“Wytheville Depot” Jackets – Fact or Fiction?
By Richard M. Milstead, Ph.D.
The study of Civil War material culture is sometimes frustrating because of the many “twists and turns,” “dead ends,” and “rabbit holes” one encounters along the way. With the “clouds” resulting from passage of 155 years and often unreliable verbal histories, the artifacts themselves sometimes do not easily reveal answers to researchers’ questions. The subject of the following paper is an excellent example. At the end, a few (provable) facts and some “informed” speculations are advanced to address the question posed in the title, but no absolute conclusion can be drawn. Hopefully the reader will gain some knowledge from the “twists and turns” encountered along the way, as well as an appreciation of the process followed.
A pair of Confederate jackets seen in photographs (Figures 1 and 2) and a similar jacket in the Atlanta History Center (AHC) collection (Figure 3) have been proposed as examples of clothing manufactured at a Confederate States (CS) Depot in Wytheville, Virginia. All are short jackets (so called “shell” jackets or roundabouts) with six button fronts. Two of the three have one exterior pocket located in the left breast (unclear on the third), all have stand up military style collars that are squared off at the neck opening, epaulettes, and show topstitching around the collar and down the front. The AHC example is made to the typical six-piece body, two-piece sleeve pattern used for many period short jackets made both in the Confederacy and the Union which, in fact, is essentially the same as the pattern for period frock coats with the skirts eliminated.
All three jackets have provenance linking them to the Southwest Virginia area. In order to delve further into their possible relationship, a brief description of their history is relevant.
Calvin Porter/45th Virginia Infantry Regiment
Calvin N. Porter, shown in Figure 1, enlisted as a private in the 45th Virginia Infantry Regiment on 29 May 1861 in Wytheville, Virginia joining Company D, the Wythe County Minute Men. In the April/May 1862 timeframe, as part of a major Army wide reorganization required under the Conscription Act, the regiment’s officers were re-elected. No record of his promotion date was found in his service record, but It is likely that Porter was elected 1st Lieutenant of D Company in that reorganization. Porter’s records indicate that on 30 June 1862 he was Company D’s commanding officer and administered a large clothing issue to the company. Porter was killed in action at the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain on 9 May 1864.(1) The date when the picture was taken is unknown. but the jacket shows no rank insignia.
The 45th Virginia Regiment was originally made up from militia companies raised in Wythe, Tazewell, Grayson, Carroll, and Bland Counties as part of Brigadier General John B. Floyd’s brigade which also included the 50th Virginia Infantry Regiment. Former West Point graduate and US Army officer Henry Heth was the regiment’s first commander. This regiment served under Floyd in the unsuccessful Western Virginia campaign between late August and December of 1861. In January 1862, the brigade was assigned to Major General Albert Sidney Johnston’s command maneuvering in Tennessee. That April it was ordered to Knoxville, but then quickly called back to Southwest Virginia to guard rail lines in that area. Throughout the remainder of the war, the 45th Virginia Regiment was stationed in Southwest Virginia and Shenandoah Valley regions.
Riley Reedy and the 63rd Virginia Infantry Regiment
Four soldiers named Reedy served in Company C of the 63rd Virginia Infantry Regiment, Franklin, Granville, Riley and Solomon. Riley was a private in Company C of the regiment and enlisted on 6 April 1862 together with Granville and Solomon. Franklin enlisted on 16 February 1863.(2) The date of the picture is unknown.
The 63rd Virginia Infantry was organized in March and April 1862 under the command of Colonel John J. McMahon. The troops enlisted for three years or the duration of the war. The regiment was made up of 10 companies recruited in Washington, Grayson, Monroe (WV), Montgomery, Carroll, Wythe, and Floyd counties as well as Sullivan Co., Tenn.
After its organization, the 63rd was assigned to Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall's "Army of Eastern Kentucky". From May until December of 1862 the regiment operated in Southwest Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. In December 1862, along with several other units from Marshall's command, it was transferred to Brigadier General Roger Prior’s Brigade (Longstreet’s Corps) of the Army of Northern Virginia operating in the Department of North Carolina and Southeast Virginia, taking part in several minor engagements, including the Battle of Kelly’s Store. In March 1863, the regiment returned to Southwest Virginia, eventually becoming part of the Department of Western Virginia under Major General Samuel Jones. During that summer it was charged with the security of the saltworks at Saltville, Virginia.
In August 1863, Reedy and the 63rd Virginia, along with the 54th Virginia and the Nottoway Artillery (Jeffress' Battery), were transferred to the Army of Tennessee (AOT) to serve in Major General Simon Bolivar Buckner’s Corps . The regiment would remain with the AOT for the remainder of the war participating in its campaigns from Chickamauga through Atlanta, and Nashville until its ultimate surrender on 26 April 1865, at Durham Station, North Carolina.
Atlanta History Center Jacket/Seigel’s Raid and the destruction of the Dublin VA Depot 9 May 1864
The verbal history of the jacket shown in Figure 3 is that it, along with a pair of trousers, was taken as a souvenir by First Sergeant Reuben B. Taylor, a Union soldier of Company E, 14th West Virginia Infantry, on May 9, 1864, at the time of the destruction of a Confederate clothing warehouse in Dublin, Virginia.
In the Spring of 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant ordered Major General Franz Sigel in the Department of West Virginia to secure the strategically important and agriculturally significant Shenandoah Valley as well as to threaten General Robert E. Lee’s flank. Forces from Siegel’s command under Brigadier General George Crook were directed to cut the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, and destroy the New River Bridge near Dublin, Virginia. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad was under the protection of Confederate units commanded by Brigadier General Albert G. Jenkins.
On 9 May 1864, Jenkins intercepted Crook’s force at Cloyd’s Mountain outside of Dublin. Union attacks eventually forced the Confederates to retreat. After the battle, Crook pressed toward Dublin and about 5:00 p.m. Union troops occupied the town. They burned an “immense” Confederate warehouse containing supplies for the CS army. One Union soldier reported, “We burned all we could not carry away.” After the Federal force moved away, the CS depot operation there was relocated to Wytheville where it continued to operate for the remainder of the war. It is presumed 1st Sgt. Taylor’s “souvenirs” were part of what was “carried away” by Crook’s Union forces.
The jacket and pair of Richmond Depot trousers taken by Taylor display extensive “wear and tear” (e.g. arm on jacket in Figure 3), possibly from field service, suggesting that they may not have been new when he “collected” them, but rather were discarded soldier’s clothing, stored at the Dublin warehouse for some reason. Otherwise, if Taylor’s “souvenirs” were unissued, then at some point after being taken by him, they were modified and received extensive wear. Their modern history is equally cloudy. They were acquired by the AHC from a private collector who obtained the pieces from an “unnamed” Ohio Historical Society or Museum. They came with the above verbal history, possibly derived from the family. Significant professional conservation was done to both. According to ACH staff the early pre-Civil War (circa 1830-1840) Virginia buttons on the jacket are believed to have been added by a 20th Century owner (either the collector or Historical Society) and are not original to the garment. As such, the buttons cannot provide substantiation for either Dublin Depot origin or, even, Virginia sourcing. Only the trousers, which are the product of the Richmond Clothing Bureau, can be said to come from Virginia.(3)
What the service and unit records tell about these jackets
As was pointed out above, soldier and unit histories as well as the artifact’s verbal history link these jackets to the Southwest Virginia region. Both the 45th Virginia and 63rd Virginia Infantry Regiments were recruited from the area and spent some amount of their service there as well. The AHC jacket was supposedly part of the QM stores at Dublin. An interesting timeline can be inferred from the records for these soldiers and units.
Calvin Porter almost certainly received his jacket while still a private in the 45th Virginia before being promoted in April/May 1862. After he was an officer, it is unlikely he would have had his picture taken in an unadorned private’s jacket. This suggests an early limit of May or June 1861 for when it could have been issued and spring 1862 as the latest. However, this is also the one jacket where the presence of the exterior pocket is unclear in the photograph suggesting a difference with the other jackets. If related to them, this difference might only indicate a pattern change as time progressed, but it also may be because it comes from a different maker. The record of a significant early issue to the 45th Virginia is shown below in Figure 4.
Col. Harry Heth (“Heath”) assumed command of the 45th Virginia Infantry the end of May 1861. This invoice of items supplied by CS Assistant Quartermaster (AQM) Captain J. B. McClelland in Richmond indicates that large numbers of jackets, pants, shirts, drawers, overcoats, and socks were received by the regiment on 19 June 1861. McClelland was, at the time, responsible for the CS Quartermaster’s warehouse in Richmond. It is particularly interesting that the Richmond Clothing Bureau (RCB), which made clothing for Confederate soldiers throughout most of the war, was only being established by Quartermaster General A. C. Meyers in June. Its staff was assembled through amalgamation with the Virginia State Quartermaster Department staff and former Richmond dry goods employees during June and July. At this point of the war, the QM Department was contracting for the Confederate Regular Army uniforms but may have also done so to provide Virginia Provisional Army units under a “special arrangement” between the Government and the Commonwealth of Virginia.(5)
The 63rd Virginia, after formation in 1862, remained in Virginia until August 1863 when it was transferred to the AOT. Since the jacket does not appear to be a Columbus Depot, Atlanta Depot, or other Deep South Depot product normally supplied the AOT, it was probably not taken after that transfer. If the picture was taken between his enlistment and the unit’s transfer west, Reedy received it between one and two years after the probable issue date of Porter’s jacket. No records of QM clothing issues for the 63rd Virginia in 1862 were uncovered. Some records do exist for 1863 prior to their departure to the western theater, however. In the first quarter of 1863 there were two issues of clothing, including jackets and pants. The first occurred in late February (Figure 5) while they were stationed in the Department of North Carolina and Southeast Virginia. The second was in late March (Figure 6) right after they returned to Southwestern Virginia. Then, shortly before their departure for Tennessee in mid-August, at least some of the companies received additional clothing (Figure 7).(6) By 1863 the manufacturer of this clothing would be presumed to have been one of the CS Clothing Bureaus typically supplying forces in that area. Other documented 1863 clothing issues were in October, November, and December, after the regiment became part of the AOT and were probably fulfilled with clothing from one of the Deep South Clothing Bureaus.
As indicated above, no information on clothing issues in 1862 to the 63rd Virginia following their muster has been found. Fulfilled requisitions for other QM supplies such as camp kettles and skillets do exist, however (Figure 8). In this 1962 invoice, the AQM who provided the cooking gear, Major Thomas F. Fisher, was Chief Quartermaster for Marshall’s Army of Eastern Kentucky to which the 63rd Virginia belonged. This confirms that standard Quartermaster processes were being followed by Provisional Army forces in Southwest Virginia at that time. Such supplies probably came through the CS QM Department and were provisioned out of CS Depots. In the mid-1862 timeframe, therefore, uniform clothing for Reedy’s Company C following their muster, like those in 1863, probably still would have been the product of a Confederate QM Clothing Bureau.
Finally, if the verbal history for the AHC jacket is accurate, it was in the CS QM stores at the Dublin warehouse in early May 1864. We have no information on how long it was in storage there nor whether it was in new (unissued) condition or from field returns. If “new,” this establishes a possible “latest” date for its production of first quarter 1864. If a field return, a much earlier date for its manufacture would be possible.
For all three jackets to have been made by the same CS manufacturing location, it needed to be in operation between, at least, early 1862 and the latter half of 1863 but possibly as early as the middle of 1861 through the beginning of 1864. Either way, such timing is problematic relative to the contention that they came from a single government source. In a letter to the Richmond Whig dated 18 November 1862 Captain W. G. Ferguson, one of the principal officers at the Richmond Clothing Bureau, specifically listed the clothing manufactories in the Virginia area as Richmond, Staunton, Lynchburg, and Knoxville.(7) However, in a March 1863 letter to the commanders of the fourteen, then operating, Confederate Government Clothing Bureaus, Quartermaster General Meyers only references Richmond, Staunton and Knoxville.(8) Lynchburg was not mentioned suggesting that it was no longer producing clothing in early 1863. The products of the Richmond Clothing Bureau (RCB) were first identified by Les Jensen in 1989(9) and have been extensively studied since then. At least 30 and perhaps as many as 40 RCB jackets are known to exist and their characteristics are very consistent and different, in important ways, from the AHC example. It is very unlikely, therefore, that these jackets are Richmond products. This would leave Staunton or Knoxville as the most probable source CS QM manufactories. It is not known how long Knoxville operated but it was certainly in operation in late 1862 at the time of Ferguson’s letter and closed in September 1863 when Union forces captured the city. Staunton continued to operate throughout 1864. Either could have been the maker for the Reedy and ACH examples, at least.
If the jacket Calvin Porter is wearing in Figure 1, dates from early in the war, it could be one of the 600 received in the 19 June 1861 shipment to Heth. This is one of the earliest documented examples of Richmond provisioning of uniforms to troops in Virginia. It only postdates the startup of even the Richmond Clothing Bureau by a few days. The jacket does appear similar in design concept and execution to the Courtney Jenkins uniform jacket made by Kent, Paine and Company, a Richmond Dry Goods firm, and received by members of the 21st VA Infantry and by several companies in the 1st Maryland Infantry in late May 1861 (Figure 9).(10) No record exists of large purchases of uniform items from Kent, Paine by the Quartermasters in Richmond that early in 1861. However, invoices for small lots of overcoats, jackets, pants and shirts exist in the second half of 1861 and early 1862 suggesting they made and sold clothing to the Quartermaster Department.(11) Could Kent, Paine and Company or another Richmond Dry Goods firm or commercial tailor have been contracted to make the 45th VA uniforms?
Whether the Porter jacket was contract made or not, if the picture was taken in 1861, it is very unlikely that it came from the same source as the others. For purposes of conjecture, there still is the possibility that the picture was taken in early 1862, before the 45th Virginia Regiment’s reorganization. If Porter’s jacket was issued at that point, it still could be related to the other two. The 45th did operate in the Knoxville area in the spring of that year, so it may have come from that Clothing Bureau. Unfortunately, no records of uniform issues to the 45th Virginia before the 1862 reorganization have been found. The only 1862 issue of clothing to the 45th uncovered for the first half of the year was the one on 30 June administered by Lt. Porter to his company .
Another Possible Source – “Wytheville Depot”?
It has been suggested that an alternative scenario is that these jackets were all the product of a clothing manufacturing operation located in Wytheville VA. Advocates have referred to this as the “Wytheville Depot” pattern. The CS Government Quartermaster established Depots in Dublin VA, Lynchburg VA, Wytheville VA and Carters Depot TN in 1861 for warehousing supplies for Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS) forces in the region. Following the destruction of the facility at Dublin, the functions of that operation including clothing warehousing were consolidated to Wytheville. Prior to this consolidation, however, Wytheville apparently functioned, among other things, as the region’s supply center for horses, mules, harnesses, wagons and related hardware.(12) The author is unaware of any records of CS Quartermaster uniform production at Wytheville.
Documentary evidence for clothing production in Wytheville by the Commonwealth of Virginia is found , however, in support of a militia organization called the Virginia State Line. It is important in understanding the purpose and scope of this operation to realize that, during the period the Virginia militia operated separately from the CS Provisional Army with respect to logistical functions that supported them such as their Quartermaster and Ordinance Departments.
In 1862, following his return to Virginia after the debacle at Fort Donelson, John B. Floyd was voted a major general’s commission in the Virginia Militia by the Legislature and was sent to Southwest Virginia to organize a militia division to protect that region.(13) In May 1862 Floyd announced plans to recruit a two-brigade state militia unit of Guards/Partisan Rangers called the “Virginia State Line.” This unit was to operate in the Western Counties of Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Northern North Carolina to combat Union military and partisan forces in those areas. Floyd initially recruited some 2,000 troops who assembled at Wytheville and Goodson in Virginia. By the end of 1862, this number had grown to approximately 3,000 enlisted men on roll.(14)
To provide supplies needed by Floyd’s troops, including clothing, equipment, weapons, and ammunition, the Governor of Virginia established offices of the State Ordinance Department and State Quartermaster General in Lynchburg. Militia soldiers were not eligible to receive uniforms from the CS Quartermaster. Since Virginia’s QM Department in Richmond had been merged with the Central Government’s Quartermaster Department in June 1861, this necessitated startup of a new clothing manufactory to provide the needed supplies to Floyd’s men. In July 1862 the Virginia Quartermaster General Major L. R. Smoot established a clothing manufacturing operation at Lynchburg and directed his assistant Captain J. B. Goodloe to establish a second in Wytheville. These operations were distinct from CS Government depots in the Southwestern Virginia (including those located in Lynchburg, Dublin, and Wytheville) which supported PACS troops such as the 45th (Porter) and 63rd (Reedy) Virginia Infantry Regiments.
By August these manufactories were up and running. In the period ending 27 December 1862, they produced 3,368 jackets, 3,960 pairs of pants, and 6,912 shirts as well as quantities of drawers, overcoats, and military caps to outfit the “State Line” volunteers in ranks at the end of the year. Wytheville produced some of the jackets (1,242), pants (2,564), and shirts (239) but the remainder were made in Lynchburg. At the end of 1862, Smoot ordered Goodloe to terminate his operations. Apparently through another “special arrangement” with the CS QM Department, any future clothing supplies, as required, would be obtained through CS Quartermaster Department directly. Given the date of the Ferguson letter to the Richmond Whig, it is possible he was not referring to Lynchburg as a CS clothing manufacturing location at all but was recognizing the Commonwealth’s operation there (which included Wytheville) for supporting Virginia’s militia.
By April of 1863, the Virginia State Line militia was being disbanded. That month, Smoot directed Goodloe to collect any unissued clothing and raw material supplies (fabric, thread, etc.) on hand and transfer it to the CS Army.(16) It is unknown if any of the jackets produced by the Virginia Quartermaster operations in Lynchburg and Wytheville remained after the disbanding of the Virginia State Line. Records found in period letters indicate that at least 3046 of the jackets were issued or transferred to the Virginia State Line units before the end of February. Issues in March and later are unknown, however, so as many as 322 jackets could be unaccounted for.(17) Some of the Virginia State Line militia troops subsequently were mustered into Confederate service. In particular, the 45th Battalion Virginia Infantry (different from the 45th Virginia Infantry Regiment) was formed between April and December including men from the 1st Regiment Cavalry, Virginia State Line. The 45th Battalion, referred to as Berkley’s Battalion, continued to serve in the Southwest Virginia and Shenandoah regions through the remainder of the war, including participating at the engagement at Cloyd’s Mountain, as part of Jenkins command, in May 1864.(18)
Summary and (Maybe?) Some Conclusions
The above discussion provides a few facts and leads to some “informed” speculations about the three jackets discussed at the beginning of this paper.
There were Virginia Quartermaster operations making clothing at Lynchburg and Wytheville that produced a limited number of garments for State militia in the Southwest Virginia region, starting in the second half of 1862 and ending shortly after the beginning of 1863. No evidence has been found for CS Government clothing manufacturing in Wytheville although Lynchburg is mentioned in a contemporaneous 18 November 1862 letter from an RCB officer to the Richmond Whig. Neither is among the “Clothing Bureaus” referenced in correspondence from A.C. Meyers in March of the following year. Wytheville was also the location of a CS QM depot/warehouse on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad during the war supporting PACS forces, and Dublin operations were relocated there after its destruction in 1864. The Taylor example in the AHC was not the product of the Richmond Clothing Bureau based upon a wide body of other known examples attributed to that operation. The presence of domestically produced (1830-1840 era) Virginia State buttons on the AHC jacket does not confirm Virginia provenance as they are believed to have been added in the 20th Century before the museum acquired it.
It is very likely that the Porter jacket was produced before May of 1862. If issued in 1861, it was possibly one of the 600 delivered to his unit in June of 1861. That early in the war, it could have either been contracted by the Government Quartermaster Department or the Commonwealth of Virginia and issued by CS Quartermasters. None of the local CS QM “Clothing Bureaus” (Richmond, Staunton, or Knoxville) were fully operational at that time. Based upon some similarities to an existent example in the American Civil War Museum, it could have come from Kent, Paine, and Company, a Richmond Dry Goods Merchant, known to have produced uniforms for other regiments in Virginia in the mid-1861 timeframe. It could not, however, have been a product of the Virginia State manufactory in Lynchburg/Wytheville as that did not start up until August 1862.
The jacket in the Reedy picture was probably the product of a Government Clothing Bureau such as Staunton or Knoxville if the image was taken in before the 63rd Virginia’s move to the AOT. The regiment was on detached duty with the ANV at the time of the February ’63 clothing issue, which probably was sourced out of Richmond. The March issue was likely fulfilled by AQMs in the Department of Western Virginia and, in any event, occurred before transfers of any residual “State Line” clothing to CS Quartermasters began. It is possible that members of the 63rd Virginia could have received “State line” jackets in the 16 August issue, assuming stocks of such jackets were actually transferred to a local CS QM Depot (Dublin or Lynchburg) after the militia units disbanded in the April/May timeframe.
If the AHC jacket was “used” at the time of Crook’s 1864 raid, it could have been a discarded “State Line” jacket stored at the Dublin Depot, possibly from Berkley’s Battalion or another PACS unit with men formerly in the Virginia State Line. The reason discarded, worn out soldier’s clothing would have been collected and stored at that depot remains something of a mystery, however. If it was unissued, given the timing of the raid, it was probably made by a CS Clothing Bureau at either Staunton or Knoxville. Since Knoxville was not in operation after September 1863, Staunton was more likely the source. Much further research needs to be done to establish the capabilities of both the Knoxville and Staunton QM operations to understand if either could have produced these jackets. Initial investigations suggest that both did produce some clothing, but their operations seem to have been limited and certainly were dwarfed by the RCB in Richmond.
To attribute all three jackets to a single source represents a “big” stretch. Clear photographic evidence that the Porter jacket is one is questionable, and its dating likely much earlier than the other two. The Reedy jacket seems very similar to the AHC jacket based upon the photograph, but this only represents circumstantial evidence since they cannot be compared directly. To assert that these two jackets were among the 3,368 “Virginia State Line jackets” made in Lynchburg/Wytheville in late 1862 assumes facts which may be plausible but cannot be readily be documented. Their similarities could also have other explanations such as production at the Government Clothing Bureau located in Staunton or Knoxville. While it cannot be stated unequivocally that “Wytheville Depot” jackets are fictional, the theory that they are represented by the AHC example and the one being worn in Riley Reedy’s picture is simply not provable without further evidence to verify an unlikely sequence of events.
Ever since Les Jensen(19) used the term “Depot” to represent “manufactory,” the tendency, a century plus after the war, has been for other researchers and enthusiasts to attach the term as “slang” to characterize any clothing production effort whether by the Central CS Government or not. Technically a “Depot” was a storage facility or warehouse, usually located near railroad connections, that stockpiled clothing and equipage for the Armies. The jackets analyzed by Jensen all specifically represented Confederate Government Quartermaster operations (except Tait Contract examples, of course) and were produced by “Clothing Bureaus” throughout the South. The groupings share significant stylistic similarities and, generally, represent very large manufacturing operations. Most importantly, at least three examples of each have survived.
Similar shorthand terminology was, in fact, sometimes used during war itself. For example, Richmond QM documents often include “Richmond Clothing Depot” in their titles, so the confusion is understandable. In that case, the term probably derives from the finished goods warehouse associated with the Richmond Clothing Bureau’s manufacturing operation. Even Federal Quartermasters were guilty of such shorthand. Few US Army garments were marked “Army Office of Clothing and Equipage, Philadelphia” but Schuylkill Arsenal (“SA”) is stamped on a great many. Schuylkill Arsenal did not store Army weapons at the time of the Civil War as its name would imply. Small manufacturing operations that made limited numbers of uniforms for state and local authorities were not, necessarily, located at depots or warehouses and, in the author’s opinion, their output should not be designated as “Depot” made products. Call them what they are, in this case, maybe, “Commonwealth of Virginia Militia Pattern” or “Virginia State Line jackets” or something similar. They were not Wytheville (or Lynchburg) “Depot” made jackets.
Service Records for Calvin Porter, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who served in Organizations from the State of Virginia, National Archives Microfilm Publication (NAMP) M324 Roll 0888, War Department Collection of Confederate Records (WDCCR) Record Group (RG) 109, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC (NARA) (hereafter Records of Soldiers from Virginia).
Service Records for Franklin Reedy, Granville W Reedy, Riley Reedy. & Solomon Reedy, Records of Soldiers from Virginia NAMP M324 Roll 1040.
The jacket is stained and has had significant conservation, particularly to stabilize large missing areas in the outer shell fabric and cotton lining. These do not appear to be all insect damage, but some are rents and holes from hard use. As pointed out in the text, prewar (circa 1830-1840) Virginia buttons were also added to the jacket perhaps as part of the conservation. The trousers have extensive staining, small cuts and tears, and were modified at some point to remove the adjustment belt in the back. They have also had significant conservation work done. The waist band and interior lining stitching has broken and been restored, and all the buttons were reattached.
Service Records for J B McClelland, Compiled Service Records of Confederate General and Staff Officers and Non-Regimental Enlisted Men, NAMP M331 Roll 0169, WDCCR RG 109, NARA. (hereafter Confederate Officers)
On 7 August 1861, Confederate Secretary of War Leroy P. Walker sent a circular to all State Governors reminding them of their state QM’s obligation under the commutation system to provide their troops with supplies of warm woolen clothing for the coming winter (Letter from L. P. Walker to the State Governors, War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the Official Records for the Union and Confederate Armies, Series IV, Vol I, 534 Washington DC (Government Printing Office, 1888-1904)( hereafter OR ). With the transfer of the Confederate Capital from Montgomery to Richmond in May 1861, in a “special arrangement” with Virginia its Quartermaster staff had been merged with those of the Central Government. As a result, Virginia no longer could respond to Walker’s request. John Letcher, the Governor of Virginia, replied to that effect in a letter back to the Secretary (Letter John Letcher to L. P. Walker, 9 August 1861, OR, 537-538). In a subsequent letter A. C. Meyers, Confederate Quartermaster General, explained the “special arrangement” made with Virginia to Secretary Walker in the following way: “As the resources of the State of Virginia are entirely taken up by the Quartermaster’s Department of the Confederate States, I respectfully suggest they remain so…. This will render it necessary for him [Virginia’s Governor] to cooperate with the [QM] Department in procuring supplies”, (A.C. Meyers to LP. Walker, 12 August 1861, Letters sent to the Confederate Secretary of War, April 1861-January 1864, Quartermaster General’s Office Ms. Chap. V, vol. 157, WDCCR RG 109, NARA.) In other words, by this “arrangement”, once Virginia’s QM staff was absorbed into the CS QM operations, it could no longer provide for its troops mustered into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. Instead the government agreed clothing would be provisioned directly by Meyer’s QM Department. Essentially, to avoid competition with the government for supplies or raw materials within the Commonwealth, Virginia was being exempted from receiving commutation payments for its soldiers clothing and the central government agreed to provide them with “clothing in kind” to meet each soldier’s needs.
Service Records for John R. Francis, Records of Soldiers from Virginia, NAMP M324 Roll 1038. Captain John R. Francis was commander of D Company of the 63rd Virginia. In Confederate service, company captains were responsible for requisitioning clothing and other QM supplies for their men. Generally, all the companies in a regiment received similar items, although usually in different quantities depending upon individual needs. The records for Reedy’s Company C are not as complete as those for Francis’ Company D which is why it was chosen as somewhat more representative of the 63rd in this period. The February clothing Issues were received at Franklin in Southeastern Virginia near the NC boarder. This issue was provided by the AQM of the 63rd Virginia, Captain A.F Henderson but where the clothing was sourced from is not clear since the regiment had at this point had transferred to the ANV operating in the Department of NC and Southeaster Virginia. Following the departure of the regiment from Saltville on 24 August 1863 to join the AOT, several companies received additional clothing issues, at least of shoes and socks, the following day when they reached Knoxville. Records found for these issues do not include any jackets, but records were not found for a few of the companies (including Reedy’s Company C).
Captain William G. Ferguson to Mr. W. Donald (Editor of Whig Newspaper), 18 November 1862,Service Records for W. G. Ferguson, Confederate Officers, NAMP M331 Roll 0092. The clear inference from Ferguson’s letter is that Lynchburg was a Government Quartermaster location manufacturing clothing, but the wording is not specific and the operation in that city could have been included despite its management by the Virginia Quartermaster Department because Richmond Newspapers would have been familiar with its existence. The letter was actually a rebuttal to published articles criticizing The Army’s quartermasters for problems in the supply of Lee’s Army during the Antietam campaign and also mentioned other “Depots” like Columbus and Atlanta GA, Columbia SC and Chattanooga TN none of whom had any responsibility for providing materiel for the ANV.
A.C. Meyers to Clothing Bureau Commanders, 12 March 1863, Records of the Quartermaster Department, NAMP M410, WDCCR RG 109, NARA.
Leslie D. Jensen, “A Survey of Confederate Central Government Quartermaster Jackets – Part 1”, Military Collector & Historian, Volume XLI No. 3 (Fall 1989) (hereafter Jensen Part 1)
Ross M Kimmel, “Enlisted Uniforms of the Maryland Confederate Infantry: A Case Study, Part 1,” Military Collector & Historian, Volume XLI No. 3 (Fall 1989), 99.
Papers relating to Kent, Paine & Company, Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65, NAMP M346 Roll 0544, WDCCR RG 109 NARA.
Service Records for William Gibboney, Confederate Officers, M331 Roll 0105. Captain William Gibboney served as an assistant quartermaster at the Wytheville Depot between, at least, August 1862 and September 1864 based upon several receipts for materiel transfers at that facility. The majority of these were related to horses, mules, wagons, harnesses and other related items as opposed to clothing or equipage.
Appendix to Governor’s Message, Message of the Governor of Virginia and Accompanying Documents, Richmond VA (William F. Richie, Public Printer, 1862), 36. Also “Proclamation of Governor John Letcher on Virginia State Line.
Consolidated Return of State Troops commanded by Major General Floyd – 11 January 1863,” Message of the Governor of Virginia and Accompanying Documents, Richmond VA (William F. Richie, Public Printer, 1863), (hereafter Message from the Governor.), Document XII, 8.
Ibid Appended Document IV, Part B. Statements #7 and #8.
Letter Major L.R. Smoot to General W.H. Richardson, VA Adjutant General, 19 January 1864, Service Record of Jerman B. Goodloe, Confederate Officers, M0331 Roll 103. It is unknown how much, if any, clothing remained unissued at the time of the disbanding of the Virginia State Line as issues beyond the beginning of March 1863 are not listed in the documents in Message from the Governor. Goodloe’s service records do include pages from his reconciliation of the Virginia State Line’s QM accounts done in 1863 and early 1864. Among the items recorded against 4th Quarter 1862 property returns is the correction to an entry pertaining to a stock of 662 jackets. It is unclear whether these were issued stock on 27 December1862 when the manufacturing operation was closed. Goodloe’s orders, as stated in this letter, were that any leftovers would have been sent to CS Quartermasters, however Smoot does indicate that the transfers did not begin until after the Virginia State Line units were disbanded starting in April 1863 so residual jackets could not have been received by CS Quartermasters until sometime that month at the earliest.
Message from the Governor, Document 45, “Documents Published in Pursuance of a Resolution of the House of Delegates Adopted, March 30, 1863, 65, 157, & 160. These are numbers are excerpted from letters from Major L.R. Smoot, Quartermaster General of Virginia. Most of the jackets were issued or transferred to the State Line militia troops in December (557), January (468) and February (646) so it could be very possible additional jackets were transferred in March and even April before the units were disbanded which, in turn, would have reduced the final number of unissued jackets.
Another interesting, and possibly significant, physical aspect of the AHC’s Taylor jacket is the presence of crudely attached tape around the collar. The color of this tape has faded to a mellow, light tan that makes it difficult to see in photographs but when original could have been yellow. This would suggest the jacket might have had a “cavalry” association when new. Further “speculation” could suggest that it was issued to one of the cavalry companies in the “Virginia State Line” that ultimately became part of Berkeley’s 45th Battalion. Companies in the 45th Battalion received issues of new clothing in the August through December1863 timeframe. This could explain the presence of discarded “Virginia State Line” clothing in Dublin, but not the reason it was retained there. Unfortunately, proof for such “speculation”, like many other facts about the jacket’s provenance, has been obscured by time.
Jensen Part 1, 112.