Author Topic: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant  (Read 31162 times)

Offline G.W. Strong

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Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« on: January 15, 2012, 04:02:46 pm »
Courtesy of the all the information and assistance you all have given me in this forum (particularly the assistance of the "Uniform Questions" thread) I have one nearly complete kit. Now I need you to critique it. I am not shy and I can take constructive criticisms well. I am also working on a circa 1890 drab kit for summer use but this one is farther along. I finished the boxes last week and last night. I set up the tent before the snow fell. I finished sewing the belt about two weeks ago and this afternoon I finished sewing the trouser stripes in place. Now the question is, what is wrong with it? What is missing? What needs to be improved?



Many more pictures below.

http://talbotsfineaccessories.com/cowboy/P1011928.JPG
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« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 04:04:20 pm by Hopalong Strong »
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 04:11:04 pm »
For the sake of reference. Here is my kit from October.

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2012, 04:55:29 pm »
I have no expertise in Army uniforms, but the latest version looks exponentially better!
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Offline Old Top

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2012, 07:13:19 pm »
Hopalong,

It looks good and you have done a lot of work, the only thing I see is the color of the stripes, should they not be red like the leg stripes and the pipeing?

Old Top
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2012, 07:22:24 pm »
The uniform coat once had red stripes but they have faded badly from the sun. It used to belong to Col. Drydock.

F-troop suggested I get 1872 pattern stripes as an improvement.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 09:27:19 pm by Hopalong Strong »
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Offline Old Top

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2012, 07:31:01 pm »
Hopalong,

That is what I thought, the 1872 stripes can be found but they are expensive, if it is a four button coat stay with the civil war period stripes, if it is the five button it would be your call.  I have seen pictures of the cav of the peroid and they were a mixed bag of civil war and indian war with the uniform coats and belts.  What I can see looks very good, wish mine look as good.

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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2012, 09:26:55 pm »
Mine is a 5 button coat.
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Offline cpt dan blodgett

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2012, 10:12:54 pm »
Looks good, you have put a lot of effort into this not only the uniform and weapons but tentage and those boxes

The one very minor issue I see are the boots, they are the cav model vs the shorter artillery boots, but having said that, were you posted to a cav fort the choice may well have been a pair of cav boots that sorta fit vs bare foot or arty boots that did not come close to fitting.  Supply was probably pretty spotty back in the day.

If I overstate one of you folks more knowledgeable than I please correct me as Hopalong and I are trying to learn this stuff.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 10:14:55 pm by cpt dan blodgett »
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Offline Charles Isaac

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2012, 10:21:56 pm »
I'm no uniform expert myself, but you look outstanding-Great job Sir!!

Offline St. George

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 10:23:28 pm »
The Quartermaster supply system was working well at that time, so shorter boots would've been available.

Though the Army has always been generous about 'wear-out' periods - the various Branches stayed true to 'their' Branch and didn't co-mingle Branch-specific articles of uniform - especially if you're portraying a young First Sergeant.

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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 11:36:52 pm »
Another question I have is does 1880 look bascially right for the uniform? what date would you place it at? I know it is not perfect but what is is close to?
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 11:37:55 pm »
I also should ask what model artillery boots?
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Offline 5judge

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 08:11:13 am »
Looks good. The carbine appears to have a Buffington rear sight and, thus, notched barrel band. Believe the Buffington came in no earlier than '85. If you can find an earlier rear sight and band, they are an easy swap. Query: pretty-much all photos I've seen of artillerymen of the era shows them w/ rifles. Presume carbines were sometimes issued, especially if redlegs were mounted and served with cavalry on campaign?

Offline St. George

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2012, 08:53:43 am »
Rifles were the norm.

A Redleg's job wasn't to go haring off after hostiles - it was to work the guns - and they rode on Caissons and supply wagons - save for a couple of NCOs.

The Artilleryman wore the Pattern 1876 Shoe - a high-topped, lace-up affair with the tongue extending 1/2" above the top.

As to the carbine's front band and Buffington sights - one nice thing about those weapons is the ease of both finding parts and the commonality of screw hole placement - thus, an 1873 rear sight will fit in the space occupied by a Buffington - spanning the Tradoor's service life.

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« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 08:55:58 am by St. George »
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2012, 11:56:59 am »
I have a rifle as well. It also has buffing ton sights. I have my eyes on another rifle at a local shop with the earlier sights as well.

Did artillery men ever wear boots? I have heard of artillery boots. Not sure what those were though.
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Offline St. George

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2012, 01:05:26 pm »
No - enlisted men wore what they were issued, and during the Civil War, they were called 'Bootees' - later changed to 'Shoes' during the Indian Wars.

A good rifle sight to keep an eye out for is the M1879 Rifle Sight - they installed that one on the Model 1875 Officer's Rifles, and it preceded the Buffington.

An order issued in 1873 (AGO G.O. 73 dtd July 10, 1873) flatly refused to issue boots to foot troops - leaving issue boots to Cavalry.

Cavalry boots were also addressed by the 1876 Uniform Board - resulting in the adoption and issuance of a boot that stood 15 1/2" high in front and 14" high in the back and a somewhat wider in circumference.

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Offline FTrooper

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2012, 04:45:30 pm »
"An order issued in 1873 (AGO G.O. 73 dtd July 10, 1873) flatly refused to issue boots to foot troops - leaving issue boots to Cavalry."

Actually, AGO G.O. 104 dtd Oct. 14, 1873 repealed order 73 and species the issue of four pair of bootees or two pair of bootees and one pair of boots to all soldiers, regardless of branch of service.

AGO (Adjutant Generals Officer) G.O. (General Order) 131 dated December 3, 1874 shows the table of Allowance of Clothing and shows 2 bootees and 1 pair of boots per year with no asterisk footnote specifying the 4 pairs of bootees with the option of two bootees and one boots to mounted men that showed up since 1857.

General Orders are alot of fun, they change so much from the regs. and often go back and fourth several times in the same year.  I have not found another repeal of boots to foot soldiers after 1875, but I also don't have a complete set of all General Order issued from 1866-1891 (they are hard to find and VERY pricy when you can). I will try to consult other sources as I can (1880's regulations I have) to see what they say about clothing issues.

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2012, 05:06:05 pm »
The uniform coat once had red stripes but they have faded badly from the sun. It used to belong to Col. Drydock.

F-troop suggested I get 1872 pattern stripes as an improvement.
Fading stripes were a big problem then, too.  Great job!
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2012, 05:14:30 pm »
You can get sights and parts for the Trapdoor from  S&S.  Yer a weathered old Sgt., with weathered old stripes!   ;D

Most every photo of Artillerymen I've seen, mounted or heavys, I've seen bootees.  Makes sense to me,  The gunners, even mounted, would not be brushbusting like cavalry, but staying to roadways and open spaces for the guns.  The bootees would be more comfortable and cooler,  easier to take care of, and take up less space.

Mounted/light gunners would normaly be issued carbines, but many preferred the longer rifles with the more powerful round.  A bayonet makes more sense than the 1840 light artillery sabre when defending a gun, as well.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2012, 06:20:34 pm »
You can get sights and parts for the Trapdoor from  S&S.  Yer a weathered old Sgt., with weathered old stripes!   ;D
I'm very weathered!
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Offline FTrooper

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2012, 06:22:06 pm »
There were three branches of service in the 1800's considered "mounted".  The Cavalry Arm (to include before the Civil War, Dragoons, Mounted Rifles, and Cavalry), the Light Field Artillery, and believe it or not, the Signal Corps.  These guys all carried revolvers and sabers, all wore the horsehair helmet starting in 1872, all wore the mounted jacket prior to 1872 and all were permitted boots at a rate of one pair boots and two pair bootees (shoes in 1875) annually.  I have never seen any official (or period unofficial) reference to to "Cavalry" or "Artillery" boots, just "Boots", "Boots, Mounted", or "Boots...mounted men".

The first time a pull on boot appears in 1851.  This is a 12" high boot.  This is the only boot made and issued from US Arsenals until 1872. (one well known source calls it a M1859 and another a M1861).  Those made prior to the civil war had sewn soles.  During the war some were made by contractors with pegged.

There is SOME evidence pf a pull on boot worn by light artillery earlier, but exact patterns are not forthcoming.  we know that Ringgold's Battery in 1846 (the only horse artillery battery in the Army) recorded their uniform in detail as including knee high boots.  However we see most of the field batteries (incorrectly called light batteries at the time...this is a whole different story of confusion) all being issued the horse artillery uniform.  There are several nasty letters about this back and forth.  There is also production in the early 1840's of something called a "Dragoon Boot" for a year or two.  But few are made and it doesn't seem that any of these were ever issued to Dragoons.  It is theorized that these are the light artillery boots and would better be described as "dragoon style boots" being knee high like 1812 era dragoon boots.  However, manufacture ceased before the Mexican War.  Before I move onto to 1851 I will add that every man in Ringgold's battery rode his own horse like a cavalry man (no one road limber chests) which explain a mounted boot to all cannoneers.  The M1840 "Light Artillery Saber" is called the M1840 Horse Artillery Saber in the 1841 and 1850 ordnance manuals.  Again this makes since for mounted troopers to have a mounted style sword.  Unfortunately there IS a mix up and all fields batteries end up with horse artillery uniforms and equipments.  Even during the Mexican War, we see the other batteries caring their sabers strapped to the limbers.

1851 there is a new uniform regulation published. under boots it says " For enlisted men of Riflemen, Dragoons, and Light Artillery-ankle and Jefferson, right and left,  according to pattern, and in the proportion as now for the Light Artillery".

That last part "...according to pattern, and in the proportion as now for the Light Artillery" suggests that the Light Artillery were wearing boots prior to 1851 and may account for the "Artillery Boot" designation popular among re-enanctors (and sutlers who like to sell M1872 boots to Civil War Cavalry guys).  The question becomes the last part: "...and in the proportion as now for the Light Artillery".  Does this mean the same dimensions or the same rate of issue (the 1 pair "ankle" boots 2 pair "Jefferson" Bootees ratio).  I think it means rate of issue as the first part says "...according to pattern" separated by a comma.  Otherwise the wording would be "...according to pattern as now for the Light Artillery".  Also the boots described by Ringgold's men as knee high, the M1851 Ankle boot was only 12" in front, hardly knee high.  Also the regulations forbid the trousers to be tucked in.

What this boils down to is that mounted men (regardless of branch) were issued both boots and shoes and a rate of 1:2 and that is consistent with most of the second half of the 18th century.  It was understood that the boots were for riding (though as noted by myself and others, most light artillerymen didn't ride a horse).  The shoes would have been worn in dress (when you didn't tuck your trousers in, first officially authorized in 1872, but being done long before) and dismounted duties.  Walking in boots that weren't custom made for you without some sort of tightening strap is only going to rub and blister.  However, some enlisted foot soldiers did acquire boots (as per the above referenced General Orders).  This was the days before legging and having walk good parts of the prairies (especially the cactus and mesquite choked scrub of south Texas), I have seen good denim trousers trashed and as a result my ankles and calves suffered.  I can see soldiers preferring a few blisters to have leg protection and not have to pick prickly pear spines out of your leg for hours (and it helps with them nasty stinging and biting creatures we have down here).  In the 2nd Seminole War we find soldiers wearing their cotton jackets and wool trousers in the torrid heat of the everglades because the saw-grass was shredding the cotton trousers and their legs. So I do see both sides of the argument.

Page 62 of Doug McChristian's "The US Army in the West 1870-1880" has a great image of two infantrymen wearing 1872 pattern boots, tucked in, not in the field.  Neat image I must say.

Chris Fischer
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« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 06:29:14 pm by FTrooper »
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2012, 06:43:53 pm »
Fascinating information. Thanks.

I have been making historical footwear since 1990 and the shoemaker in me says, great! more opportunities to make more shoes or boots. I will make a pair of appropriate Pattern 1876 shoes as well.

If the boots may also be acceptable then I must ask if I got the details right. They are based on the line art in Figure 178. (p. 139) of Randy Steffan's The Horse Soldier Volume II. I can scan it if need be. It purported to be "a Model 1872-pattern boot for cavalry and artillery use." I have heard that Steffan has some errors. Is this one of them? My finished boot is very close to the drawing.
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2012, 07:39:50 pm »
does anyone have any period images of artillerymen they could share in this thread?
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Offline Drydock

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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 08:10:36 pm »
I ordered  Redlegs and a few more. Thanks.
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
Grand Army of the Frontier #774, (Bvt.) Colonel commanding the Department of the Missouri.
SASS #91251
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NCOWS #3477
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