Why did the Union wear blue and the Confederacy wear grey during the Civil War?
Old hunters and Indian fighters of the pre-Civil War era wore blue or light gray so they would not stand out at a distance. This tradition was carried over into the selection of army uniform colors. Because the United States (Union) regulation color was already dark blue, the Confederates chose gray. However, soldiers were often at a loss to determine which side of the war a soldier was on by his uniform. With a shortage of regulation uniforms in the Confederacy, many southern recruits just wore clothes from home. When cloth became scarce in the South, the principal source of Confederate uniforms became captured Union uniforms. The dark blue uniforms were boiled in a solution with walnut hulls, acorns, and lye. The resulting color was light tan, which the southerners called “butternut.”