and as a result the belts and buckles appeared in endless variation in size and detail throughout their long period of service, owing in part to the fact that uniform design and procurement was largely left to the discretion - or whim - of the Regiment’s Colonel (generally a peer of the realm, or wealthy businessman), who for all intents and purposes “owned” the regiment. The actual snake belt itself had been in use by the British regular army rifle regiments since around 1800. However it was not introduced into the other regiments of the British army until 1850, until then the accoutrements had been suspended from the cross-

39

belts. The pattern was altered in 1854, with the List of Changes noting: Buff Infantry Pattern 1850 belt altered to Pattern 1854. In 1860, the waist belt for the Volunteer Rifle Corps was described as: “Waist belt of black or brown leather with snake. The belt was to be made from “Black Patent Leather” which was to have a double headed snake buckle. (1) In the 1860s British regulations for Rifle regiments called for: A waist belt of black leather with a snake hook clasp. And: Belts, black leather, with snake hook. The belt was to be 2 inches wide and the weight to be 5 ½ oz; and it was to have a teardrop style tongue. (2) Pictured (below) is a copy of the Pattern 1854 snake hook waist belt as supplied to the Confederacy by the British commission house of S. Isaac Campbell & Co, London. The regulation teardrop tongue is 6 1/8 inches in length, and is attached to the belt using a unique blind stitch where the stitching does not appear on the face of the belt. This blind or tunnel stitch joined the teardrop keeper to the belt; it is used to join the two adjacent pieces of leather together. From looking at the belt, it appears that the two edges are merely laid side by side and the stitching is only visible from the rear of the belt. This Tunnel or blind stitch was used on the waist belts and to attach the tab to the flap on the P1860 pouch. BELOW: Full view of the SIC&Co waist belt (Shannon Pritchard) - The belt width is 1 ¾ inches wide; made from 8oz black waxed flesh (Leather finished on the

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

40

rough side) leather, which has been dyed on both sides. It is totally hand sewn with the snake hook itself measuring 1 ½ inches in length and 1 inch in width. The main differential of the SIC&Co belt and the regulation belt is the snake hook is attached to the wrong side of the belt, on the side of the teardrop tongue, as opposed to the regulation belt which has the snake hook on the opposite end. It is also not as wide as the regulation belt being some 1 3/4 inches instead of two inches. Another variation of the S. Isaac Campbell & Co P54 waist belt was this time made from black bridle (smooth out finish) leather.

ABOVE: An original S. Isaac Campbell & Co stamped sword belt (Gunbroker.com)

ABOVE: The SIC&Co P54 belt variant (John Spicer) This model exhibited differing features to the Greenville belt; the first was the lack of the tunnel stitch to attach the tongue to the belt. Instead it was attached using

three rows of visible stitching; and the snake hook this time is attached to the opposite end of the belt. It still uses the same size and style of snake buckle. The belt pictured (above) is a sword belt supplied by the company for the Confederacy. This is a commercial copy of the black leather sword belt as in British regulations for Staff Sergeants. It is constructed from black bridle leather and uses a smaller than normal snake buckle as compared to the company made P54 variety with a flower in the centre. It features two brass “O” rings to which the separate pieces of the belt are fastened. The four rows of stitching between the tongue and the front ring is actually one long piece of leather folded over three times and hand sewn. The most likely reason for S. Isaac Campbell & Co’s suppliers manufacturing belts from both bridle (smooth out) and waxed (rough side out) is probably simply due to supply and demand. Since the leather continued...

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012 supply on the market cannot be run up in a hurry (it can take 6 to 9 months) other stocks would be used, especially for the manufacture of belts where the finish does not matter too much. Since the supply of top quality bridle leather would quickly dry up, and would take time to replace, waxed leather of the correct weight and thickness could easily be substituted. Tens of thousands of these belts were being exported by Major Caleb Huse Chief purchasing Agent for the Confederate Ordnance Department, from the commission house of S. Isaac Campbell & Co, who were supplying the newly formed Volunteer Rifle Regiments back in England following their ban from supplying the regular British Army, and Alex Ross and Co of London who were the biggest supplier to the British Army by 1860, and provided their own belts to the regulation army standard. Having been banned by the British army for allegations of corruption, S. Isaac Campbell & Co now turned their attention to the outfitting the newly formed Rifle Volunteers. In 1860 the company submitted patterns to the War Office for accoutrements including the ball bag, bayonet frog, cap pocket and waist and shoulder belts. The commercial copies of the Rifle and Volunteer Rifle regiment’s snake hook waist belt would have been particularly popular with Huse for they were of a simple and practical design and bore no regimental markings;

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

41

unlike the belts for enlisted men and officers in Line and Guards regiments where the regulations called for a belt with a Brass Union Locket. This locket would have had the regimental number in the middle of the plate and would have been totally unsuitable for Huse’s requirements. The belt styles and leather used by the commercial makers differed greatly indicating that Volunteer Rifle Corps belts and

were more than likely supplied by Alexander Ross & Co who being the biggest supplier of patterned accoutrements to the British War Department at that time would have stuck to regulation patterns even for the Confederate market. Colours of leather also vary from black, brown to buff leather, both rough out and smooth. It seems as long as it was serviceable it was accepted.

out- dated surplus belts were widely purchased. Some belts exist today with rectangular tongues as opposed to the more common teardrop style, and some have no tongue at all; like the one belonging to Private Henry Marsh of the 2nd Georgia Cavalry. (Below) Belt keepers also varied wildly in length indicating various belt widths used. The British Army regulations for the width of the officers and cavalry sword belt was 1 ½ inches. The width of the regular army Rifle Battalion belt was 2 inches. Keepers on snake buckles both excavated and non-dug vary from 47mm to 68mm, indicating that belts used varied from 1 ½ inches to the regulation 2 inches. This again would indicate the use of both non-regulation volunteer belts and regular army commercial copies. The regulation copies

ABOVE: Snake hook waistbelt of Private Henry Marsh of the 2nd GA Cavalry. Note no tongue on the belt. Atlanta History Center (David Burt) Initial shipments of the waist belt began almost immediately the war began with the first invoices dated December 23rd and 31st 1861. These were for 2,350 waist belts and all the other accoutrements that went with it. [3] This would be the start of major shipments of belts and other accoutrements from S. Isaac Campbell & Co over the next year. In November 1861, Captain R. Cuyler Ordnance Officer turned over 1,116 “buff” waist belts to the Nashville Depot. This was from the first major shipment of British accoutrements of the war, shipped

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

continued...


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

in by the SS Fingal, and the first mention of “buff” waist belts. As well as buff infantry belts the P1855 white enamelled (buff) leather British cavalry sword belt was also imported. This particular one was used by an unknown Confederate officer or cavalryman during the war. This style of whitened buff leather sword belt (above) was the regulation for all cavalry except the Household Cavalry. First authorized in 1855 it was first worn by the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards in 1857 and subsequently by all Cavalry regiments. (4) This belt was just one of some 5,392 Cavalry saber-belts that had been imported by Huse by February 1863. (5) Another whitened buff snake hook belt was recovered from the Antietam Battlefield; it was an enlisted man’s belt with a snake buckle measuring 62 x 87. Written on the belt is the following inscription: “Taken from the body of a dead rebel soldier at Antietam by a member of the 1st Massachusetts Battery Light Artillery” The snake hook belt was very popular amongst Confederate soldiers, and it was probably the most widely used item of British equipment and can be seen in numerous photos of both enlisted men and officers alike, as in the photo of this unidentified soldier here. The snake hook waist belt was still in use in the British military as late as the First Word War, and was still in use for British school children as late as the 1960s. ABOVE RIGHT: Unidentified C.S soldier wearing a British import snake: belt (Authors Collection)

Notes:

42

1. L.F. Jewitt, Rifles and Volunteer Rifle Corps, Their Constitution, Arms and Drill, 1860. Some of this new equipment was designed by a Mr C.F. Dennet. 2. Martin Petrie, Equipment of Infantry, compiled by Captain Martin Petrie, Topo-graphical Staff, Part V, Infantry, 1864, printed by the Secretary of State for War (London) 1866, p. 46. 3. The Colin McRae Papers, in the collection of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Museum, Columbia, South Carolina. www.ccr.sc.gov/research. 4. Pierre Turner, Soldiers Accoutrements of the British Army 1750 -1900. The Crowwood Press (London) 2008, p. 27 This belt appears to be vegetable tanned leather and has been enamelled. 5. Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Series IV Volume II, US Government Printing Office, (Washington, DC) 1866, p 382 -84.

ABOVE: White enamelled sword belt (David Burt)

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War


July/August, 2012

The Citizens & Soldiers Digest

A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

43


A Reliable Resource for all things Civil War

JULY AUGUST 2012 EDITION OF THE CITIZENS & SOLDIERS DIGEST  

A Civil War reenactor magazine dedicated to providing well-researched and historically accurate articles of interest to both military and ci...

Advertisement