Author Topic: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive  (Read 23327 times)

Offline Drydock

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Got a Trapdoor or a Krag, and want a uniform to go with it?  The 1884 Brown Canvas Fatigue uniform is an easy way to get into the ranks, and comfortable enough, even in hot weather, that I use it out on the farm for brush busting and armidillo hunting.

http://www.history.army.mil/html/museums/uniforms/survey_uwa.pdf   Page 35

Introduced in 1884 as a barracks duty/stable cleaning outfit, it was soon found so comfortable, particularly in the southwest, that troops wore it in the field, in essence becoming the first really practical battle utility uniform.  Officers quickly adapted it for their own use.  Highly popular both in Cuba and the Phillipines, though not often seen in pictures, as troops preferred to be illustrated in their more traditional "Blues".  This uniform was standard issue to all enlisted ranks from 1885 to 1911.  (Officers bought them from    the post Quartermaster)  Trapdoors to 03s were carried by folks dressed in these.

-Basics-

Shirt: M1883 pull over flannel    http://www.riverjunction.com/Shirt--Indian-Wars-Military-Shirt--Flannel--Heirloom-Brand--Navy-Blue_p_42.html#       THis is a cotton flannel, River Junction also markets a wool flannel at twice the price.  The specs only say flannel, and this is a fine shirt.  I have seen both 3 and 4 button plackets in various pictures, depending on the contractor. 1899 and later troopers began sewing rank on the sleeves, and officers began pinning rank devices to the collar.  Don't do it if you're carrying a trapdoor!

Trousers:  1884 Cotton Duck   http://www.riverjunction.com/Trousers--Suspender-Pants-Gold-Rush-Jeans--Heirloom-Brand_p_81.html    As accurate as any custom pants I've seen.  If you want to get fancy you can sew on some seam stripes.  

Hat:  1883 drab, Bracher/star/snowflake vent   http://www.riverjunction.com/Wadell-Hat-Campaign-hat--Wool_p_109.html     Down at the bottom you can  pick the vent you want.

Shoes.  Black, leather, lace up.  Ankle high.  You've got black shoes with laces, you're fine.

Thats the basic field uniform.  You want to get fancier?

Tunic: http://www.quartermastershop.com/1872_and_on_us_enlisted/m-1884_enl_canvas_bls.html#.UfxO_tJaySo    The best, worth the money.  Sew on some stripes if you want to be a noncom.  Pin on some shoulder straps if your one of them occifers.  This is a field uniform,  save all the braid and facings for the ballroom.

Leggings:  These are nice to have, keeps out the dust and bugs.   http://www.whatpriceglory.com/shopexd.asp?id=5119&bc=no     THe only difference between these and the ones adopted in the late 1880s is that the older pattern used a leather strap.  Some cut off the web strap and rivet on a leather one.  But I'm not gonna look under your shoes to check.

Some of this stuff can be found on other sites.  Wild West Mercantile has brown duck clothing, prices vary.  I've picked up two pairs of Trousers off trade tables at various shoots, 20 bucks.  Any old brown cowboy hat of moderate brim and crown works fine.  Leggings can be found at Army suplus stores for a few dollars, though you will look long for ones big enough for modern legs.  You might have a long sleeve blue pullover hanging in a closet somewhere, and Carhart makes a lot of brown canvas jackets and pants that can be adapted.  I've seen a lot of those in 2nd hand stores.
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 08:59:34 PM »
Shirt: M1883 pull over flannel    http://www.riverjunction.com/Shirt--Indian-Wars-Military-Shirt--Flannel--Heirloom-Brand--Navy-Blue_p_42.html#       THis is a cotton flannel, River Junction also markets a wool flannel at twice the price.  The specs only say flannel, and this is a fine shirt.
Very good points!
I will split hairs on one point though. The 1889 regs do actually say "Dark-blue wool flannel, Army standard,"(emphasis mine) Now having said that If a man chooses to buy cotton flannel, that is his choice. I actually own the wool version from River Junction and can attest to it's quality. The wool is good quality so it isn't itchy and even in the 100+ degree weather we had at the Department of the Missouri Muster I found it to be more comfortable than some cotton shirts I've worn.

The uniform I'm shown wearing below is almost exactly the uniform options Col. Drydock has described. The Regs do give officers the option of wearing a black hat, but by next year I will probably own the River Junction drab hat.
 

This is a uniform that is comfortable, practical, and won't break the bank.
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Offline WaddWatsonEllis

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 09:05:38 PM »
Hi,

I still like this Uniform and rifle better ... but I already own them ...*S*

My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 09:47:40 PM »
Excellent post, Drydock!

You can do much the same thing for 1898 to 1900 Marines.  Most of the uniform is the same.  Make sure you get the hat with the snowflake vent.  You'll need to get the 1892 version of the EGA from S & S Firearms.  The actual Marine campaign shirt was NOT identical to the Army shirt, in spite of what most sources will tell you.  I'm working with a local seamstress to provide an economical source for those.  If you want to wear an Army shirt, that would also work, as you see both in photos from the time, at least once in the same photo.   (My theory is that as Marine shirts wore out in the Philippines, Marines stole.......I mean requisitioned Army shirts.)  The trousers were the same.  I've seen quite a few usable leggings on e-Bay.  Just make sure you get the Marine or Navy version in khaki.  (They have less eyelets than the Army leggings.)  If you need a size chart to see what size to look for, go to Atthefront.com and look for the legging size chart.  Marines could use either black or brown ankle boots, and e-Bay can be a great source for those, especially if you have normal size feet.  (It took me a while.  15B's are NOT that common!)  I would recommend getting good quality boots, such as Red Wings, as sore feet can take a lot of fun out of a day of shooting.  They're usually pretty darn reasonable used.  Blue double row Mills cartridge belts can be had from S & S Firearms.

I'll probably think of more later, but that gives you a start.
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Offline cpt dan blodgett

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 11:40:37 PM »
Sans the vent holes and a much narrower ribbon my circa 1971 Clay colored resistol does not look bad.  Leta sewed me up 1884 uniform a few years ago.  Last year I wore the wool shirt, regular brown (no officers stripes) dressed as I private of the 6th infantry in the WR uniform competition, lost out to dress uniforms Congrats to CPT Baylor and Cow Town Scout they looked really sharp as did Rev Barry M Deep in his Brigadier General Doughboy or Wild Bunch Era Wool tunic and fantastic belt and boots.
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Offline G.W. Strong

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 12:34:31 AM »
Thanks for the excellent post.

For those who wish to use their '84 uniforms with an earlier impression as I do then you need to leave off the leggings, or do as Drydock suggests, and use the M1888 pattern leggings.
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2013, 08:27:41 AM »
The best source for the M-1888 leggings is a vendor on E-bay named 3040steawrt (J.C. Stewart the author of Cowboys in Uniform) They aren't cheap, but they are perfect.
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Offline cpt dan blodgett

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2013, 03:13:10 PM »
Drydock, do people actually hunt armadillo.  Always thought they were born on the side of the road dead in LA
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Offline Drydock

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2013, 05:01:32 PM »
They're a newly reintroduced pest around here.  There's a nest of the things on our ridge, I've gotten a couple, scouting for the rest.  The GAF spec lead bullet load works dandy on these.  Its a good way to pass some time in the back woods with a rifle in hand.

BTW,  www.cooncreekoldwest.com   is the place to go for all your accoutrements.   Mills belts, canteens, haversacks.  Great folks.  Leta can make anything, and if Buck don't have it, give him a call and he'll find it.
Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2013, 07:54:34 PM »
Two years ago when we went to Louisiana I was surprised how far north in Kansas we were seeing them.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 11:47:56 AM »
Now, if you substitute these pants:   http://www.wwmerc.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item=CM837&type=store&category=3930    you would then have the basics for the M1899 Kahki uniform.  You can then go to the Quartermaster Shop or Coon Creek when you're ready for the Jacket.
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Offline Drydock

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Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 12:33:58 PM »
I still like this Uniform and rifle better ... but I already own them ...*S*
Hey WWE
Y'all ought to join us join us at a muster sometime!
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 12:36:30 PM »
Drydock makes a very good point that a very acceptable uniform can be had on a budget. Not everybody can afford to museum quality reproductions and you don't need to to enjoy the GAF Musters.
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Offline WaddWatsonEllis

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 04:43:30 PM »
Pitspr,

Sirrah, it really would be my honor ... but do you think you Northern Boys would be ready for a .50 Cal. Maynard? 

I have some brass and some lead bullets, but there are these peculiar laws against transporting black powder now ... so yeah, when you have a muster on the left coast, like I said, I would be honored .... *S*
My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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Offline pony express

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 05:14:49 PM »
We'd love to have you out, Wadd, and that Maynard is a really nice thing, but I think our era of rifles begins with fully self contained cartridges, so Maynard and paper-cutter Sharps, etc are too early. BUT, you can show up with your uniform and your cowboy rifle and still shoot!

Oh, and back to the original topic, my SAW outfit is pretty much what Drydock is talking about, hat and campaign shirt(wool) from River Junction, Mills belt and leggings from Coon Creek, Pants from for sale table at a match, shoes(CW brogans) from CASCITY classifieds. At my first Grand Muster, I had just the hat from River J., Wal Mart blue flannel long sleeve shirt, WM khaki pants, and my 30-40 cartridges stuck into a 20ga shotgun belt, 2 per loop. Pretty much a bargain basement outfit.

Also, my French Foreign Legion outfit is all from Wal Mart, modified white Wrangler shirt, modified painter pants, and some blue cloth from the sewing aisle for the sash, hat cover from Blockade Runner. About $50 all together(Already had a CW Kepi to go under the cover)

Offline River City John

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2013, 06:30:39 PM »
For that matter, Wadd, forget the headache about transporting arms and ammo. Come on out and we'll find armament and cartridges you can use.

RCJ
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Offline WaddWatsonEllis

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2013, 06:53:40 PM »
Pitspr,RCJ et al,

I have always wanted a Krag; perhaps this is the time for it ...

But I have just looked up a short sword for the Californio routine at $249.00. Then there is the cost of transporting it all ... when and where is the next muster?
My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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Offline pony express

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2013, 07:26:05 PM »
Grand Muster is coming up, first weekend of October in KS, only about an hour away from Kansas city. Two smaller ones, near Chicago, Aug 31 and Sept 28. So far, we haven't got anything going outside the Midwest. Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri. Texas seems to have faded out, at least for now.

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: The 1884 Fatigue Uniform: Easy, comfortable, rugged, inexpensive
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2013, 08:00:49 PM »
WWE
Like RCJ said leave your weapons and home we'll find stuff for you to borrow. Oh, and you likely wouldn't be the only reb there. Join us in Oct. in Garnett KS I'll bet we could find somebody to pick you up at the airport. Who knows maybe you'll have so much fun you might get a bunch of guys together out there on the west coast and have your own Dept. Muster.  ::) 8)
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