Uniform Study: Lt. Starr's Sack Coat
by Christopher Daley
(click on any image for a larger view)

One of the most frequently requested items that we are asked to reproduce are private purchase sack coats. From the lowliest private to General Grant, commercially produced sack coats can be seen throughout the war on the backs of Northern soldiers. One such coat is currently housed in the collection of Don Troiani of Historical Art Prints. This coat is identified to Lieutenant Grosvenor Starr of the 7th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Starr was Adjutant of the regiment from August of 1861 till March of 1862 when he died of illness on Tybee Island. Because of his death so early in the war, this gives us a firm date on the usage of this item and gives us an idea of how early commercial sack coats were seen in the ranks.

The coat itself is made from a fine woolen broadcloth and fully lined in the body with black silk in the body and a patterned cotton in the sleeves. The coat has three outside pockets and one inside pocked in the right breast. It is quilted in the upper body and the assembly of the coat is a mixture of hand and machine sewing. It has four Federal staff officer buttons down the front and three staff officer cuff buttons on each cuff. The coat has a three pieced body and a one pieced sleeve. The collar is a standard fall down collar, and the coat was patterned so that there were no turned back lapels.

We plan to reproduce this coat in the near future. Our reproduction coat will mimic the original garment in every detail. The wool is being imported from Great Britain and the silk has been acquired for a run of about 30 coats. The big difference will be in the choice of buttons. Since the original coat belonged to a staff officer,  you can choose to have reproduction staff officer buttons  put on, or you may choose to put on state buttons or eagle "I", "A", or "C" buttons as well.

We expect the first run of these coats to commence the middle to late December. As with all our new items, our e-newsletter subscribers will have an chance to put in a pre-order before the rest of the hobby does. 

The author would like to thank Don Troiani and Historical Art Prints for permission to use these photographs in this article.



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