The typical Civil War uniform that a Union soldier wore during the war was made primarily of wool.
The most vibrant uniforms during the entire war were worn by the Zouaves which consisted of bright red pants and a red cap.
Of course if you were Johnny Reb you didn’t have all the luxuries that the typical Union soldier had. Confederate soldiers typically traveled much lighter than their Northern counterparts.
This wasn’t necessarily because they wanted to, but rather because they just had no other choice. They just didn’t have as many items as the Northern troops had.
As far as the uniforms go, the southern Civil War uniform was vastly different from their neighbors to the North. Confederate Civil War clothing was made of cotton, wool and a type of jean cloth. Union uniforms were vastly superior to confederate uniforms in almost every way.
This was simply because the Northern states had all the manufacturing plants that could produce quality clothing. The south never had this kind of manufacturing base and was never able to produce the quality clothing that the North was able to.
Soldiers also wore a shirt and either a U.S. Fatigue (Sack) Coat or a Confederate Fatigue (Sack) Coat and they wore a good pair of U.S. Foot Trousers or if for the Confederacy the C.S.A. Grey Mounted Trousers.
Along with the Civil War soldier uniform the soldiers wore a belt which held a cap box, cartridge box, bayonet with scabbard, canteen, and a blanket roll which contained a wool blanket, a shelter half and a rubber blanket and poncho.
Soldiers also carried a bag called a knapsack or Haversack, which held their rations, an extra pair of socks, writing paper, stamps and envelopes, ink and pen, razor, toothbrush, comb and any other items that each individual soldier decided to keep with them.
The South had plenty of cotton to make uniforms during the Civil War unfortunately they just didn’t have the tools to produce them.
The Southern uniforms during the Civil War that they did have were usually dyed to make them gray or sometimes brown, this was done to at least try to give uniformity throughout the army.
Union soldiers often referred to confederate soldiers as Butternuts because of the grayish brown color of their uniforms.
Southern soldiers also wore short jackets and vests as well as shirts and underwear that were usually mailed to them from home. Shoes were also a major problem for the Rebel army. They didn’t have enough of them and the ones that they did have were very poor quality.
In fact it got so bad for the army of Northern Virginia that one of the major reasons Lee decided to attack Gettysburg was to capture a large stockpile of Union shoes.
Unfortunately for Lee he didn’t get Gettysburg or the shoes.