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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Delmonico, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: uniform questions 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: uniform questions  (Read 42363 times)
G.W. Strong
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« on: November 15, 2011, 07:05:13 pm »


I shot at my first muster in October and had a great time. I pulled my uniform together out of a civil war uniform I own. I want to spend this year improving the authenticity of my kit. I have a four button coat. What is the difference between these and the 5 button coats of the Indian wars period? I think a circa 1880-1885 Cavalry trooper impression seems reasonable for me. I realize the uniforms changed quite a bit over time but I cannot spot the differences. For that time frame what clothing items should I focus on? I have Civil War era union blue trousers and a 4 button blouse. Can they be tailored to work or do I need to start from scratch? I realize I will eventually need to purchase an appropriate blouse, trousers and a hat but I might be able to spread it across a year or two if I prioritize what is most neaded.

Where would you recommend I purchase from if I need to buy?


* hopalong cavalry2.jpg (315.66 KB, 654x666 - viewed 824 times.)
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George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 07:16:31 pm »

Hopalong Strong,

The uniforms of the period did change but there was so much made for the civil war the sack coat and trousers would be worn for the garrison or field, only real differance would be the shirt which was a blue pull over.  Look as some of the pictures of the time with the soldiers in the field or on garrison duty, very rarely do they wear the sack coat mostly the shirt white suspenders and the skyblue pants.  This did not change very siginifenty untill 1898.  Looking at your uniform in the picture with your post, the changes I would make would be the belt and holsters, for cav the proper weapon would be the colt or the schofield.  You can find most of what you need at Corrico Leather and Coon Creek traders.

Old Top
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 07:19:14 pm »

I have the blue pull over shirt. you can see it peeking out from the top of my coat.

If I go looking for a cavalry hat, who makes a good one?
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George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 07:55:56 pm »

Coon Creek Old West has most everything you need.  The 4 button sack was issue to 1872, and worn up until 1880 or so, so thats fine.  THe sky blue trousers did are fine clear up to 1902.  THe regulations for the pants stripe changed in 1872.  Everything narrowed 1/2"  IE corporals now wore a 1/2" stripe, sgts a 1" stripe, officers 1 1/2".  Something to be aware of.

www.cooncreekoldwest.com   


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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 08:41:06 pm »

Your civil war trousers will do quite nicely up until the mid '80's the only real difference being the quality of the cloth after that the pocket openings changed. The grey wool flannel shirt changed a couple times between the civil war and the time the blue shirt became standard issue in the 1890's. The shirt was considered underwear and not seen in polite company until fashion changed in the 1890's (think of the acceptance of the bra as outerwear after Madonna made it popular in the 1980's) There was a more or less expirimental model during 1876, but most shirts were grey. The 5 button blouse was more fitted than the 4 button sack coat and usuallly lined while the sack coat were mostly unlined. The thing that can help you in your change over is the fact that civil war equipage was used even after new regulations were published until the material on hand was expended. I would suggest reading The US Army in the West 1870-1880 by Douglas McChristian or Army Blue by John P. Langellier. Of course your uniform will be like anything else; a question of your finances versus the availabllity of qood quality reproductions and your desire to do a quality persona. If you attend the Dept. of Missouri or Grand Musternext year I can show you most of the items you are wondering about.
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 09:24:45 pm »

Another good supplier is

www.quartermastershop.com   

Pricey, but high quality.  Mostly though, I like their site, because it shows all the uniforms, how they look in relation to each other.

Another nod for John P. Langellier.  Great reference material.  You can find a lot of his and other books on ebay.
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 11:26:38 pm »

One other thing to be considered is whether you are portraying a garrison troop or one in the field.  Troops, including officers wore about anything they had available for operations in the field. That included elements of civilian clothing, including hats, coats, trowsers (sic for spelling).  According to Lt. John Bourke, Gen. Crook's aide-de-camp, on the Big Horn & Yellowston Expedition of 1876, "We looked more like a pack of brigands than a military organization."  Everybody saved their "good" uniforms for garrison duty.  Gen. Crook didn't even wear a uniform. He had a canvas hunting suit and a pith helmet...no insignia at all. There are photos of Third Cavalry officers and men, wearing 1872 jackets, Civil War sack coats, buckskin jackets.  Headgear included kepis, bummer's caps, civilian straw hats purchased at a sutller's store. 

Even holsters, belts, etc., were not necessarily issued regulation gear! A lot of CW gear including Pattern 1863 full flap holsters continued to be used until the 1881 Patterns began to be issued, and maybe after that.  Some of those had the flaps cut to a rounded 3/4 style. A bunch of 1872 Pattern holsters were issued with a Hoffman swivel, which proved very problematic, dumping pistols with the holsters on the ground! Company commanders had their saddlers modify them. Some company commanders in the Southwest even designed their own open-top holsters and issued them to their troops.

In other words, you just need enough to identify yourself as a trooper or officer to "citizens" (as civilians were called in those days). 
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 11:00:35 pm »

What I am understanding from all this is I am not too far off and can continue with my current kit until I aquire better gear.

I will make the black hat my first purchase.

If the 4 button coat was still in use would chevrons be added? I'm sure the yellow piping at the collar and cuffs would not have been added but chevrons seem like something that were added by the troopers themselves as they advanced in rank.

I think a 1874 5 button coat will be next.

I have to tailor the trousers because they are too baggy to wear with the cavalry boots. While I am tailoring them I may add rank stripes.


Is there any reason (etiquite) I cannot portray a sergeant? I was thinking of a sadalry sergent since I am a bootmaker and leatherworker in real life. Not as a career , just as a sideline.  I plan on making some cavalry boots and other items available in the future.
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George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 11:06:52 pm »

You can portray any rank you like, no need to start off as a private in GAF. I've been a private so far....maybe I'll spend a few bucks and "promote" myself before next year.
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2011, 11:52:28 pm »

put on enough stripes too look like a zebra if you like.
Rank above elbow
Service stripes on forearm
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 06:08:02 am »

If the 4 button coat was still in use would chevrons be added?
By Regulation or by practice?
Post CW Regulation didn't allow chevrons on the blouse until March 20 1876, but it was done cmmonly anyway. And no, they didn't add piping to a 4-button sack coat that I'm aware of.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 07:10:43 am »

"Is there any reason (etiquite) I cannot portray a sergeant? I was thinking of a sadalry sergent since I am a bootmaker and leatherworker in real life. Not as a career , just as a sideline.  I plan on making some cavalry boots and other items available in the future."


No problem there.  I was a Lieutenant in real life, but I portray a Captain now because I'm just TOO OLD to be a Lieutenant anymore!
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 09:35:10 am »

Was a captain portray a captain, back in the day there were plenty of antique captains so have not promoted myself.  Were I to would have to have the plexiglas installed
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 03:18:12 pm »

I figured a senior NCO like a Sergeant would be good since I am to old to portray a convincing private.
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George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2011, 03:37:35 pm »

Not true...

During the Indian Wars, promotions were few and far between in the old 'Indian Fighting Army'.

It wasn't uncommon to see 30-year Privates at all, and rank often came about when senior men retired or died.

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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2011, 03:57:26 pm »

Not true...

During the Indian Wars, promotions were few and far between in the old 'Indian Fighting Army'.

It wasn't uncommon to see 30-year Privates at all, and rank often came about when senior men retired or died.

Vaya,

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How about nearly 50 year old privates!
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George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2011, 05:22:20 pm »

As I said - common for the time.

A number of men 'found a home' in the Army and didn't require much beyond food, clothing and shelter, and with regular duties to be performed, they were effectively institutionalized.

Until the Army adopted the 'up or out' policy regarding promotion in the 1970's, 'career Corporals' were still around after Vietnam, until the whole military shrank its numbers.

There's always a place for a guy who is happy doing the less-heroic stuff, so they'd do basic maintenance and clean-up as well as help where needed, and in any large organization, that's appreciated.

Vaya,

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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2011, 06:48:26 pm »



Here are me and Old Top shooting the military/victorian SheBang match last year at 5Dogs. As by his Alias you can tell he is a sarge. (really waz for about 30 years, but a different uniform.

show us pix as you pull stuff together.

also here is Top with his blouse:



curley
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G.W. Strong
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2011, 08:50:44 pm »

Here is another pic of my makeshift uniform.


* hopalong cavalry.jpg (291.71 KB, 786x609 - viewed 435 times.)
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2011, 08:52:10 pm »

As far as hats goes, I think that was as much an individual thing as any other part of the uniform, at least while in the field.  The ones in your picture would probably work fine .  I just took a 20 yr old Baily that originaly had a "modern" shape and reformed it into a shape that looked more historic and added hat cords and thats it.  It's light grey in color with some honest age to it.
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2011, 12:06:27 am »

 Roll Eyes  Not so easy for some of us!   Kiss
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2011, 12:31:01 am »

Everybody notice the color of old tops stripes and the stripes on the pants, damn few of us grunts out there in the sea of yellow and red
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« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2011, 01:00:46 am »

Everybody notice the color of old tops stripes and the stripes on the pants, damn few of us grunts out there in the sea of yellow and red

That's what I've noticed. Well, I only have full length infantry rifles, and pull on boots don't like my feet anymore......so infantry it is for me! You may notice  also, when you go to a muster, there's not usually enough enlisted men around to keep all the officers you see there out of trouble.
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2011, 03:18:15 am »



Here is the gun Old Top usually totes around...the one in the pix they stuck in his hands to be in a Veterans Day color guard...he was really proud that day.

enjoy the pix
curley
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« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2011, 10:39:14 am »

I have another question. In the Time Life old west series book on the soldiers I have had since I was a kid there are some period plates of uniforms. One of the figures is an artilleryman wearing a white pith helmet. It is described as disliked by the soldiers.

When was the british style pith helmet issued? Was it only issued in white or was it also issued in khaki? The Brits issued both as various points and I recall reading we ordered them from Great Britian for issue to our troops but I could be wrong on that. 

The reason I ask it I just bought a 1884 brown/khaki artillery uniform from Drydock and I wondered if it might be apropriate to wear this uniform with a pith helmet.
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George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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