Confederate Enlisted Frock Coat


Description and Photograph




     Early War enlisted men’s frock coats are the rarest existing form of the Confederate uniform coat.  This is because though the frock coat was prescribed for Confederate enlisted men by the earliest regulations, they were soon superseded by the short shell jacket, in order to conserve hard to come by cloth.  This is a beautiful example of a cadet grey, single breasted, frock coat; not only does it have infantry branch of service colored piping around the collar, it also has regulation pointed cuffs, they too in infantry blue.

     Even rarer than the frock pattern itself are the buttons used on the coat.  Every button is original and every button was made under Charles Goodyear’s original patent!  Even the small cuff buttons are the original Goodyear vulcanized rubber buttons.  The buttons have the Novelty Rubber Company’s logo and Goodyear patent markings on the back.  Charles Goodyear, the inventor of the first practical, usable rubber, spent most of his life in poverty while pursuing a dream, and died in poverty, even after achieving that dream.  After years of what can only be called fanatical research produced workable products, he tended to sell them for next to nothing.  The Goodyear rubber company of the late 18th century took his name, but neither he nor his family received a penny from it.

     Les Jensen writes that “there are probably less than a  dozen surviving enlisted man’s frock coats” (I would suggest a few more).  This very well may be, and likely is, the only Confederate uniform coat in existence with the original Goodyear buttons intact.  The coat was discovered in 2007 at the historic El Nido Estate in Louisville, Kentucky.  El Nido had been owned by John Leathers, a past member of the 5th Virginia Infantry.  However, the name Barry Coleman is written in period ink, inside the sleeve, leaving the War era owner in doubt.  There are too many B. Coleman’s in the Confederate Army to say for certain which one owned the coat.  Extensive research into the Leather’s family connections could lead to the correct Barry Coleman. 

     The coat is in beautiful condition inside and out; it has had no restoration, nor does it need any.  It comes with the mannequin, ready to display.    




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