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Union Soldier in a NY State Jacket

Some information on the NYS Jackets Issued to the 121st NY

As of the spring of 1863, the eight button NYS Jacket had replaced the first issue sack coats. The NYS Jacket continued to be worn through 1863, but not for very much longer.

On January 11th, 1864, Col. Olcott wrote to the adjudant general, (Sprague) of NY. In his letter he said:
"For two months now I have been unable to procure state jackets,
(our uniform)."
In addition, the Col. mentions that he had been told that the federal government had exhausted it's supply and there was no intention to contract for more jackets. He adds the following:
"It would be a great loss to the men to be obliged to draw 'dress coats'. I am particularly anxious in this matter on account of the regiment having a good reputation which it has gained in it's present uniform. A change would not only injure the appearance of the regiment, but effect its 'Esprit de Corps'"

Col. Olcott was unsuccessful in his efforts to preserve the NYS jackets. A Sergeant in Co. D noted, in a diary entry marked February 9th, that the company had in fact "drawed dress coats". And from this point on, the uniform that was issued to the 121st remained standard army issue.

In a March 4th 1864 letter to his parents, Pvt. Adelbert Reed stated:
"I had to look as well as the rest of the boys. I have bought a cap, which at home would cost $1.00, here it costs $3.00 [and] our coats had to be trimmed out with State Buttons."
It is, however, unknown how long this lasted and if it was done to blouses and caps.

Soldier picture courtesy of The Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number: LC-B8184-10681 DLC]

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