|60 [?] pairs||socks|
|28||canteens & straps|
Other than an issue of 15 pairs of shoes signed for by 1st Lt Angus Shaw on 5 June 1862 (“They are necessary for the comfort of the men”) there are no more records of clothing issues until the October-December timeframe.
There are a few surviving Company K muster rolls that gives some idea of the condition of the company. The muster roll dated 21 March 1862 at “Camp Mason” rates clothing as “good”, arms as “not very good” and accouterments as “good.” Another return for an inspection conducted on 2 July 1862 for the period 30 April – 1 July in “Camp near Richmond” lists the clothing of the company as “very bad” while the arms and accouterments were rated as “good”. There are no other returns until the October- December period. It is worth noting that the company strength on 2 July was 2 officers and 16 men present for duty out of an aggregate strength of 4 officers and 69 men. Those “present for duty” included 1 Captain, 1 2nd Lt., 1 Sergeant and 15 Privates. 1 Sergeant and 2 Privates were KIA, one 1st Lt. and four Privates died of wounds. 2 Corporals and 10 Privates were absent - wounded. The rest were sick, on detached duty or, in the case of one man, had deserted.
As we can see from the brief overview of operations, the 38th NCT was in a position to obtain captured Federal uniforms, weapons and equipment prior to their arrival at Sharpsburg. The regiment was present at the capture and “sack” of the Federal supply trains at Manassas Junction, fought at Second Manassas, and was part of the force left at Harper’s Ferry after the surrender of the town. All of these events would have provided “The Carolina Boys” the opportunity to resupply at Federal expense.
On 29 September 1862, the Adjutant, David M. McIntire, wrote Colonel Hoke a long letter describing the regiment’s actions during the Maryland campaign. He describes the march to Manassas Junction:
“The next morning [25 August] we were ordered to leave all Knapsacks and everything except Haversacks, Canteens & one Blanket. We here commenced a long & fatiguing march…and soon found ourselves near Manassas Junction. here we captured three trains of Cars and some considerable amount of property, which we consumed by fire…We pressed on and reached the Junction on the 27th where we captured some four long trains of cars loaded with commissary [,] Q.master and Sutlers Stores…We made use of as much of the captured property as we could and set fire to the remainder.”
He gives a brief comment on the captures at Harper’s Ferry on 14 September: “…our forces marched in and took possession [of the town]…with about …Several thousand small arms and a considerable amount of commissary [,]Quarter Master and Sutlers Stores.”
Impression Guidance for Sharpsburg
Based on all this information, we can assume the appearance of The Carolina Boys at Sharpsburg would be a mix of well-worn commutation and state-issue uniforms, probably with a significant amount of captured Federal clothing and equipment. The pattern of commutation clothing is not known, but images of soldiers of the 38th NCT prior to Sharpsburg show each of them in a different type of uniform. These uniforms would have been up to 10 months old by 17 September and probably very ragged. Some individuals may have obtained newer clothing from home prior to the movement to Virginia on 27 April. Based on the Form 40, if would appear that the later recruits were issued the 1861 Regulation “sack” coat, which would be five months old by the time of the battle. Add to this mix the captured items available to the soldiers. The result would appear to be motley array of clothing, well used and in many cases ragged...which matches the usual description of Lee’s army during the campaign. Arms and accouterments would show the same amount of wear and the availability of captured items. Also, remember that the regiment has just completed a forced march to the battlefield. The enthusiasm for that full Yankee knapsack may have waned as the pace quickened on 17 September.
We know that we are unlikely to match the raggedness of the original Carolina Boys, unless you care to use a belt sander on your current clothing…so we will try to follow the common types, if not the actual condition of their appearance. A typical look might be a state issue coat, CS or captured Federal trousers ( preferably unissued), the usual caps or hats, CS or Federal shoes, a mix of CS and captured accouterments, canteens, haversacks, knapsacks, blankets. Rifle muskets, either 1861 Springfield, P-53s or Richmonds.
This is a good opportunity to use some of those Federal items you still have laying around. It would be better if the Federal items were new/relatively clean, to represent recent captures, but used items are acceptable…just no ragged/patched/faded Federal trousers, etc. 1st Lt. Benjamin Cathey, 16th NCT, described the Federals he saw at Harper’s Ferry: “ the enemy was spotlessly dressed in brand-new uniforms, shoes and buttons, and gold and silver trappings glistening in the morning sun, while we were almost naked…” ( NC Regts, I, p. 760). Please limit the amount of Federal stuff you use…we don’t want to be mistaken for Yanks or howlers on the economy plan.
1. N.C. 1861 Regulation Coat. Nearly half of the company went to Virginia in a state issued coat.
2. Frock Coat- the usual items some of us have already, but the state issue coat is a better choice.
3. Jackets – one or two people could use an RD type I or II…obtained by theft, trade, or purchase. If you have nothing else, use your NC issue jacket.
4. Commutation uniform coats - sack coat similar to that seen in image of 38th NCT soldier…again, very limited.
5. Civilian coats – same as a RD jacket…only one or two people and be prepared to take it off if we have too many people trying this stunt.
6. Federal Fatigue coat. I suppose that someone could wear one, as some needy Confederates prior to Sharpsburg apparently pressed these into service, but there is no indication that the 38th NCT used any blue coats.
Trousers: The usual NC/CS issue items, including Federal trousers. Limited civilian types permitted, but leave that plaid crap at home.
Shirts: The usual CS and civilian items we use; Federal issue shirts. No English imports.
Drawers: Any period types in cotton or flannel.
Socks: (if worn) Any period types in wool or cotton.
Shoes: NC/ CS types issued in 1862, Federal issue shoes, civilian brogans. Avoid English imports if you have other CS or US issue shoes and, of course, none of those damn boots.
Hats/Caps: The usual kepis and felt hats we normally wear, one or two captured Federal forage caps or Hardee hats are acceptable.
Weapons: Rifle Muskets – M1861 Springfield, P1853 Enfield, Richmond ( with “high hump” lockplate). Company K went to war with “flint and steel muskets” from the state, but we can safely assume that they had acquired better weapons by Sharpsburg. Col. Hoke made a comment that on 27 May near “Hanover Junction” in Virginia the regiment “…distributed guns ammunition & co. camped in a Pine grove.” He did not specify the type of guns issued. After the Seven Days’ battles the 38th NCT could have been reissued rifle muskets. Col. William DeRosset, 3rd NCST, wrote that “…with the ample supply of the Springfield rifled musket gathered from the field and captured, there was enough to supply our whole army with the improved gun. Orders came from headquarters that all muskets should be turned in and the troops armed with rifles.” (NC Regts, I, p.222) The other opportunities would be at Second Manassas or Harper’s Ferry. There were around 12,000 small arms captured from the Harper’s Ferry garrison, and the 38th could have obtained some of these, if needed. The majority of the captured Federal regiments in the garrison were equipped with Springfield or Enfield rifle muskets. Capt. J.S. Harris stated that the 7th NCST was armed with the “smoothbore Springfield musket” but exchanged them for the “Springfield rifle” after the surrender of the town. (NC Regts, I, p.372) Bayonets and “gun slings” appropriate to the weapon carried. It is also acceptable not to carry a bayonet. Ammunition packages and boxes should show markings for the Richmond Arsenal.
Accouterments: These items should be NC/CS issue appropriate to the ANV in 1862; captured US boxes ( patterns of 1857, 1861); No CS painted canvas accouterments, belts, or slings, as this scenario is too early to permit their use. No white webbing or white buff leather items of any sort. While English accouterments were available in 1862, we have no record of the 38th NCT receiving any, so do not use them for this event.
1. Cartridge Box: NC/CS issue types appropriate to the ANV in 1862. If a cartridge box shoulder belt is used: black leather NC/CS issue. US pattern of 1839, captured US boxes - patterns of 1857, 1861 boxes with shoulder belts appropriate to the types of boxes
2. Cap Box: NC/CS issue types appropriate to the ANV in 1862; Captured US pattern of 1850.
3. Waist Belt: NC issue black leather belt with an iron roller buckle, CS issue frames or forked-tongue types permitted. Limit use of Federal issue belts. No English imports, canvas webbing, white buff or painted canvas.
4. Bayonet Scabbard: NC/CS issue types appropriate to the ANV in 1862. Captured Federal scabbards (two-rivet type). English import scabbards and frogs of the correct pattern are allowed but discouraged. As usual, no bowie, side, or fighting knives, pistols of any sort, pikes, or any other types of military or civilian weapons.
Blanket: Early NC or CS issue military blankets. No “NC” marked blankets permitted, as this event is too early for their use; Federal issue blankets, civilian bed blankets, coverlets, quilts, carpet blankets.
Oilcloth: NC/CS types of oilcloths. Federal rubber blanket/poncho.
Haversack: NC/CS issue unpainted cotton haversack. Captured Federal haversack. No other types of haversacks or carpetbags.
Canteen: NC/CS issue tin drum canteens common to ANV in 1862. Use the NSR leather sling this time. Captured Federal pattern of 1858 canteen of a style common to summer 1862. No pattern of 1862 (“bullseye” type) Federal canteens; No CS wooden or Gardner types, or any filter types.
Knapsack: We know that the 38th NCT laid aside their knapsacks on the march to Manassas Junction, but we do not know if these items were brought forward later. NC/CS issue types appropriate to the ANV in 1862; captured Federal issue knapsacks. While some English knapsacks were available in 1862, we have no record of the 38th NCT receiving any, so please do not use them for this event.
Mess Equipment: Tin cups, small boilers, small tin plates or bowls and the usual types of flatware.
Miscellaneous Clothing and Equipment:
Shelter Half: Limited use…not all Federals had them yet. Early types only…no metal buttons.
Pioneer Tools: None
As always, the oddball crap is prohibited - Rubber talmas/raincoats, canvas “sport’ shoes, zouave officer kepis, gaiters or any other one-of-a-kind humbug that is inappropriate or just plain wrong for North Carolinians in Lee’s army at Sharpsburg.
Personal Items: wallets, watches, pocketknives, cased images, etc. These should be items common to a North Carolinian in the ANV in 1862. Fancy camp/smoking/sleeping caps, writing kits, toilet articles, sewing kits, chess sets, books, etc. were probably discarded to lighten the load on 17 September or packed away earlier with the baggage in Richmond.
Rations: As we all know, food was notoriously short during this campaign. The Confederates did not get much from the Maryland farmers and the staples of the diet were “green corn and fruit”. The bounty from the Manassas Junction captures would have been eaten up by Sharpsburg, but the supplies taken at Harper’s Ferry would have been in the haversacks of the Light Division at Sharpsburg…so break out those hard crackers, if you desire. Limit the rations to ears of corn, cornmeal, captured flour, salt pork or bacon, some fresh beef, apples, and captured Federal coffee.
Personal Appearance: The personal appearance of Lee’s troops in this campaign shocked the Maryland citizens. All accounts describe them as dirty (“filthy”), and unkempt, one Maryland farm boy claiming that nothing about them shined except their guns and their teeth (take note - the well-maintained weapons were often commented upon). Try to be as close to this your modern life will permit.
Notes on Sources: The information on the 38th NCT in this article was taken from the “usual” sources: Clark’s NC Regts, Vols I and II, and NC Troops: a Roster, Vol X. The compiled service records for the officers in the Company K provided the information from the Form 40s, especially that of Capt. McLauchlin. The muster roll data for the company is from surviving documents at NARA in DC.
The letters to Col Hoke are from Organization and Movements of the Thirty-Eighth Regiment North Carolina Troops January 17 1862-June 28, 1864, Hoke’s postwar history of the regiment while he commanded it (from Southern Historical Collection, UNC-CH). Images of 38th NCT soldiers are found in State Troops and Volunteers. Weapons data from AG 22-23, NC Ordnance Dept, Record of Issues, May 1861-July 1862. The discussion of the type of weapons captured at Harper’s Ferry is based on a comparison of the Federal order of battle shown in Battles and Leaders, Vol II, to the weapons issue information listed in Todd, American Military Equipage, Vol II.
On the road to Sharpsburg…
Captain Edward Ripley, captured at Harper’s Ferry with the 9th Vermont, watched Jackson’s Division depart the evening of 15 September…
“That night I lay beside the Charlestown Pike and watched until morning the grimy columns come pouring down from the pontoons. It was a weird, uncanny sight, and drove sleep from my eyes. It was something demon-like, a scene from an Inferno. They were silent as ghosts; ruthless and rushing in their speed; ragged, earth-colored, disheveled, and devilish, as though they were keen on the scent of the hot blood that was already steaming up from the opening struggle at Antietam, and thirsting for it; their sliding dog-trot was as though on snow-shoes. The shuffle of their badly shod feet on the hard surface of the Pike was so rapid as to be continuous like the hiss of a great serpent, broken only by the roar of the batteries, as they came rushing by on the trot, or the jingling of the sabres of the cavalry. The spectral, ghostly picture will never be effaced from my memory.”
From Edward H. Ripley, “Memories of the Ninth Vermont at the Tragedy of Harper's Ferry, Sept. 15, 1862.”
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