Author Topic: 7th Cavalry uniform and equipment circa 1876?  (Read 1313 times)

Offline FTrooper

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Re: 7th Cavalry uniform and equipment circa 1876?
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2020, 09:53:09 PM »
Some good info here, some that is quite dated. I've been working with a couple guys on this recently.  Here are some notes and observations:

Rutledge's books are nice but the info is VERY old.  Two better sources for the 7th are "Boots and Saddles at the Little Big Horn" and Hutchinson's essay in the "Custer Reader". Based on that starting point. McChristian's book, Farrington's book and several other sources we have a much better image of the 7th Cavalry.  Here are what we are seeing:

Hat:  The 1872 folding hat fell apart easily.  It seems about half the 7th already had privately purchased better quality grey hats when the left Fort Abe. The rest bought straw hats aboard the steamer Far West.  Apparently the 1872, as typical, gave up after about a month in the field.

Blouses: The 7th had just gotten their first 1874 blouses about March.  Those would have been packed up and awaiting their return. Old stuff goes on campaign.  Both skeletons found at the LBH had 9 buttons on their chest indicating something other that that 1874 blouse.  WE, using several original 1876 Sioux War images have found three possibilities.  In most likely order we see 1872 blouses, converted 1858 frock coats into jackets, converted 1872 dress coats turned into field sack coats.

Shirts. Obviously the grey issue would have been known. However the Army made a large number of dark blue shirts for experiment in 1875.  They seem to show up quite a bit in original images of the 1876 War and Godfrey mentions blue shirts (often discarded as a reference to the later 1883).

Saddle Equipment: Seems to be a mix of post civil war versions of the 1859 McClellan and the 1872 equipment.  They had not received the 1874 equipment yet.

Personal Equipment.  Some Civil War haversack may have been in use, some 1872, possible a very few 1874 at the civil war sack were all but exhausted ad worn out.  If the trooper had the large 1872 saddlebags he would not have been issued a separate haversack.

The 1876 Prairie belt did not go into production until November 1876.  Most men are recorded having saddler made looped "fair weather christian" cartridge belts.  Those who would have had boxes pouches would not have been the 1874 Dyer nor the Infantry McKeever.  The 1872 Dyer, Hagner No. 2, and Civil War surplus are most likely.

AS others have noted the M1873 carbine and pistol were standard issue.

The attached image is a trooper in late 1876 during Crooks Horsemeat March. He is wearing an 1872 DRESS coat with the trimming removed (under high resolution and magnification you can see the fade patterns). Turning old uniforms, even dress uniforms, into fatigue wear was a long honored tradition in the US Army dating back to the Rev War and before by the Brits.

Christopher Fischer
Chris Fischer

Offline smoke

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Re: 7th Cavalry uniform and equipment circa 1876?
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2020, 12:27:49 PM »
FTrooper...thanks for the reply!!  Really interesting stuff. 

I will check and see if I have Boots and Saddles....I thought I bought it but I cannot find it. ::)



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