Author Topic: Equipment used in 1877  (Read 614 times)

Offline wclracer64

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Equipment used in 1877
« on: January 30, 2020, 10:20:17 pm »
Does anyone have proof of which haversacks, canteens and saddlebags were in use in the field in the 1877 -78 time frame? Was it still civil war issue, newer issue or a mix of both? I am putting a cavalry impression together and would really like to know, but come up empty on web searches. Any information would be appreciated!
Thanks!
Bill

Offline River City John

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 11:18:55 pm »
1876 Infantry. Cavalry equipment would not have been dissimilar. This is one of the best impressions you'll see of the era.
A little CW surplus, but that was getting pretty depleted by mid-1870's. If on campaign, mix in a little civilian gear.

Also, starting with Chapter Five, page 29, try:
https://history.army.mil/html/museums/uniforms/survey_uwa.pdf

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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2020, 12:09:12 pm »
The official issue M-1874 canteen was a Civil War body with a different chain, strap, and cover. Officially the haversack had changed to the M-1874. There is photographic evidence of some Civil War issued items surviving as late as the late 1880's

I don't know about saddlebags. I would think S. Quentin Quale, Esq. could help you with that.

The reference source I would recommend would be The U.S. Army in the West, 1870?1880: Uniforms, Weapons, and Equipment by Douglas C. McChristian
https://www.amazon.com/U-S-Army-West-1870-1880-Equipment/dp/0806137827/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_2?keywords=Doug+mcchristian+us+army+in+the+west&qid=1580493745&sr=8-2-fkmr2



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Offline wclracer64

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2020, 08:05:11 pm »
 Book is ordered! Thank you gentlemen!
Bill

Offline FTrooper

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2020, 10:04:48 pm »
SUCH a fun era!  I live in the middle of the Idaho 1877 Nez Perce battlefields.  Here is what we found for this transition era!

Very little old stuff and Civil War surplus was left.  After the LBH the Army increased its numbers and a flood of "Custer Avengers" joined the Army. These guys used up the last of the Civil War surplus for the most part and alot of the 1872 stuff. So what you see in the era is a transition.  Here is what we've found as "typical":

1876 Sioux War= 1872 blouse, 1872 hat (lots of private purchase headgear), lots of civil war surplus leather and gear as well as 1872 gear. Infantry is starting to get 1874 gear.  Horse equipment is a mix of Civil War stuff and 1872 pattern stuff.  If issued the 1872 pattern saddle bags you would not have a haversack. SOME 1874 haversack issued to cavalry to replace worn out civil war and 1872 pattern

1877 Sioux War and Nez Perce= 1874 blouses. 1872 hats. 1874 equipment for both infantry and cavalry. 1876 Prairie belt issued to infantry (its actually listed as the "infantry cartridge belt" in some correspondence).  We also see some Schofields getting issued and some troopers of the 4th carrying both pistols!  Most of the 1874 horse equipment and accoutrements are in issue.

1878 Sheepeater War= 1876 hates, 1874 blouses, 1876 prairie belts (and references that cavalry units are acquiring them and modifying them to take pistol holsters)

The three images attached: Later part of 1876 Sioux War, 1877 Nez Perce War, 1878 Sheepeater War in Oregon

Christopher Fischer
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Chris Fischer
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Offline FTrooper

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2020, 10:12:24 pm »
BTW...just for fun:

Chris Fischer
F-Troop

Offline Niederlander

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2020, 07:39:46 am »
Now THAT is cool!
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline Jeremiah Jones

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2020, 09:58:53 am »
pitspitr said: There is photographic evidence of some Civil War issued items surviving as late as the late 1880's

I know it does not count as documentation, but common sense agrees.  I bought a left hand "tanker's rig" shoulder holster in 1977 and used it on active duty till I retired in 1999.  I still use it. I am in the use it up, wear it out, make it do camp.
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2020, 10:53:12 am »
We need to keep a couple of things in mind when we think we know what we know, or when we're putting together uniforms for an impression.  The original post asked about 1877-1878.  That's pretty wide time range.  A soldier could easily have one set of equipment in April of 1877, and something completely different in April 1878, with endless variations before and after.  If you want to be totally correct, you'd almost have to pick one individual on one given day, with a photograph to prove it.  What most of us really do is pick sort of an "average" individual on an "average" day during the time period and place selected.

Another thing that occurred to me is this:  I think we all know that the most reliable source material we have is period photographs.  You can't argue with what is actually in the photo at a specific time or place.  We need to remember, though, that it's still a very limited sample.  If you have a photograph showing five men in a hundred man unit, you only have a photographic record of five percent of the people there.  That means you're not sure about what the other ninety-five percent of them have.  We can make very educated guesses on what was where, but I'm not sure we can ever make totally definitive statements.

One other thing.  Even if an entire unit gets new equipment, there's always going to be that one guy who still uses his old one, just because he likes it better, or maybe just as his own little protest against conformity.

Just my thoughts, as always.
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Online 1961MJS

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2020, 10:27:15 am »
...

Another thing that occurred to me is this:  I think we all know that the most reliable source material we have is period photographs.  You can't argue with what is actually in the photo at a specific time or place.  We need to remember, though, that it's still a very limited sample.  If you have a photograph showing five men in a hundred man unit, you only have a photographic record of five percent of the people there.  That means you're not sure about what the other ninety-five percent of them have.  We can make very educated guesses on what was where, but I'm not sure we can ever make totally definitive statements....

Ned writes of photographs, BUT (a very large one), don't take posed studio photographs to heart.  I don't have a link or quote, but I believe that a historian found pictures of several different men of the old west wearing the same guns.  They have their pictures taken at the same studio.

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2020, 10:27:15 am »

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2020, 12:18:31 pm »
Ned writes of photographs, BUT (a very large one), don't take posed studio photographs to heart.  I don't have a link or quote, but I believe that a historian found pictures of several different men of the old west wearing the same guns.  They have their pictures taken at the same studio.

Later
And Buffalo Bill Cody owned a coat that several of his friends were photographed wearing.
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2020, 07:36:44 pm »
Yes, you definitely need to be suspicious of studio portraits.  I just saw a photo the other day of Ed Scheifflen, of Tombstone fame,  wearing a very distinctive gun belt and holsters, and a Sharps rifle.  There's a photo of a woman from Tombstone at the time wearing the same gun belt and with the same Sharps.  I've also always been very suspicious of the photo of Wild Bill Hickok wearing buckskins with a huge butcher knife and two Colt Navy's shoved in a sash.  Looks very "stage-ish" to me.  I've seen a photo of him on a street in Kansas with his Navy's in holsters.  I would guess that's the way he actually carried them for use.  I'm talking more of photos such as the ones taken on Crook's Black Hills expedition.  I think those would be extremely reliable, as they were taken in the field.
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Online 1961MJS

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2020, 09:20:35 am »
Hi Ned

That's what we were getting at.  In the field, if they used "props" it was someone else in the fleid's equipment.  In the studio, take with a pound or so of Salt.

Later
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Offline matt45

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2020, 09:44:58 am »
As I understand (may be wrong), Congress only authorized an increase in Cavalry Regiments, and they reduced the strength of the Infantry, so the increase in strength was notional (aside from never meeting recruiting goals in the first place).  Since funding was never adequate (remember the 6 mos. period where the Army was unfunded) I expect that equipment was whatever was on hand. ;)

Offline Niederlander

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2020, 11:24:46 am »
Hi Ned

That's what we were getting at.  In the field, if they used "props" it was someone else in the fleid's equipment.  In the studio, take with a pound or so of Salt.

Later
Exactly.
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Offline Trailrider

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Re: Equipment used in 1877
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2020, 11:41:28 am »
Yes, you definitely need to be suspicious of studio portraits.  I just saw a photo the other day of Ed Scheifflen, of Tombstone fame,  wearing a very distinctive gun belt and holsters, and a Sharps rifle.  There's a photo of a woman from Tombstone at the time wearing the same gun belt and with the same Sharps.  I've also always been very suspicious of the photo of Wild Bill Hickok wearing buckskins with a huge butcher knife and two Colt Navy's shoved in a sash.  Looks very "stage-ish" to me.  I've seen a photo of him on a street in Kansas with his Navy's in holsters.  I would guess that's the way he actually carried them for use.  I'm talking more of photos such as the ones taken on Crook's Black Hills expedition.  I think those would be extremely reliable, as they were taken in the field.
Crook's Blackhills Expedition is an excellent example of the Army in the field during that time period. One thing to definitely keep in mind is that troops in the field utilized about whatever worked and was somewhat comfortable ("comfortable" being a relative term at best!). Lt. John Burke, Crook's aide-de-camp, wrote during the Big Horn & Yellowstone Expedition of 1876, "We looked more like a band of brigands than a military expedition!"  Check out the photos of Crook's officers in the Blackhills expedition. Just about anything went! Some photos of enlisted troops...the same, depending on what they could afford over-and-above what was issued.
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