Author Topic: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant  (Read 33158 times)

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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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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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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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.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #25 on: Today at 04:30:53 PM »

Offline Drydock

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2012, 08:19:28 PM »
Looking at your kit, I'd suggest a 30 round tent canvas cartridge slide for your belt.  Very popular/useful field item, well within your sewing capabilities.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2012, 09:26:45 PM »
The G.I series is great.  I could not recommend a better for him Drydock!  You may also want the one on "Bluecoats".  Sadly, as mentioned on another thread, artillery (do to its limited role) often gets overlook.  Even Doug McChristian told me he glazed over it in his books.  For one thing in the 1870's you start to see ordnance references to "Knapsack, Light Artillery" that is different from what everyone else carries.  We are still tracking that one down.  We have a basic idea, but the minute details elude us.

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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2012, 06:26:59 AM »
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.
HS
I have a pair of the M-1872 shoe which are just like the M-1876 shoe but with a shorter tongue, and a pair of the M-1876 boots. Both are the best quality repro's I could find. If you come to the Dept. Muster in July, you can look them over then.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2012, 10:43:21 AM »
HS
I have a pair of the M-1872 shoe which are just like the M-1876 shoe but with a shorter tongue, and a pair of the M-1876 boots. Both are the best quality repro's I could find. If you come to the Dept. Muster in July, you can look them over then.

I will be at the muster and I look forward to seeing them in the flesh.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2012, 10:57:20 AM »
Looking at your kit, I'd suggest a 30 round tent canvas cartridge slide for your belt.  Very popular/useful field item, well within your sewing capabilities.

Can you point me to a picture of what this might look like. I can certainly make one.
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #30 on: Today at 04:30:53 PM »

Offline FTrooper

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2012, 03:51:14 PM »
I think something like this.  This is Sgt. John Comfort.  Company A, 4th Cavalry about 1876 picture was taken after he won MHO in 1874 and made Sgt.).  This is a classic image used in most books to show the "campaign trooper".

Comfort is a neat guy, he was officially stationed at Fort McKavett, Texas in 1874.  He enlisted in a light artillery battery at the end of the Civil War but the Commander was a pain and they kind of mutinied.  He was drummed out.  Couldn't hack civilian life and enlisted in 4th Cav.  He was one of those soldiers that in the field was a regimental favorite and hard fighter, in garrison he was a nightmare and drunk.  He is released from service in 1877 or 1878 (have to look it up again) for health issues.  Move to California.  Again, can;t hack civilian life and enlists again.  This time in Battery E, 1st Artillery and is with the Hotchkiss guns at Wounded Knee.  He is cited for bravery when he uses his gun to lay suppressive fire that allows a pin downed Hotchkiss crew with many wounded to retire to safety.  (Hmmm...pinning down a whole gun crew and wounding some so they can't fire...not bad for unarmed Indians...right?)

He again is discharged for medical reasons in the mid 1890's and dies of his condition shortly after.  However a rumor persisted among his old comrades that he was with the Rough Riders and killed in Cuba (not true, but tells you how he was looked upon as a soldier legend).

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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2012, 04:09:06 PM »
What a great story and a wonderful picture.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2012, 04:49:22 PM »
I've got one I can show you at the Dept. Muster.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2012, 10:53:38 AM »
Is it a whole belt ot just a slide?
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2012, 01:51:02 PM »
Its just a slide, goes over your existing waistbelt.  A rectangle of tent canvas, approx  30" long, 4.5" wide.  Sew a one inch strip of the same canvas in loops 3/4" from one edge, then fold over, double folding the long edges and stitch together.  Slides over a 2" belt.  Post Sutlers and saddlers made these until the Mills belts became common issue.

I'm guessing on the measurements here, but I hope you get the idea.
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2012, 05:32:29 PM »
about how many cartridges does it hold?
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2012, 08:05:55 PM »
Well, my 30 round tent canvas cartridge slide holds 30 rounds . . . ;)
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2012, 08:25:21 PM »
is it possible to see a snapshot of yours?
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2012, 09:09:30 PM »
I just want to be sure I understand what you are talking about. Is it something like this?
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Re: Please Critique My Kit. Circa 1880 Artillery Sergeant
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2012, 06:20:51 AM »
It's hard to tell from your picture, but that looks like the reproduction of the M-1876 prairie belt.
I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
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