American Civil War Union Soldier
At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 the US Army was small and lacking of experience, with only 16,000 enlisted men and officers. Neither side was prepared militarily for tbe conflict, with much of the army scattered across the vast expanse of the American West. Loyalty would be an issue as units were called eastwards to either form the army sent to subdue the rebellion, or to join it. Compelled to join a side they would be torn by loyalty to their country, their native state, and to their army. Volunteers would bolster the Union army and fight alongside the more professional regular regiments.
Uniforms of both volunteers and regulars were influenced by the styles popular in Europe, with particular popularity for the French inspired fashion. There would be many uniform variations for the Union regiments due to limitations on material and unit preference, but primarily the Union infantry would be in dark blue jacket and kepi, and light blue trousers.
The dark blue sack coat was practical and comfortable, with trousers often light or sky blue. Sturdy shoes were worn instead of boots, and the kepi was the predominant headwear. A knapsack or pack was standard issue, and a haversack and canteen were essential items also worn.