This is one gem of a Civil War frock coat that covers both the rarity of a Union enlistedman frock and the novelty of one being used later by the same man, but as an officer! The fine grade wool broadcloth coat is that of Edward F. Hamlin who enlisted as a private in September, 1862, in Company I of the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant while in the Department of the Gulf and likely purchased this frock coat by a private tailor in New Orleans at that time. He mustered out of service August, 1863 but went back into the military in 1867 as a 1st Lieutenant (later Captain) of Company H, 2nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia and was appointed to clerkship in the adjutant general’s office by Gov. Washburn in 1877. Born in Plainfield, Massachusetts, he was listed in city registers as a Republican and a Mason and by the time of the Civil War, he had moved to Northhampton.
The really unique thing about this frock coat is that he clearly wore this coat as a First Sergeant but removed the chevrons, likely in 1867, when he was appointed 1st Lieutenant. He merely added on a pair of Smith patent shoulder straps to his old uniform and paid no regard to the fact that his use of the coat in the conditions in the field had caused the coat to fade slightly, but not under the straps! The outline is distinct and very visible on both arms.
This coat is that of a real field soldier who saw extensive action and service, mostly in Louisiana, during his term of service. Considering that most enlisted grade Union Civil War frock coats START around $8500, unidentified, this gem is a true bargain!