Rare Pair of Depot Inspected, Issue Civil War Union Army Brogans or Jefferson “Bootees”



Rare Pair of Depot Inspected, Issue Civil War Union Army Brogans or Jefferson “Bootees” – This rarely encountered, original pair of Union Army Issue brogans or “bootees” or “Jefferson boots” exhibit all of the following characteristics seen in war issue brogans: the correct square-toes; wood pegged soles and nailed heels; four unreinforced lace eyelets in each side of the uppers; two reinforcing copper rivets in each side of the brogans’ uppers. These brogans are in overall good, used condition showing period wear, with original period manure and dirt still adhering to the soles. Each brogan has a couple tears, but brogans are relatively solid, with some minor areas of fragility, especially in the back of one of the pair; one side of the upper has lost its lace eyelet holes. An extremely rare feature is the readily discernible presence of a government inspector’s cartouche from the New York Depot – “N.Y” clearly stamped inside one of the brogans, by the eyelets; there appears to be some additional stamping, but it is not discernible. Original, war issue brogans have always been difficult to find, in any condition; questions arise as to whether period brogan style shoes were actually manufactured for military issue, as opposed to expressly for civilian use – with this pair, there is absolutely no question, as confirmed by the New York Depot inspector’s stamping. Many collectors are familiar with the New York Depot as a sizable quantity of Federally contracted canteens were delivered there for inspection; additionally, like these brogans, other military accoutrements and supplies, such as haversacks, were also delivered to the New York Depot, by contractors, for inspection.


Additional research:

By the last quarter of the 18th century, shoe manufacture was a major cottage industry in New England, and starting in about 1850, a rapid flood of newly invented, specialized machinery served to concentrate production in factories. The military demand for large quantities of cheap and rapidly produced goods during the Civil War catalyzed the expansion of industrial production.


BROGANS, sometimes known as Jefferson’s boots, are ankle high, black rough out shoes, sewn or pegged soles, worn by both sides, during the Civil War.

NOTE: Before and during the Civil War, sewn soles were the norm. Although costing more to make, sewn bootees continued to be made throughout the war. Pegged bootees were cheaper to make, while maintaining overall quality. For example, Schuylkjill Arsenal/Philadelphia Depot issued only sewn shoes, about 3.2 million pairs. New York Depot furnished to the Army, through their contractors, about 3.8millon sewn and 3.7millon pegged shoes. Original examples of these shoes exist bearing New York inspector’s marks; in addition, similar shoes have been excavated at Ft. McAllister, Georgia in the path of Hazen’s Brigade.