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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:07 pm 
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Guys,

While reading through "A Directory of American Military Goods Dealers & Makers, 1785-1915" (B. Bazelon & W. McGuinn, 1999) I was pretty happy to find the following information:

Motsch (Geo.) & Schaffer (Geo.), NYC. Contracted on 3/8/1862 for 800 prs. leggins for Berdan's Regt. of Sharpshooters. (National Archives Record Group 217, Entry 236). Listed in 1861 as Motsch & Joli as making "uppers", 81 Nassau, and Motsch alone in 1862 as "fitter", 27 Frankfort. Motsch & Schaffer were listed as "leather" in 1863 & "fitter" in 1864 at 26 Spruce. Geo. Motsch was listed alone as "boot legs" at 73 Gold.

Pretty neat stuff! I recall a few sharpshooter letters mentioning the use of leggings that pre-date this contract though. Eight-hundred new pairs of leggings is certainly a lot! This raises several questions in my mind;

- Was Berdan expecting a third regiment, as is bore out in some of his official correspondences?
- Was this intended to be a re-issue to the two regiments?
- Was this intended to keep the regiments "stocked up" on leggings?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:20 pm 
Great Stuff, the 3rd "inceptive" regiment is certainly a possible reason for ordering so many, though there certainly could be other reasons.

By the way how is that book? Is it a helpful reference?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:54 pm 
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The book is pretty good but not a whole lot of reference to U.S. Sharpshooter contracts aside from Motsch & Schaffer and Seamless Clothing Manuf. Company but even the latter doesn't provide solid numbers about how many overcoats/seamless caps were made on contract.

I've already made a list of every CW contract listed in the book along with what they made and how many....some of the numbers are jaw-dropping!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:03 pm 
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I think this is a piece of very important information. Would the 800 pair of leggings be perhaps for the 2nd Regiment as that was the appoximate number of men recruited for that Regiment? The March 8th date was not long before both Regiments left Camp of Instruction. I have read in the pension file of a Co. E- 1st Reg. USSS that he blamed his later leg problems to wearing of the leggings in the swamps of Virginia during the Penninsula Campaign so I know they were worn at that time.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:38 pm 
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Bonnie,

That reference to the sharpshooter's pension file is excellent! It would be great if you could share that source, if permitted.

Research done by Earl J. Coats (and I believe Fred Gaede) has shown that approximately 1,600 pairs of leggings were sent to Washington by way of NYC in late 1861 for distribution to the two regiments, nearly enough to outfit every man in both regiments. I am not sure about the regimental orders pertaining to the wearing of leggings while the Sharpshooters were in Camp of Instruction but could they have been throwing them away/selling them off? This would show a pretty great lack of understanding viz. the charging of soldier's annual "allowance" for missing uniform, gear, etc..

I am personally starting to feel that the leggings ordered in March were intended to be "on hand" for later issue along with the new uniforms being made at Schuylkill Arsenal in Philadelphia around this time. Maybe someone, some officer somewhere or even Berdan himself, had his QM's place the order so he knew he'd have "complete" sets of uniforms on-hand within a few weeks of requesting leggings from Philadelphia (QM's would place orders with the arsenal or depot while they would, in turn, let a contract for items needed or specially ordered).

This is only slightly frustrating...I love that I stumbled upon the contract for a good number of leggings but oh man, if only we had some letter group or diary.....but I'm also hoping to find the regimental photograph taken of the 2nd USSS during the Petersburg campaign!!! (no kidding...it's in Matthews diary!).

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:27 pm 
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Just curious but what kind of leg problems did this man have? Could it have been that the leggings too tight, or some other reason? That would be interesting itself.

But for the extra leggings should there be something in the quartermaster records and for the purpose of the order? I see this order though being made for replacements and maybe there were intended for use for Company L of the 1st when they joined them during the Penisula Campaign and for the two other Companies from Mass. to join the 2nd Regiment.

I don't really know but just my thoughts.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:30 pm 
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Just for some fun comparison, check out the following couple of images I found in the Library of Congress collection. These are mostly soldiers from the 95th Pennsylvania Infantry "Gosline's Zouaves" lounging around captured Confederate works at Manassas, VA in early 1862.

You'll see in the second image that the center foreground soldier's legging buckles are clearly visible and show five buckles/straps plus one underfoot strap. I am unsure of the exact height of the leggings but they appear to be close to the height of U.S. Sharpshooter leggings.

Image

Image

Image

This next image is an unknown soldier from the 12th Maine or the 17th New York Infantry. The entire photograph shows a :12-pdr. howitzer gun captured by Butterfield's Brigade near Hanover Court House, May 27, 1862." The soldier you see here is apparently the only one in the squad wearing leggings.

Image

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Brian and Joseph,
The pension file was that of Hiram S. Pettengill of Co. E. 1st Reg. USSS. In a letter dated Dec. 17, 1885 in response to a communication from the Pension Dept. dated Dec. 8, 1885, he wrote "The first indication and appearance of blood poisaning (sic) that I had was in the month of June 1862, when in the vicinity of Gaines' Mill while engaged in doing picket duty on the Chickahominy River. Sores commenced to come out on my legs, on my left leg the worst. I wore calf skin leggings the same as the rest of the regiment did, and I attributed the cause of the blood poisoning making sores on my legs to be from standing in the water in the river and swamps in the vicinity, and getting my leggings and pants soaked with water, and sometimes I would be obliged to let them remain on when they were soaking wet on my legs, for a considerable time before I would get a chance to get dry. Afterwards in the seven days battle, I would hardly get a chance to get my legs dry." ...I have the pension file number if any one needs it. My great-grandfather who was also a member of Co. E-1st Reg. USSS wrote in support of this man's pension which is one reason I have made a copy of this info.

By the way should anyone close to DC wish to research records group 217 in which the leggings are mentioned in the book Brian has, that group is called "Record Group 217: Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, 1775 - 1927." Perhaps there could be some new and valuable info in there.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:04 pm 
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Brian,

I have been looking for this image for some time, can you post a link to the LOC location on their website:

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:05 pm 
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There's a few in the series:

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?ils:13:./temp/~pp_8MtA::

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?ils:15:./temp/~pp_8MtA::

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?ils:3:./temp/~pp_8MtA::

The number of side straps/buckles on some of the leggings seems to vary from five to four (see below) but they all appear relatively similar in pattern, construction, etc.. With a good series of graded patterns these would be a snap to make.

Image

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