MILITARY CLOTHING GUIDELINES
The 9th Regiment strives to be an authentic cavalry unit in both action and appearance. Remember, cavalry is considered the elite of the corps. So keep this in mind when purchasing and caring for your equipment. Price is usually indicative of quality and authenticity. It is better to pay a little more for a high quality item than to settle for something that costs less but is lacking in quality and authenticity. Make your impression flexible and buy for a federal impression as well, IF that item would have worked for our regiment. If you purchase inaccurate goods at the outset, and then have to replace these items, it can be quite expensive. Please check with the captain. Don't assume that if its for sale at the sutler, made by a reenactor or even sold by a member of this company that its correct for your impression.
These guidelines are not intended to force members to make immediate and expensive changes to existing uniform and equipment. It is to make one more aware of what needs replacing, and to replace those items as they wear out with a higher quality more authentic item. We wish the new recruit to be aware of what we require at events. The items in red are items you should strive to get in the first year of reenacting if possible. The other items you will probably need at some time and are recommended after you buy your first level of gear.
We are portraying the average Virginia cavalryman and not the oddity. Any deviation from the norm, be it the manner of wearing the uniform or unusual hat decoration, non-issue horse gear, uniform modification, civilian clothing etc. is permissible if it can be documented unquestionably.
The items you see in photos and museums have the patina of 130 plus years on them, they did not look like that when they were used. There is no excuse in the military to have rusty or filthy weapons, torn clothing, green buttons and buckles or moldy leather. Unless the men were in an actual campaign environment, officers had to present their men to a higher authority on a regular basis with morning and evening assemblies and Sunday inspection. This does not mean a spit and polished look, unless on parade; but it does mean that a soldier was required to take good care of his uniform, equipment and his personal appearance. So apart from the short lapses (several days campaigning) the soldier really had no excuse to look shabby. Remember we are portraying cavalry, not bushwhackers and scalawags.
Eyewear: Modern eyeglasses are strongly discouraged. SMALL oval wire frame glasses are permissible. The best solution include is contact lenses (a box of disposable lenses for use only at reenactments is quite reasonable), going without (if possible) or finally, obtaining antique frames fitted with your prescription (this can actually be cheaper than the modern alternative!). Modern sunglasses and glasses that darken automatically in the sunlight should never be worn. First year members may wear modern prescription glasses, but PLEASE make the adjustment as soon as possible. Nothing ruins our impression more than incorrect eyeglasses on an otherwise historically dressed member.
Hair & Beards: Men of the era wore their hair parted on the side. In spite of the movie industry efforts to show men with long hair in the era films, short hair was very common. Officers sometimes wore their hair a bit long, but it was oiled and well contained not fluffy and modern in appearance. Beards were likewise worn sporadically, mainly by the older men. The younger men had a harder time filling in a growth of whiskers so kept shaved if they could.
Smoking: Cigarette use by anyone in historic clothing is not allowed in plain view in the 9th Virginia Military or Civilian camp. Cigarette use is allowed away from the historic impression area. Pipe smoking is allowed utilizing replica pipes of the era. Safety rules also must be taken into consideration as to the location of blackpowder stores.
Loaner Gear: Thomas Jenkins is our Quartermaster. Contact him for your military uniforming needs before each event. We have several correct jackets to loan for the first event recruit.
Les Jensen information on CSA issued items
Research on Richmond II Shell