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Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Enlisted Sack Coat

Enlisted Sack Coat Enlisted Sack Coat
Unknown New York Private
in an Enlisted Sack Coat
Detail of Buckle and
Saber Bayonet

SNY Buckle
State of New York Buckle
Courtesy: Jake Hendricks
This image of an unknown infantry private was taken in the Bowery, New York City. He is wearing a SNY (State of New York) buckle with a saber bayonet. During the Civil War regiments were raised by the individual states on a quota system when the President issued a call for additional troops. During the first stage of the process many states equipped troops with state uniforms and accoutrements. These often had state rather than federal buttons and buckles. This accounts for the many state buttons and buckles found at Civil War sites. Early in the war the federal government did not have an adequate amount of uniforms or equipment on hand to equip all of the new regiments. As the war progressed and the Quartmaster Department created a large stock pile of uniforms and equipage, the federal government assumed a greater role. On March 31, 1864 the federal government totally assumed from the states the equipage and dress of new regiments.

Triangular socket bayonets were more commonly issued than saber bayonets, but some types of rifles in use during the Civil War took a saber rather than socket bayonet. In April 1861 the governor of New York, unable to acquire any accouterments from the hard pressed federal government, ordered some 33,000 sets. Included among the order was 7,150 frogs (attachment holding bayonet scabbard to the belt) for sword bayonets. It is possible that the above soldier is wearing one of these. Photographs such as the above were commonly taken prior to the regiment leaving for war.


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