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

Stuart Johnson stueypark at
Tue Jan 10 15:06:32 CST 2012

Once the war was in full swing soldiers wore whatever the army sent to them. The idea of different coats for dress wear, field wear, etc was long gone (most soldiers in the field were only given a single coat, instead of the prewar 3). I believe the idea was to reoutfit a reg't once a year since that was about the lifespan of the uniform (a lot of uniforms wouldn't even last that long) with only a couple things like shoes and shirts being issued more often. 

In most cases a reg't wore whatever the war department sent them, although some commnaders would be so audacious as to request a specific uniform, such as the frock coat. By later in the war the sack coat had become almost ubiquitous though. Sack coats took fewer manhours to create and used up less valuable material. By the time of Grant's overland campaign state's weren't even permitted to outfit their own regiments anymore so uniforms like state coats and zouave uniforms almost completely disappeared. So sack coats became nearly the norm by 1864. Frock coats were still issued to some units, although not as many. USCT for instance turn up in frock coats quite often. 

So to answer your question. Any regiment wearing a frock coat at Gettysburg almost certainly replaced them once, if not twice, by war's end and there was no guarantee they would be reissued a frock coat instead of a sack coat. 

> From: amills at
> To: gettysburg at
> Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2012 20:49:03 +0000
> Subject: Re: GDG- Distinction of "Frock Coats": WAS Shead's Woods and the "Harvest of Death" photograph
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> Stuart:
> Thank you for the link to the picture.  That does help show a difference.  
> Did they completely get rid of the frock coat, or was it simply a "winter" coat?
> Thanks,

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