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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:13 am 
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Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Connecticut
Greetings all.

I’m just getting my feet wet for the first time in civil war living history. Joined a local unit that seems to be a “right” bunch of Fellows and did my first event with the unit in a Memorial Day parade. The unit was good enough to loan me a uniform, leathers and an Enfield for the day, everything except shoes.

I’d like to start gearing up and was thinking of starting with a forage cap and brogans. I’ve found that the price of forage caps can run from $25.00 to $75.00+/-. Available in two different styles, 58 & 61 and there are different bill options. I also found the brogans price range just as wide and varied in material and detail as the caps, depending on store and maker.
Now here’s my dilemma. The Gent, who is helping me into the unit. Keeps advising me to, “Just buy the cheapest, if you like the living history aspect, you can buy better later.” I appreciate him, having concern for my wallet, but I can’t help to think. If I outfit myself with low price gear, will the cap look like a elementary school home ec project after a few trips to the field? Will bargain shoes torture my feet so badly that by the fall, I won’t want to put them on any more and be ready to tap out of the hobby?

So my question to you is; are the higher cost civil war era uniform items “cap and shoes in this case” more durable, better made and more conformable and therefore worth the extra money up front. Or is the difference not so great that going with the lowest cost items good advice?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:47 am 
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Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 7:38 am
Posts: 86
'morning sir,

While I admit to having recieved the same advice (and following it to some extent) back when I was starting up, you have the wisdom to see the folly. Especially where your feet are concerned - if they are not happy, you will not be happy.

While there are many good sutlers out there, I prefer Robert Land (http://www.robertlandhistoricshoes.com/ ... StoreFront) for brogans. Very little break in needed, pricing is reasonable and delivery time is right on the estimate.

For headgear, I'm partial to the Dirty Billy's Type 1 Forage Cap, although for my next one I intend to give Nick Sekkula (sp?) a try.

There are several points with buying better quality gear initially. The imediate ones are: it does tend to be more authentic (although you do have to do your research - a higher price tag doesn't necessarily mean better or more correct); you won't have to replace it all if you stay in the hobby; and if you don't stay in the hobby, better quality gear is easier to resell than cheap crap.

Just my thoughts, and welcome to the hobby!

Calum

_________________
Calum Munro

105 Penn Vol Inf, Co E
http://www.105thpvi.webs.com/

1st USSS, Co H
http://nyberdans.wix.com/nyberdans


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Lastchip and Fellow Sharpshooters,

Sir, you didn't mention if your impression was as a member of the United States Sharpshooters or another branch of service? However, BEFORE spending your hard earned money, I strongly recommend you do research into the regiment you are going to portray. There are a number of good resources on this website. Most of us who post have many years of experience doing research and taking the field as reenactors or living historians, so feel free to post your questions--we'd be glad to answer them.

Since you are going to be a 'ground pounder' the MOST important piece of equipment you can buy will be your shoes (period terminology: bootees or brogans). I own two sets of brogans; my original Jarnigans (purchased in 1994 and now worn by my son) and a pair made by Missouri Boot and Shoe (purchased 2000). Neither of the shoes has needed any work--though both show lots of wear on the heels and two layers of sole leather are worn thru--I occassionally get people stopping to take pictures of my shoes at some events--now that is weird--but they do have character.

The best way to impress upon you the importance of having good shoes is to tell a short tale. My friend, Steve Parlow and I attended the Malvern Hill Preservation March in June 1996. Steve had purchased a pair of bootees from a sutler the previous summer, the soles were made from very thick leather, and the sole was close to 3/4 of an inch thick. I humorously called them 'Frankenstien boots' because I couldn't bend them; they were stiff as a board. The March was 8 miles on blacktop. The first few miles both Steve and I marched at the end of the column as a two man sharpshooter 'rear guard' and had a great time soaking up the history. By the time we reached Glendale, Steve was hobbling. During a halt, he pulled off his bootees, both heels (back and bottom), big toes and other spots sported quarter sized blisters. To his credit, Steve completed the march and a second 'cross country' march that afternoon to the Glendale battlefield. But after that his feet were a mess and he had to pull out of the event.

Listen to Corporal Calum's advice; it is better to spend your money on a quality uniform and kit up front--if you are going to be in this hobby for more than 2 years it will save you in the long run.

Hope this helps. Welcome to the Forum.

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess-USSS


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Connecticut
Thank You, to both Calum and Bill for the opinion and advice on caps and shoes. I will investigate the sutlers you have referenced and am sure, that in the end. At less my head and feet will be styling and comfy, regardless of what the situation is in between the two locations.


enjoy the weekend
David
http://www.11thcvi.org


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