Article Archive
Article IV - US Infantry Frock Coat
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US Infantry Frock Coat of Thomas G. Arnold
122nd Ohio Infantry


Thomas G. Arnold was a member of the 122nd Ohio Infantry; Company G. Arnold was born in 1825. He stood 5’ 8.5” with light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair. He was a farmer before the Civil War. Thomas Arnold entered military service on October 5th, 1862 as a corporal in Captain Farquhar’s Company of the 122nd Ohio Infantry; this unit later became Co. G., 122nd Ohio Infantry. Arnold’s term of service was three years.

Arnold was wounded on October 19th, 1864 during the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia. He mustered out on June 26, 1865. Arnold notes in a document -

“I was three years in service…was with Millroy in the valley and Sheriden in the valley fights and Grant from Culpeper to Appomattox with the 6th Corps.”

Thomas Arnold died in 1905.

The coat pictured was worn by Arnold during the Civil War and resides in our collection. The coat is a 9-button US Infantry frock coat with blue piping around the collar and cuffs. The buttons are a standard eagle style; the buttons on Arnold’s coat are not back marked. You will notice this frock coat still retains Arnold’s reunion medal. These medals were given to those soldiers who attended their unit’s post Civil War or GAR reunion.

This is a most interesting frock coat in that, while it follows the basic lines and construction of a Federal frock coat, the materials used in its construction are not those normally seen in this type of garment; however, the coat was certainly made in its present configuration.

During most of the Civil War, Federal quartermasters provided contractors with the materials needed to make uniforms. The contractors cut out the cloth and assembled the uniforms. In this way, the government maintained a basic standard for materials. The basic reason this practice occurred was because of experiences early in the war when contractors supplied their own materials. Often, uniforms were supplied which did not meet Army standards in terms of weight, materials or color. Further, because there were no contractor markings, quartermasters often could not tell who had delivered which uniforms. Therefore, Congress passed a law in January, 1862 requiring contractors to mark their products. Given the date of issue of this piece, the lack of markings and the materials used, this is most likely one of those early war contract pieces that was already in store prior to the January, 1862 law or received prior to its actual implementation.

The Arnold coat exhibits the typical poor construction and quality prior to the stricter standards imposed by the US Government. The condition of the coat (especially the back) was deteriorating; however, through our conservation efforts, Arnold’s frock coat was stablized and restored to its original condition and as such, will remain intact for another 140+ years.

Best of Wishes,

The Civil War Antiques Preservation Society



Article Archive
Article I - English Imports
Article II - McDowell Pattern Cap
Article IV - US Infantry Frock Coat
Article V - Regulation US Eagle Drum

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©The Civil War Antiques Preservation Society,
Michael Collins, Executive Director,  2017

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