|Description and Photograph||
Under Governor Joseph Brown, Georgia began preparing for war in November of 1860 and by February of 1861 the State of Georgia had 173 Volunteer companies on the rolls and 35 more were forming and under his direction, the legislature appropriated millions for defense. On March 9th, 1861 the Confederacy called for the state to supply 1000 infantry; a call that was not well answered. On April 8th and again on the 16th the Confederacy asked Georgia to furnish 8000 infantry. This time Georgia Volunteers responded with alacrity and by the end of the year Georgia had raised 34 regiments, 3 legions, 10 battalions and ten batteries of field artillery. It is these last we are concerned with. The 1861 dated buttons and the uniforms mediocre construction indicate that these buttons and this uniform were purchased by the State of Georgia in the early spring of 1861.
Prior to the War, Georgia had no standard uniform and many of the volunteers were outfitted in blue. On March 2, 1861 Georgia’s Adjutant General Wayne wrote to Georgia General William Phillips “About the clothing and equipage, I set our Philadelphia System going at once. If this pressure lasts six months longer this State will be on the high road to independence of all Northern factories and foundries. Everything for our Army in the way of clothing and equipage, except the order to you, is being manufactured in this State...”
General Wayne was referring to General Phillips “Georgia Army” which was raised in early 1861. “The uniforms of this force (the simpler parts of which he was having made in Georgia and the more specialized items he was ordering from Philadelphia and New York….” i.e. the Philadelphia buttons made in 1861. The “Georgia Army” had two battalions of artillery; the uniform for these enlisted men was prescribed as “Georgia Cadet Gray” with orange piping and stripes for the artillery. Issues of the described coats began in April of 1861; at the same time Adjutant General Wayne wrote to his agent in Philadelphia, “As the Confederacy has taken charge of Military matters, the Governor says make no more purchases”
The single breasted artillery frock coat shown here is identified as a Georgia coat by the eleven W.G. MINTZER PHILA 1861, Georgia State Seal buttons. The coat is made of wool and cotton; the wool remains mouse gray, and the dye in the cotton threads has turned somewhat brown or “butternut”. Originally the coat was mouse gray all over. The faced collar and cuffs are made of wool broadcloth and still hold the original dye well. There are two red wool broadcloth loops on the front of the coat intended to hold cross belts in place. The back of the coat is cut in the conventional style of the period with the pocket flaps extending to the bottom of the skirt. There were three buttons on each side, but only one remains. The inner body is partially lined with the green satinet so often found in this period interspersed with another layer of the same outer body material. It is interesting to note that the breast padding of this coat, which has been protected from light, is lined with homespun orange.
The “Georgia Army” referred to included Stovall’s Artillery Battalion but when Jefferson Davis refused to accept the Artillery Battalion for unknown reasons, it was reorganized as the 3rd Volunteer Infantry and served as infantry for the remainder of the War. This probably accounts of the excellent condition (as to wear, not mothing) of the coat as it was likely left behind. Whether this be the reason or no, this early coat was definitely put away for safe keeping early in the War. There are no other examples of the “Georgia Army” issued coats known to exist.
The coat has had minor restoration, in that the two large moth holes in the back and one small hole lower down have been under laid with modern material and several of the seams have been resewn to strengthen them. The coat is very solid and displayable as it is. It comes with a full examination report and the mannequin shown in the images.
This is an excellent buy on a rare coat.