Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Another Mystery Solved

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on October 17, 2014

At least for me. I’ve mentioned before how a relative of mine in the Fourth Texas Infantry, Lawrence Daffan, witnessed the wounding of General Hood at Chickamauga, and was sure that Hood had been hit by fire from other Confederate troops. Daffan wrote:

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In the charge Sunday morning we captured a battery, driving the enemy back, and here general Hood was wounded. I am satisfied that General Hood was wounded by his own men, Confederates off to our left. I think they were Florida troops.
 
They mistook us on account of our neat, new standard uniform. They took us for Federals, as Bragg’s army had never seen a well-uniformed Confederate regiment. The couriers were sent to these troops telling them to cease firing, and to explain the situation. Were we in this battle, supporting the Western army, under Bragg.​

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Emphasis added. I’d never understood why the “new, standard uniforms” of the Texas Brigade would have caused such confusion, even for the ill-equipped Confederate troops in the Western Theater. Now, I find this in a discussion of the issue of new uniforms to Longstreet’s corps shortly before the battle:

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Longstreet’s troops had recently been newly uniformed, consisting of a dark-blue round jacket, closely fitting, with light-blue trousers, which made a line of Confederates resemble that of the enemy, the only difference being the “cut” of the garments—the Federals wearing a loose blouse instead of a tight-fitting jacket. The uniforms of the Eastern troops made quite a contrast with the tattered and torn homemade jeans of their Western brethren.

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The Texas Brigade was fired on by other Confederates because they were wearing blue uniforms. Simple as that.

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GeneralStarsGray

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11 Responses

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  1. Rob Baker said, on October 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Andy,

    I recall a similar story from Chickamauga about the 125th Ohio holding fire when opposite a South Carolina regiment; believing them to be federals.

    Unless I’m mistaken, I believe the Longstreet’s men got Richmond Type III jackets, which were made out of an English jean wool and were blueish grey. Add that to the light blue trousers many Eastern theater guys wore. When held up next to a regular federal uniform, they are different in color and cut. Across a battlefield however, different story. I could be mistaken about the type, but I’ve seen very authentic Confederate jackets which could be mistaken for Federal.

    • SF Walker said, on October 18, 2014 at 6:58 am

      That’s an interesting story about the 125th Ohio–those jackets must have looked convincingly blue from across the field! Unlike most CS enlisted uniforms, this jacket actually wasn’t made from jean cloth–all the surviving examples found thus far (I think about 14 or so) are blue-grey wool kersey. Kersey is a heavy pure wool weave–it’s the same stuff that sky-blue Federal trousers and greatcoats were made of.

      • Rob Baker said, on October 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        You’re probably right, I’m just going off of a loose memorization of what I heard way back when. I’d like to see a surviving example if you have any recommendations.

        • SF Walker said, on October 22, 2014 at 11:50 pm

          I’m pretty sure the Smithsonian Institute has one of these jackets. The Confederate volume of the 3-book Time-Life series “Echoes of Glory” has good photos of several of them, too–I think the original jackets photographed here are in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. And of course you can find some good color photos of them online.

    • Christopher Shelley said, on October 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      A Rob Baker siting! How’s the thesis?

      • Rob Baker said, on October 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        Ha! It’s done. I’m waiting on final comments on the conclusion and then the defense.

  2. Will Hickox said, on October 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    “Don Troiani’s Regiments and Uniforms of the Civil War,” a coffee-table-style book with illustrations and documentation of uniforms, has a good discussion of the garments worn by Longstreet’s men at Chickamauga. They were not really blue, but a dark bluish-gray jacket and lighter bluish-gray trousers.

  3. SF Walker said, on October 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    It sounds like Longstreet’s corps (or at least part of it) could have been issued what must have been the first of the Richmond Depot Type III shell jackets–but uniform experts like Les Jensen believe this jacket to have been first issued circa winter 1863-spring 1864. Interesting!

    The “cadet grey” kersey wool used on these is indeed bluish in appearance, though the color undoubtedly differed somewhat from lot to lot. It was impossible to get the exact same color in thousands of garments using the vegetable dyes and dye processes available at the time. So some of these jackets may have looked a little more “blue” than others.

  4. SF Walker said, on October 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    If Mr. Daffan was right, that would make Hood the fourth prominent, high-ranking Confederate general to be hit by his own troops.

  5. lee white said, on October 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    There were type II Richmond Depots made of Blue Gray kersey. However, hard to say if Hood was indeed hit by friendly fire, some new info coming out in the Hood papers soon. Hood was definitely under fire from Harker’s brigade when it happened.

    • SF Walker said, on October 22, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Thanks, Lee–I didn’t realize this material was ever used on the Type II’s. Any idea who owns the originals?


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