The Civil War ‘raincoat’ and ground cover. While foot soldiers were issued the gum blanket (with grommets) or infantry blanket (without grommets), mounted troops received the poncho, which was the same blanket and material except that the poncho had a neck opening and a waterproof collar affixed. Stamped with our ‘Union India Rubber Co.’ stamp in red indelible ink. Poncho measures approximately 4′ x 6′.

Toward the end of the Civil War ponchos were adopted and became prized equipment of Union soldiers. Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s 62,000 men were carrying ponchos when they left still-smoking Atlanta in September 1864 to begin their devastating 1,000-mile march through Georgia and the Carolinas. “The troops traveled lightly… . Each man carried a blanket wrapped in a rubber poncho slung over his shoulder, a haversack, a tin cup hung at the waist, a musket and a cartridge box with forty rounds of ammunition.” A soldier packed little in the way of rations, for Sherman’s army lived off the country as it destroyed much of the South’s capabilities to continue the war.

Sherman’s troops endured spells of freezing weather. Particularly when it is cold and raining, a soldier on the march wearing a poncho is better off than if wearing a raincoat. Greater air circulation under a poncho keeps clothes drier, and having drier clothing results in the wearer becoming less chilled when he stops or sleeps. Sherman’s toughened infantrymen were not burdened with tents.

Our poncho is complete and ready to use with the reinforced neck hole. A great economy piece that will last for years if taken care of! We highly recommend hanging it up to dry after rainy conditions to prevent mildew and the material sticking together. Imported.