Illinois State Jacket
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In an effort to clothe the volunteers of 1861, many northern states adopted short jackets for their recruits. Some states such as New York and Illinois were able to continue the practice of clothing many of their soldiers in distinctive “state jackets” throughout the war. Today, few of these state jackets survive to be examined or copied. Because they were worn by early war volunteers, they were often worn out then replaced by Federal issue fatigue blouses or frock coats. The Illinois state jacket in the collection of the Geneva Illinois Historical Society belonged to 1st Sergeant George Spaulding, Company C of the 52nd Illinois. Spaulding was mortally wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and managed to make to a relative’s home before dying five weeks later. His jacket is now a rare tangible glimpse into early war volunteer’s clothing.
Our reproduction of this state jacket is a painstaking copy of Sergeant Spaulding’s jacket. Made from 18 ounce twill woven kersey, and fully lined in a lightweight tan cotton. The jackets feature an eight eagle button front, with functional epaulets and a functional belt loop on the left side as well as a padded chest with a zig zag quilting line.