Equipment & Uniforms of the 13th Maine
1853 Enfield Rifled Musket
The 13th Maine Infantry was armed with the British made Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled musket. These muskets were the best available at the time. Large numbers were imported from Great Britain by both the Union and Confederate armies.
The fired a .577 caliber Minie ball. These projectiles made a characteristic whistling sound as they passed through the air which is described in narratives and songs of the period. They were durable and accurate to over 600 yards. Unfortunately, most of the troop maneuvers and engagement rules were left over from an earlier period when muskets were very inaccurate over 50-100 yards and fired in large volleys at lines of troops standing in the open. When this was done between troops armed with these newer rifled muskets the mortality was much higher than in previous conflicts.
Bayonets, bayonet scabbards, ammunition cases, belts and buckles were all standard Union Army issue and good quality.
The uniforms were of varying quality...
The BOOTS provided to the 13th Maine Infantry were made at the Maine State Prison and were of the best quality and durability available.
The OVERCOATS were of excellent quality and lasted many soldiers for the entire duration of the war.
The BLOUSE, PANTS and UNDERWEAR were of poor quality. It was reported that even before the regiment left Ship Island many of the men were practically naked because of the deterioration of these items and the delay in their replacement.
The CAPS were the standard issue Union caps.
The standard issue SOCKS were of knitted wool and apparently were adequate.
Knapsacks were of very poor quality and soon deteriorated to be useless.
Canteens and blankets were acceptable quality and serviceable. Pvt Gordon explained that each man carried a rubber blanket and a woolen blanket. The rubber blanket was usually used as a ground cloth, makeshift shelter cover, or a personal rain cover.
Various manuals supplied by the army were useful.
Bibles, religious tracts and good magazines were given to the troops by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and the United States Christian Commission, as were free stationary and stamps.
The 13th Maine was initially supplied with the standard Sibley tents with stoves. These tents were circular tents 16' in height (including the walls), 18' in diameter, with 4' high walls and a central support pole. They had a front door 8' 9" tall and a rear ventilation door 5' tall. The tent and stove were actually designed by the now Confederate General Henry H. Sibley based upon his experiences in the American West before the Civil War. These tents were used by the US Army until just before WWII.
In the Texas and Red River Campaign Pvt. Gordon described the tent halves the men carried. Each man carried one half of a white fabric tent and half length of a ridge pole. Thus equipped any two men could assemble a small "pup" style tent.
But there's never a bond, old friend, like this, We have drank from the same Canteen!