Marion Artillery uniform, c. 1875, worn by Andrew Burnet Rhett (Charleston, 1831-1879) who fought with the Marion Artillery in the Civil War. Rhett was appointed Captain of the Marion Artillery, First Regt., Volunteer State Troops, S.C. on June 28th, 1877. A document in the Museum’s Archives making this appointment was signed by Wade Hampton, Governor and Commander in Chief of the Military and Naval Forces of South Carolina.
Another document in the museum archives is a letter dated Feb. 13, 1878 from Jacob Reed’s Sons, Philadelphia, indicating that the uniforms ordered for Marion’s Artillery had been shipped. The amount paid was $583.65. Jacob Reed founded his men’s clothing business in 1824 and by the late 19th century his sons were in the business as well. They were a manufacturer of Military Clothing that catered to militia and social organizations.
This uniform has South Carolina buttons with a backmark: “PH SCHUCKMANN / Charleston, S.C.” Philip Schuckmann was born in Germany in 1830, emigrated to Charleston, and after service in the Civil War, went to work at his father Louis’ store at 271 King Street. They were a dealer of clothes and fancy goods (fabrics, ribbons, buttons and dry goods) from 1856 at least until Philip’s death in 1900. It is unknown whether these buttons were actually made here, or made by a company such as Scovill in Waterbury, CT, who allowed retailers to use their own backmark.
Rhett’s red wool trousers have buttons marked: “J. Rugheimer / Charleston, S.C.” and were very likely made by this well-known Charleston tailor, who was in business from the close of the Civil War until his death in 1905. Rugheimer immigrated from Bavaria c. 1838 and was a blockade runner during the war. His business was carried on by the Rugheimer family until 1972.
Rhett’s stiff forage cap or shako bears a label from “Baker & McKenney / Manufacturers and Dealers in Military Goods / 141 Grand Street, New York.” John Baker merged with J. H. McKenney in 1864. It is a name seen on a number of the military style caps in our collection. The red feather plume adds quite a statement to the uniform.
Andrew Burnet Rhett was born on September 28, 1831 and died on September 13, 1879. He married Henrietta Aiken on August 21, 1862 and they had five children: William, Edmund, Harriet Lowndes, I’on Lowndes and Andrew Burnet.
This uniform is currently on display in Brethren, an exhibit focusing on the militia units in Charleston before, during and after the Civil War.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday