Thursday, December 12, 2019

"The Color of Uniforms."

I found this brief article in the May 23, 1861, Richmond, Indiana, Palladium newspaper. It warned that due to advances in rifled weapons or "arms of precision" as the author termed them, bright uniforms should be avoided. He cautioned, "and, when we dress a soldier in red, or even dark blue, we do the same thing, and in fact assist the enemy." At this early point in the war many of the Union militia units were still outfitted with grey and other earth-toned uniforms. Of course, the United States military ultimately decided against blending in and chose its standard light blue trousers and dark blue fatigue blouse. Some Indiana regiments totally ignored this advice in favor of flashy variations of Zouave uniforms.

I also found interesting the writer's comment that "Our Southern neighbors, who have been habituated to street fights and the use of weapons against each other, are prepared to take any advantage we may give them." It appears that the antebellum reputation for personal violence in the South was well established in Northern minds and at least carried over somewhat into the early days of the war.

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