Author Topic: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question  (Read 14912 times)

Offline Blackcat James

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1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« on: January 28, 2012, 11:52:36 pm »
I have a question, does anyone know where to find a good picture of the 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniform, mainly the trousers. I found the jacket? I am planning a 1890s Scout dress uniform is why I am asking. Also did they wear the pants untucked over the standard cavalry boot or wear something else in 1885-1890 when in dress uniform? Was it required to wear the helmet or could they wear the kepi? Thanks

Blackcat

Offline St. George

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 11:59:00 pm »
St. George's Notes XXI - Indian Scout Uniforms...
« on: August 02, 2005, 11:42:43 am »      

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Every so often - someone wants to do an Impression of  a Scout - more often, an Indian Scout or someone associated with them.

That way - they get to use all sorts of bits and pieces that they figure a scout would wear.

There was a difference, though.

Early on - such fanciful dress would've been a common sight, since those folks would not've been subject to a uniform - but after 1866 - things changed, because prior to that time - Indians employed as scouts and guides were not actually soldiers but were considered employees.

The history of Indians employed by the Army is a long one - Indians having aided the Army in the Revolution, the War of 1812, and on both sides of the Civil War - with at least one becoming a General.

In 1891 - the War Department manned some Cavalry Troops and Infantry Companies with Indians - but these men served as regular troops - wearing the standard uniform - and 'not' as Indian Scouts.

On 28 July 1866 - the Congress authorized the Army to have a Corps of Indian Scouts.
There was an  'actual' uniform that came about in at that time - and they wore cast-off and obsolete uniforms.

In 1890 - special uniforms were prescribed - with that uniform being proposed by First Lieutenant Edward Casey - Commander of the Indian Scouts Troop at Fort Keough, Montana, who wrote the Secretary of War with his suggestions.

War Department Circular - dated 15 August 1890 - authorized a distinct uniform virtually unchanged from that of the one suggested by the Lieutenant.

It included a Black felt fatigue hat with a 3 1/2" brim and a 3 1/2" crown, A White hat cord with a Red strand intermixed decorated the hat, along with a special hat ornament.
The standard Dark Blue shirt was modified to have a deeper collar "to hold a neck-handkerchief".
The overcoat was unusual insofar as it was designed to fit over 'all' accouterments.
It came within 10" of the ground, featured a long rear slit to allow for more comfortable seating on the saddle and it at also had a pointed hood.
A surviving example is in the Collection of Fort Sill's Museum.

The Scout Dress uniform was generally similar to the standard uniform with chevrons, trouser stripes  and other trim of White with Red trim.

When that uniform changed in 1902 - the White with Red trim remained.

From 1890 until early in the twentieth century - Regulations called for Indian Scouts to wear Silver-colored crossed arrows on the Dress Blue uniform's Brass helmet plate.
The Quartermaster Depot initially stocked this insignia, but by 1900 all initial purchases were exhausted.

Lieutenant Casey recommended:  "Two arrows, crossed, to be made of nickel or of some white metal, three inches in height, the letters USS in the intersection' as the ornament for the special Black hat.

The Office of the Quartermaster General Specifications Number 318, dated March 1892 - depicts this insignia.
The Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot issued several hundred of these insignia and in November of 1893 - placed a second order for 323 additional devices - as the cost of .15 each.

As an aside - in the 1960's - a partial original insignia was used to make a die and restrike copies were made of this unique insignia.

No complete original hat devices are known - though the Philadelphia Depot had 275 in stock in March of 1901.

Prescribed in 1902 - the block letters USS were worn on both the collar and the hat - until they were withdrawn in 1907 when the Army removed all Campaign hat insignia.

In 1902 - the Bronze letters were also worn on the collars of service coats until the Army changed to a collar disk in 1910.

Also in 1902 - the Army decided not to issue the Indian Scouts a new dress uniform - issuing Service uniforms only.
Specifications of 1915 call for Gilt letters of the same design and style of the older Bronze letters.
No evidence has been given to suggest that they were produced, as there was no Dress uniform requiring their issue.

In March 1921 - the Indian Scouts became a part of the Detached Enlisted Man's List - and were authorized a collar disk featuring the crossed arrows - unlike that of the regularly-issued disk for that element - the Great Seal.
Few would actually wear this insignia, as by that time there were only 23  men eligible.

With the adoption of the crossed arrow disk - the USS disk disappeared completely.

In the '20's and '30's - Indian Scouts served as a labor force - assisting carpenters, plumbers and others.
They wore whatever insignia was available as they faded into the mists of history - though one Apache Scout Detachment continued to perform military duties (a wide-ranging description, to be sure) until disbanded in 1947.
   
Speaking of reference books - a very good reference on Indian Scouts is - "The Indian as a Soldier at Fort Custer, Montana" - by Upton.
It goes into much of the material surrounding those soldiers and is well-written and well-researched.
No idea where a copy may be found.

The Indian Scouts pictured are in the standard Army dress, though - as required.

Another good book for your references is "To Live and Die in the West - The American Indian Wars" - by Hook and Pelger, and available through Osprey.

If you want a more 'colorful' look and yet a 'realistic' one - Frederick Remington's artwork is pretty accurate and has the added feature of some color.

What I'm referencing here - is the 'standard' uniform as laid down in Regulations and seen at the Fort or in Garrison.
'On Campaign' - as often noted - there was sometimes a wider variety of clothing worn.
Varieties of that are seen in Remington's work - as well as in pictures taken in the field.

The Indian Scouts were led by white Officers - detailed from their parent Branch.
That Branch was most likely Cavalry and they were to return to it upon completion of their assignment as Commanders of those detachments.
They would've worn the Crossed Sabers of that Arm.

Non-Commissioned Officers were drawn from the ranks of the Indians - as were those in Regular units.

The only photo of an Indian Scout - a Crow from Troop L, 1st Cavalry - wearing any sort of hat ornament, by the way - is one of an NCO wearing a pair of the M1872 Crossed Sabers.

Take that for what you will...

Unfortunately, as far as historical accuracy is concerned - Hollywood muddied the waters a long time ago through 'artistic license', and thus was born the "John Ford Reference Library" - a wholly-ficticious, yet dangerous place to draw an accurate picture of the Frontier Army.

Good Luck.

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 FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2012, 02:14:29 am »
Blackcat,

To answer your question the trousers are just the standard medium blue M1885 style for Cavalry.  Plain for private and stripes as per other NCO's, but white with red piping edge.  These can be had from either Quartermastershop.com or Quartermasterdepot.com (on the latter they are not listed in his site as mounted, but he can do them if you contact Dan directly).

In the "Horse Soldier" by Randy Steffan and in the Osprey book on US Scouts are both good color artists renditions of this uniform.

A per boots.  By 1890 you wear shoes if performing dismounted functions with trousers untucked and if performing mounted functions you do so in the boots, with the trousers tucked in.  So if your Scouts (or cavalry) are during a mounted review, its boots...if a dismounted inspection or such, its shoes.  One thing people must remember is that mounted units did not wear boots exclusively, how that myth got started I will never know.

As for headgear you are pretty much stuck with trying to put the helmet together.  While images of soldiers in dress coast and forage caps (kepi...a term never officially used by the army), from what I found in my notes, Indian Scouts were not authorized a forage cap.  Only the helmet and the low crowned black "preacher" looking brimmed hat (thought I seem to see most of them wearing drab campaign hats).

Hope this helps.

Chris Fischer
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Offline Cobra

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 10:25:59 pm »
to f trooper....  you seem to be a expert on cavalry gear! do you no, any thing  about the 1885 boots? and what they looked like?    thanks

Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 11:07:36 pm »
Alot like Tom's M1887, the M1887 is a slightly improved version. I also have some period Quartermaster drawings/Patterns too.

http://www.civilwarboots.com/war_boots.asp


There was a great little booklet on Indian Wars footgear I think from the Arizona Historical Society in the 70's...I will see if I can find my copy and get you the title.

Also I can not stress Doug McChristian's books enough.  The ONLY criticism is the pictures are black and white and nto as detailed as one would often like.

Chris Fischer
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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #5 on: Today at 08:07:29 am »

Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 11:33:11 pm »
Man I love to share what I know!  You guys ask a question and I know if I don't go get the answer out of the library I will never sleep!  LOL!

OK, its actually a M1884 boot.  Front was 20 inches, back 14 1/4 inches.  Seam was a welt on the INSIDE of the boot

April 1886, seam welt agitated soldier's leg.  Seam welt moved to outside and covered with a strip of leather.

March 1887 the front was lowed to 19 inches and the back to 14.

That's the brief history.

Sidney B. Brinckerhoff published a series of Museum Monographs in the 1970's via the Arizona Historical Society.  "Boots and Shoes of the Frontier Soldier" is still superb as is "Metal Uniform Insignia of the frontier U.S. Army 1846-1902".

Chris Fischer
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Offline Cobra

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 02:08:21 am »
THANK  you chris! you have been very helpful, i will try and find the books you mentioned,  have you any any idea where you can GET  the boots ?   and i was told they were the last model boot to be issued  to enlisted troopers,    thanks cob

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 05:12:50 am »
Check with Missouri Boot and Shoe. I know they do earilier and later models so I would think that they'd do these too. They are pricey but their stuff is really good.
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 10:53:17 am »
If you do not have a lot of time pressure I might be able to make you a pair. I am patterning out a pair for myself.
George Washington "Hopalong" Strong
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Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 02:23:03 pm »
Boot sources.

I assume you want modern made one?  They are the last enlisted boot.  In the mid 1890's the cavalry ended up with canvas leggins just as the infantry.

Tom Mattimore is really good...I added his URL above where I meant to do it last night so you could see a pair...lol.

Missouri Boot and Shoe is FABULOUS.  He used to make them when he started out many moons ago.  They are not on his web catalog but ask.  He will either make them for you or tell you he hates doing it...lol  They are a bit price, but will fit you like a kidskin glove and LAST a long while.  The joke we have with Robert Serio is that where else can you get a pair of hand made Italian shoes for $250?

There was another fair priced guy who used to show up on ebay for awhile, but haven't seen his in a couple years (I haven't looked to see if he's on esty or not)

I have also seen several pics of the stuff Hopalong has made for his Medieval impressions.  If we can get him a good pattern and all I am sure he can do wonderful work.

Chris Fischer
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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #10 on: Today at 08:07:29 am »

Offline Cobra

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 02:11:09 am »
Thanks you again chris!  im sure hopalong does a good job ,and i will keep his offer in mind,  i went on  C.W boots site , and he makes the 87 boot as you mentioned, his price is $350,  what do you think??? could i get them cheaper somewhere  else??    thanks   p/s i noticed allso that  87 boot, was starting to show the signs of the more modern  boots like ww1 officers, with more rounded toe and more shape to back of the boot legg .  regards cob

Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 09:53:28 am »
At this point, either CWboots (Tom Mattimore) or Missouri Boot and Shoe (Robert Serio) are probably your best bets.  Their research is superb as well as their craftman's ship.  I have met both men on a personal level and recommend them wholeheartedly.

I do not know what Serio would charge for a pair, but most of his pull on boots are falling into the 320-350 range.  Bear in mind that a good pair of M1885/87 with the wide tops use quite a bit of leather which is getting kind of pricey.  I do not know of a cheaper source at this time.

Chris Fischer
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Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 09:57:07 am »
Also to keep in mind.  Yes they seem pricey, but both men make you take several measurements of EACH foot.  These are custom made for YOU and by that right are rather cheap.  They are not really "stock" sizes.  You will be amazed how your left and right foot are very different and each boot will be hand crafted to your feet specifically!

You will be very happy with how they fit, feel, and last!

I am awaiting a new pair of M1872 shoes and a pair of M1872 boots from Serio as we speak.

Chris Fischer
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 12:30:42 pm »
+1 on that. When I first got mine I pondered on the fact that all of the original accounts talk about how uncomfortable the army shoes and boots were, but mine were the most comfortable shoes I'd ever worn. Then it occured to me, "They're custom made for my feet!"  :o
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Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 03:21:37 pm »
Again, the joke is with Serio, "where else are you going to get a pair of hand made custom Italian books for $350???" 

BTW, depending on what you plan to do with them (as per another thread) Robert will do rubber heels and soles...I am pretty sure Tom M. will too.

Chris Fischer
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Offline Cobra

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 05:38:06 am »
is this the 85 boot ,that hopalong can make?

Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 09:39:57 am »
I am sure I could make those. I have made 19th century footwear for myself but I have not made the 1885 pattern (yet.)
My background is in making medieval footwear and I run the largest medieval footwear company in the USA (and arguably in the world) http://www.revivalclothing.com/medievalbootsandshoes.aspx

Here are a few samples of ths medieval footwear I have done.







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
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Offline FTrooper

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 12:18:42 pm »
Cobra,

Those do look to be a M1887 boot.

Chris Fischer
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 08:06:22 pm »
is this the 85 boot ,that hopalong can make?

Upon closer examination those don't look quite right. The basic look is OK but some of the seams appear to be in the wrong spots. It is a small picture so it is hard to tell.
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 Cobra

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Re: 1890 US Army Indian Scouts Uniforn Question
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 08:42:11 pm »
Its stated the 85 boot chris ? but they could wrong,  ive worked it out, that first 85 boots had a straight back and chisel toe     

 

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