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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 08:01 am
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Roger
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I've read a few accounts of soldiers of both sides going shoeless but wondered if there are any first hand accounts of how long they went before getting a replacement pair.

I imagine a soldier would beg steal or borrow a pair as quickly as possible but as anyone read of any instances who long they went shoeless? Days, weeks?

Roger



 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 11:32 am
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Johan Steele
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Roger, I've read of Union men going through most of SC w/out shoes as one example. The same time Hoods boys were in a world of hurt as their supplies hadn't been able to keep up and at that point supplies were getting pretty few and far between.

Both sies had times of feast and famine when it came to shoes. Large numbers of the Irish Brigade went barefoot at Antietem by choice and I've read several times of men being given shoes for the first time in their lives when they joined the Army.

I'll fish around and see if I can find some of my notes on the subject.



 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 12:35 pm
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Roger
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Thanks very much for the usual fascinating reply, it's getting to be a bit of a habit this:D. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. 

I'm currently painting a barefoot Confederate and it got me thinking, you know how it is, but more of that project later.

Roger



 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 02:39 pm
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Dixie Girl
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On way of getting shoes is taking them off the dead cause they aint gonna use them any more.



____________________
War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 02:41 pm
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Parault
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Johan Steele wrote: Roger, I've read of Union men going through most of SC w/out shoes as one example. The same time Hoods boys were in a world of hurt as their supplies hadn't been able to keep up and at that point supplies were getting pretty few and far between.

Both sies had times of feast and famine when it came to shoes. Large numbers of the Irish Brigade went barefoot at Antietem by choice and I've read several times of men being given shoes for the first time in their lives when they joined the Army.

I'll fish around and see if I can find some of my notes on the subject.



Johan,

 Unlike the other Confederate states that are one the east side of the Mississippi,Hood's boys had a hard time receiving any supplies from their home states of Texas & Arkansas. They had to depend totally on Richmond or whom ever was shipping at the time.  3/4 of Arkansas was under Federal control by late 63 so that left them at the mercy of the Quartermaster Dept.

By the way........I like the hat and pipe.  It adds character

Last edited on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 06:33 pm by Parault



 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 03:12 pm
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Roger
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Thanks folks. It looks like some troops went unshod for a lot longer than I imagined.

Roger



 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2008 11:53 pm
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Johan Steele
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Roger here is a snippet for you from memory. I'm not 100% sure on my memory so take it w/ a grain of salt. After the fighting at Iuka had died down a Sgt took 2 men w/ a wheelbarrow and every canteen they could strip from the dead nearby and went forward to provide water to the wounded Rebs in their front. He would take boots & shoes from the dead and toss them into the wheelbarrow as well as rob them of their money & valuables; a canteen would be given to the wounded. He made a point that personal letters & such were not to be touched. A couple hundred yards in front of his Regiment he provided a "Coup de gras" to a mortally wounded (gutshot) Reb soldier. His Regiment witnessed this but not the man begging him to end it for him. The only thing that kept his own comrades from hanging him was the testimony of the two soldiers who had been w/ him.

Later during the Vicksburg Campaign every man in his Company started the campaign w/ an extra set of shoes dangling from their knapsack or musket. One of his nicknames was "Sgt boots." A popular prank he would pull was to steal a mans shoes from his tent and replace them w/ a pair of a considerably different size. Men took to sleeping w/ their shoes on when he was around.

The Sgt was a Crimea War vet, French Army, famous for his multilingual curses and switching to French at stressful times. At first the men liked to get him mad just to hear him cuss... then they learned irritating an NCO has consequences.



 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2008 04:52 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Unlike the other Confederate states that are one the east side of the Mississippi,Hood's boys had a hard time receiving any supplies from their home states of Texas & Arkansas.

Always the eastern theater...What about us poor Kentucky orphans? LOL

Johan is right about the feast or famine, and I'm glad he made mention of western theater fellas having it rough. Interesting, story about the federal killing the confederate too. A similar instance occurred in the eastern theater in '62 but with the roles reversed. It was during little Macs push towards Richmond that a Louisiana boy came across a wounded federal. The Federal cried out for someone to end his suffering, and so the Louisianan obliged him (he crushed the mans head with the butt of his rifle). he then asked if any other federal wounded wanted relief, at which there was of course no reply.



 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2008 05:28 am
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ole
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Shoes were always hard to come by. If you have 100,000 guys out there, you have to make about 300,000 pairs per year, and you have to get the shoes to them. Wasn't always easy.

I have shoes older than most of you. But I don't walk 20 miles per day in them. In all kinds of weather. Through mud or over gravel. I suspect that if I were that active, I'd need some new shoes pronto. And I'd have no certainty of getting them.

I'll also suspect that a good many of the troops on both sides were not properly shod at some time or another. Most certainly, some of the boys on either side preferred to do without. The feet have a tendency to become accustomed to being naked. But when it gets cold, and the ice becomes sharp, then we hear the stories.

My parents would not hear of us running around barefoot. But they did. And their parents did. And their grandparents. Shoes were a luxury to be worn on Sunday.

Even in the industrial north, there were simply not enough shoes.

ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2008 06:22 am
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Roger
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Thanks again for the replies, interesting stuff.
Johan's story reminds me of what I was told by a Royal Marine NCO during my own training. The three W's, watches, wallets and whatever else they'e got worth stealing.

I've thought of something else now, did either army have have regimental cobblers and tailors? I'm pretty sure the British Army of the period did, but I'll check that.



 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2008 02:27 pm
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ole
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I very much doubt that either army had cobblers or tailors -- officially. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if a wealthy officer had close contact with either or both.

Most soldiers did carry a small packet of needles and thread to mend the inevitable rips and tears.

ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2008 02:27 pm
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ole
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I very much doubt that either army had cobblers or tailors -- officially. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if a wealthy officer had close contact with either or both.

Most soldiers did carry a small packet of needles and thread to mend the inevitable rips and tears.

ole



 Posted: Sat Jan 19th, 2008 02:45 am
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susansweet
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Officers had to supply their own uniforms. So they would have contact with tailors.  Many regular soldiers carried a packet that was called a housewife with needles and thread. 



 Posted: Sat Jan 19th, 2008 05:28 am
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Roger
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Susan,soldiers and sailors still carry a housewife as part of their kit. They do here anyway and I would imagine yours do too.

Roger



 Posted: Sat Jan 19th, 2008 11:29 pm
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Doc C
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From the Civil War Chronicle:
1863 - Monday

A report from HAYS' BRIGADE :

Among 1,500 men reported for duty, there are 400 totally without covering of any kind for their feet....There are a large number of men who have not a single blanket. There are some without a particle of under-clothing, having neither shirts, drawers, nor socks; while overcoats, from their rarity, are objects of curiosity... . is not compensated by close shelter and abundant food, for the troops have no tents, and are almost totally unprovoked with cooking utensils for the petty rations they receive....



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