Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Veteran Reserve Corps Uniforms

VRC Soldier

Unknown Veteran Reserve Corps Enlisted Man

The above image was taken in Evansville, Indiana, which was the site of a U.S. Army General Hospital and home to four companies of Veterans Reserve Corps troops to which our unknown soldier likely belonged. The uniform was of sky blue in color with dark blue trim. The cut was similar to a cavalry jacket with a high standing trimmed collar that had a single small general service button on each side. There was dark blue trim running down the front and around the skirt. Unlike other regulation federal uniforms this one was fitted with shoulder loops. V.R.C. troops wore regulation dark blue forage caps and the regulation dark blue sack coats as a fatigue uniform, the same as other Union soldiers. The quartermaster stocked special dark blue chevrons for noncommissioned officers. Sky blue trousers were worn with the uniform. Noncommissioned officers wore dark blue stripes on their trousers. V.R.C. soldiers typically wore infantry insignia if they wore any at all. The uniform was prescribed by General Orders No. 124 of May 15, 1863.

The Veteran Reserve Corps was originally known as the Invalid Corps. The special uniform may have been intended to build morale, but the name Invalid Corps was not very helpful to that end. The more euphemistic term, Veteran Reserve Corps, better preserved the dignity of that particular service. Soldiers did not enlist directly in the V.R.C., but were transferred into it from line regiments when it was determined that they were unfit for field service because of medical reasons. The troops were under control of the provost marshal and performed duties that included serving as prisoner escorts, hospital orderlies, and provost guards.

MORE: V.R.C. Officer's Uniform (Photo)
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