the Houston Depot (under Capt. Edward Wharton) gave the following production figures from January 1863- February 1864 (Adolphus 1996: 177).
13,691 kepis and hats; 20,925 jackets; 40,293 pairs of trousers; 39,407 shirts; 34,507 pairs of drawers; 3,426 pairs of socks; 43,657 pairs of shoes; and 377 great coats.
All of these figures do not quite add up, but they demonstrate that Shreveport and Houston were the two most important centres of manufacture in the mid to late war Trans-Mississippi, and that Houston Depot jackets were more common than those of Shreveport.
The following is a description from Rudolf Coreth (36th Texas Cavalry [dismounted]) on the issue of Houston Depot jackets to his unit in Houston on 16 November, 1863:
We received our winter cloths: pants, jackets, hats and blankets. The trousers and jackets are of gray woolen cloth. Everything is pretty good. The order came that each man is to get two complete suits and, in order to complete these, another requisition for clothes was made, but they haven't arrived yet. (Goyne 1998: 111).
Houston Depot jackets were usually made of imported British Cadet Grey Kersey cloth, the first shipment of which was received through the blockade in Autumn 1862 (12,000 yards, Texas Quartermaster receipt, cited in Adolphus 1996: 172). Indeed there are records in the Official Records (Navy) for seizures off the coast of Texas in November 1863 of blockade runners carrying large quantities of "woolen cloth of a color between blue and grey. That is just the Confederate uniform color" (ORN, I, 20, pg.658). Southern-made cloth from the Huntsville Penitentiary (bleached white woolen jeans, "sheep's grey" woolen jeans, and bleached white woolen kerseys) was shared between the Houston and Shreveport depots, with its white kerseys usually being reserved for 'Negro labourers' clothing.
Both Houston and Shreveport jackets were, it seems, of a similar cut, although the cloth they were made of differed quantitatively, with the Shreveport suits being more often of Huntsville jeans cloth and white kerseys (Adolphus pers.comm.). Buttons, as observed from photos, would have numbered either 6 or 7 on the Shreveport Depot jackets. One possible surviving Shreveport jacket is a late-war issue to Charles Perkins of the 3rd Louisiana (illustrated in Field 1996: 126). It is of a light-brown jean, with a low curved collar featuring wide collar gap, 6-piece cut, with 6 buttons (Louisiana Pelicans), and top-stitching with a thick white (flax?) thread.
Captain Wharton described the manufacture of the Houston Depot jacket as follows:
Single breasted with seven buttons made of 1 3/4 yards of double width coarse, cadet gray cloth, basted with spool cotton and sewn with flax thread... Bleached domestic sleeve lining taking 3/4 yard and unbleached domestic for the body lining and pockets ... [being] heavy weave cotton material from the penitentiary mill. (Adolphus 1996: 173)
Rare surviving photos show the collars of these jackets to be low, with their margins gently curved, as with early war Louisiana jackets. The jacket was also comparatively long for a shell, being specified to come to 'below the top of the hips',- making it as long, or longer, than a Richmond Depot I (ibid.). Facings, when present, were of imported kersey in branch of service colour. However, I have not yet seen a photo of a likely Houston Depot jacket with facings. Buttons used for infantry jackets were either 'Block I's' (solid cast, or tin-backed two-piece), Houston-made pewter buttons ('T-E-X-A-S' letters around a star OR 'CS' in a wreath), Brass Texas State Buttons (rare), or imported(?) 'CSA' buttons (late 1864-65) (Adolphus 1996: 174).
Houston Depot trousers were usually made of Huntsville jeans, the cadet gray kersey being spared for jackets and kepis. Adolphus (ibid.) notes that the trousers had four to five buttons, unbleached domestic serving for the pockets and waistband, with a buckle and cloth belt in the rear. Stripes in cotton webbing may or may not have been added.
However, it should also be remembered that the Houston Depot 'production figures' include some complete goods which made it to Texas through the blockade. In Fall 1863 Wharton, the head of the Houston Depot, reported receipt of 2,400 jackets and 2,916 pairs of trousers in grey wool from Great Britain (Adolphus 1996: 175). Adolphus believes that these might have been early Tait uniforms, which would make them the first of their type issued in America. By 1864 there is documentary proof for this connection: Adolphus (ibid.) notes the existence of a Peter Tait Company shipping invoice of 10,000 "Suits Infantry Uniforms" to be shipped via Liverpool to Texas in November 1864. Further conclusive evidence of shipment of complete uniforms from Britain to Texas comes once again from reports of Federal blockade runner shipments off the coast of Texas in November 1863:
SIR: I have the honor to report to you the capture by this vessel [USS Virginia] of the British brig Volante,, of Jersey, this day [November 6th, 18631... Upon examination of her papers, I found that she carried the following articles contraband of war, viz, boots and shoes, army blankets, case of stockings, bales of confederate uniforms, woolen cloth, etc...
(ORN, I, 20. 660).
The presence of British import jackets in the Trans-Miss, whether in 1863 or 1864, might also be physically attested by numerous relic lined-script 'I' British-import buttons recovered from sites along the Texas Coast and Louisiana (Adolphus ibid.), and indeed from datable sites such as the siege lines of Port Hudson (May 1863) and the Battlefield of Bayou Bourbeau (November 1863) (author's collection).