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24013Uniforms... a question...

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  • Lt. Col. James L. Choron
    Dec 12, 2003
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      In another forum to which I belong, the question came up as to the use of the "hunter's frock", fringed with a cape, in militia units in the Civil War. We were discussing how long this particular "style" was in use, and the consensus was that it had passed out of general use by the early 1850s, if not slightly before. However, there seems to be some documentation of their use in early battles of the Civil War, most notably, as far as I am aware, at Pea Ridge.  Some of the Cherokees there were observed as wearing them.  I can't remember for sure, but there seems to be mention of their use by other militia units, in the early days of the war, as well. Whether this was an affectation, a tribute to soldiers of an earlier day, or not, I don't know, but it certainly seems plausible, in view of the variety of uniforms, used by both sides, in the early days of the war.  It is equally plausible that, like today, when some people have their favorite "hunting coat", so might people back then.  Just as a black and red checked coat throughout much of the twentieth century, or a blaze orange vest, or more recently, full camoflage has become virtually the 'uniform' of many hunters, so might have been the same for the hunting frock.  It is, after all, an excellent garment for that use. To me, it is also perfectly understandable that people would , at leat as militia, wear their hunting clothes to war.  Back then hunting and warfare were much more closely associated.  Particularly when, at least on the frontier, one might be hunting, and suddenly find himself at war, or vise versa.
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