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Maine Memory Network

In Uniform: Fitting In

This slideshow contains 11 items
1
Jane Jeffrey, 1919

Jane Jeffrey, 1919

Item 15692 info
Maine Historical Society

It is not as a soldier that I am present, and only wear my uniform as an incidental garment … which I prefer to the more conspicuous table-waiters dress of a swallow-tailed black coat & white cravat.

–– Josiah Pierce of Gorham, in diplomatic service, St. Petersburg, Russia, September 20, 1856


2
Musician R.B. Hall, ca. 1900

Musician R.B. Hall, ca. 1900

Item 40266 info
Maine Historical Society

Uniforms are the most obvious symbol of group membership, and can suggest status or its opposite.

Military, band, or fraternal uniforms, which often feature a dazzling array of gold buttons and braid, medals and sashes, help the wearer stand out, unlike many uniforms that are worn for particular jobs.


3
Recruiting party, 1st Maine Volunteers, 1898

Recruiting party, 1st Maine Volunteers, 1898

Item 15277 info
Maine Historical Society

Military uniforms vary widely from those worn in battle or duty to "dress" uniforms, which might be replete with medals, ribbons, or other decoration that identify the wearer's rank and battlefield experience.

Bands, fraternal groups, police and fire departments and others have mimicked military uniforms for dress-up occasions, helping to inspire respect for the wearer.


4
Portland Rifle Corps uniform, 1854

Portland Rifle Corps uniform, 1854

Item 7659 info
Maine Historical Society

The Portland Rifle Corps, a unit of the Maine Militia, began in June 1811, and was reorganized with new bylaws in 1854.

Andrew P. Morgan, a wholesale and retail grocer and provisioner, later a clothing manufacturer, wore the Portland Rifle Corps uniform that is dated “1854” inside the jacket. In that year, the group held a muster in Portland that coincided with a large Maine Charitable Mechanic Association Fair.

A newspaper account noted, "The parade ground was alive with soldiers and spectators … The military appeared finely. … In the afternoon the companies left the parade ground, and marched through the principal streets of the city to the music of the Norway and Portland Bands, alternating with fifes and drums of the regiment."


5
Portland Rifle Corps hat and belt, 1854

Portland Rifle Corps hat and belt, 1854

Item 7657 info
Maine Historical Society

Members of the Portland Rifle Corps were prohibited from smoking in the Armory and could be expelled for "immoral or ungentlemanly conduct."

The ceremonial uniforms of the corps, which members had to supply, along with its weaponry, proved inadequate seven years later when some members were called on for Civil War service.

The militia system was criticized when the war began for its lack of military discipline and preparedness.


6
Verrill Grand Army of the Republic hat, ca. 1870

Verrill Grand Army of the Republic hat, ca. 1870

Item 48480 info
Maine Historical Society

George Washington Verrill (1841-1908), a native of Greenwood, read law with his brother before enlisting in the 17th Maine Regiment – the Red Diamond Regiment – in July 1862.

Verrill rose to the rank of captain of Co. E and went on to the Brigade Staff. He fought in a number of battles, including Fredericksburg, the Cedars, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

Verrill returned to his legal studies after the war. He was a member of Bosworth Post #2 of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veteran's organization, in Portland and worked on the design and placement of a monument for the 17th Maine at Gettysburg.


7
GAR parade badge, Portland, 1898

GAR parade badge, Portland, 1898

Item 48481 info
Maine Historical Society

The Chief Marshal for the Grand Army of the Republic unit in the Portland Memorial Day parade in 1898 wore this badge.

The GAR was a fraternal organization composed of Union veterans of the Civil War. It began in 1866.


8
17th Maine badge, ca. 1862

17th Maine badge, ca. 1862

Item 48483 info
Maine Historical Society

Joseph F. Hobbs wore this decorative badge as part of the 17th Maine Infantry, a Civil War unit known as the Red Diamond Unit. He was in the 3rd corps.

The date on the badge, August 18, 1862, is the date the unit was mustered into federal service.


9
1-10-29 Maine Volunteers badge, ca. 1861

1-10-29 Maine Volunteers badge, ca. 1861

Item 48484 info
Maine Historical Society

A Civil War veteran who belonged to the 1st-10th-29th Maine Infantry wore this badge.

When the 1st Maine was mustered out, soldiers whose terms of enlistment had not expired were transferred to the 10th Infantry.

Likewise, those who had time remaining when the 10th was mustered out, went into the 29th.


10
Skowhegan firefighter, ca. 1860

Skowhegan firefighter, ca. 1860

Item 48485 info
Maine Historical Society

Skowhegan opened its first firehouse in 1860. This unidentified Skowhegan firefighter – with "L Hose/3" on his hat – shows the pride that members of local fire companies often felt.

The ambrotype image is colored with red on the firefighter's cuffs and uniform breast.


11
Phineas J. Willey, Portland, 1891

Phineas J. Willey, Portland, 1891

Item 17740 info
Maine Historical Society

Phineas J. Willey (1827-1907), a shoemaker in Portland, played E flat bass in Chandler's Band. His daughter, Anna C. Willey, a music teacher, presented the photo to William E. Chandler in April 1908.

Chandler's father, Daniel H. Chandler, was the longtime leader of the band, a position William Chandler also held before forming his own bands.


This slideshow contains 11 items