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Early War Impression


The organization being in agreement that the Virginia Volunteer Militia Impression shall represent the typical volunteer soldier of the State of Virginia during the period April,1858-April,1861, the following regulations are approved as of January 01, 1998 and shall become effective on January 01, 1998. All members joining the organization after January 01, 1998 shall be required to meet these regulations within the second year of enlistment.



The frock coat, trousers, and cap are based on those worn by Private William A. Hightower of the Brooklyn Grays (later company E of the 23rd Virginia ) in his 1861 photograph.



Frock Coat

Fabric - Woolen jeans material, cog gray in color (selected by the committee).

Lining - Black with white osnaburg sleeves.

Collar - Stand-up type, 1-3/4 inches high with radius ends. The perimeter (top, front, and bottom) is to be trimmed in black cotton, 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide.

Buttons - There shall be a nine button front and four buttons on the tail of 7/8 inch size. Two cuff size buttons of 3/8 inch size shall be on each non-functional cuff. All buttons shall be two-piece, Virginia State Seal brass buttons.

Stitching - All inside stitching is to be done by machine with unbleached white cotton thread. Buttonholes and top stitching along the button line and around the cuffs are to be hand stitched with unbleached white or gray cotton or cotton covered polyester top stitch button hole thread. Bottom edge shall be hemmed.


Trousers- Military style


1) Cut high in the waist, loose in the seat no split in cuffs, and with mule ear buttoned pockets.

2) Waistband width shall be from a minimum of 7/8 inch in the rear to a maximum of 1-3/4 inches in the front.

3) Fly shall be from 1 1/4 to 1-3/4 inches in width.

4) Shall have rear adjustment belt with buckle just below the waistband.

Material- same as that of the frock coat

Lining - Unbleached white cotton osnaburg or cotton duck.

Buttons-Four hole type of porcelain, pewter, bone, or tin.

Trim - 3/4 inch wide black cotton stripe from top of pocket flap to bottom of cuff.



High crowned military cap


These shall be of the same material as the coat and trousers. Shall have black wool trim around base 1 1/2 inches wide rising from strap buttons to the front in a gentle curve to 3 inches in height. They shall have a black leather brim of a minimum of 1-3/4 inches in prolongation and a black patent leather chin strap with brass adjustment. Two brass two-piece buttons shall hold chin strap on and shall be of Virginia state seal pattern. The cap shall have a welt around the crown. Caps shall have a leather sweatband and brown or black cotton lining. No ornamentation is allowed.




Shirts shall be of any period pattern and shall be white cotton cloth or unbleached osnaburg. Buttons shall be four hole type of bone, porcelain ,mother-of-pearl, or pewter.


Overshirt (optional)


These shall be of the button front "battle shirt" style, of gray woolen material or cotton flannel. The shirt shall have a fold over collar. Buttons shall be of wood or stained bone. Stitches shall be of brown or unbleached white cotton or cotton covered polyester. May have black piping.




Socks shall be gray, brown, or white knitted wool or cotton. No colored tops or toes allowed.


 Shoes (period brogans)


These shall be of black leather with leather soles and ties. Soles shall be either pegged or sewn together.


Vests- Two styles shall be permitted-.


1) Military style vest


Shall be of light gray or dark blue wool cloth. Shall have a stand-up collar approximately 1 inch in height. There shall be a nine button front with Virginia state seal or Federal eagle two-piece cuff size brass buttons. Interiors shall be lined white or brown cotton or osnaburg. Back is to be constructed of black or brown with belt of same material with buckle. Three to four pockets shall be allowed; two near the bottom and one or two at the breast.


2) Civilian style vest

 Shall be of woo1en material in gray, brown, blue or black, in solids and simple patterns. There shall be a five to six button front with plain brass or cloth covered buttons. Lining shall be of osnaburg or white or brown cotton. Backs shall be brown or black cotton with belt of the same material with buckle. Shall have two pockets on the front near the bottom.


Weapons - The following are approved as originals or reproductions.


1) MI816, M1822, or M1835 Springfield / Harpers' Ferry muskets converted to percussion.

2) M1842 Springfield / Harpers' Ferry musket.

3) Transitional Model Virginia Manufactory musket converted to percussion.




Socket bayonet corresponding to the selected weapon.

Bayonet Scabbard - Three styles shall be permitted

M1842 or similar for .69 cal. musket socket bayonet. Shall be constructed of black leather with brass finial. Shall be sewn to or carried in shoulder carriage.


Shoulder carriage

 White buff leather, 2 to 2 1/4 inches wide with plain cast oval breast plate.


Cartridge box sling

White buff leather, 2 to 2 1/4 inches wide and of a length that the cartridge box rests on the hip.


Waist belt


White buff leather, 2 to 2 1/4 inches wide with plain cast brass oval buckle.


Cap Pouch


Shall be the variant style commonly known as the "shield front ". Constructed of black bridle leather with a brass finial with one or two leather loops on the rear. Pouch shall have double flaps with tuft of sheep's wool and leather loop for nipple prick.



Cartridge boxes - Three types allowed


1) Model 1839 Variant


More information when available


2) Model 1842 Cartridge Box,.69 cal.


Shall be made of black bridle leather with double flaps and implement pocket. The box shall have two horizontal loops on the rear and two buckles on the bottom to engage shoulder belt. Tin inserts required.


3) Model 1855 Cartridge Box, .69 Caliber


Shall be made of black bridle leather with double flaps and implement pocket. The box shall have two horizontal loops on the rear and two buckles on the bottom to engage shoulder belt and two vertical loops on the rear to engage waist belt. Tin inserts required.


No ornamentation allowed on any style cartridge box.



Unpainted with button closure. Shall be approximately 12 inches by 12 inches in size with no gusset in the bottom. Fabric shall be of white cotton duck or drill. Sling shall be non-adjustable. Closure shall be front one to three bone or wooden four hole buttons or brass or cast pewter flat buttons. Buttons shall be sewn to bag with button holes in flap.



Canteens -two styles to be allowed

1) Wooden "cheesebox" style

Shall be of oak or cedar wood, approximately 7 inches in diameter and with cork or wooden stopper. Canteen shall have strap of white cotton or russet leather.

2) Plain face tin drum

Shall have slight convex face with flat back or with both sides flat. Approximately 5 to 7-1/2 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 to2-1/21inches thick. Shall have white cotton or russet leather strap. Shall have wooden or cork stopper.


Primary Blanket

Shall be of gray wool with black end stripes. No insignia. May also use blankets of brown, tan or dark blue woolen material. No modern military blankets.


Secondary Blanket

Will include quilts of period style and fabric, black, blue, brown or red woolen blankets.


Oil Cloth (preferred)

Shall be of single or double thickness canvas or cotton duck painted (water proofed) on one side. Corners may have small grommets or holes reinforced with a button hole stitch.


Gum Blanket,

Shall be of black rubberized cotton cloth with small grommets. A slit opening with button closure shall be allowed for use as a poncho.


Rigid Knapsack

Shall have rigid wooden frame covered in black painted canvas or cotton duck. Shall have two inner flaps of painted canvas or duck with cloth ties. There shall be a single outer flap of leather or painted canvas or duck. Outer flap should be secured shut with two leather straps attached at top of pack and passing through two roller buckles at bottom. There shall be three smaller straps with roller buckles at top for securing a blanket roll. There shall be two shoulder straps with roller buckle adjustments and knapsack hook on the front of the pack. All straps of black bridle leather.

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