American Civil War for Kids - Uniforms and Clothing
When people talk about Civil War uniforms, some refer to the "blue" (North) and the "gray" (the South) based on the color of their uniforms. Other than some officers, uniforms were mostly covered with dirt and mud. It was difficult to wash clothing, especially on the march.
In the North, Union soldiers wore a wool uniform or wool clothing dyed dark blue, a belt that held a cartridge box, a cap. They carried a bag for rations, a canteen, a blanket, and if they had one, a tent. Later on in the war, uniforms were dyed lighter blue. Men wore a cap or a floppy hat. Each soldier decorated their hat or cap with brass letters of the regiment to which he belonged.
In the South, Rebel soldiers wore a short jacket and pants made of "jean" cloth, which was a blend of wool and cotton. These garments were dyed a muddy tan-gray color. They also wore vests, if they had one. From home, if lucky, they received packages that included a white shirt or some underwear made of cotton. Some men did not change underwear for months at time. As uniforms fell into tatters, they were replaced with whatever clothing soldiers could find. Southern shoes were poorly made. Men were forever repairing their shoes the best they could.