Sunday, September 25, 2011

Colorful Cavalry Coats

This entry comes from  Famous Adventures and Prison Escapes of the Civil War. This is from A War Diary of Union Woman in the South, by Dora Richards Miller, edited by G. W. Cable.  The diary was originally published anonymously to protect the writer's identity.  She was a teacher in New Orleans.   

The entry is from September 25, 1861.
Sept. 25.—When I opened the door of Mrs. F.'s room on my return, the rattle of two sewing-machines and a blaze of color met me.

"Ah, G., you are just in time to help us; these are coats for Jeff Thompson's men. All the cloth in the city is exhausted; these flannel-lined oil-cloth table-covers are all we could obtain to make overcoats for Thompson's poor boys. They will be very warm and serviceable."

" Serviceable— yes! The Federal army will fly when they see those coats! I only wish I could be with the regiment when these are shared around." Yet I helped make them. 

Seriously, I wonder if any soldiers will ever wear these remarkable coats—the most bewildering combination of brilliant, intense reds, greens, yellows, and blues in big flowers meandering over as vivid grounds; and as no table-cover was large enough to make a coat, the sleeves of each were of a different color and pattern. However, the coats were duly finished. Then we set to work on gray pantaloons, and I have just carried a bundle to an ardent young lady who wishes to assist. A slight gloom is settling down, and the inmates here are not quite so cheerfully confident as in July.
General M. Jeff Thompson, from the Mollus Collection ,
United States Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.

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