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Imported Confederate Uniforms of Peter Tait & Co., Limerick Ireland

by Frederick R. Adolphus, self-published

 For those of us who love to study uniforms, weapons and equipment, Frederick Adolphus’ new volume is just the kind of reading we enjoy. Adolphus evaluates surviving Confederate jackets, all made out of blue-gray cloth and similar in appearance, along with some other uniform items, and proves they were made in the British Empire and shipped to the Southern states. Though he has identified a number of firms that made the clothing, he uses “Tait” for all of them, to establish a modern typology.

While this book is a must-have for wartime material culture enthusiasts, it addresses some larger points as well: for example, how the Rebellion depended upon English firms to offset the weak state of Southern industry. Adolphus also helps to debunk the “Ragged Rebel” myth, since records show Tait and other firms sent thousands of uniforms to the Confederacy in the conflict’s last two years.

A bit of advice for some of my academic friends: I’m often surprised at how little some scholars know about material culture. Improving your knowledge will gain you “street cred” among the reenactors and collectors who read your books.

Imported Confederate Uniforms’ foreword claims this is the first volume in what will be a series published during the Sesquicentennial. Based on Adolphus’ initial effort, we will eagerly await the rest of the set.


Originally published in the June 2011 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.