Reference Items
Uniforms
Officer's Uniform Grouping - William D. Dixon

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William Dunlop Dixon enlisted with the 35th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (also known as the 6th Pennsylvania Reserves) at its formation on April 24, 1861 at the age of 27. He received a commission as Captain of Company D, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on September 12, 1863. The 35th fought with the Army of the Potomac for its entire period of service, seeing action at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Colonel Dixon survived the war and mustered out of the service on June 11, 1864 after the regiment’s term of enlistment expired.

The diverse grouping includes Dixon’s double breasted frock coat which bears his triple border Colonel’s rank insignia and a complete set of original infantry staff buttons. His mounted officer’s trousers have an infantry blue welt down the 33” outside seam (written on the inside face of his watch pocket is "Capt. W. Dixon with size notation 33¼”). Also present are his silk crimson sash, his officer’s grade belt and holster rig with his Colt Army revolver, serial #61756 indicating mid-1862 manufacture. Additional personal effects include a Gettysburg reunion medal, a variety of separate shoulder straps, and Dixon’s line-officer grade dress epaulets.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-173

Dismounted Greatcoat

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Regulations for these winter overcoats were established in 1851 and remained unchanged for 20 years. The long coat and matching cape were sewn from coarse Kersey wool, dyed light blue. For collectors, color and weave on the cape should match the fabric on the coat itself.

Made by arsenals and private contractors alike, most are size stamped in the sleeve with maker’s and or inspector’s stamps. The coat body is lined with the standard brown course weave flannel. The sleeves are lined with standard white linen, and include lengthy fold-down cuffs for fowl weather use. The buttons on the cape and coat are federal general service (eagle with shield). Belt rigs, cartridge boxes and other accouterments were worn beneath the cape, but over the coat.

The standard 1851 pattern dismounted overcoat is distinguished from the mounted overcoat by its five single breasted buttons and stand-up collar, which is similar to the shell jackets. Its cape ends at about the elbow of the sleeve and carries six buttons, the rear slit is 13¾” in length.

These coats saw hard winter use but were often discarded at the first sign of fair weather, their size and weight being too bulky for summer campaigning.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-160

Uniform Grouping - Sgt. Hugh Burns, 40th New York

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This grouping includes a privately made 4-button sack coat, tailored with officer’s grade broadcloth. It belonged to Sgt. Hugh W. Burns of the 40th New York Infantry, or the "Mozart Regiment." The jacket features a black velvet fold-down collar, four standard federal infantry buttons and is lined with an officer’s grade green polished cotton. The 22½” sleeves are widely tapered at the elbow and bear their original 1st sergeant’s chevrons. The standard white cotton lining is marked inside the left sleeve in period ink: "H. W. Burns.” Accompanying the jacket is Burns’s forage cap made of the same fine quality broadcloth, adorned by a cloth First Division, 3rd Corps badge, which is embroidered with the Mozart regiment’s "40”. The cap's original cotton liner, Federal eagle I buttons and leather sweatband are intact. The grouping also includes Burns’s Mozart Regiment reunion pin (absent its original ribbon) and the regimental history, History of the Mozart Regiment published by Stanhope Press in 1909.

Hugh Burns left his work as an engraver and enlisted originally with the 55th New York Infantry, also known as the Garde Lafayette, on October 23, 1861. As a corporal in the Army of the Potomac, Burns saw action at the following engagements; Battle of Williamsburg; Seven Pines; Malvern Hill; and the Battle of Fredericksburg. On December 21, 1861, the depleted 55th New York was merged with the 38th New York Infantry. The refurbished 38th went into action at Chancellorsville a few weeks later.

On June 3, 1863 the 38th was merged into yet another unit, the 40th New York Infantry, known alternatively as the Mozart regiment and the Constitution Guard. A month later, Burns was wounded in desperate fighting at the Slaughter Pen in Gettysburg. In November, 1863, he returned to the regiment, his recovery now complete. He reenlisted for the duration of the war and was promoted to the rank of sergeant. As the conflict continued, Sergeant Burns took part in the actions at Kelly’s Ford, Payne’s Farm; The Wilderness; Spotsylvania; the Bloody Angle; and Cold Harbor. During fighting at the Wilderness, Burns was wounded for a second time as a bullet creased his chin.

Surviving the Civil War, Sergeant Burns returned to New York where he married and raised four children. He returned to his work as an engraver and is credited with the illustration of the Mozart Regiment’s charge into the Slaughter Pen at Gettysburg that appears in the 40th’s regimental history.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-158

Enlistedman's Nine-button coat - Infantry

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This enlistedman’s 9-button frock coat is an example of one of the more sought after coats of the Civil War period.

The enlistedman's coat is a single-breasted frock of dark blue cloth, with a skirt that extends approximately to the thigh of the wearer; one row of nine buttons is present on the breast, equally spaced. Regulations did not specify the height of the stand-up collar, only that it was to rise no higher than what would allow the chin to turn freely over it. The collar is equipped with a metal clasp at the front, and at its center, the opening between them to be 60°.  The cuffs are fitted with two small buttons. The cuff and collar and are edged with a welt of cloth, colored for the branch of service, in this case, sky blue for infantry. Two pockets exist in the folds of the skirts with one matching button at each hip

All 15 buttons have 100% original gilt finish with matching early Waterbury Button Co. rmdc backmarks. All are on original thread, but two of the breast buttons have been strengthened. Light blue cord piping is perfect and tight as are all seams on the coat. Blue wool broadcloth still has its original knap feel on the surface. The body lining, sleeve linings and skirt pockets are all original and excellent.


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-123

Veteran Reserve Corps Jacket

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This rare jacket is size stamped in both sleeves with the numeral "2”. It is also ink stamped with "SA” for Schuylkill Arsenal production. The body lining is a coarse weave cream wool flannel and the sleeve linings are the standard white linen. The buttons are matching Federal general service buttons and are backmarked "Schoville & Co. EXTRA”. With one exception, all are on original thread. One of the original breast buttons has been re-sewn at some point in the coat’s past. This jacket is in virtually unused condition.

Late in the Civil War, the Veteran Reserve Corps was established to provide opportunity for continued military service to those soldiers who had been incapacitated due to illness or wounds, and were unable to serve in line duty. Their contribution to the war effort was felt in a variety of ways, as they served in garrison duty, guarded prisoners or supply lines, or other locations behind the front. The willingness of these veterans to remain in the service allowed more able bodied soldiers to be free to move to the battlefields.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-116

Frock Coat - Colonel of Infantry

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Near mint condition infantry officer’s frock coat, rank of colonel. The coat is tailored of very fine woven wool fabric, exhibiting a slick sheen typical of Civil War period manufacture coats. The body lining is a green quilted polished cotton and wool blend. Skirt pockets are lined with brown polished cotton and sleeves are lined with white cotton. The coat’s eagle staff buttons are all matching with "Fine Gold Plate” and winged eagle backmarks. Cuff buttons are the same with one exception being a Waterbury backmark but matching honey gold patina.

Measurements on the coat are 1½” height at the collar, sleeve circumference is 18” at the elbow and 10½” at the cuff. Length of the coat from collar to waist seam and waist seam to the bottom of the skirt are both 20½”.

This is the exact coat pictured on pages 138 and 139 of the uniform reference text Army Blue - The Uniform of Uncle Sam’s Regulars by John P. Langellier. The original colonel’s shoulder straps are present, and the coat’s right shoulder strap is the example pictured on page 125 of the same text.


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-115

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