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3rd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Company A - Civil War Reenactment Group

Authenticy Standards

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Arkansas Troops in Virginia 1861
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3rd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry

Authenticity Standards and Uniform Requirements

 

This company of volunteers, calling themselves the “Arkansas Travelers,” was organized at Portland, Ashley county, Arkansas, May 20, 1861, by Captain William H. Tebbs.  It traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, where it was assigned to the Third Regiment, Arkansas Volunteers, as Company A, July 1861.  On September 25, 1862, forty-two members of disbanded Company L—also from Ashley county—were assigned to this company.  During its four years of service, 147 men served in Company A.  Only twenty of them remained when the company was surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  Their paroles were signed on April 12, 1865, and they were released to go home.     

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

We portray Company A 3rd Arkansas, “Arkansas Travelers” during the mid war period (spring 1862 to late fall 1863).  Work to create an authentic impression of a Arkansas Infantryman in the Army of Northern Virginia.  We are not looking for a uniform look.  The Arkansas Travelers like all Confederate Soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia did not appear like a professional European Army.

 

JACKETS           

 

The  Shell Jacket was the principal part of a soldier’s uniform.  Other than a musket this should be your most expensive purchase.  A great shell jacket advances your impression more than any other part of your uniform.  Likewise a poor quality jacket will detract from your impression.  A good Quality Shell Jacket can be purchased for between $125.00 and $150.00.  Superior Quality Shell Jackets cost over $200.00.

 

Early War Spring 1861 to Spring 1862

 

BATTLE SHIRTS

 

Initially, the Arkansas Travelers went to war with Battle shirts, which were made by the people back home.  From descriptions of Arkansas soldiers the shirts varied widely within a company.  You can get a battle shirt for a reasonable price and as you go on in the hobby it is suggested. 

 

LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL FROCK COAT (optional)

 

In November of 1862 the Little Rock Arsenal began shipping Frock coats to the state’s soldiers in Virginia and Tennessee.  The Arkansas Travelers would have received these coats about that time.   This Coat would have been the principal uniform of the Arkansas Travelers through spring and summer of 1862.  In the spring of 1862 the men would have been supplied through the Depot System.  For all clothing, all buttonholes and top stitching should be hand sewn.   Because our impression is generally geared to mid war (1862-1863) this coat is not required.   The Little Rock Arsenal Frock Coat may be purchased from Galla Rock Sutler in Russellville Arkansas.  This is the only sutler I have found who makes this coat.  If anyone else is aware of another please let me know.  

Mid War Spring 1862 to Late Fall 1864

Our Primary Impression is mid-war.  All members are required to purchase a Richmond Depot Type II Shell Jacket.   During the mid war period the Arkansas Travelers were Uniforms form the Richmond Depot 

Richmond Depot Type II Shell Jackets Spring 1862 to Spring 1864 – Jean Cloth Richmond Depot  II shell jacket.  Sometime in the Spring of 1862 the Richmond Depot began to manufacture Type II shell jackets.  Initially this production overlapped with the production or Type I shell jackets.  Richmond Depot continued to manufacture these jackets through mid 1864 and overlapped the initial production of the Type III shell jacket.  This was the most issued jacket to the Akansas Travelers.  Everyone is required to purchase one of these jackets.   

Late War Late Fall 1863 to End of War

 

Richmond Depot Type III Late mid 1864 to end of war- Kersey Wool Richmond Depot Type III shell jacket.  Sometime in 1864, the Richmond Depot began to produce the Type II shell jacket.  The initial run of this jacket overlapped the end production of the Type II shell jacket.  In fact the Museum of the Confederacy has two examples of what appears to be a transition piece.  It is made of kersey wool.  The jacket has epaulets, but lacks belt loops.  This jacket can be dated to late 1863 and the summer of 1864.

 

Peter Tait Shell Jacket 1865-Kersey wool Peter Tait shell jacket  beginning in December 1864 or January 1865, the Confederacy began to import large quantities of shell jackets manufactured by Peter Tait of Limerick Ireland.  Please note, our impression is generally geared to mid war (1862-1863) these jackets are not required.   Either jacket may be purchased from several sutlers. 

           

TROUSERS

Trousers may vary greatly within the unit from Confederate issue trousers to Captured Federal trousers. During the War soldiers went threw trousers faster than any other uniform item.  Trousers were the most common issue to soldiers.  You can purchase trousers for under $100.00 to close to $200.00.  All visible stitching should be hand sewn. 

You will be required to obtain a pair of grey jean cloth trousers.  Alternatively, you may use Federal Foot trousers, or civilian pattern trousers.  We are not looking for a uniform look.  Your jacket and trousers do not need to match.

Hats  Next to the Shell Jacket, your hat is the most important part of your Uniform kit.  Confederate soldiers hats varied widely from civilian style slouch hats to kepi or forage caps.  Your hat should be constructed of proper materials with brim ribbon.  No Hillbilly hats.  Hats vary in price from $25.00 to well over $100.00.  As with your shell jacket, the money you spend on your hat is well spent.  A good hat purchased from Dirty Billy or a similar vendor, will cost a lot but it will hold up for many seasons.

Early War May 1861 to Spring 1862  Early war troops were issued kepis.  These caps were quickly discarded for civilian slouch hats which were more comfortable and functional. 

Mid War Spring of 1862 to Fall of 1863  The standard hat of all soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia  was a civilian style slouch hat.  You will be required to purchase a civilian style slouch hat.  The style is your choice as long as it is an appropriate period design.  You may also opt for a kepi.  

Late War Fall of 1863 to End of War  For late war impressions, the same hat used for the mid war impression are appropriate.  

We recommend you purchase a Civilian Style Slouch Hat.  It is the most appropriate hat for the mid-war impression.  Before purchasing a kepi or a forage cap, please contact a member of the authenticity committee.  There are many vendors who sell replicas of these styles, but few vendors who make an accurate reproduction.  A poor replica will not be allowed in camp.  It is a waste of money.

Shirts   The Shirt style varies greatly.  Most soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia wore civilian style shirts.  Shirts can vary in price from $20.00 to $100.00.

Braces(Suspenders)  In the 19th Century trousers were worn across the belly button area.  Men did not wear belts to hold their pants up.  Instead they wore braces.  Braces can be purchased from most of the sutlers listed in this document for under $20.00. 

Shoes    Shoes are one of your most important purchases.  A good pair of shoes is a a soldier’s best friend.  Alternatively a poorly made pair of shoes will hurt your feet, and fall apart in no time.   Generally, most military shoes were made with lefts and rights. The soles were pegged or sewn using hand and machine stitching. Smoothness or roughness on the outside of the Brogan is optional. Shoe laces either string or raw-hide. You can also cut down your Brogans to a lower point for comfort just like a lot of the soldiers did.

Socks:  Socks must be period pattern cotton of wool.  No modern socks should be worn.  They may be purchased from various sutlers. 

ACCOUTERMENTS

Belts  The men of the Pee Dee Guards wore a variety of belts.  North Carolina roller buckle, Georgia frame buckle, fork tongue buckle or snake buckle belts are preferred.   Captured Federal Oval plates are also appropriate.  The Belt can be either black or russet color.

Cartridge Box and Shoulder Strap   The men of the Arkansas Travelers carried a variety of Cartridge Boxes.  For a mid war impression you should stick with a Model 1855 58 caliber cartridge box.  You may use a Confederate Cartridge Box with a CS box plate or a Federal box with a US box plate.   A CS Cartridge may be black or russet.  If you carry an Enfield, you may opt for an Enfield Cartridge Box.  Avoid Embossed US or CS Cartridge Boxes.  These boxes were not used until late in the war.  The shoulder strap should match the box.  Your Cartridge box is worn on your right hip.  The box is worn under your belt with the top of the box be even with your belt.

Cap Box The cap box may be either russet of black.  Avoid embossed cap boxes because they were not used until late in the war.

Canteens Confederate Soldiers carried various types of canteens throughout the war.  Your Canteen is worn on your left hip.  The canteen should hang at about belt level.  Your canteen should not hang down too low. 

Early War May 1861 to Spring 1862 Confederate tin drum canteens wooden canteens or Federal Model 1858 smooth side canteens are appropriate.  All early war model canteens are also appropriate for mid or late war impressions.

Mid War Spring 1862 to Fall 1863 Federal Model 1858 smooth side Model 1862 Bulls eye Canteens are appropriate.  For Confederate impressions no cover with leather straps was very common. 

Late War Fall 1863 to End of War For late war impressions, any early war of mid war canteen is appropriate.

Haversacks  Confederate soldiers carried a wide variety of haversacks throughout the war.  You can carry a Federal Tarred Haversack, Confederate Issue linen or cotton Haversacks.  Homemade bed ticking or carpet haversacks are also appropriate.  The Haversack should be worn on your left hip.  The top of the haversack should be even with your belt (Remember your belt is even with your belly button).

 MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

 

Blanket:  Confederate soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia used a variety of blankets.  Common blankets include Wool blankets, captured US Issued Blanket, Civilian Wool Blankets and Home made quilts.  A blanket is an important purchase.  Reproduction blankets can be purchased from various vendors for a reasonable price.

 

Gum Blankets (Ground Cloths):  Soldiers often carried rubber blankets or tarred ground cloths.  Such an item was great pleasure to a soldier.  It was used as a ground cloth to keep him dry, or as a poncho in rainy weather.  A good quality reproduction ground cloth can be purchased from various sutlers for under $50.00.

 

Shelter halves:  While on campaign, soldiers did not carry tents.  A luck soldier possessed a shelter half.  When the army stopped for the night, two men could attach their shelter halves together and create a dog tent.  The men could also string the shelter halves together or individually hang the shelter halves in the trees to create a shebang.  Every member of the unit should obtain a shelter half.  The shelter half should be made of Cotton drill and not canvas.  The cotton drill is much thinner and easier to carry in your blanket roll or knapsack.  The grommets should be sewn and not brass.  Shelter halves may be purchased from the following makers. 

 

Firearms:  Our primary impression is mid war.  During the mid war period the 3rd Arkansas was armed with Enfield rifles and Springfield rifles.  You should purchase an 1853 Enfield rifled musket or a 1861 or 1862 Springfield rifled musket. 

 

Bayonet and Scabbard.  Once you purchase your musket get a bayonet and scabbard.   Before you purchase it make sure it matches your musket and that it fits.  Bayonets are unique and sometimes require some work to get them to fit.  If possible purchase your bayonet in person to assure proper fit.

 

Tin Ware.  Purchase a tin cup and a mucket.  The cup’s use is obvious.  The mucket is used for boiling rations or coffee.  These items must be made of tin.  No stainless steel.  They can be purchased from any sutler.

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Confederate Troops in Frederick MD