It was way back in 1982 when the 53rd PVI first portrayed the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry at the commemoration of the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, Virginia, a battle in which the Ninety-fifth took an integral part. Going on notes taken by me from observation of jackets (including Sgt. Cook’s at Fredericksburg) and illustrations, David Seguin of our unit undertook the task of manufacturing the first jackets worn by the unit at this and in subsequent events where the Sixth Corps was present. Since that time, additional research and examination of surviving examples has given us a better understanding of the uniforms provided to Colonel Gosline’s regiment as well as the supply issue faced by the regiment after the colonel’s death at Fair Oaks.
The two primary suppliers of uniforms were the Schuylkill Arsenal, located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Rockhill and Wilson Clothiers of Philadelphia. Schuylkill provided the first 100 complete uniforms, most of which went to Company A. The remainder were provided by Rockhill and Wilson. The primary distinction between the two is construction, material for the lining and some details as to pieces of the jacket body. Schuylkill jackets that survive- one of which is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute and another which belonged to Color Sgt. Albert Bannon and is in a private collection- are completely hand sewn with the red and blue plaid lining seen in most clothing produced at Schuylkill. Examples of the Rockhill and Wilson produced jackets are Sgt. John Cook’s jacket at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, which shows heavy amounts of machine sewing of the body and jacket lining. Another jacket in the West Point Museum at West Point, New York, is most likely a Rockhill and Wilson jacket and lined in a similar fashion to Cook’s, though this particular jacket is not documented to a soldier from the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania and could have been worn by a soldier of the Seventy-second Pennsylvania that wore a jacket of similar design. The construction of the West Point example is similar to Cook’s though the lower back of the jacket comes to a point, similar in style to the many dress jackets made for cavalry and artillery by Philadelphia contractors as well as some other zouave organizations. A third Rockhill and Wilson jacket in a private collection and examined in 1987, also exhibited machine stitching with hand finished details on the cuffs and interior lining.
Schuylkill Arsenal Reproduction Jacket
A reproduction based on the original jacket documented to the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, made by Joel Bohy. The body of the jacket is made of dark blue wool cloth of medium weight (10 to 14 oz.) with a plaid lining reproduced by Family Heirloom Weavers in Red Lion, PA. Red trim and cording on the jacket are hand sewn to the body. This jacket has a four-piece back with center seam. The collar, cuffs and side vents are re-enforced with wool facings, whip stitched in place. The buttons on this jacket are originals, collected from various sources over a period of years.
Schuylkill Arsenal Reproduction Cap
A reproduction based on the original cap in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, made by Joel Bohy. This cap is a replica of the original pattern cap submitted to Schuylkill Arsenal as a pattern and pictured on our web site. The body of the cap is made of dark blue wool cloth of medium weight wool (10 oz.) with polished cotton lining and leather pad in the crown as a stiffener. Red cording is hand stitched to the body of the cap and around the crown. The leather visor is squarely cut, painted on both upper and lower surfaces. The body of the cap is higher than a typical kepi.
Rockhill and Wilson Reproduction Jacket
One of the early circa 1982 jackets reproduced by David Seguin, based on notes and photos taken of several jackets including Sgt. John Cook’s jacket at Fredericksburg. Unfortunately we did not have complete access to surviving documented jackets, so there are some construction mis-steps in these early reproductions. Yet they were the first efforts made by the unit (Company C, 53rd PVI) to replicate the Ninety-fifth uniform and its presence at events- Sailor’s Creek, Virginia, where the regiment played a prominent role. Dave and Helen Seguin manufactured well over twenty of these jackets for the unit in the mid-1980’s.