Forage Cap, Pattern 1858
This is a make or break item for your impression. Don't skimp here. Buy from quality sources and your uniform will be more authentic “from the top down.” Made of dark blue wool, not navy as in most reproduction caps, with a polished cotton lining of black or dark brown. The visor is shiny patent leather (yes, patent leather), smooth on both sides. The 1858 forage cap was the mainstay of the Federal soldier in the Civil War. The visor should be worn flat or pushed up in front, never rolled like a modern baseball cap. The only brass to be worn on the forage cap is the Company letter, which is worn on the front of the cap, not on top.
There were several styles of forage cap produced during the war, the two most common styles are referred as "Type I" and "Type II" by modern collectors and sutlers. Both are acceptable, however, we believe that the "Type I" may have been the initial pre-war pattern.
This is also called the "sack coat" after the civilian garment of similar cut, this coat was intended for fatigue or work duty but was very common in the field due to its comfort. There were different style made during the war (Schuylkill, J.T. Martin, etc.), at the beginning of the war Schuylkill was the only manufacture, but any of these styles is acceptable. The fatigue blouse was produced both lined and unlined during the war, the choice is up to you. These blouses were hand-sewn and had a short, roll type collar and four large Eagle buttons. The length, according to specifications, extends half-way down the thigh. The sleeves had small split cuffs. Some versions had a seam down the back as well. All seams were overcast. The color of originals was indigo dyed dark blue, not navy blue as found in many reproductions. This is not a stylist garment, thus the name "sack coat." This, like your forage cap, is a very important item that can make or break an impression.
Trousers, Sky Blue (Dark Blue), Foot Pattern
The regulation specified trousers made of a sky blue kersey wool, with the exception of the period between March 24, 1858 and December 16, 1861, when the regulations specified dark blue trousers (indigo). We recommend that you buy the sky blue trousers first as these will get the greatest use as most of our events take place in the 1862-1865 time period. These loose fitting, full-legged trousers will fit differently than modern pants. They are high waisted, intended to come to above the navel. Like the fatigue blouse, there were different style made during the war (Schuylkill, J.T. Martin, Deering), with Schuylkill being the only manufacture at the beginning of war, but any of these style will be acceptable. Different variations included a cord tie in back and a wool belt attached to the back to adjust the waist. Pocket variations include slit pockets and ear type pockets. Often, a watch pocket is found under the waistband. The Schuylkill trousers were hand-sewn and include slit side pockets. Look for a correct kersey weave.