DescriptionFrench Import Uniform Identified to a Hard-fighting Member of the 62nd Pa. Vol. Infantry. This is a noteworthy example of the colorful infantry uniform purchased in quantity from France at the outbreak of the Civil War, worn by Sgt. Robert N. Martin, Co. M, 62nd Pa. Vol. Infantry. The set consists of a short-skirted, dark blue woolen broadcloth tunic with yellow piping along the collar, outer seam and cuffs to which is fastened the original yellow and green cloth epaulets. The front closes with nine pewter buttons decorated with an eagle/shield/stars design specially manufactured for these America-bound uniforms. Eight of the original buttons remain on the front, with two smaller ones at each cuff and another smaller one holding a belt loop at the left side. Four large buttons, more piping and two small yellow wool "bugles" ornament the coat tails. The quilted white canvas interior is soiled but otherwise perfect with the name "R N Martin" inscribed in ink, along with some miscellaneous French manufacturer's markings. The trousers are made from medium blue wool with voluminous legs, pleated around the waistband and gathered at the cuffs, which are closed by a simple tin button. There are two hip pockets in the outer seam and a watch pocket at the waist. A narrow belt adjusts the trousers at the back and the interior is unmarked except for the vestiges of a French manufacturer's or inspector's stamp. Added to the set is a French Model 1860 infantry shako as imported with these uniforms. The stiff black leather headgear stands approximately six inches tall and has a large gold-washed ornamental plate featuring a spread-winged eagle, oak and laurel leaves and other devices stamped in relief. Above the plate is a round metal red/white/blue rosette. The chinstrap, which extends from the interior of the cap, is also in place. Added as well is a pair of brown leather leggings similar to those worn with this uniform. In 1861 the U.S. Government contracted with the Godillot firm in Paris for 10,000 sets of infantry clothing based on that worn by the French light riflemen. Delivery was made in December and the sets were first issued to the 62nd as well as the 83rd Pa. and the 18th Mass. infantry regiments. Sgt. Martin fought with his distinguished unit from enlistment in August, 1861 to discharge in August, 1864. As part of the V Corps it participated in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac, taking particularly severe casualties at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.
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