The Faded Coat of Blue

by Mal Stylo

The Rebels are resurgent! Oh, what are we to do?
Why, crush the foul rebellion, in our uniforms of blue!
We raised a mighty legion, a brave and vaunting host,
Then we clothed 'em and equipped 'em at a local sutler's post!

The clothes and gear we got looked fine, certainly the best,
Alas! In Uncle Sam's service they quickly failed the test!
Our blouses were a jaunty shade of deep and fine dark blue,
But ere we'd gone too many miles, they lightened up in hue!

Our trowsers they were well-designed to cool us in the heat,
They soon had ventilation, where once they'd had a seat!
So in these airy trowsers we fight with just one fear,
Although our flanks are covered, we're vulnerable in the rear!

In haversacks we kept our food when we fought the Rebel flag,
But they proved about as durable as a sodden paper bag!
A canteen is a soldier's friend; dependable and trusty,
Ours gave us water fresh and cool; and dark and brown and rusty!

Our shirts are made of calico: green, or red, or blue,
"No Good!" says the National Regiment, "that pattern's from 1892!"
My bayonet is from India, it has a sharp and pointed end,
I love to stick it in the ground, just to see it bend!

Our men form up for many events, some of then are yawners,
We do this not for wealth or fame, but for our sacred honor!
So our ragged ranks go marching on no matter what the weather,
While wives and mothers constantly sew to hold our uniforms together!

Oh, sojer, why do we do this? What can possibly make amends?
Not our shoddy equipment, but our staunch and loyal friends.
So on we fight, a patriot band, of loyal men and true,
In ventilated trowsers and faded coats of blue.

Obviously, this little ditty refers to a local sutler, who shall remain anonymous. Her greatest virtue was that her goods were inexpensive, allowing the unit captain to claim " interested recruit could be uniformed for as little as $100" in our regiment's promotional hand-out. She isn't providing the troops with her instantly-recognizable uniform items anymore (the wool she used was of so open a weave as to be almost air). This is a pity; for a shoddy cloth contractor impression, it was fairly convincing. At one time most of our unit sported blown-out crotches! - Jonah