Author Topic: Can you Identify this uniform?  (Read 4197 times)

Offline G.W. Strong

  • Grand Army of the Frontier, (Bvt.) Colonel, Commander of the Department of the Missouri
  • NCOWS
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 961
  • GAF, Department of the Missouri
    • Talbot's Fine Accessories
Can you Identify this uniform?
« on: January 07, 2012, 07:20:24 pm »
This is the previous owner of my Trapdoor Carbine. His name is John Henry Frazier and he was from New York State. He lived from 1871 until 1950. Any idea when the picture dates from and what military unit he served in?

Family history says he was in a New York Militia unit (13th New York Militia?) and served in the Spanish American War. He reportedly brought the model 1884 carbine home with him when he mustered out.

This is a photo of a photocopy of a picture. I'm sorry it is not better.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 07:40:28 pm by Hopalong Strong »
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
Grand Army of the Frontier #774, (Bvt.) Colonel commanding the Department of the Missouri.
SASS #91251
Good Guy's Posse & Bristol Plains Pistoleros
NCOWS #3477
Sweetwater Regulators

Offline cpt dan blodgett

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1441
  • SASS Conv 2013
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 07:58:44 pm »
The 13 on the collar would indicate 13th Infantry.  I would say the photo confirms the family history.
Queen of Battle - "Follow Me"
NRA Life
DAV Life
ROI, ROII

Offline G.W. Strong

  • Grand Army of the Frontier, (Bvt.) Colonel, Commander of the Department of the Missouri
  • NCOWS
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 961
  • GAF, Department of the Missouri
    • Talbot's Fine Accessories
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 08:10:14 pm »
What date would you place the photo and what is the medal he wears?

Also if he is infantry why did he bring home a carbine?
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
Grand Army of the Frontier #774, (Bvt.) Colonel commanding the Department of the Missouri.
SASS #91251
Good Guy's Posse & Bristol Plains Pistoleros
NCOWS #3477
Sweetwater Regulators

Offline JimBob

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 703
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2012, 08:28:17 pm »
The 13th NY never achieved full strength at the time and was disbanded except for one Battalion of 4 companies which was transfered to the 22nd NY.New York also fielded two Cavalry units in the SAW.Sometimes family history and reality are at odds.This man could have initially enlisted in the 13th and served in another after the 13th was disbanded.

The medal on his chest appears to be a NY State Militia Marksmans award although the picture makes positive ID difficult.I have one and it appears very similiar.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 08:32:40 pm by JimBob »

Offline FTrooper

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 228
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 01:36:16 pm »
The uniform looks to be that standard 1885 coat, used until 1902.  The numbers are not the regulation US Army type, but very common with state troops.  So family history prevails.

As for the carbine, he could have been a mounted courier, he could have transferred to a different unit...or (and I hate to do this to people), picked it up at an Ordnance dept sale as he was leaving.  I actually know a friend who's ancestor did that.  The Army apparently wasn't too worried about retaining trapdoors at that point.

What I am saying (and I hate to burst bubbles) is that more often than not the gun "brought home from the war" is not directly related to the soldier's service...ie, not his ISSUE weapon.  These things were serial numbered and accounted for and stealing government property was just a big of a crime back then as it is today and the USA we not in the habit of passing out paid for firearms as gifts to veterans. However, when weapons were obsolete, their sale were authorized (early form of the CMP/DCM programs).  Its like my grandfather, got to play with an M1 Carbine is W2 and fell in love with it.  As soon as he could after the war he bought one on the civilian market.  Some family persisted that it was his military weapon.  An older gentleman I knew years ago was a WW1 vet, in 1927 he bought an M1917 rifle from the government through the NRA.  So the M1917 in the pictures of him in 1918 and the M1917 the family owns now are not related, but some members of the family persist they are.  Family tradition/history is marred by lack of knowledge militarily (I can not tell you how many houses I have been to with Span Am was pictures on the wall being told that is the Civil War vet of the family.  Long story short, the person doing the family history found an unidentified picture in the family boxes (and it may have been a picture of a buddy) and deduced it was the Civil War vet based on the military uniform and that became the official family story.

You also see this alot in ACW era.  Guns are functional.  I love how many Henry and 1863 Remington that belong to confirmed CSA vets and the family insists they carried it a Shiloh or something.  Both weapons were VERY common on the civilian market in the 1870's and 1880's, but the collector selling it now insists that it was what he carried in the war even though the guy lived till 1947.  So If a CSA vet owned a M1870 Rolling Block upon his death, does that make it a Civil War Relic?

As historians, we must be leery about identifying items because it makes them neater.  Or stretching for conclusions that make it a combat item (transferred to a cavalry unit, mounted courier, etc.) with is a less logic conclusion that ordnance sell.

Chris Fischer
F-Troop
Chris Fischer
F-Troop

Offline Niederlander

  • American Plainsmen Society
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2149
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2012, 03:37:53 pm »
Well said, FTrooper!  I've noticed the same thing myself on several occasions, and I've learned it's usually much easier to just let it go.  The legend becomes much more palatable than the reality.  On the other hand, a friend of mine discovered records showing his ancestor purchased his pistol and carbine upon discharge from a Wisconsin cavalry unit at his discharge in Texas, and the family still retains the pistol (he's not been able to locate the carbine yet).
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline G.W. Strong

  • Grand Army of the Frontier, (Bvt.) Colonel, Commander of the Department of the Missouri
  • NCOWS
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 961
  • GAF, Department of the Missouri
    • Talbot's Fine Accessories
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 08:32:51 pm »
Chris,
I actually suggested last month to direct descendents of JH Frazier this was a firearm he purchased at the end of the war (or later) rather than his actual firearm. They did not like this suggestion but it may be the reality of the situation. Pherhaps they should obtian the actual service record for JHF.
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
Grand Army of the Frontier #774, (Bvt.) Colonel commanding the Department of the Missouri.
SASS #91251
Good Guy's Posse & Bristol Plains Pistoleros
NCOWS #3477
Sweetwater Regulators

Offline FTrooper

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 228
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2012, 12:33:15 pm »
As Niederlander points out, it was not uncommon for the Government to sell obsolete stuff at the end of the civil war to the soldiers (and sometimes not even obsolete stuff...in the 1650's the US government authorize the sale of M1841 rifles directly to civilians going to California).  My family is in possession of a M1884 Springfield Rifle supposedly carried by my great great uncle in the Span-Am War and I know of a guy years ago who's ancestor came home with a carbine he bought.  I can see the sale of trapdoors in 1899 as the US had gone into overdrive on making Krags and had contracted Winchester for M95 Rifles.  The day of the black-powder single shot was over, make some money on them!

As both Niederlander and Hopalong note also, sometimes you just have to smile and nod alot.  I learned along time ago in museum work that often the family history is incorrect and no matter how much proof you give them, you will loose.  Its often not a battle worth fighting.

One of the first times I noted this in my life was when I went to the San Jacinto Museum and monument.  They have on exhibit a M1809 Prussian Potsdam Musket supposedly used by one of the few Texians killed a the battle, given by the family to the museum.  The problem is that it has a much-later-than-1836 percussion conversion.  Years later a friend of mine who did his internship at the museum also asked about it and questioned it.  The curator kind of scratched his head and said "yeah, but when you get something that rare from the battle with the family provenance, you tend not to question it and move on".  The finally conclusion they assumed was that some family member later updated it as it was still a functional arm.

Another was the M1863 Remington converted to cartridge carried by a Texan in the Civil War.  When you read his service history he spent the whole thing on the Texas/Mexico border and only fought in the battle of Palmito Ranch in May 1865.  While he MAY have captured the pistol at that battle, its pretty obvious that he wasn't carrying this thing during the war.

Speaking of battling facts and "tradition"...try being an historian living in San Antonio...better yet, be my friend Dr. Winders at the Alamo!!!  That is an evil battle! Our favorite are all the plaques noting "This happened hear"...seems everyone famous or any big event too place right in front of the Chapel and nothing really happened anywhere else in the Alamo compound that doesn't exist anymore. No Plaques across the street, down the block, etc.

Chris Fischer
F-Troop
Chris Fischer
F-Troop

Offline Niederlander

  • American Plainsmen Society
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2149
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2012, 01:28:43 pm »
That reminds me of my aunt telling me her biological father was supposedly killed by a sniper in the Second World War.  In actuality, he bled to death over Germany when he was wounded as a B-24 Co-Pilot. (I've read his flight log.)  Sometimes the family story just doesn't wash.  Pictures aren't immune either.  The Time-Life Old West series shows a picture that's supposed to be Jesse James and his gang, but "Jesse" is holding what is clearly an 1886 Winchester.  Doesn't work when you figure his death date.
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline cpt dan blodgett

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1441
  • SASS Conv 2013
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2012, 03:34:09 pm »
The sniper may have been manning an 88 FLAK gun or perhaps a BF109
Queen of Battle - "Follow Me"
NRA Life
DAV Life
ROI, ROII

Offline Pitspitr

  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 4012
  • 308 214-0082 45551 Rd 816, Sargent NE 68874 USA
    • Grand Army of the Frontier
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2012, 08:27:51 pm »
Yeah, like the lady that came to Fort Hartsuff and was talking to me about Custer's men carrying indian babies on the bayonets on their carbines at Washita
I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
Jerry M. "Pitspitr" Davenport
(Bvt.)Brigadier General Commanding,
Grand Army of the Frontier
BC/IT, Expert, Sharpshooter, Marksman, CC, SoM
NRA CRSO, RVWA IIT2; SASS ROI, ROII;
NRA Patron Life; AZSA Life; NCOWS Life

Offline Niederlander

  • American Plainsmen Society
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2149
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2012, 08:46:01 pm »
Well......I watched that historic masterpiece "They Died With Their Boots On" so I know the 7th Cavalry really carried '92 Winchester carbines.  You can put bayonets on those, can't you???!!!
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline FTrooper

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 228
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 05:27:00 pm »
In one western Crazy Horse is bayoneted by a soldier with a bayonet attached to his '73 carbine.......

Chris Fischer
F-Troop
Chris Fischer
F-Troop

Offline G.W. Strong

  • Grand Army of the Frontier, (Bvt.) Colonel, Commander of the Department of the Missouri
  • NCOWS
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 961
  • GAF, Department of the Missouri
    • Talbot's Fine Accessories
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 06:35:14 pm »
Damn, now I need to go out and buy a bayonet for my trapdoor carbine. while I am shopping I should probably look for them for my '66 and '73 lever guns as well just to be safe.
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
Grand Army of the Frontier #774, (Bvt.) Colonel commanding the Department of the Missouri.
SASS #91251
Good Guy's Posse & Bristol Plains Pistoleros
NCOWS #3477
Sweetwater Regulators

Offline St. George

  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 4618
  • NCOWS , GAF, B.O.L.D., Order of St. George, SOCOM,
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 10:32:33 pm »
Carbines didn't have bayonets - the men issued carbines were Cavalrymen, and were issued sabers...

Crazy Horse was bayonetted by an Infantryman issued with the standard rifle of the era.

Scouts Out!
"It Wasn't Cowboys and Ponies - It Was Horses and Men.
It Wasn't Schoolboys and Ladies - It Was Cowtowns and Sin..."

Offline G.W. Strong

  • Grand Army of the Frontier, (Bvt.) Colonel, Commander of the Department of the Missouri
  • NCOWS
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 961
  • GAF, Department of the Missouri
    • Talbot's Fine Accessories
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2012, 11:06:32 pm »
I know. I was joking. It is hard to read irony on the Internet.
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
Grand Army of the Frontier #774, (Bvt.) Colonel commanding the Department of the Missouri.
SASS #91251
Good Guy's Posse & Bristol Plains Pistoleros
NCOWS #3477
Sweetwater Regulators

Offline Grapeshot

  • Grapeshot. Cpt US Artillery
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1101
  • WARTHOG
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2012, 11:21:26 am »
Damn, now I need to go out and buy a bayonet for my trapdoor carbine. while I am shopping I should probably look for them for my '66 and '73 lever guns as well just to be safe.

That only works with the '66 or '73 if they are the Musket versions.
Listen!  Do you hear that?  The roar of Cannons and the screams of the dying.  Ahh!  Music to my ears.

Offline JimBob

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 703
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2012, 01:25:02 pm »
Duct tape,put any bayonet on anything. ;D

Offline Pitspitr

  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 4012
  • 308 214-0082 45551 Rd 816, Sargent NE 68874 USA
    • Grand Army of the Frontier
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2012, 06:38:02 am »
Duct tape,put any bayonet on anything. ;D
::) I didn't think of that! maybe the lady was right! After all I'm sure if they'd have had duct tape they'd have used it, right? ;D

I remain, Your Ob'd Servant,
Jerry M. "Pitspitr" Davenport
(Bvt.)Brigadier General Commanding,
Grand Army of the Frontier
BC/IT, Expert, Sharpshooter, Marksman, CC, SoM
NRA CRSO, RVWA IIT2; SASS ROI, ROII;
NRA Patron Life; AZSA Life; NCOWS Life

Offline FTrooper

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 228
Re: Can you Identify this uniform?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2012, 10:48:16 am »
Don't forget the British civilians in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion tying kitchen knives to the ends of their sporting rifles!  ;D

Chris Fischer
F-Troop
Chris Fischer
F-Troop