U.S. Navy Civil War Uniforms
This page is neither complete nor exhaustive; new photos will constantly be added as they are found to illustrate the uniform and personal equipment of the Civil War sailor
Federal Navy "flat hats" were made of dark blue wool. In warm weather -- and at the discretion of the captain -- a white cover could be worn over the hat to reflect the sun. Whether hats would be blue or white on any given day was also up to the captain, and both could be part of any combination of blue / white frock (uniform top) and blue / white trousers. Some ship names (here, Mendota) appear on period hats, but this was not a rule; what is a rule is that no hat bore a ribbon reading "U.S. Navy" -- it was the ship's name or nothing.
Officers enjoyed a great deal of leeway as to their outfit while aboard ship; again, the formality of the uniform was up to the captain. The officer on the right is wearing the regulation hat, while the two fellows sitting on boxes on the deck are also in regulation straw hats. The dashing chap in the rear is not wearing a regulation hat! Officers were allowed to adopt civilian-style clothing if they wished, as the officer on the left seems to have done with his civilian sack coat.
A seldom seen style of headgear for enlisted men was the fatigue hat, here worn on the fellow in fourth from the left. Detail of this hat as well as the rain hat appears below. Notice in this picture how few of the men are wearing the traditional 13-button fall front trousers; most are wearing the standard fly front button pants.
"Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of the Union"
The Captain of the Hunchback evidently had a lax approach to uniform regulations, both for enlisted men and officers. Notice the varied hat styles among the crew as well as the fellow with his undershirt and suspenders in the left half of the picture. The offices on the quarterdeck exhibit the same relaxed attitude toward regulation uniforms: civilian sack coats, no coats, regulation coats, short jackets, and a variety of civilian hats.
The Navy undershirt
These photos of crewmen at gun drill
show the wearing of personal equipment:
pistol and cutlass, cap pouch and cartridge box
Members of another gun crew:
Man on the left carries a passbox with powder charge inside
while the fellow on the right bears the satchel with fuses for the gun.
Various styles of enlisted uniform. Note the pockets on the fellow at left and the sennit hats in the pictures on the right. There was no prescribed manner for tying the neckerchief.
Monkey jacket, Navy overcoat, and everything a
swabbie could possibly wear:
embroidered undershirt, frock or jumper, monkey jacket, and overcoat. In all the pictures on this page, notice the variety of adornments on the hats; this was a matter of taste left entirely to the owner.