Author Topic: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.  (Read 3808 times)

Offline G.W. Strong

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1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« on: November 22, 2012, 09:45:47 pm »
My library for Indian Wars period uniforms is pretty good but it is very little light in the Spanish American War period. Consequently there are some things I want to know--

1. At the time of the Rough Riders and San Juan Hill was the 1898 uniform issued yet to troops in the field or were they solely using the 1884 fatigue blouse and trousers?
2. If this is the case, what were the officers wearing? Were they wearing rank insignia on '84 fatigue blouses?
3. If officers were wearing '84 fatigue blouses were they altered, cut or tailored any differently from the enlisted men's blouses?
4. Is there any historical evidence for the use of rank insignia on the shirts in tropical climates rather than the blouses or was this only a Hollywood thing?
5. Are there any reference books out there as useful as the McChristian and Langellier books for the SAW period? (Santa love to give me books!)

Enquiring minds want to know...
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Offline St. George

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 10:20:42 pm »
Given that your focus seems to be the Rough Riders - like everyone else - you'll need to get a copy of 'Cowboys In Uniform' by Stewart.

It'll answer questions, and the photo plates are thorough.

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Offline cpt dan blodgett

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 11:31:39 pm »
Most of the photos I have seen of the Regulars the blue wool trousers and shirts were pretty much the uniform of the day.  They started shipping the 1898 and 1899 uniforms to the forces sent to the Philippines.  The sixth inf participated in the assault in SJ hill and then got sent to the Philippines
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 08:23:46 am »
you might want also want to ask on the splendid little war website they  have an awful lot of good Spanish American War reenactors there. http://shorttimer.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=login
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 08:26:27 am by Pitspitr »
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Offline Drydock

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 05:40:32 pm »
The M1898 was adopted on May 9, 1898.  IT was shipped to Cuba in mid july, with regular units recieving them first, then USV, then state units.  The 1st USV recieved theres sometime during the 1st week of August.  This was only for those units in Cuba, IE troops A,B,D,E,F,K and L recieved the new uniforms, Troops C,H,I and M retained the 1884s back in Florida.

These were the 1898 1st Issue, with the Branch colors on shoulders, cuffs and collars.  Only Those units in Cuba recieved this uniform, by July the uniform board had modified the 1898 to a simpler cut, with a conventional back, kahki collar and cuffs, and clip on shoulder tabs in branch colors.  This 2nd issue, also known commonly as the M1899, would be issued later to those units deployed in the pacific, and remain general field issue with minor modifications until 1911.  The 1884 also remained in the locker for fatigue issue until 1911!

There was a good deal of mixing with various units moving to different theaters around the centurys turn.  The War department even bought British field Kahki unforms in Hong Kong for issue, as they were considered Very Close in style to the American uniforms, with the addition of US insignia and other accoutrements.

The 1884 was modified by enlisted only by the addition of Rank on sleeves and appropriate Leg stripes. Officers had more latitude, and there were seveal different variations even within the 1st USV themselves, though the most common seems to be the conversion of the Collar to a standing collar of Branch color, False cuffs in Branch color, Leg stripes, and clip on officer shoulder boards.

Highly reccomend "Cowboys in Uniform" for its collection of data on the 1st USV.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 05:50:50 pm »
Rank on shirtsleeves first appeared in the Phillipines sometime early in 1899.  I have a picture of a sgt dated that year with his stripes literaly pinned to his sleeve with Safety Pins!  Local seamstress's quickly began sewing them on, and by 1900 the army formalized the practice in tropical theatres, eventualy designing and issuiing smaller chevrons for just this purpose by 1902. Prior to that either the jacket chevrons were cut to fit, or the locals made them up for the troops.  (old salts still bemoan the closing of the Phillipine bases, as you could get the best damn uniforms made there!)
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 04:04:02 pm »
back to this question,
4. Is there any historical evidence for the use of rank insignia on the shirts in tropical climates rather than the blouses or was this only a Hollywood thing?

Is that what I am seeing in this film?
It was shot June 22-26, 1898, in Daiquirí, Cuba.


About 1/4 through the scene an officer (based on his trouser stripes) walks into the shot from the left, he turns and faces the camera and then moves back off to the left.
The officer appears to be wearing a shirt with shoulder boards and a neck scarf.  Help me understand what I am actually seeing.

http://memory.loc.gov/mbrs/sawmp/1357.mpg
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Offline pony express

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 06:09:06 pm »
I noticed that all the enlisted men seem to be wearing white shirts, only the officer is wearing blue.

Offline Drydock

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 07:57:42 pm »
Interesting!  I've not seen that clip before. (I have two DVDs of SA war Films, thought I had them all!)  Thats the first and only time I've seen an officers shirt like that.  Appears to be an enlisted 3 button placket shirt with custom small sized rank boards.  Also interesting is that except for the black teamster, none of the men loading the mules is actualy wearing a shirt!  (Took a couple of viewings before I figured that out.)  ALso liked the officer in the 1st Issue 1898 walking thru the scene as well.

Its been said that if you look long enough, you can find a picture to justify anything!  True here, though its possible this might be taking place in the phillipines at a later date.  A lot of these films were recataloged long after production, not always correctly.
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Offline pony express

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 10:54:30 pm »
Interesting...I thought at first white shirts. Maybe under shirts? Guy on the left, at one point, looks like an undershirt not tucked in fully in front, one side hanging out. Also, is the one on the right wearing bib overalls?It looks like the pants are a lot higher in the front, when he turns toward the camera about halfway through. Maybe they're civilians? Although the hats look regulation and the one on the right appears to be wearing leggins.

Offline cpt dan blodgett

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2012, 09:24:44 am »
Also looks like there is an Infantry Officer on the left side just see his legs and a dark stripe on what appears to be light blue pants.  Bad news is you never see anything but the leg.
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Offline Bat 2919

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2012, 10:48:55 pm »
G.W.'s questions have me thinking about ways to press my Punitive Expedition uniforms into service for late 90's uniforms.  To date everything I've done has been Wild Bunch with a bit of Span Am thrown in for SASS events.  I've never needed to research this era before and it appears this time frame is a bit of a black hole as far as reference material.  Everything appears to be very fluid in what references I can find.  It looks like between the need to use up old uniforms and the constantly changing standards (1989 and 1899) of what new uniforms were authorized combined with the normal field expediencies of a combat zone created a real free for all and a bit of an anything goes standard.

I was thinking about khaki trousers and a blue shirt (with pocket flaps) and small officers rank on the collars.  I know this will work for 1901 but I'm just not sure about 1899.  I have a pre 1916 Campaign hat to go with the uniform. 

At what point did the black leather gear (1898 I think) and or boots (after 1901 I think but not sure when) change to brown?

I have the proper 38DA revolver in my Colt collection and and even though it's not necessary I have an 1895 Winchester Carbine as a private purchase rifle.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: 1898 (Cuba) period SAW uniform questions.
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2012, 06:04:55 pm »
THe army changed from black to undyed russet leather in 1902.  As noted, black was seen in the field well into the first decade of the 20th century, as older stocks were used up, particularly in the Phillipines. 

Some of the Osprey plates have shown brown leather at earlier dates, but these are wrong.
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