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Major Brinton Coffin Varnish Battlefield Whiskey TShirt

Regular price $34.95

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If you’re a Civil War buff, this tshirt will set you apart.  Major John Brinton's "Coffin Varnish" Battlefield Whiskey illustrates one heck of a story, and if you don't know the tale, you'll want to pull up a chair. Start sipping your favorite bourbon.

The Union Army issued Major Brinton a lot of whiskey. In fact, he had an operating still at his headquarters, a museum which might give you a clue as to what he was doing.

Major Brinton was a surgeon, but that's not the half of it. Whiskey was not only the drink of choice in the 1800s, it was not only the medicine of choice. But the huge supply assisted the Major in a most gruesome task. 

He was to preserve the wounds of war; the carnage of the battlefield,  as part of the newly established Army Medical Museum in Washington D.C. Skulls with bullet holes, arms, and legs amputated... Now preserved for all time.

There is the oft-told tale of General Daniel Sickles' leg, preserved. It is said he sent his leg to the museum with his regards. General Sickles was particularly proud of his contribution.

Mark Twain said the General "valued the leg he lost more than the one he's got."

To be sure, this brew was not the tasty whiskey we know today or even what was known at the time. In fact, to prevent railroad workers and others from absconding with the preservative liquor, Major Brinton added tartar emetic, which induced vomiting for the unsuspecting thieves.

We chose "Coffin Varnish" for this tee  because it was slang for the stuff Union and Confederate soldiers found themselves having to consume. And the word coffin seemed particularly apt. Usually only Generals like Ulysses S. Grant regularly got the good stuff, like 1860's Old Crow. Our tee has that cool, sought-after distressed vintage look, like maybe washed in a limestone creek.

So while others wear the de rigueur JD tee, or maybe Pappy Van Winkle, if they can find it (see what we did there ;), you can be sporting this limited edition bourbon-wear, regaling the crowd about General Sickles' leg.

We offer classic black, but we also have a navy/dark blue reminiscent of the Union Army uniform color. We also offer a Heather Grey. Any of these would be a fine collection to your wardrobe. These high quality tshirts will last far longer than any bottle of bourbon you will come across.

If you know someone with Shelby Foote books on their shelves, this would be a cool tee for a gift

And If you ever make it to Maryland, you can find the bones of Civil War causalities, originally preserved by Major Brinton's, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring. You might even become the star attraction yourself with your wear. Cheers.

(Picture: Army Medical Museum from 1887 to 1947, US Federal photo, public domain.)

The Vintage Look

The shirt has a unique distressed, vintage look; cool, subtle, like washed in a creek. Like maybe it's seen a few things. The fabric remains the highest quality (see below).

The T-shirt

Our tees are the highest quality you will find. 100% combed and ring-spun cotton by Bella Canvas, a USA-based company. Feels soft and lightweight, with the right amount of stretch. It's comfortable and very flattering for both men and women.

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Size guide

Length (inches) 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Width (inches) 16 ½ 18 20 22 24 26 28 30