The following photographs show the preferred equipment styles and manner of wear for the 28th Mass, Co. B living history group. This standard impression is based on extensive examination of period photographs, drawings and the best available research.
The uniforms and equipment selected for these images would be appropriate for a typical 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry soldier during the period of 1862-1863.
Quality standards and vendor sources for each item are detailed in the main text. Questions or comments may be directed to our email address (on the homepage).
Soldier is standing at “Arms Port” holding a reproduction Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Musket, imported from England. Note the British issue sling. Research indicates that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts often issued English made slings with Enfields. As these wore out on campaign, they were likely replaced with American-made slings. The soldier is wearing a Federal issue, lined four- button “sack” coat. The wool trousers are a sky-blue colored kersey, in a pattern designed for foot soldiers.
The soldier is holding his musket in the position of “Shoulder Arms.” Note the placement of the leather accoutrements. The waist belt is worn higher than modern belts. Also note the leather strap and jean cloth cover on the smooth-sided canteen. The cork is connected to the canteen with a cotton or jute string. The smooth sided canteen is recommended as the “bulls eye” style canteen was not widely available in the field until later in the war. The knapsack straps are shown hooked to the belt but may also be crossed and hooked to the shoulder straps.
Note that the forage cap’s visor is not rolled downward on the sides like a modern baseball cap. The top is flat, unlike the kepi which was not widely worn by enlisted men. The ammunition box is located on the right hip and was designed to hold forty rounds. Also note that the blanket straps are run under the shoulder straps from the knapsack. This keeps the rolled up blanket high and tight on the top of the pack, instead of sagging backwards, straining the shoulders. The soldier has also rolled up the excess material on his blanket straps, keeping them neat, and out of the way.
The soldier is wearing a stenciled state-issued knapsack with a rolled US Army issue blanket strapped to the top. At times, soldiers would be ordered to carry their rolled greatcoats in that location with the blanket stowed under the flap. Note the haversack and canteen on the left side as per regulations. His tin cup is stowed inside the haversack along with his other mess gear. The soldier has his feet in the “T” firing position.
Note the bayonet scabbard on his left side opposite the cap box. For early & mid war impressions, the two rivet scabbard is encouraged as the reinforced seven rivet version was issued only later in the war. Please note that the accoutrements are worn fairly high and tight on the body. This has practical value as loose gear worn lower on the body becomes quite uncomfortable on the march or when moving at the double quick.
This image shows the soldier wearing his Federal issue shirt. It is made of “domet” flannel, a blend of wool and cotton threads. When they could get them, troops also wore civilian shirts mailed from home. The braces (suspenders) are a non-issue item. This soldier wears braces of leather; various fabrics and tapes where also used. The civilian-made stockings are hand knit wool. The Government did issue stockings, but they were notorious for their quick unraveling and deterioration. The soldier is wearing Federal issue bootees, also known as “brogans.”