Southern officers in gray cloth. Shot from the movie "Gettysburg" (1993)
"Hey soldier, have you met him,
My dear friend?" -
“He was dressed in khaki, went into secret.
Look for another guy."
"Hey soldier..." R. Kipling. Translation by V. Vasiliev
My dear friend?" -
“He was dressed in khaki, went into secret.
Look for another guy."
"Hey soldier..." R. Kipling. Translation by V. Vasiliev
History uniforms. In general, everyone knows that the “protective uniform” in the army appeared for the first time in the British colonial troops who fought in Afghanistan and India. And the very word "khaki" in translation from the Urdu language means nothing more than "dust, earth." That is, it was a "dusty, light gray" uniform. And the “Spanish tobacco color” uniform worn by British soldiers in South Africa is nothing more than a tribute to the local loess-like soil.
In different countries, it was this khaki color that was adopted as the main protective color. But there were also such armies in which soldiers and officers flaunted in gray. And he protected them no worse than any other "protective color". But when, where, in what war and in which army did this color first become the main color of a military uniform? This is what our story will be about today...
And it so happened that in 1775 the British colonies in North America were tired of being dependent on the mother country, and they revolted. Immediately the question arose about the army, in which the volunteers signed up, as, by the way, the Boers in Africa, dressed in everything ... "home". But there were also differences! In America, there were many shooters who wore shirts made of tanned deerskin and the same trousers, and shirts, and trousers, were often also decorated with multi-colored fringe. And it was this "form" that became the most common in the army of George Washington. But ... being a traditional man, alas, he did not understand his happiness and therefore stood up for his army to look no worse than the British. That is, she was dressed in the fashion of the late XNUMXth century!
Soldiers of the army of George Washington: 1. Soldier of the 14th Massachusetts Regiment, 1776 2. Soldier of the 1st South Carolina Regiment, 1778 the regiment, which had exactly the same form, had the motto "Liberty" (Liberty) or "Liberty or death" (Liberty or death). 2–3. Soldiers of the 5nd Pennsylvania Regiment, 2. Uniform options varied from company to company. This is just one example of the greatest complexity in equipping the troops of Congress. The first soldier is armed with a French rifle of the 1776 model, 1746 m long; it can be recognized by its "cow leg" stock and leash attachments on the left side. The second soldier is armed with a French rifle of the model already in 1,59; strap attachments are located under the stock. The third soldier is holding the Committee of Safety Musket, copied from the famous British Brown Bess musket. 1754. Soldier of the Legion of Count Pulaski. 6. Banner of a separate battalion of Westmoreland County (Pennsylvania). 7. Banner of the 8rd Connecticut Infantry Regiment. Here it is slightly enlarged, its true size was only 3x0,90 m. 1. Banner of the 9st Pennsylvania Line Infantry Regiment. Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 1th-2003th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Infantry. Navy. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: "Astrel", 23. S. XNUMX
But fashion is fashion, tradition usually replaces reason, and in November 1775 Congress decided to dress the army ... in brown cloth uniforms, because it was the easiest to get! But this cloth was not enough for everyone. Therefore, in a number of regiments they simply dyed their shirts red and green. The officers were tied with colored scarves, and ... the army was ready.
In 1779, Washington proposed different colors for the regiments of all 13 states, but Congress reduced all this diversity to four primary colors on the lapels, and so brown cloth dominated, albeit in a variety of shades. The instrument cloth could be white, red, pink, fawn, gray, green, blue - whichever one could get. Against the background of the British, French and German troops, dressed in their national uniforms, the American army looked faded. But she won, proving that victory on the battlefield does not always depend on the uniform!
By the way, assistance from France was provided not only by troops, but also by uniforms! 88 uniforms were ordered there, and although not all were delivered before the end of the war, Washington's army dressed at least a little in French-style uniforms, that is, white culottes, waistcoats and dark blue uniforms with red lapels.
Soldiers of the American Army 1784–1810 1. Soldier of the 1st sub-legion of Wayne's Legion. 2. Soldier of light infantry. This is what American soldiers looked like when they defeated the detachment of the Indian leader Tecumseh, who was in the British service, at the Battle of Fallen Timbergs on August 20, 1794. Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 2003th-47th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Infantry. Navy. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: "Astrel", XNUMX. S. XNUMX
True, quite a few years passed, and in 1812 the war with England resumed. And again, the army did not have enough cloth of the "correct colors", and instead of it they began to buy the "wrong", but cheap gray cloth. But since it came in small batches, and the cloth makers dyed it as it was convenient for them, the batches differed in color, so that one could see the form not only gray, but also black, beige or even brown! But gray dominated the troops. And, of course, suede pants have not disappeared anywhere either. They were recruits from the West. The shako in 1812 took the form of the British "Waterloo shako" (it was also called the "Belgian shako") made of felt or leather.
Full dress uniform of the U.S. Army Dragoon Regiments 1833–1851 was beautiful, not uncomfortable. But they wore it, and even as a field one. And all because it had a strong psychological impact on the hearts of the simple-minded Indians! Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 2003th-51th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Infantry. Navy. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: "Astrel", XNUMX. S. XNUMX
But even under Washington, it was possible to standardize the cartridge bag. It was supposed to hold 20-30 rounds of ammunition, and it weighed almost 3 kg. But even here it was not without theft - they stole the skin from which it was sewn. Therefore, the "canister" spread - a container made of tin, resembling a box for kitchen utensils!
Military uniforms after 1813 and up to 1835 resembled European ones: a blue uniform, a shako with a sultan, light gray trousers with a loose collar: 1–3. Staff officer, chief officer and private. 4. Shooter in a gray uniform. 5. Grenadier 1825. Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 2003th-55th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Infantry. Navy. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: "Astrel", XNUMX. S. XNUMX
In 1852, the trousers became sky blue, and the uniform became dark blue, single-breasted, with a stand-up collar and epaulettes with fringe on the shoulders. The sultans of the Napoleonic era on the shako were replaced by a simple pompom in the color of the military branch. And since 1855, the shako itself has changed and turned into a hat with brim. Moreover, in 1861 it was indicated: in the infantry, raise the left corner up, in the cavalry - the right one. Also after 1860, the “bummer cap” (“marauder's cap”) came into fashion. But it was simplified even more in 1862 and became the very famous “kepi”, which is what most people associate with the headdress of the American Civil War.
Dragoons in marching uniform, 1848. Rice. from the book V. Vuksic, Z. Grbasic. Cavalry. The history of fighting elite 650BC-AD1914. L.: Cassell, 1994. P. 197
About what kind of war it was, we will not talk here. It is only important to emphasize that it was very bloody. On average, 430 soldiers died per day, which was higher than the losses in all subsequent US wars, including the war in Korea. Big losses mean you need to dress and put on a lot of soldiers to make up for them. Already at the very beginning of the war, President Lincoln requested 75 thousand soldiers from Congress and received ... 100 thousand! In total, the States dressed 1 infantry regiments and 548 cavalry! And yet, there were also militia (volunteer) regiments, created and armed with the money of cities, states and ... banks! They wrote and spoke about “our regiments” with pride also because the Americans themselves served in them, while foreigners from Europe were primarily enrolled in the federal army.
These are the overcoats worn by northern soldiers in the cold. "Military uniform". M.: Slovo, 2001, p. 33
And here’s what’s even funny: although the government gave numerous advantages to the regular army soldiers (in particular, they could take advantage of the homestead law), many Americans preferred to serve in the volunteer regiments of cities and states. They paid more there, the discipline was less strict, the atmosphere was more friendly, but most importantly, they attracted many with their bright and colorful uniform! That is - if you die, then ... beautifully dressed!
Uniforms of the New York Volunteer Regiments. "Military uniform". M.: Slovo, 2001 p.33
Volunteers of some formations flaunted smart uniforms, similar to the one worn by the Zouaves - the French who fought in North Africa, but with various additions "on their own".
1. Uniform of the 1st Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. 2. Uniform of the 2nd Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. 3. An officer in the uniform of the 22nd New York Regiment, the so-called Gray Unionist regiment, which originally wore a gray uniform with a red collar and cuffs. The regiment was financed by New York banks and insurance companies. But over time, everything mixed up in it, and someone was left with only gray pants. 4. Officer of the New York volunteers. One of the options for uniforms according to the picture of those years. 5. Private of the same regiment. 6–8. Uniforms of soldiers of the 7th Regiment of New York State Volunteers and the US National Guard. Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 2003th-70th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Infantry. Navy. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: Astrel, XNUMX. S. XNUMX
By the way, it was possible to pay off the draft by paying $300 to the treasury in the North, and in the south those whose plantations had more than 20 or even 15 slaves were exempted from the draft in order to have security from the rear.
Officers and rank and file of the army of northerners in blue and blue uniforms. Frame from the movie "Gettysburg" (1994)
The typical uniform of the northerners was dark blue indigo uniforms, blue trousers and caps. The officer rank was indicated on shoulder straps, the general rank was determined by the placement of buttons on the uniform and the stars on the cap and shoulder straps, the buttons on the uniform were three in two rows, and a light silk scarf was tied on the belt. The uniform of the cavalry consisted of a short jacket with a yellow piping. In winter, infantrymen wore a faded blue or gray overcoat with a cape. The same overcoats relied on New York volunteers.
Southern Army Artilleryman. Rhett Butler could have served in such a uniform when he enlisted in the Confederate Army ... Frame from the movie "Gettysburg" (1994)
The uniform of the Confederates at the same time was a gray frock coat, a gray cap and blue trousers. However, the clothes of the southerners varied greatly in color and cut - mainly due to supply difficulties. That is why gray became the main color of the uniforms of the army of the southerners, and the material for them was cheap brownish-gray cotton fabric of coarse dressing for the summer and gray cloth for autumn and winter. Instead of a kepi, a hat was relied on in the summer. The gunners' caps were red.
Southerners in dress uniform, 1861. But in reality, this was very rarely worn ... In the background is the Confederate Capitol building in Richmond. Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 2003th-87th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Infantry. Navy. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: Astrel, XNUMX. P.XNUMX
In general, the uniform of their soldiers was cheaper for the southerners than the uniform of the northerners, and most importantly, the infantry, dressed in gray uniforms, was less noticeable from a distance. But ... at that time no one really appreciated this know-how.
The coat of a general in the Confederate army. Uniforms of the New York Volunteer Regiments. "Military uniform". M.: Slovo, 2001, p. 35
By the way, in the army of the southerners, as later in the army of the Boers, who just did not serve. A lot of volunteers fought in it, for whom uniforms, even from gray canvas, were not enough. Therefore, they dressed in all sorts of things and often fought just like partisans: they staged horse raids on the rear of the northerners!
Raid of the irregular cavalry of the southerners. Illustration from the book by Liliana and Fred Funken "Encyclopedia of weapons and military costume. Wars on the American Continent of the 2002th-75th Centuries. War for independence. Civil War. American-Mexican War. Exploration of the Wild West. M.: Astrel, XNUMX. S. XNUMX
Later, gray uniforms will also appear in the armies of the Old World. But this is a separate topic for another story.
To be continued ...