Sparker wrote:I have been following this discussion with interest, and am learning a lot, but not enough to contribute intelligently. I would however observe that in discussing specific details of what was and wasn't worn in the field, the regulations, tailors notes etc should not be taken as gospel. Quite apart from the challenges of maintaining correct standards of dress in the field on campaing, soldiers will go to extraordinary lengths to alter the cut and appearance of their uniform, both to display some individuality and also to express subtle differences between companies and battalions of the same regiment. I would expect that the amount of turnback and lapel display would have been one of the prime means of achieving this during this era.
Whilst senior NCO's would have been constantly clamping down on displays of individuality, the company and battalion 'unofficial' differences might well have been tolerated, even encouraged...
Think of it as the way 6th formers change the size and length of their school ties to show how 'cool' and senior they are...and the difference between the mannequin displaying the official school uniform in the Commissary and what you actually see the kids wearing!
actually in the SYW starndards remained quite high..one Prussian supply train was ambushed and to the disgust of the pandours all it contained were new uniform coats..and the pace of campaigning usually lacked the forced marches and urgency of of later periods so indeed hair was dressed , pipeclay was applied and uniforms were mended and no they didn't alter their uniforms at whim,, this would lead to serious problems to those involved usually begining with a beating by an NCO , and in the Prussian army the running of the gauntlet..They were very serious.. they were not in any way naughty 6th formers and to think of them as such is just plain wrong..they were extremely disciplined and constantly under the eyes of NCOs and officers..it was not an age of indvidualism..it was everybody eyes front . neck stocks tight and no talking in the ranks..they did not alter their coats or whatever..there is no evidence whatsoever to think they did this or engage in any other indviduall tailoring ..the mens' comfort was of little or no concern of anybody whtasoever ..suffer in silence and don't bugger up your kit..