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Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Chaplain's Uniform


Thomas Quinn

Father Thomas Quinn
Associate Chaplain
1st Rhode Island Detached Militia

Quinn is wearing a non-regulation coat that may be a variation of the Rhode Island smock. The most interesting feature of Quinn's uniform is his captain's shoulder straps. The regulations did not call for a chaplain to wear shoulder straps, but chaplains were paid at the same rate allowed captains of cavalry and occasional chaplains wore rank insignia of captains. He is wearing a sword belt buckle. There is very little in Quinn's uniform to distinguish him from a combatant.

Canadian born Father Thomas Quinn held a brief tenure as associate chaplain of the 1st Rhode Island Infantry Regiment. Since the regiment contained both Protestant and Roman Catholic soldiers the regiment originally had two chaplains: Reverend Augustus Woodbury and Father Thomas Quinn. Both were present with the regiment at the First Manassas. The Regiment was mustered in the service of the United States for 90 days ending in August 1861. Following this service Quinn was appointed to the 3rd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment and was mustered August 15, 1861. Father Quinn transferred from the 3rd Infantry to the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery on November 12, 1861. His tenure was brief as Special Order Number 6 dated January 8, 1862 caused him to be discharged effective January 3, 1862. It is assumed this was because he was judged to be a supernumerary as light artillery regiments were not to have a staff and field mustered into federal service.

The duties of chaplains were codified by the following Act of Congress:

GENERAL ORDERS No. 49.
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, August 3, 1861.
I. The following acts of Congress are published for the information of the Army: AN ACT to authorize the employment of volunteers to aid in enforcing the laws and protecting public property. SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed to each regiment one chaplain, who shall be appointed by the regimental commander on the vote of the field officers and company commanders on duty with the regiment at the time the appointment shall be made. The chaplain so appointed must be a regular ordained minister of a Christian denomination, and shall receive the pay and allowances of a captain of cavalry, and shall be required to report to the colonel commanding the regiment to which he is attached, at the end of each quarter, the moral and religious condition of the regiment, and such suggestions as may conduce to the social happiness and moral improvement of the troops.
GENERAL ORDERS No. 158.
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, April 13, 1864.
The following act of Congress is published for the information of all concerned: PUBLIC--No. 44. AN ACT to amend section nine of the act approved July seventeenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled "An act to define the pay and emoluments of certain officers of the Army, and for other purposes." Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the rank of chaplain, without command, in the regular and volunteer service of the United States, is hereby recognized. Chaplains shall be borne on the field and staff rolls next after the surgeons, and shall wear such uniform as is or may be prescribed by the Army Regulations, and shall be subject to the same rules and regulations as other officers of the Army. They shall be entitled to draw forage for two horses, and when assigned to hospitals, posts, and forts, they shall be entitled to quarters and fuel within the hospitals, posts, or forts, while they are so assigned, without the privilege of commutation, subject to the same conditions and limitations as are now by law provided in the case of surgeons. When absent from duty with leave, or on account of sickness or other disability, or when held by the enemy as prisoners, they shall be subject to no other diminution or loss of pay and allowances than other officers in the military service are under like circumstances. And chaplares who have been absent from duty by reason of wounds or sickness, or when held as prisoners in the hands of the enemy, shall be entitled to receive full pay, without rations, during such absence. In all other respects the pay of chaplains shall be the same as now provided by law. SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the act approved July fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two entitled "An act to grant pensions," is hereby so amended as to include chaplains in the regular and volunteer forces of the Army: Provided, That the pension to which a chaplain shall be entitled for a total disability shall be twenty dollars per month, and all the provisions of the act to which this section is an amendment shall apply to and embrace the widows, children, mothers, and sisters of chaplains of the land forces who have died since the fourth day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, or shall die, of wounds or disease contracted in the service of the United States, and while such chaplains are, or shall be, in the line of their duty· SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of chaplains in the military service of the United States to make monthly reports to the Adjutant-General of the Army, through the usual military channels, of the moral condition and general history of the regiments, hospitals, or posts to which they may be attached; and it shall be the duty of all commanders of regiments, hospitals, and posts, to render such facilities as will aid in the discharge of the duties assigned to them by the Government. SEC· 4. And be it further enacted, That all chaplains in the military service of the United States shall hold appropriate religious services at the burial of soldiers who may die in the command to which they are assigned to duty, and it shall be their duty to hold public religious services at least once each Sabbath, when practicable. Approved April 9, 1864. By order of the Secretary of War: E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.


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