Military History/Civil War Uniform?


Nick G. wrote at 2010-11-02 19:40:49
Hi, I am no Civil War "expert" but I have been studying the Union Navy during the Civil War for a reenacting impression I am doing.  I think your sailor is post Civil War for two reasons. First is the printed letters on his cap.  During the war most sailors did not have the name of their ship on the cap and if they did it was painted on by the sailor.  The printed names of the ships came into existance during the Spanish American War and was continued until WWII.  After the events of Pearl Harbor the US Navy changed the front to read just "US Navy" to prevent spies from seeing what ships were in port.  Secondly, the white strips on the cuffs and the bib in the back are markings not really typical Civil War jumpers.  These strips came into service about the time of the Spanish American War.  So from this I have reason to think that your young sailor is in fact probably from around the time of the Spanish American War.  

Anthony Middleton wrote at 2014-11-10 16:46:10

I am an Ex- Navy FC2 and doing research on Negro Civil War Union Sailors.

This sailor is wearing a Union Sailor uniform, probably later than 1863 so he would not be from CSS Alabama. Notice it has Piping on cuff area and on the what if I remember it was called grease catcher from Bootcamp. If you do a search you will see some with the white Pipping and some without the Piping so I believe the white piping came later.

He is probably also working with the sails on the ship.

I am not familiar with the instrument that in connected to the lanyard but it is probably not the pipe that the Quarterdeck watch would use when the Captain comes aboard or departs the ship. I believe the hat of a Quarterdeck watchman was different than this round flat hat.

I am currently trying to purchase a reproduction of this uniform for next Veteran's Day as my church is mainly Army people and have attitudes.

The shoulder mark maybe there hashmark( years 0f service during that time period). I remember hearing the term Boy until you get up to Petty Officer range.

It might be synonymous to our Seaman Recruit/Seaman Apprentice/ Seaman rating when you first get to the ship. A Blue Jackets Manual from 1940 might still have the older rating in it and give more information.

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C. P. Schulze


As a student of the American Civil War since childhood, I am well versed in most aspects of the war and have two novels published on the subject. My background and research affords me extensive knowledge in tactics, battles, weaponry, women's issues, slavery as well as any number of other topics. I will be glad to offer any insights or information I have.


I am the author of two published novels dealing with the American Civil War. For too many years to admit, I have spoken at local organizations about the Civil War. I also often act as a nonprofessional guide on Eastern Theatre battlefields. Further, I am occasionally asked to teach Virginia’s SOL Standards as they relate to the Civil War at local middle and high schools. I have been reading, researching and collecting C.W. paraphernalia since I was a young man. My web site may be found at

B. A. - Political Science, Old Dominion University - Norfolk, VA

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