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 American Merchant Captain "Uniform", 1820s 
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Post American Merchant Captain "Uniform", 1820s
Let me know if I'm in the wrong place for this.

I'm trying to figure out what, say, a civilian merchant captain sailing out of, say, Virginia, in the 1820s would be wearing in formal occasions and while on-ship.

I know modern merchant marine captains have a sort of "traditional" uniform (though they're technically "non-uniformed" in the military sense), but my initial research stab seems to indicate that during the 1820s this wasn't the case, that a prosperous American ship captain would just wear the same sort of suit he'd wear as a civilian. But I'd like to be sure.

I'd particularly like to know what such a man might typically wear on ship, if there would be anything to indicate rank other than perhaps better clothes and/or "we know that guy is the captain".

Can anyone point me to a good resource, in print or online? A lot of sources focus heavily on the military navies, but not so much the merchant navies, which I guess are less "sexy".

And while I'm on the subject, I assume that a Letter of Marque doesn't change the situation? I didn't get the impression that just because you're a legalized pirate that you get a uniform or anything. :) Of course, we'd have to jump back to the War of 1812 for that...


Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:47 pm
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Hi xiombarg,

Welcome to the SN Forum!

I've moved your post into a different section. I modified the section name to reflect the nature of your post, along with a few others.

Chasbaz posted a link in the Merchants website thread, which looks promising.

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Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:23 am
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susan wrote:
Chasbaz posted a link in the Merchants website thread, which looks promising.[/size]

Thank you for your prompt reply!

I investigated that site, and while useful for my research, didn't answer my question. It's certainly gotten my research gears turning, at least.


Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:23 pm
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