Tag Archives: Civil War

Fashion Moments – Garibaldi Shirt

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to the Garibaldi Shirt.

Garibaldi Shirt

I have previously written about the shirtwaist. The ancestor of the versatile shirtwaist was the Garibaldi shirt which first appeared in women’s fashion around 1860 and was popular during the Civil War. The shirt takes it name from the Italian folk hero Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). He fought for Italian independence from the Austrian Empire. His followers were known as “Redshirts” for the colorful red shirts which they wore as their uniform.

The Garibaldi shirt was often worn with the Zouave jacket but there are many examples of the shirt being worn alone. While the original Garibaldi shirts were red, they eventually were made in other colors, from light white and beige to solid blue and patterned calicoes. One of the advantages of the shirt was its simplicity and the ease of movement that it afforded. The shirts were made from a variety of fabrics from cotton muslin to merino wool. They could be very plain or decorated with pin tucks, ruffles and lace collars.

Godey’s Lady’s Magazine offered a selection of variations of the Garibaldi shirt, including one with a Zouave jacket for a young girl, in 1864.

While the Garibaldi shirt was fashionable, it was also practical. Sleeves could easily be rolled up when work needed to be done. When the work was done, the shirts were easier to launder and clean. The two girls in the photograph below (sisters Lucretia and Louisa Crossett) were texile workers. While their shirts are very plain, if you click to enlarge the photograph, you can see their delicate lace collars at their necklines.

Garibaldi Shirt #1

Further Reading

Basic history of Giuseppe Girabaldi and his Redshirts on wikipedia.

Julia Ditto Young, “The Rise of the Shirt Waist,” Good Housekeeping 34 (May 1902) : 354-357; Cornell University online library here

Article on the Garibaldi shirt from the Victoriana Magazine online.

The Barrington House has a wonderful collection of Civil War photographs on their website. There are several great examples of women wearing Garibaldi shirts. A good indication of whether a woman was wearing a shirt/skirt combination vs. a dress is the color. If the top is light, but the skirt is dark, it is likely a shirt. If both the top and skirt are the same color or patterned fabric, it’s a dress.


I strive to use only photographs and images on my website that are copyright free (public domain), and to provide the proper attrition to the original source. I often find great examples of fashion items but can not post them here. The most common reason (I don’t post a picture) is that I can not find the original source of an item that has already been posted on the web to sites like Pinterest.

Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute Fashion Plates, Women 1862, Plate 117.

Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute Fashion Plates, Women 1863, Plate 48.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Collection. Sisters Lucretia Electa and Louisa Ellen Crossett in identical skirts… Call no.: AMB/TIN no. 2112


Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine 68 (January 1864) : 81; and, Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine 68 (June 1864) : 565; Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org).

© 2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/13/fashion-moments-garibaldi-shirt/


Military Monday – Declaration for Original Invalid Pension

Yegerlehner, Christian - Declaration for original invalid pension, 1888

To be executed before a court of record or some officer thereof having custody of its seal

State of Indiana
County of Clay
On this 29 day of February, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight personally appeared before me, Clerk of the Circuit Court, a court of record within and for the county and State aforesaid, Christian Yegerlehner, aged 51 years, a resident of the ________of________county of Clay state of Indiana, who being duly sworn according to law, declared that he is the identical Christian Yegerlehner, who was ENROLLED on the 22 day of March, 1865, in company B of the 33 regiment of Indiana commanded by Ben H. Freeland, and was honorably DISCHARGED at Louisville Ky on the 21 day of July, 1865; that his personal description is as follows: Age, 51; height, 5 feet 3 ½ inches; complexion, Dark; hair, Dark; eyes Brown. That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Louisville, in the State of Kentucky on or about the — day of July, 1865, he contracted diarrhea by exposure and drinking impure water.

The above is the correct an informal affidavit on file.

Book of Me – Prompt 11: Military

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week eleven’s prompt is the Military.

Did you join the military?
Were you encouraged or discouraged?
Did a family member?
Regular or for a particular incident?
Did you or your family serve overseas in the line of service either during a war or as a posting?
Any thoughts, photographs, relevant memories?

Malcolm W. Leonard

My great grandfather
Malcolm W. Leonard, 1918

The military was something that never appealed to me. I consider myself a pacifist and I dislike guns and violence immensely. The thought of putting myself in the line of fire or anywhere near guns terrifies me. As a child, I remember reviewing possible future professions. Any job involving blood or violence was immediately excluded.  A medical career was also stricken from the list. This fear also extends to travel in foreign countries where violence towards humanity is higher than average.

When I came of age in the 1980s, the United States was not involved in any military conflicts. The Vietnam War was still an open wound and the Gulf Wars were yet to come. A career in the military wasn’t even a consideration.  For women, there were very few options in the military back then. My family has no recent veterans. My father escaped service during Vietnam as well as all my uncles. We were not touched. Having so many family members in religious professions may have had an influence. Some distant cousins may have fought in either Vietnam or Korea, but the last true family veterans came from World War II.

Yegerlehner, Christian - Clay City, Indiana, c1890

Christian Yegerlehner
Civil War Veteran

I readily admit that my opinion of the military has changed over the years. My limited exposure to the military colored my opinion for much of my youth. During college, I was disgusted by the machismo of my ROTC classmates. However, as our modern conflicts have dragged on, I have come to hold our military service members in high esteem. I cannot fathom the sacrifices they have made and the injuries they have suffered.

As I have studied my family’s history, I have felt pride for my ancestors who fought for our country in World War II, World War I, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War. They experienced untold horrors to mold the country that we live in today. One of my greatest hopes is that neither of my children (or my descendants) will have to make similar sacrifices to defend our country. I hope that one day we can solve our conflicts through peaceful means.

Perhaps this is one of the photographs from Dr. Lentz's roll of film

The veteran dearest to my heart is my grandfather, Roscoe S. Yegerlehner. Please take a moment to explore my blog and enter his world during World War II.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/10/book-of-me-prompt-11-military/