Study: 5th Louisiana Frock Coat
please click on any image to enlarge
of the most frequently asked questions we get here is
"when are you folks going to make a CS frock." The
answer is, sometime this spring. The coat we'll be
making is based off a coat in a SC museum. We'll have
more details on that in another issue, but this month we
thought we'd feature another coat that we've examined.
"Louisiana Frock" is one of most asked about coats in
Don Troiani's collection. Not only is it unique because
it is one of only a few surviving Confederate Frock
coats, but it serves as a perfect example of the use of
sewing machines in the deep south. The coat was believed
to have been worn by a soldier in the 5th Louisiana
Infantry*. The coat is believed to be one of the coats
issued to the unit earlier in the war.
coat is made from an all wool cassimere and
has a nine button front complete with a full set of
Pelican Buttons down the front and four on the tails. It
has a 6 piece body, a two piece sleeve and it is lined
in the front panels of the coat with a white polished
cotton. It has two tail pockets cut from brown polished
cotton and one inside kidney-shaped breast pocket. The
coat resembles the Infantry Uniform Coat of the US Army
very closely in cut and construction.
most striking feature of the coat is the trim. The 1/2
light weight vertical ribbing trim is applied to the
perimeter of the coat, the collar, the scallops on the
tails and along the back vents by machine and is applied
by hand to the cuffs and shoulder straps.
shoulder straps are a single ply of cassimere that have
the seam allowance turned up and covered by the tape.
They are non functional and are secured with a cuff
sized Eagle "D" button.
collar has a one piece inner collar and a two piece
outer collar. The front facings and the collar are
interlined with a buckram to add stiffness to the
The skirt is unlined and has no facing piece, but rather
is pressed to the outside and covered with tape (like
the shoulder strap). While there is extensive machine
sewing throughout the garment, the hem of the skirt,
setting the lining, the buttonholes and other features
are hand done. There are features that could have been
save time, but aren't. For instance the left side of the
vent in the rear is finished by machine and the right is
done by hand.
The two piece sleeves are lined with polished cotton and
are trimmed with a chevron pattern and single line of
trim simulating a functional cuff. The sleeve is only
trimmed on the outer sleeve and was trimmed before the
sleeve was closed as the trim is set into the fore seam
of the sleeve.
coat is in pristine condition and is a fine example of
an early war coat and a ready-made garment. As you can
see by the service record below, the 5th was one of the
longest serving units in the war. They were formed in
May of 1861 and didn't come home until May 17, 1865!
*5th Louisiana Infantry Regiment completed its
organization at New Orleans, LA, in May, 1861 with men
from New Orleans and the parishes of St. Bernard,
Bienville, De Soto, Lafourche, and Ouachita. Ordered to
Virginia and assigned to the Department of the
Peninsula, the unit totaled 744 men in April, 1862.
During the war it was attached to General McLaws',
Semmes', Hays', and York's Brigade, Army of Northern
Virginia. It participated in many conflicts from the
Seven Days' Battles to Cold Harbor
marched with Early to the Shenandoah Valley, then was
involved in the Appomattox
operations. The regiment reported 27 casualties at
Manassas Junction, 50 at Sharpsburg
, 53 at
, and 7
at Second Winchester
lost more than thirty percent of the 196 engaged at
123 captured at Rappahannock Station
. Only 1
officer and 18 men surrendered in April, 1865.
have additional questions about this coat or frocks in
general, please do not hesitate to ask.
I have approx 50 additional photos of this coat, if
there is a feature you'd like to see, please let me know
and I'll be happy to share what documentation I have.
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like to thank Don Troiani and the staff at
Historical Art Prints for allowing us to use the
photos in this article