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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Major Matt Lewis, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: US Cavalry Uniforms, 1866-1916 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: US Cavalry Uniforms, 1866-1916  (Read 4250 times)
Capt. Montgomery Little
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« on: March 29, 2011, 10:05:56 am »


Just picked up a book by Greenhill Press compiled by John P. Langellier of US Cavalry photos from the above years. US Army personel after CW were no bettter off than CSA troops during. They both were stuck with a plethora of hand-me-downs and home-made items. This would include issue items as well as items purchased from sutlers or made up on post. No multi-billion budgets back then. One pic shows a trooper whose "issue" equipment ranges from 1860 through 1902.  FYI, the McClellen saddle was never replaced from it's inception until the Cavalry Corps ceased to be a horse unit in 1930s.  A wealth of info in picture and print.
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 12:38:54 pm »

I've found John Langellier's books to usually be well researched and well written.  His "Army Blue" and "More Army Blue" are outstanding.

But you're right, up until only fairly recently our soldiers have been forced to make do with inadequate or inappropriate clothing and equipment. 

Some years ago I met an Army officer who was on their uniform board. He told me that the members of the board consisted of experts in accounting, contracts, supply and logistics, and similar fields (he was a supply officer himself).  There was not a single member of the board from the combat or comat support arms, even though they were selecting clothing and equipment that would be used by those forces.  His argument was that too much money was involved to get an infantryman involved. Shocked

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Curley Cole
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 02:11:20 pm »

Old Top used to argue with me about wearing a "5 button sack coat", because that was what was proper in the IW period. He finally relented when I showed him several excerpts from books about the army on the frontier using up what was left over from the war between the states....He now wears a 4 button coat.

Now if I can only get him to sew his stripes on his "blouse". In SoCal you can't wear that wool coat all summer...

oh well, it his his illusion...

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me I am his scout and can wear anything I want...(see pix)


curley and old top

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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 03:18:17 pm »

Now if I can only get him to sew his stripes on his "blouse". In SoCal you can't wear that wool coat all summer...

oh well, it his his illusion...

Actually, I've seen very, very few examples of rank insignia worn on the uniform shirt during the IW period.   Regulations didn't authorize it, contrary to what John Ford might have us believe. 

Since most units operated at the company level and the everyone knew who was who (and woe betide the man who didn't), visible rank insignia wasn't needed.  In addition, trouser stripes also indicated the rank of the wearer - being an officer, NCO, or private - which would be useful when working with another company, especially from another regiment, or larger unit. 

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Drydock
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 05:06:50 pm »

Yes, rank on shirts did not appear until the turn of the century,  It seems to pop up first in the phillipines around 1899 or so.  The army eventually had to authorize a smaller form of chevron, as the 1884 chevrons were simply too large to put on a shirt sleeve.

The army officialy exausted its stock of CW uniform items by 1880.  It must be remembered that thanks to rather "shady" war contractors, a lot of those 4 button fatigues were child size! (Paid by number of outfits produced!)  Within a few years the 4 button was gone, and by the late 1880s the uniform situation had much improved.  After 1886 or so, it was rare to see troops in the field in other than issue gear, unlike the hardscrabble decade  just after the wars end.

That was unifom items of course, accoutrements like belts, holsters, slings, canteens, mess gear, and sundry, lasted well into the 1930s!  (Indeed, there is a rumour of some Navy NCO wearing such gear on his patrol boat in 2005!)   Wink
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 07:40:44 pm »

Oh I know those regs, well now, as Old Top will quote chapter and verse to me....So, I let him enjoy his venture the way he wants to...

thanks for the info..

curley
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 09:42:46 pm »

i have a 5 button CW Era Sack Coat.  There are 3 pockets on the front.  Was the pocketed coat worn thru the IW era as well as the later Sack Coat without the pockets?
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 09:48:50 pm »

Sounds like what you have is the M1887 enlisted blouse, the last of the enlisted 5 button blue wool blouses.   http://quartermastershop.com/1872_and_on_us_enlisted/m-1887_enlisted_fatigue.html
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2011, 07:22:38 pm »

Just picked up a book by Greenhill Press compiled by John P. Langellier of US Cavalry photos from the above years. US Army personel after CW were no bettter off than CSA troops during. They both were stuck with a plethora of hand-me-downs and home-made items. This would include issue items as well as items purchased from sutlers or made up on post. No multi-billion budgets back then. One pic shows a trooper whose "issue" equipment ranges from 1860 through 1902.  FYI, the McClellen saddle was never replaced from it's inception until the Cavalry Corps ceased to be a horse unit in 1930s.  A wealth of info in picture and print.

I have that book, Sound the Charge, as well.  Lots of great pics.  His "Bluecoats" and "Longknives" books are great as well.

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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 09:08:19 pm »

5 button sack coat was  mid  iw ! the 4 button was worn civil war and custer era
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2011, 09:29:31 pm »

5 button sack coat was  mid  iw ! the 4 button was worn civil war and custer era
?? I suppose you can call 1874  "mid iw", but how do you consider "civil war" and "custer era" one and the same?  Before that (from 1872-1874) was the pleated blouse.
Can you you list your sources in your comments please.
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 01:32:58 am »

BTT just because I'm also curious. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 04:32:18 am »

I am seeing that the four button was worn during both of those periods not that they were one and the same. WM
5 button sack coat was  mid  iw ! the 4 button was worn civil war and custer era
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 06:47:26 am »

I am seeing that the four button was worn during both of those periods not that they were one and the same. WM
Yes, it was worn as by a few as late as the late 1880's or early 1890's, as was the the pleated blouse. As a matter of fact there is a photograph of a group of soldiers with them dressed in at least 3 different models of blouses as well as one who is dressed in civilian clothes and looks like a cowboy. But the officially issued model changed several times during the period in question and the 4 button sack coat wasn't the official issue after 1872.
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 08:16:44 pm »

A little information from Emerson's book on uniforms and insignia on dates of use and issue:

The CW 4 button sack coat lasted until replaced in 1874 when the QM Dept. prescribed the 5 button sack coat as a replacement for the 4 button coat and the pleated 1872 blouse.This coat had branch distinction colored collar and cuff edgings which were removed in 1883.In 1884 an additional button was added to the cuffs making three cuff buttons.This basic coat remained in service until circa 1904 except for recruit use which ceased circa 1908 and use by the Coast Artillery until stocks were depleted about 1911.

Officers' were prescribed a 5 button undress field coat in 1872 which was relaced in 1875 by an identical coat minus the black braid and loops extending from the buttons.Circa 1885 3 cuff buttons were added.This coat remained as issue until replaced by the 1892 coat which in turn was replaced in 1895.

This is the ideal but as Pitspitr points out photographic evidence says otherwise.Like many other items of issue if it remained in stores it would have been issued by the QM when you stood at the counter.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Major Matt Lewis, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: US Cavalry Uniforms, 1866-1916 « previous next »
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