I have been gathering information and visual references for my gang member character concept and his accessories. I found out that, among other things, that shoe fashion in the 1850's was so weird. Men whore quite exquisit shoes as you can see from the following images (yes the first ones are men's shoes).
As for the dressing style it would have to be something related to a normal working class men, simple dirty shirt and pants, with the latter having a red stripe on them. My character will also wear jockstraps, which is a common feature among men fashion at the time.
As fot the accessories I would go for the shoes, definitly either a knife or a sword, maybe even a gun, since the battle at the time had a lot of gun shots going on, but these were probably used by the Police members, however since in America law permited the use of guns among the common civilians and guns were as well distributed by the faction leaders to their supporters, so a gun can also be something a person involved in the conflict would have had. I could use one and it would fit the story.
However, I am most inclined to not using a gun and instead give my character a weapon that would fit this scenario in a more accurate way: a brick rock, a sword or an axe. This is, in my opinion, a much more fit weapon choice for a common civilian at the time.
These are the things that run through my mind when I try to visualize a person from 1850's, living in a big city, belonging to the working class. Another thing that is very common fashion among men of the time is mustaches. Maybe I will include one on mine.
There are a couple of things that I should mention. First, when I chose the story to use as a background to my character, I realised that a movie had been done about this specific historical moment in the American society. However, since I have never watched the movie, I do not have a visual image of the happenings, so I am not being influenced by someone else's perspective and ideas of how things should look like, otherwise I would not have chosen this piece of story.
Another thing is why is my character a men instead of a woman. This is simply due to the fact that at the time, women were very opressed, and they had a very specific role in the society, to take care of the house and have children. This is not my opinion of how things should be among men and women, but is just an historical social fact that I am trying to be accurate with. So that's why it will be a male character, since men where the ones taking part in these happenings, as well as in other roles of the society, such as politics, economics, etc.
Now that I have gathered some references it's time to draw and model everything.
I'll be back soon!