KIA 1st Lieutenant Frock Coat
|Description and Photograph||
This regulation Confederate frock coat was worn by Lieutenant Francis Moreno. Though Moreno was the scion of Southern Aristocracy, like much of the South’s aristocracy, he entered the fight to defend his homeland. His father was the largest banker in Pensacola, Florida and his grandfather was a surgeon in the Spanish Army stationed in Pensacola. His great-grandfather commanded one of the Spanish colonies in Louisiana in 1778. His social position was such that he and P. G. T. Beauregard served together in the Louisiana State Guard and his sister was married to the Confederate Secretary of Navy, Stephen Mallory, who was also from Pensacola.
Lieutenant Moreno joined the Orleans Guard Infantry, [Also known as 1st Battalion, New Orleans Guards; 13th Battalion Infantry] a six-company organization that entered Confederate service in December 1861. General P. G. T. Beauregard was also a member of this battalion which later formed part of his command during the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. The battalion was mustered into Confederate service for ninety days in New Orleans on March 6, 1862, with 411 men. The battalion was sent to Corinth, Mississippi, and on April 6, the battalion lost heavily in the attack at Shiloh Church. During the second day of fighting at Shiloh, April 7, the battalion attached itself to the 18th Louisiana Regiment. The battalion fell back to Corinth with the army and later retreated to Tupelo. The Orleans Guard’s casualties were 17 killed, 55 wounded, and 18 missing. Among those wounded and left on the field was Lieutenant Moreno, who was hit in both legs and died shortly after the battle. General Beauregard made a personal inquiry regarding Lieutenant Moreno by flag of truce to Union General Buell.
Moreno’s uniform has a verbal provenance of having come from his descendants; I have no way of documenting the transfer, however, the “F. Moreno, Jr." inked on the inside of the coat is without question genuine, and there is no other identification possible in the Confederate Army. Also buttressing the id is the fact that the coat was definitely made in New Orleans.
The regulation pattern, 1st Lieutenant's frock coat is made of fawn gray wool and has eagle staff buttons backed "superior quality”. The standing collar is made of medium sky-blue kersey for the infantry. Stitched to the collar on each side is the Confederate 1st Lieutenant's rank insignia, made of two flat gold braids. The blue cuff facings are made from the same sky blue wool kersey in a pointed pattern with eagle cuff buttons back marked "Extra Quality”. The single strand, sleeve braid is that of a 2nd Lieutenant; it runs up each sleeve in a Confederate pattern quatrefoil officer's insignia. Indicating that the coat started life as a 2nd Lieutenant's coat and later the collar was changed to a 1st Lieutenant. An unusual feature of the uniform is that the inside lining is fitted with a lightweight, dark brown, leather belt. The front of the coat has a single button hole on each side, which is a French feature allowing the front of the coat to be buttoned to the back, keeping the skirts out of the way of the legs. This feature is only found in New Orleans-made Confederate officer uniforms.
The price cannot be beat, for a genuine regulation pattern Confederate 1st Lieutenant’s Frock, even were it unidentified; with the identification, it is a true bargain. It is in beautiful condition, having only the lightest of mothing, or briar damage along the skirt. The regulation infantry, blue facings remain brilliant; truly a stunning, historically important, KIA Confederate Officer’s Frock Coat.