Buttons on your Civil War Uniform are one of those small things that can make a big difference. Buttons are not expensive and original ones can still be found at sutlers, antique stores, and flea markets.
In ECHOES OF GLORY: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY, the buttons on the Paine jacket look like small US Eagle buttons although one of them looks like a civilian button, and the other one looks like plain brass, but it is hard to tell from the photo.
They are not the original buttons because the original buttons would have been full size buttons. Virginia State seal buttons would have probably been the appropriate buttons on this jacket.
Even in photos and museums where you see original jackets you don’t know when the buttons were added. Many of these jackets were received by the museum without buttons and the buttons were added.
Even General Lee gave some of his buttons from his jacket to someone who wrote a letter to him and wanted a souvenir. You can never be 100% sure that the buttons on these jackets are correct because buttons can be so easily removed, fall off or lost. Think about buttons on your own clothes and how much they are loose, lost, etc. and you are not fighting a war and living in these clothes like the Civil War soldiers did.
The buttons on the Jenkins jacket in ECHOES OF GLORY: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY are obviously added. If I were going to do a Jenkins jacket, I would use Virginia State Seal buttons. Good reproduction buttons can be found at most of the sutlers.
Buttons on your Civil War uniform are some of the small details that add to the authenticity of your uniform. They are easy to put on and do not cost much money. I think that it is a rare opportunity to be able to find an original item for your uniform. Buttons are one of those items – it’s the small details that make all the difference.
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