The Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum has created a reproduction blanket based on one that my relative Sergeant Major Augustus G. Weissert brought home. His blanket was issued to him during his recovery from his wounds received in the 1864, Battle of Nashville, right before he was sent home, so it saw no field use. Since there was just a slight amount of exposure and this blanket kept a lot of it’s original finish. This made his blanket ideal for reproducing.
This blanket is medium brown with dark brown and end stripes. It was made of woolen yarns that had a lot-of red, blue and “other colored shoddy.” This blanket measures six and a half feet long, four foot and nine inches wide. The stripes at the end of the blanket are two and a half inches wide, and there is little or no nap.
The U.S. is of the two lined serif variety letters, made with a running stitch – the letters being approximately six and a half inches in height; the S a little bit lower that the U. The crude execution and irregular alignment of the U.S. suggest ,that speed of the production was the primary concern.
When Wisconsin Veterans Museum created this reproduction it was their intent to reproduce one that closely resembled the one that Augie Weissert brought home. However, it must be emphasized that blankets were different and varied quite a bit from one to another.
According to the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum the blankets obtained by the army were of various quality. “The blanket called for in the Army regulations, and desired by the Quartermaster’s department, was to be: woolen, gray, seven feet long, and five and a half feet wide, and to weigh five pounds.” It was also noted that the surviving examples of army blankets rarely met these specifications.
Although gray colored blankets did exist, they were not the only colored blankets that were made. There were some with a shade of brown. The possible causes for this may be due to: 1) The yarns used in these blankets were dyed with some agent, such as logwood, that first causes a gray color which gradually changes to brown over a long period of time. 2) The yarns used. 3) The blankets were dyed with something that produced the brown color or the blankets were manufactured using undyed wool or greige goods” that were brown in color.
So far there has not been any scientific research conducted on the brown issue blankets to support any of these cause. One should not look at the detail of any one blanket to say this is how it was done, so this must be this way. The reasons for this being that while the U.S. Army relied on private manufacturers, the domestic blanket industry did not, nor could not, adequately supply the Army with blankets. It was due to this that the Quartermaster’s department was obliged to obtain blankets of foreign manufacture.
While Weissert’s blanket has been reproduced in detail, with scientific dye testing, if the museum would of been dissatisfied with any step of the manufacturing, it would have not been reproduced. One can get a reproduction of this blanket for $145 plus $6 shipping and handling. This should be sent to:
Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum Gift Shop
30 West Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703
Right now they are out but maybe, just maybe they might reproduce it again.