Richmond Depot Jackets: Characteristics, Anomalies, & Myths, A Comparison Study of Fifteen Original Examples.  By Richard M. Milstead Ph.D.  ©2018

Part 1: Jackets in this Study

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This presentation is structured in three distinct parts: “the Study”, “the Devil is in the details”, and “down in the weeds”. Taken together, the three pieces represent a compendium of material that discusses uniform jackets produced through the operations of the Confederate Quartermaster (CS QM) in Richmond during the American Civil War.

The first part presents a catalog of the 15 individual original examples examined and compared in the study along with ten additional jackets also believed to be products of the “Richmond Depot”. The known history or provenance of each piece is presented as well as salient characteristics each displays. Also, the Richmond Clothing Bureau or RCB, the CS QM operational entity that was responsible for production of uniforms (including the jackets in the study) and other clothing issued to enlisted men is described.

The second part provides a detailed discussion of the characteristics of the examples compared in this study. The intent is to describe the characteristics that define the “Richmond Depot” jacket using the original pieces themselves as well as present some variations or “anomalies” which are found among them. Finally, a few common myths associated with this type of jacket are examined in the context of the real examples studied.

The third part takes a “deep dive” into many aspects of the production of jackets by the RCB from the fabrics used, to buttons, thread, and sewing techniques, and, finally, significant construction variations seen between the pieces compared in the study. The intent is to explore the significance of such factors to provide understanding of how the RCB “manufactured” garments in the context of its known methods, its procurement activities, and the constraints it faced in war time Richmond.

Much of the factual material presented is based upon primary sources from the period or more recent studies by noted researchers. However, no effort has been made to note all the specific sources for these references nor to do so in standard endnote formats although in some cases they are suggested if not fully defined. In the summary slides, specific conclusions are often presented that probably can more precisely be termed “educated speculation”.  These are based upon my analysis of the source material (both the artifacts themselves and the documents) that I have examined but are not necessarily provable facts. My hope is to encourage a dialog between experts and enthusiasts that may further the “state of knowledge” about the RCB and the products it produced.

–Dick Milstead


About this Study

Figure from Les Jensen’s 1989 article in MC&H

Figure from Les Jensen’s 1989 article in MC&H

“Richmond Depot” jackets were first identified by Les Jensen in his landmark two-part paper, “A Survey of Confederate Central Government Quartermaster Issue Jackets”, Military Collector and Historian, Fall and Winter issues, 1989. He suggested a classification of RD jackets based upon similar characteristics and roughly aligned to a chronological sequence: type I (‘61-’62), type II (‘62-’64), and type III (‘64-’65). No type I jackets are known to exist but the basic pattern for all “RD” jackets is believed to have been the same. Variation between the types was that only type I jackets had “Branch of Service” trim and type III jackets did not have epaulettes and belt loops. There were also variations the collars and pockets.

This study started during the summer of 2014. The original idea was to study as many Richmond jackets as possible to understand what made them similar and where they were different. As the study progressed, by combining the service histories of the soldiers who owned them with common characteristics of certain groupings, some attempt to refine the dating criteria was believed to be possible. Also, differences or anomalies between the construction techniques used began to suggest possible insights into the methods and operation of the Clothing Bureau itself. At this point, I have studied 11 jackets personally and obtained pictures from other researchers of 4 others. In total about 1250 photos of the jackets were accumulated for use in the study. In addition, more limited photographic material on another 10 examples with has allowed probable attribution to the RCB but, for which, there is insufficient data to directly draw detailed conclusions.

My motivation was to:

  • Refine and, if possible, expand criteria allowing attribution of Richmond Clothing Bureau (AKA Richmond Depot) uniform jackets beyond the characteristics first identified by Jensen
  • Date examples based upon their characteristics and provenance (including owner’s service records)
  • Study differences or anomalies among original examples to gain insight into the Richmond Clothing Bureau production process
    • Factory (Simplification, design change), “Seamstress choice”, “Goofs”, and later (post issue) modifications
  • Explore common “folk lore” beliefs about Richmond Clothing Bureau made jackets


  • Types of Jackets studied - 8 RD type II & 7 RD type III examples
  • 12 are in public collections (American Civil War Museum (MOC) - 4, Smithsonian - 2, NPS Collections - 2, other public collections - 4) and 3 are privately owned
  • 13 jackets have histories associated with a specific soldier and 2 are of unknown ownership
  • I have personally examined and photographed 11 of the 15 examples taking a total of 1095 photographs
  • I have obtained a total of 150 pictures from other researchers  for the other 4

What was the Richmond Clothing Bureau?

The Richmond Clothing Bureau (RCB) was one of fourteen CS Quartermaster “clothing bureaus” opened in the 1861/1862 timeframe. It was set up to mimic the production model used by the Federal Army’s Office of Clothing and Equipage at the U.S. Arsenal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (also referred to as the Schuylkill Arsenal) established prior to the War of 1812. By 1863 the RCB operation employed roughly the same order of magnitude of piece workers (3500) in the assembly of clothing as did the Schuylkill Arsenal (4000-5000) during the same timeframe (sources published articles in The Richmond Dispatch, November 1863 and reports by Major George Crosman, officer in charge of SA, 1863). The point is the RCB was a very large operation, comparable in scope to similar Union facilities.  

“Woolen goods” shipments received at the RCB between the beginning of October 1863 through the end of March 1865 were equivalent to about a half a million yards of 54” fabric just for production of uniform jackets and trousers (source The Shipping Book, Richmond Clothing Depot 1863 – 1865, RG 109 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.). Based upon analysis of period RCB documents, about 2 7/8 yards of 54” material was required to make a suit of clothing (jacket & trousers) implying that approximately 160 K suits of clothing were made in that timeframe at the RCB from the material received (Source: Letter Captain R. W. Waller to CSA Quartermaster General A. Meyers, 24 April 1863, Records of the Quartermaster Department, Microfilm Publication M410, RG 109, NARA, Washington D.C.).

  • The Richmond Clothing Bureau (RCB) was the Confederate manufacturing operation in Richmond that produced enlisted men’s clothing, mainly for the Department of Virginia (e.g. the Army of Northern Virginia).
    • Similar “Clothing Bureaus” in other locations made clothing for different theaters of operations
  • Established in second half of 1861, it operated continuously until the fall of Richmond in April 1865
  • By November 1862 it employed roughly 100 assistant Quartermasters and clerks, 60 full time cutters, and 2000 local piece workers to assemble the clothing (jackets, trousers, shirts, and drawers)
    • By mid 1863 the number of piece workers had expanded to nearly 3500
  • Clothing pieces were cut out by the cutters, packaged together with thread and buttons and provided to the piece workers.
  • Completed garments were returned, inspected, and the worker paid for the assembly work.
  • In April 1863 each day the RCB produced between 3000 to 4000 finished garments (all types together) and at any point in time 40,000 (10,000 of each type) were in the hands of the piece workers under construction.
  • Between October 1863 and March 1865, the RCB received 339,821 yards of 27” and 37,718 yards of 54” woolen fabric made by domestic mills (mostly in Virginia) and 289,018 yards of 54” English woolens run through the blockade

Jackets Examined in this Study

(arranged in approximate chronological order of issue)

The fifteen jackets which form the basis for the comparative analysis discussed in this study are ordered in a rough chronological order of issue although some, particularly the type III examples, are more clustered than ordered since the characteristics make such ordering difficult. Given such a limited sample size, the conclusions expressed represent a “best guess” perspective based upon both careful deduction and what period documentation is available. Alternative interpretations are certainly possible.


John J Haines Jacket

(Formerly Denis Reen Collection)

  • Worn by Officer in 2nd VA Infantry
  • Haines promoted  from 2nd Lt. to 1st Lt.  in Feb. 1863 upon return from wound suffered at Fredericksburg in Dec. 1862
  • Based upon rank insignia this jacket (2nd Lt.) was likely made in the 3rd or 4th Qtr. of 1862
  • Richmond Depot type II of heavy weight, imported English “Army Cloth” (EAC) - Kersey twill
  • Trim & insignia of rank professionally added and epaulettes and belt loops removed
  • Maryland buttons on front and small eagle buttons on sleeves likely date from when trim was done

Haines service history supports dating of this jacket no later than the winter of 1862/1863 during the period of his recuperation following being wounded at Fredericksburg. Given the hard summer and fall campaigning ending with Antietam, it is also possible that he obtained the jacket in the timeframe after the army returned from Maryland. The use of English “Army Cloth” for production of jackets at the RCB is documented as early as August of 1862 in period letters and it is known that English woolens were being brought through the blockade by Confederate Government agents in 1861. Officially officers were not allowed to receive enlisted men’s clothing for field use before the spring of 1864 but based upon the number of existent examples, it apparently was a relatively common practice. Haines jacket is a well-executed conversion, most likely done by a tailor or professional seamstress.  The blue trim material used at the collar and cuffs is excellent quality worsted wool possibly also run through the Blockade.


John Blair Royall Jacket

Collection of American Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy - Richmond, VA

Photo courtesy of The American Civil War Museum, Richmond VA

  • Member of the 1st Company, Richmond Howitzers
  • Royall was wearing it when wounded at Chancellorsville in May 1863
  • Richmond Depot type II made of heavy “wool on cotton warp” (satinette) fabric
  • Only known RD 2 with original branch of service trim
  • Probably dates between 4th  Qtr. of 1862 and 1st Qtr. 1863
  • Photos by Tyler Putman

The Royall jacket is a fascinating example of an early type II jacket and has been for some time been considered archetypical of the product of the RCB from the mid 1862 through mid-1863 timeframe.  It was discussed by Jensen in his 1989 article. The presence of red piping on the epaulettes is also notable. Considered by some to be indicative of a transition with the type I jackets, this is more likely the product of the RCB’s willingness to “customize” garments for well-placed units or officers. Jensen has suggested that the type I jackets may not so much represent a distinctly separate pattern as a convenient method for organizing the examples he identified in his research. He also documents the fact that the RCB would make slight changes in trim at the request of specific officers. Given the prominence of the Richmond Howitzers in Richmond, it is certainly possible that this jacket with its special trim could be such an example of “customization” by the RCB for a well-placed unit.


Gettysburg NPS Jacket

Collection of National Park Service – Gettysburg National Military Park

  • Reportedly picked up on battlefield after the battle, no other provenance known
  • Richmond Depot type II in what appears to be EAC- not Kersey twill
  • Epaulettes removed
  • Original applied 1st Sgt. Chevrons
  • Datable to 1st half 1863
  • Photos by Dan Wambaugh

Given the provenance of this example, there can be little doubt that it was received by a 1st Sergeant in the ANV during the first half of 1863 if not in late 1862. The presence of original non-commissioned officer insignia in the infantry service color, light blue, called out in CS army uniform regulations, rather than black as is often seen in early war state made examples, is significant, suggesting regulation “branch of service” colors were being followed in the field. The chevrons were neatly applied, “post issue” modifications, attached to sleeves perhaps by the Sergeant himself, but also possibly by “Company tailor” in camp, or a local ”Seamstress” to his specifications. Use of EAC at this point is indicative that such cloth was being received and used in early 1863 although it is not the heavy weight “kersey” found in the Haines jacket and often represented as what was always used. Researcher Dan Wambaugh indicates that this is a plain or “tabby” weave version of English material different from other examples in the study but found in other known RBC products dating from the 1864-time frame, supporting the assertion that diverse types of English woolens were run through the Blockade for CS Government use throughout the war.


George Pettigrew Bryan Jacket

Collection of the North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh NC

    • Worn by officer in the 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Cavalry
    • Bryan was promoted to Capt. from 1st Lt. in July 1863 following his capture in June. He returned to duty in April 1864 and was killed in August.
    • Jacket with 1st Lt. Insignia predates his capture and so dates it from 1st half of 1863
    • Richmond Depot type II  in light weight EAC – not Kersey twill
    • Applied trim and replacement buttons (probably period)
    • Outer shell mostly machine sewn, lining done by hand

    The story of this jacket is very similar to that of the Haines jacket discussed earlier. Bryan’s service record suggests that this example dates from the first half of 1863 before his capture in June of that year. It’s condition also suggests that it was probably not his only clothing while in captivity if he was even wearing at all when captured. Well placed officers and enlisted men with connections in the North were often able to obtain amenities while they were being held including clothing. Bryan’s family connections in NC were significant as evidenced by his middle name and the fact that he was promoted nearly a year before he returned to duty with his regiment. The presence of extensive machine sewing for both long internal seams and topstitching is noteworthy, although the lining was constructed entirely with hand stitching. Often portrayed as being always “hand sewn”, this is one of two RD jacket examples in the study that are constructed with extensive machine sewing. It also is constructed of the light weight, non “kersey” type EAC like that in the NPS example.


    George H T Greer Jacket

    Collection of the American Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy – Richmond, VA

    • Enlisted as Pvt. In 58th VA Inf. on 5 Jan. 1863 and served as a clerk for Lt. Gen. Jubal Early (his former neighbor)
    • Discharged after being wounded on 14 Sept. 1863 while wearing this jacket
    • Richmond Depot type II example with a six button front (US eagle buttons possibly original to the jacket)
    • Dates from the 1st half of 1863
    • Light weight EAC – not Kersey twill

    Greer’s service record and the jacket’s condition suggest it was probably issued in the first half of 1863 maybe as early as the 1st quarter of the year. Probably the most distinctive characteristic of this example is that it originally had only six buttons in front. One is now missing. The buttons are period, US general service buttons and, possibly, original to the jacket. However, because multiple different thread types (including very modern ties from recent conservation activities) are present where they are attached, they may also have been field replacements made by Greer. The epaulettes have been neatly cut off at the shoulder, but the belt loops are still in place. This jacket also is made of a lighter weight, woolen fabric believed of English origin but again not “kersey” 2/2 twill weave. The weave appears to be a 2/1 or, possibly, 3/1 twill. The jacket has significant damage (possibly insect) particularly on the left cuff and sleeve which is most likely post war.


    Fifth Maine Museum Jacket

    Collection of Fifth Maine Museum – Peaks Island, ME

    • “Rebel jacket taken from a prisoner at Spottsylvania” (Original jacket label)
    • Donated to Fifth Maine Regiment Memorial Hall in 1888 by Captain Fred Sanborn
    • Taken from a prisoner following Upton’s 10 May 1864 attack on the “Mule Shoe” Redoubt
      • Believed part of clothing issues to either the 44th GA or Company E of the 21st GA between 30 April and 2 May
    • Archetypical Richmond Depot type II circa late 1863-1864
      Heavy weight wool EAC - Kersey twill
    • Gibson wooden buttons (original as issued)

    This jacket is particularly notable for its superb, almost “as issued” condition as well as the fact that is an archetypical example of the type II jacket in its fully developed form. Extensive research was done to identify possible units, involved in the Spotsylvania battle, from which the unknown prisoner it was taken from might have come. The prominent role the 5th Maine played in Upton’s attack on 10 May (in the front rank), the substantial number of Confederate prisoners that were captured in that action, and the fact that two organizations (the 44th GA and E company of the 21st GA) had large numbers captured there and also received issues of new jackets 10 days before the engagement, suggest that it may have belonged to one of their members. It is notable that the jacket retains its full complement of Gibson contract wooden coat buttons. At least 3.9 million such buttons (the coat size) were purchased by the RBC from the firm of John and George Gibson, a Richmond Cabinetry firm, between Jan. 1863 and Jan. 1865 (source: Jim Schruefer, “John & George Gibson: Wooden Buttons for the Richmond Depot”, essay first published on They are frequently seen in period pictures of ANV soldiers wearing RD jackets. The heavy weight “kersey” twilled English wool in this coat is in wonderful condition and, except for some small rips or tears and minor moth damage, is as it would have originally looked at issue. The “fulling” and “napping” from finishing during manufacture yield a firm, dense surface such that the characteristic “kersey” diagonal twill “swale” is only observable with close inspection. Entirely hand sewn in a very competent hand, in some places the logwood dyed thread still retains its original dark brown/black un-faded color. A truly great jacket!


    Joseph Woods Brunson Jacket

    Collection of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum Columbia, SC

    • Served in the Pee Dee Artillery of South Carolina from 1861 through 1865
    • Believed to be part of clothing issued to Brunson on 1 May 1864
    • Richmond Depot type II with one remaining original Gibson button
    • Light weight EAC – not Kersey twill
    • Almost completely machine sewn

    The Brunson jacket is an interesting counter point to the 5th Maine Museum example in the last slide. Brunson’ service records and the family history associated with it strongly suggest that he received it on 1 May 1864, right before the beginning of the Overland Campaign and within a day or so of when the 5th Maine Museum’s piece was probably issued. The similarities and differences between these two examples go a long way toward illustrating not only the similarities in all Richmond made jackets but also the differences or anomalies commonly observed. A careful comparison of the pattern, construction philosophy, and dimensions reveals high degree of consistency between the two. One remaining original button (attaching an epaulette) is a Gibson wooden coat button and an exact match to those found on the 5th Maine Museum jacket. However, the English material in this coat is light weight, non “kersey” weave fabric like that in the Bryan and Greer examples. While less significant, the cotton osnaburg material used in the lining is also slightly different in yarn uniformity and tightness of the weave. Perhaps the most significant difference is that the Brunson jacket is almost completely constructed using a sewing machine for both the body shell and lining where the 5th Maine Museum example is entirely hand sewn. In addition, perhaps because a sewing machine was employed, the assembly technique for collar attachment was handled differently between the two.


    George William Ramsey Jacket

    Collection of Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History – Washington, DC

    • Served as Pvt. In the 17 VA Infantry from July 1863 through the end of the war
    • Probable dating late 2nd or 3rd Qtr. 1864
    • Richmond Depot type II but characteristics of the jacket suggest it could be a transition piece, i.e.
      • no belt loops
      • changes in epaulettes and collar pattern
      • new style inside pocket
    • Heavy weight EAC - Kersey twill
    • Ross Kimmel and Smithsonian stock photographs

    The Ramsey jacket displays interesting and, perhaps, significant variances from other RD type IIs examined in the study. Specifically, the piece never originally had belt loops, has changes to both the design of the collar (“angular”) and epaulettes (“pointed”), and displays a philosophy in the inside pocket construction different from the other jackets. While possibly due to “seamstress choice” variations, these changes could correlate to changes in the pattern details late in the production period of RD type II jackets, a sort transition from RD type II to RD type III jackets. Charlie Childs, who examined this jacket, described it by the term “RD type II b” to characterize the subtle variations from other (earlier?) type II examples. Ramsey’s service history does not provide any help in dating, but the general condition appears to indicate manufacture in the second part of 1864 supporting such a speculation.   Currently, this jacket is currently on long term display as part of the “Price of Freedom” Exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.


    Henry Redwood Jacket

    Collection American Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy – Richmond, VA

    • Served in the 3rd Virginia Local Defense Regiment joining sometime in Aug 1864
    • No records for clothing issue exist
    • Richmond Depot type III of heavy weight EAC - Kersey twill
    • Original 9 button front with 8 US “I” eagle buttons believed to be original. Buttons on left (i.e. “wrong”) side
    • Collar trim and chevrons post war additions

    Henry Redwood’s jacket is possibly among the earliest of the type III jackets in the study. The 3rd Virginia Local Defense Regiment was one of the regiments formed by Confederate authorities in Richmond from “detailed men,” that is, males in the Richmond area working at jobs exempted by the Conscription Act, from those over 45, and from government office workers in the city. Records indicate that they received their uniforms directly through headquarters Quartermaster staff from standard stocks. While Redwood apparently joined sometime in August 1864, no information exists on clothing issues to him. Like all the type III jackets in the study, it is made of heavy weight. “kersey” twill EAC. The eight US “I” eagle buttons appear to be original to the piece possibly indicating such buttons were among the items gleaned for QM use by battlefield recovery or were taken from prisoners although no evidence of either practice has been found in RBC records. The most unusual aspect of this example is the positioning of the buttons on the left side lapel instead of the right where they are typically found.  Since the “as issued” interior pocket is located on the left side as is normal in RD jackets, this may suggest that the placement of the buttons and button holes was a mistake or “goof” made by the assembly piece worker who completed the jacket. The red trim and chevrons are later additions made in the post war era.


    Lewis K Knight Jacket

    Private Collection

    • Served with the 2nd MD (Baltimore Light) Artillery from February 1864 having transferred from Gilmore’s MD Cavalry Battalion
    • Captured at Woodstock in early Oct. 1864
    • Richmond Depot type III of heavy weight EAC - Kersey twill
    • Datable to before the 4th Qtr. 1864
    • Original 8 button front with replacement Maryland buttons,
      • Shanks inserted through lapel and ribbon holding them
    • Small Confederate staff buttons added to sleeves and red cord trim both possibly post war

    Lewis Knight transferred into the Baltimore Light Artillery (2nd MD) on 29 February 1864 having previously served with Harry Gilmore’s MD Cavalry Battalion. He was among battery members captured at Woodstock, VA on 9 October 1864 and apparently wore this jacket into captivity at Point Lookout, MD implying he received it before the beginning of the 4th Quarter. No records for clothing issues to him exist but, given its excellent condition, it probably was received sometime in the 3rd Quarter. This jacket was originally manufactured with an 8-button front. It currently has period replacement Maryland state seal buttons. The shanks have been inserted through holes in the right lapel and are secured by a ribbon passed through loops on the back side. This method also is seen in the Tolson jacket, another Maryland soldier’s garment. Small Confederate staff buttons have been added to the sleeves and red cord trim sewn around the collar. Such embellishments could have been field modifications by Knight himself or a seamstress to his specifications. They also could have been post war additions like the Redwood jacket.


    George W. Wilson Jacket

    Collection Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History – Washington, DC

    • Served in 1st MD (Dement’s) Artillery between Oct. 1862 and the end of the war
    • Wilson received clothing in late July 1864 and on 4 Oct. 1864 but records don’t indicate what.
    • Richmond Depot type III in heavy weight EAC – Kersey twill
    • 9 button front – mix of four period “I” buttons and five 20th Century “A” buttons
    • Unusual feature - darts at neck/collar

     George Wilson donated this jacket, uniform pants and a cotton/wool flannel shirt which he had worn to the National Museum (now the Smithsonian Institution) “for safe keeping, hoping that they may help to keep the friendly feelings of the true soldiers who wore the gray or blue.” Wilson’s service records indicate that he received clothing issues on 21 & 22 July and on 4 October in 1864. Unfortunately, what he received on those occasions is not listed. If the jacket was part of the July issue it would represent among the earliest of the RD type III jackets. A particularly unusual variation or anomaly found on this jacket are “darts” in the neck were the collar is joined. Darts are “gathers”, inserted at points in the pattern to provide a better fit. Examination of the jacket collar area and lining suggests that they were probably not later changes made after manufacture. However, it cannot be said unequivocally that they were not the result of such post issue tailored modifications. Otherwise the jacket is in good condition but has had significant 20th Century conservation. For example, while 4 of its buttons appear to be period “I” buttons (possibly original), 5 others are clearly modern reproduction “A” buttons. The jacket has also had areas around the cuffs reinforced with gray woolen backing to stabilize it.


    William S. Pilcher Jacket

    Collection of National Park Service Visitor's Center Appomattox C.H. National Park

    • Served with Company A 13th Battalion VA Light Artillery (Otey Battery) from Nov. 1863 through the end of the war
    • No record of clothing issues to Pilcher
    • Richmond Depot type III of heavy weight EAC – Kersey twill
    • 9 button front with 8 original Gibson buttons (pant size)
    • Like Wilson example, jacket has darts at neck/collar

     William Pilcher served with the Otey Battery (Co. A 13th Battalion Virginia Light Artillery) from his enlistment in early November 1863 until his surrender with Lee’s Army in April 1865. He likely received this garment following the transfer of his unit to the ANV in May 1864, however, no record of issues of clothing to him has survived. From records that do exist, the members of the Battery received large issues of clothing in the fall and winter of 1863 and spring of 1864 before the transfer suggesting that they were already well clothed when they joined Lee’s army. Considering its excellent condition, he may have received it when he released from Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond on 14 January 1865 before his return to duty. The jacket is an interesting RD type III example with several significant variations or anomalies. It retains eight of its original Gibson buttons. However, the buttons are the pant style rather than the normally encountered coat style as found on the 5th Maine Museum and Brunson examples. This style is seen on pants and drawers in photographs of Confederate dead at Ft. Mahone from April 1865 as well on an existent pair of RCB made drawers. Also, like the Wilson jacket, this jacket has “darts’ in the neck at the collar which most probably were “as manufactured.”


    Charles S. Tinges Jacket

    Private Collection

    • Served in the 4th MD (Chesapeake) Artillery between Oct. 1862 and the end of the war.
      • Tinges Service Record indicates he was paroled in Lynchburg on 13 April 1865 after Lee’s surrender and took the Oath of Allegiance on 22 April in Richmond.
    • Documents with jacket indicate he received it in the late ’64/early 1865 timeframe
      • The condition of this jacket also supports late war issue.
    • Richmond Depot type III of heavy weight EAC - Kersey twill
    • Original 9 Button front with 8 period MD buttons.
    • Pictures from Midwest Civil War Relics and Les Jensen

    The Tinges jacket is an excellent example of the RD type III jacket, owned by yet another Maryland artilleryman. Charles S. Tinges served in the 4th Maryland Light Artillery (Chesapeake Artillery) from 1 October 1862 until his surrender and parole at Lynchburg VA on 13 April 1865 following Lee’s surrender. Tinges acquisition of this jacket is documented in remarkable papers that came with other items from the family when the jacket was acquired by its current owner. These are copies of the Chesapeake Artillery clothing roll for Tinges and document the garments issued to him in the years 1864 and 1865. They indicate he received a jacket on 9 December 1864 and another on 25 January 1865. It is not known why Tinges would have received a second jacket, less than two months after the first, but the jacket’s condition definitely supports late war production with little “in service” wear strongly suggesting that it was the last one he received. As with the Knight jacket, Tinges probably substituted Maryland state buttons for the “as issued” set either when he received it or after the war.


    Edwin Forrest Barnes Jacket

    Collection of the American Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy – Richmond, VA

    • Served with 1st Co. Richmond Howitzers between 1861 and the end of the war
    • Barnes received clothing issues on 31 Oct. 1864 and 31 Dec. 1864 but what he received on each date is unknown
    • Richmond Depot type III in heavy weight EAC – Kersey twill
    • 9 button front with five period VA buttons (2 detached) and two NY buttons all possibly period replacements
    • Lower, rounded collar

    Edwin Forrest Barnes enlisted in the prestigious 1st Company of the Richmond Howitzers on 21 April 1861. Despite numerous absences for illness during 1862, 1863, and 1864, Barnes remained on the rolls of the unit throughout the war.  His last absence was from 16 September 1864 when he was admitted to General Hospital #24 in Richmond until he returned to duty on 3 October 1864. He was paroled on April 18, 1865 following capture by Federal forces. Barnes’ records indicate that he received clothing issues on 31 October and 28 December 1864 but what he received is not known. It is likely this jacket dates from that time frame or was possibly received upon release from the hospital earlier in October.  Barnes’ jacket adheres to the characteristics of a typical RD type III examined in the study except that the collar is lower and has a gently rounded profile at the front. It has a nine-button front and the buttons on the jacket (5 period Virginia State and 2 period New York State) are likely war period replacements for the “as issued” buttons.


    Thomas Hill Tolson Jacket

    Collection of Maryland Historical Society Baltimore, MD

    • Served as 2nd Lt. in 2nd MD Inf. From Sept. 1862 until captured at Hatcher’s Run in April 1865
    • Believed received at the time of clothing issue to his company on 31 Dec. 1864.
    • Richmond Depot type III in heavy weight EAC – Kersey twill
    • 9 button front with 8 replaced US staff buttons (period) now detached
    • Most significant feature – lining replaced one made from heavy “woolen” material scraps
      • Tolson had the jacket “fixed” (modified?) in Petersburg Feb. 1865
    • Lower, rounded collar like E F Barnes example

    Thomas Tolson enlisted in the reformed 1st Maryland Infantry Battalion (subsequently renamed the 2nd Maryland Infantry) on 1 September 1862 as a private in Company C. In November of 1862, promotions within the unit produced a 2nd lieutenant vacancy in Company C, which Tolson filled on 24 November. Tolson served with the 2nd Maryland until his capture at Hatcher’s Run on 2 April 1865. After returning to duty on 24 November 1864 following a five-month absence recovering from wounds received at Cold Harbor, he administered a large company clothing issue on 31 December 1864 as acting commander of Company C. There is no record when he may have acquired the jacket, but it is a distinct possibility that he may have purchased it at the time of the issue to his company or when he left the hospital. In an entry in his diary dated 12 February 1865 he states “Pay $100 to have my jacket and pants fixed in Petersburg. The weather wet and very cold.” The major change made to the jacket at that time was the replacement of the body lining with one made of scraps of two different wool or “wool on cotton” materials.  Other changes made at the time probably included replacement of the buttons as well as addition of rank insignia (2nd Lt.) and a hook and eye on the collar. Tolson’s pants (also of RCB manufacture) in the MdHS  have post issue modifications as well, probably made at the same time. Tolson’s jacket displays the reduced height collar with rounded collar seen in the E.F. Barnes example possibly suggesting a change made to very late war RD type IIIs.


    10 other (probable) examples with less photographic information available

    The following slides present an additional ten examples of jackets, very probably made by the RCB, for which significantly less high quality photographic evidence is currently available. In most cases other researchers have identified them as RD type jackets although some are not attributed directly to the RCB. Some effort to research the service history of the soldier identified with the jacket was done to provide further context to it. Several of these are mentioned in Jensen’s 1989 articles and, where currently in public collections, additional detail on construction details or materials used is sometimes available. All closely follow the “Jensen characteristics” identified in his 80’s research.


    George S Bernard (12th VA Inf.) Jacket

    Location unknown

    This jacket was discussed in Jensen’s 1989 article in MC&H. Bernard first enlisted as a private in the 12th Virginia Infantry on 19 April 1861 but was discharged for disability 30 October of the same year. He re-enlisted as 3rd Sgt. in the 12th VA on 22 February 1862. He was again absent sick between 7 July and mid-August but returned to ranks in time to participate in the invasion of Maryland, was wounded at Crompton’s Gap on 14 September and captured by Federal troops.  Bernard did not return to service until mid-December 1862 following being exchanged and recuperating from his wound. He served through the remainder of the war being paroled in May 1865. Investigation of Bernard’s service record has failed to yield any information concerning clothing issues to provide further history of this jacket. It could date from his release from the hospital after exchange in 1862 or from sometime in 1863.  This jacket was stolen from the Petersburg Siege Museum in January 1979 and its present location is unknown. It appears to be made from a dark greenish gray wool on cotton weft, “tabby” weave material based upon existing photographs. Jensen reports the epaulettes were cut off probably during service and the ends are in the shoulder seam.


    James L. Stevens (1st Tenn. Cav.) Jacket

    Private Collection

    Stevens was in the 3rd Battalion Tenn. Cavalry which became part of Carter’s 1st Tenn. Cav. that served in the Army of Tennessee (AoT). He was captured at Chickamauga in 1863 and died in April 1864 shortly after signing the Oath of Allegiance. How he got the jacket is unknown, but it has a solid history relating it to him. The jacket was sold through Old South Military Antiques which, while describing it as a Richmond Depot jacket, attributed it to Atlanta Clothing Bureau manufacture (they supplied the AoT) or a local Tennessee maker. The former is unlikely, and the latter would be unusual. The CS QM did transfer clothing between Depots in times of need, so It is possible that it was part of stores shipped from Richmond to the Atlanta Depot for issue at some point. He may have acquired the jacket after being captured. It is made from what appears to be a jeans material with a logwood or vegetable dyed gray woolen fill that has faded to a light brown over natural cotton weft.


    Abraham Adler (21st Miss Inf.) Jacket

    Collection Louisiana State Museum – New Orleans, LA

     Adler joined the 21st Mississippi Infantry on 6 June 1861.  He was captured at Fredericksburg on 3 May 1863 and was apparently held at Fort Delaware. While the exact date and location of his parole is unclear from his service records, he was listed as back in service on the July/August 1863 rolls. Adler was wounded in the abdomen at Chickamauga in September 1863 but did not again return to duty.  Records indicate that he received clothing issues between 1 Jan and 1 May 1863 but not what. It is very possible, therefore, that the jacket shown dates from the 1st half of 1863. It has an eight-button front which appears to be its “as manufactured” configuration.  Like the previous example, this jacket appears to have been constructed of faded gray wool weft on natural cotton warp.  Based upon pictures and comments from the Louisiana State Museum staff, researcher Craig Schneider indicates that this jacket is at least partially machine sewn .


    Thomas D. Vredenburg Jacket (unknown CS history)

    Collection Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Springfield, IL

    This jacket was given to Springfield, Ill. native Thomas D. Vredenburg, a 1st lieutenant in the 10th Illinois U.S. Cavalry, Company I. by a Confederate woman who took pity on him while he was in a Shreveport jail in 1863 following his capture near Vicksburg. He wore it throughout his 13-month stay at Camp Ford prison in Tyler, Texas. This example, like the previous two, is made of wool jean (natural cotton wrap; originally gray wool fill that has now faded to a light brown), osnaburg lining and an inside-left breast pocket. It retains eight of the original nine Gibson contract wooden buttons. It also has machine top stitching but the long (internal) seams were hand stitched. The inside pocket is in the usual location but is unusual in that the slash opening overlaps the facing, The Confederate history of the jacket is obviously unknown but perhaps was brought or sent home by a Louisiana or Mississippi soldier from the ANV.


    Capt. Edward S. Marsh (4th NC Inf.) Jacket

    Collection Pamplin Historical Park

    Captain Marsh was supposedly wearing the jacket when wounded at Chancellorsville in May 1863. His service records indicate he was unable to return to active service with the regiment. The jacket, therefore, likely dates from the 1st half of 1863. It is yet again an example of a commissioned officer’s adaptation of an enlisted man's uniform jacket for fatigue use. This jacket is made from “kersey” weave EAC with a single interior slash pocket as usual in the left breast lining. The 9 buttons on the front and those securing the epaulettes are imported script “I” buttons marked “S Isaacs, Campbell & Co.” They appear to be the buttons originally provided on the coat as manufactured, however, most have been re-attached using different thread.  The epaulettes on the example are one piece with the edges turned under but have the same rounded end shape usually seen in the two-piece epaulettes found on other early RD type II examples and are somewhat shorter than usual. This may be a case of a “seamstress choice” decision to work around a deficit in the pieces she received in the “kit” for this jacket. The single piece epaulettes on the Ramsey and other late RD type II jackets (e.g. the next two examples) are shaped differently, having a definite point at the end rather than being rounded.


    W. F. Jackson (6th SC Inf.) Jacket

    Private Collection

    This jacket and the one that follows (Charles A. Milhouse jacket) exhibit some of the same “transition” characteristics as the Ramsey jacket, i.e. the “angular” collar and “pointed” single piece epaulettes. However, both have belt loops which are not present on the Ramsey example. Jackson’s service records indicate that he was wounded in the leg on 7 October 1864 and admitted to Jackson Hospital in Richmond. He was released on 14 March 1865 and furloughed two days later for sixty days. He did not return to duty before the end of the War. Records show that he was issued clothing on release from the hospital but what he received is unknown. Given its condition, however, this jacket is likely the one he was wearing when wounded. Interestingly from what photographs are available, the attached brown “patch” on the right arm appears to have been done when it was constructed using “jeans” (wool on cotton) fabric. While this has been impossible to verify without inspection, it could represent an extreme case of “piecing” to best utilize available scraps of material in its construction. The jacket has a mix of period English “S Issacs, Campbell & Co.” script I, C, and A buttons which could be original to the piece or contemporary replacements. Given the “patch” and the eclectic mix of buttons present, this jacket could represent the RCB “scraping the bottom of the barrel” in order to put together a “kit” for assembly into a serviceable garment to send to the field.


    Charles A Milhouse Jacket

    Collection of South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum Columbia. SC

    Jacket worn by Charles A. Milhouse a member of Co K, First Confederate Engineer Regiment. Milhouse joined in South Carolina in January 1864 and apparently served in the Department of Virginia for the remainder of the war. It originally was displayed in the Visitor Center at the Rivers Bridge State Historic Park in South Carolina but was de-accessed in 2011 and is now in the collection of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia SC. The jacket has an 8-button front original to the piece and is made of plain (“tabby”) weave EAC. Such fabric is also seen in the George Wilson uniform trousers in the Smithsonian which date from the second half of 1864. The hand sewing on this jacket also appears to be somewhat crudely executed. This piece like the Ramsey and Jackson jackets exhibits the “angular” style collar and “pointed” one-piece epaulettes. Milhouse’s service records do not include any clothing issue receipts but he may have received it when released from hospital following an illness in August 1864.


    John C. Henry (2nd MD Inf.) Jacket

    Collection Confederate Memorial Hall, New Orleans, LA

    The Henry jacket has a seven-button front. Jensen indicated in his 1989 MC&H article that this jacket was altered (shortened?) to create this arrangement. Henry enlisted on 19 March 1863 for “3 years or the war.” He was wounded in the engagement at Weldon Railroad on 18 August 1864 and furloughed from the hospital on 14 September for 30 days. He is listed back on duty in February 1865, was captured sometime before 10 April and held until paroled between in Farmville, VA between 11 and 26 April.  No 1864 clothing issue records survive. He may have received the jacket when released from hospital or as part of known issues of clothing received by the 2nd MD in December 1864 or March 1865.


    John Kennedy Coleman (6th SC Inf.) Jacket

    Private Collection

    John Kennedy Coleman enlisted on 12 July 1864 in Columbia SC in F Company of the 6th SC Infantry and was listed as present through the end of the War. He surrendered with Lee’s army at Appomattox 9 April 1865. No records of clothing issues to him exist but it can be assumed that this jacket dates from late July or early August 1864 at the earliest. The “as issued” buttons have been replaced with period SC State buttons. This jacket has been published in several books on Civil War uniforms including Echoes of Glory - Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy, from the Time/Life series.


    Allen Redwood (1st MD Cav.) Jacket

    Collection American Civil War Museum , Museum of the Confederacy - Richmond, VA

    Photo courtesy of The American Civil War Museum, Richmond VA

    The Allen Redwood jacket is another example of a RD type III with an eight-button front. Allen C. Redwood originally served with Company C of the 55th Virginia Infantry, raising to the rank of Sergeant-Major by 1863. He transferred as a private to the 1st MD Cavalry in February 1864 serving with them until captured in April 1865. No records exist of clothing issues to him during that period. Like  Coleman’s jacket and that of his brother, Henry, this example is pictured in the Time/Life series volume Echoes of Glory - Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy. Redwood later became a famous artist who did many illustrations for Battles and Leaders of the Civil War and other publications.