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Someone at my favorite site at Civil War Talk (http://civilwartalk.com/threads/colonel-ellsworths-uniform.85260/#post-657733) posted an interesting post which got people discussing the variety of uniforms on both sides. In it was discussed that early on and even later in the war there was a mix of blue and gray uniforms on both sides as well as other colors. I myself have wondered about those poor Zouaves who had to go into battle with bright red in their jackets and pants. I’m not sure that this was the first attempt at camouflage during the war but someone finally had an inspired idea. Here is the info on the Smithsonian site.


This uniform and hat belonged to a soldier of the 1st Regiment of U.S. Sharpshooters, better known as Berdan’s Sharpshooters. Mustered in 1861, this unit was commanded by Colonel Hiram Berdan, the top marksmen in the United States for fifteen years before the Civil War. The unit was composed of the best marksmen in each state of the North. Each sharpshooter received a Sharps rifle and wore a uniform, regulation cut but of a forest green, which was chosen as camouflage to make the lone soldier less conspicuous.

Division of the History of Technology, Armed Forces History
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Behring Center
Transfer from the U.S. War Department