New York National Guard Corporal’s Shell Jacket May -1863 - Inventory Number: UNI 155
This is the scarce New York jacket authorized for its state infantry troops May 16, 1863. Two choices were offered to its regiments: a “chasseur” pattern and this “polka-skirted” pattern, dark blue, trimmed in white on the collar, shoulder tabs, lapel, cuffs and two belt loops at the sides. The front is fastened by nine coat-size NY State buttons and the tabs and belt loops by cuff-size. New York had been trying to standardize its infantry uniforms for some time, but this was the first time uniforms were actually issued by the state, or any state, for wear by its militia. The state regiments changed their designation from NY State Militia (NYSM) to National Guard State of New York (NGSNY) about the same time. Many were called into US service for periods of thirty to one-hundred days from 1861 through 1864 for guard duty at harbor facilities and prisoner of war camps, but also more dangerous duty in the NY draft riots and service outside the state, for instance during the Gettysburg Campaign when Lee invaded Pennsylvania and the 23rd NY found itself tangling with Confederate troops at Oyster Point and Carlisle on June 28 and July 1, 1863.
The jacket is in very good condition, with good color to the blue body and white trim. The interior is fully lined in white in the body and sleeves, quilted in the chest, and showing staining to tan color from wear, but few losses. There are natural points of wear and stress in a jacket that was actually issued and worn. The original pair of corporal’s chevrons are affixed to the sleeves!