EXEMPLARY CONFEDERATE ARTILLERY UNIFORM OF CAPT. JOHNSTON DE LAGNEL, PACS & ACTING MAJOR OF 20TH BATTALION VIRGINIA HEAVY ARTILLERY TO OUR KNOWLEDGE THE FINEST OF ITS TYPE IN EXISTENCE.
You will not find a finer regulation Confederate Captain’s frock coat and matching trousers, both with Captain De Lagnel’s name nicely inked. Most amazing is that the original receipt for the uniform from the premier wartime Charleston tailor Charles. D Carr was found in the pants pocket. Carr is known for high quality imported fabric and best quality imported Confederate buttons which he constantly advertised during war. De Lagnel paid $230 January 20th 1864 for coat & pants detailed on receipt. Apparently, he kept the receipt as on the verso, he lists ordnance for his command: “50 10in mortar shells, box 100 fuses, 100 pounds gunpowder, etc.”. Johnston would die within 3 months of his last uniform being made April 7, 1864. Other de Lagnel Confederate artifacts were donated by his family to the Museum of the Confederacy including his brother Julius’ sword. Johnston’s uniform was donated to the Valentine Museum in Richmond in 1945 along with other uniforms of de Lagnel’s father. While on display 16 of the rare blockade run English Confederate staff buttons were stolen, only 6 buttons are original to coat. We were able to find original period replacements to replace the missing Civil War ones, which now have been professionally reattached. The buttons have all been restored with identical manufacturer and type (Albert #36). It was not easy finding 16 perfect HT&B Confederate staff officer buttons, but Robert French, specialist rare button dealer and Poulin specialist gleaned the country and eventually found them all; dealers are asking as much as $1000 each for them. It was worth the effort as the final product is really breathtaking as you can see in photos. There are very few identified Confederate coats & matching trousers in high condition extant including museum & institutional collections. But this is believed to be the finest known, it is virtually breathtaking.
Johnston de Lagnel (1831-1864) was commissioned in his older brother’s unit 20th Battalion Virginia Heavy Artillery also known as “de Lagnel Artillery” July 1862. Major Julius de Lagnel II commanded the 20th VA HA protecting the approaches to Richmond with batteries along the James River. When Julius was promoted to Colonel, he left the 20th VA Heavy Artillery command to his brother Johnston, a captain but acting major. Johnston was acting major for several months, and when his promotion to major was disapproved, he was transferred to the Charleston defenses under General Beauregard, October 23, 1863. Johnston was in command of Fort Johnson on James Island till his death April 7th 1864; according to his National Archives compiled service record he was on duty signing reports a week before he died in the field at Fort Johnson. His body was sent by steamer back home to Virginia where he is interred along with his father, West Point Graduate Julius A. de Lagnel (1798-1840) and long career in US Artillery & Ordnance. Both his sons followed in his footsteps both being Confederate Artillery & Ordnance officers. Captain Johnson was a member of the Provisional Army of Confederate States or PACS. He was not a member of the standard state troop which consisted of the majority of the Confederate Army. The Confederate government actually paid for his expensive uniform.