GDG- Distinction of "Frock Coats": WAS Shead's Woods and the "Harvest of Death" photograph

Charles T. Joyce CTJoyce at
Mon Jan 9 14:30:14 CST 2012

A frock coat was a long (mid-thigh) coat with 9 buttons. By 1863, many union soldiers would be wearing shorter and more comfortable 4 button "sack" coats.

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On Jan 9, 2012, at 3:26 PM, "Andy Mills" <amills at> wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> I have to ask:  what is a "frock coat" and why is this such an important distinction?  What type of coats were they wearing by this time (or at least should have been)?
> Thanks,
> ________________________________
> From: Charles T. Joyce <CTJoyce at>
> To: GDG <gettysburg at>
> Sent: Monday, January 9, 2012 2:43 PM
> Subject: Re: GDG- Shead's Woods and the "Harvest of Death" photograph
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> First of all, I think the whole "frock coat" argument proves too much.  Look at this iconic image of Co. K, 1st Pa. Reserves, about 10 days before the battle:
> I count about 12 frock coats in the first row. Point is, I'll wager that quite a number of units still had a handful of soldiers wearing them.
> Second, I'm more persuaded that the dead are in a line of battle, as opposed to a skirmish line.  That's a lot of dead skirmishers, and awfully close together.
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