Uniform of the Invalid Corps

One of the things that made the Invalid Corps stand out (beyond the fact that these men had disabilities) was their uniform.  Rather than the “standard” (as much as uniforms could be considered standardized at that time), dark blue coat and light blue trousers, the Invalid Corps had a light blue jacket and trousers with a stripe. General Orders No. 124 May 15, 1863 states:

The following uniform has been adopted for the Invalid Corps:
Jacket – Of sky-blue kersey, with dark-blue trimmings, cut like the jacket of the U.S. Cavalry, to come well down on the loins and abdomen.
Trousers –  Present regulation, sky-blue.
Forage Cap – present regulation

Uniform Requirements IC

However, the light blue uniform was not looked upon favorably. From the compilation of Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, final report to Brigadier General James Fry, the War Department Provost Marshal General’s Office regarding the Veteran Reserve Corps (November 1865) from Captain J.W. De Forest, Veteran Reserve Corps and Acting Assistant Adjutant General:

The uniform was becoming but has never been popular. The men did not like to be distinguished from their comrades of the active service by a peculiar costume; they wanted to keep the dark blue blouse and dress coat in which they had learned their profession and received their honorable disabilities. This feeling was aggravated by the inevitable jealousy between field and garrison regiments which ripened into something like bitterness between the soldiers of the Invalid Corps and the ranks in which they had so lately marched and fought. In the case of the officers the light blue was so far from agreeable to the eye and soiled so easily that they were eventually allowed and then directed to resume the dark blue frock coat although retaining the other insignia of their branch of the service.


Posted on: March 15, 2015