Rolling the Civil War Overcoat
For all you Federal Reenactors (and you curious Confederates) out there, you may be wondering "how the heck did the original US soldiers carry those overcoats?" of course, you may not care, especially if you don't have an overcoat. But for me, I wanted to know. A little digging turned up the information that the soldiers carried them rolled, and on top of their knapsacks. But, "how did they roll them?" you might pontificate. Well, I too pondered the same perplexity, and answers were not forthcoming. I could find no printed instructions left over from the war. I have since learned that there were a few reenactors out there who chose not to share this info, well, they have been punished. Fortunately, one of the studliest members of the 15th US/1st Fla modified the World War I overcoat rolling procedure and scored a breakthrough. So here are the steps for rolling the overcoat thanks to Matt Wright.
While holding the roll with your knee, fold in the to corners of the 'clamshell' until they cross like in the picture. This step is crucial and you will undoubtedly have to unroll and repeat this step many times until you can get just the right
width to make a tight roll. The wing tips need to overlap, however, because they will eventually hold the roll in place. I didn't get a shot of what you do next, but you're smart you can figure it out. Fold the cape piece down (exactly as it is with that overlap) at the collar. You can see the collar line in the picture, it is right above the button. The cape will be facing the roll you are holding with your knee, with the opening in the cape towards said roll.
The photo on the left shows the finished coat. The one on the right is an original overcoat rolled up. Notice the similarity. Admittedly, I don't know if that coat has been rolled since the war, but other period photos I have seen show the same thing. Once you get the coat rolled, you can use it for a pillow, a football, and you can even carry it on your knapsack.