Cavalry uniforms

A place for discussion of mounted services uniforms, headgear, footwear and related personal equipment of the horse soldier.
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Kurt Hughes
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Cavalry uniforms

Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:36 pm

I recently moved house and as a result most of my collection has been packed away for the last year, I have just started unpacking parts of my collection and decided to take the opportunity to take some photographs. I thought they might be of interest so have posted some here, the first group are some cavalry uniforms from the 1898-1908 period, if they are of interest and all being well I will post at a later date some cavalry uniforms from 1908-1917.
I have taken photos of mostly the coats of the above periods along with sometimes related accoutrements and headgear, I did not have the space to display saddlery with each uniform and not all the photos like the uniforms are perfect, I am not a uniform collector as such but like to have an example of most where possible.
The first is a cavalry coat dating from 1898, 1889 campaign hat, pattern 1896 mills cavalry cartridge belt and Rock Island Arsenal pattern 1896 holster.
P9090038a.jpg
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Second, a private purchase officers coat from 1898, it belonged to a 1st Lt of HQ troop 1st Illinois cavalry they were mustered into service from May-Oct 1898. This coat does not conform to the usual patterns seen from this time, it uses smaller cuff size buttons, four buttons instead of five, the coat is a lighter material than the trousers but the stripes are of the same material as the pocket and cuff facings. The hat is private purchase and what stands out is earlier style crossed sabre insignia. Although the regiment did not serve in Cuba I like to think he had the uniform made whilst training in GA from what was available perhaps locally, but I have no evidence of that. Mills revolver and sabre belt with pattern 1892 Rock Island Arsenal holster.
P9090041a.jpg
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Last edited by Kurt Hughes on Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jim Bewley » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:14 pm

Very nice Kurt.

Taking this back to another thread, how was HQ Troop shown on the saddle cloth? Was it simply the number with HQ underneath?

Jim

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Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:16 pm

1899 Pattern coat, with blue 1896 Mills cavalry cartridge belt, pattern 1896 holster and 1889 campaign hat. The trousers are original to the coat with reinforced seat and dated 1899.
P9090042a.jpg
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1901 Pattern coat, with tan 1896 Mills cavalry cartridge belt, pattern 1896 holster and summer helmet. The most obvious difference between this coat and the previous is the placing of the top pockets.
P9090048a.jpg
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Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:37 pm

Pattern 1904 coat and breeches with reinforced seat, 13th cavalry D troop insignia, pattern 1902 campaign hat. Mills 1903 cartridge belt and suspenders, russet 1896 pattern holster and model 1901 .38 service revolver, 1905 dated first aid pouch.
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Pattern 1906 cotton coat with standing falling collar, 13th cavalry H troop insignia, 1902 field service cap with 13th cav K troop insignia, summer helmet. Experimental 1905 Springfield sabre marked to H troop 13th cavalry with russet 1885 sabre knot.
P9090057a.jpg
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Last edited by Kurt Hughes on Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Rick Throckmorton » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:45 pm

Very, very nice, Kurt.
Thanks for taking the time to post them.
Rick T

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Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:10 pm

Pattern 1907 coat with stand and fall collar and 13th cavalry G troop insignia, 1902 field service cap with matching insignia. 1903 dated leather enlisted mans sword belt and 1903 dated sabre attachment. Revolver lanyard and once again 1896 russet holster, model 1901 .38 service revolver, pattern 1896 revolver cartridge pouch 13th cavalry marked.
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Circa 1906/1907 cotton coat. Not much is known about this coat, it dates to possibly circa 1906 in style, as seen it has yellow cavalry sergeant stripes and not the drab colour stripes, also it had detachable shoulder straps, I have seen similar shoulder straps on a coat a few years ago but have so far not located the photo or replacement shoulder straps. I would be interested is anyone can offer any further info on this coat.
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Last edited by Kurt Hughes on Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:16 pm

Pattern 1902 Cavalry dress coat, 13th cavalry K troop.
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Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:23 pm

Hi Rick

Thanks for the kind words, I wanted to share some pics with those who have a similar interest in this period such as yourself.
Typically I noticed a few mistakes after I put everything away, such as forgetting the dress cap, anyway that can be for another day. If time allows I shall try and cover up to 1917 sometime in the near future.
Kurt.

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Post by Trooper » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:51 pm

Hi Kurt,
I think we all owe you a big THANK YOU :clap: :thumbup:
for taking time to post such an attractive and educational thread.
Personally I have a great fondness for the 1898-1910 period uniform and think they looked really sharp when well turned out.
Threads like this make the forum a really great resource for those, like me, who can get confused by all the quick changes in uniform and equipments in the post Span-Am pre WWI period.
Dušan

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Post by Couvi » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:17 pm

Kurt,

Truly excellent! :thumbup:
Couvi

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Post by Kurt Hughes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:29 pm

Thank you for all the positive comments, certainly makes it all worthwhile :D

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Post by tmarsh » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:32 pm

Truly Awesome! Thanks for sharing with us. Tom

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Post by John M » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:55 am

Yes..that is an amazing collection.
John D Morgan

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Post by Pat Holscher » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:35 am

John M wrote:Yes..that is an amazing collection.
It sure is amazing. Thanks for posting the photos.
Pat

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Post by Pat Holscher » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:36 am

Trooper wrote:Hi Kurt,
I think we all owe you a big THANK YOU :clap: :thumbup:
for taking time to post such an attractive and educational thread.
Personally I have a great fondness for the 1898-1910 period uniform and think they looked really sharp when well turned out.
Threads like this make the forum a really great resource for those, like me, who can get confused by all the quick changes in uniform and equipments in the post Span-Am pre WWI period.
I agree. Keeping track of the early subdued uniform changes is confusing, and it really helps to see them in photographs.
Pat

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Post by Pat Holscher » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:04 am

What explains the rapid change in patterns?
Pat

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Post by Pat Holscher » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:32 am

Can Kurt, or anyone who knows, let us know what was going on with uniform colors in this time frame (and, by the way, what a super collection of uniforms this is. Extremely nice).

It seems we started out with khaki. Those 1898 uniforms are a super example of that (and amongst the best examples there have to be, anywhere). So was the idea that the whole Army would wear khaki in the field (with blue shirts, if I recall correctly)?

Is that 1906 cotton coat sort of an OD? It isn't that light khaki color. Was the color supposed to approximate the same color as in the 1904 wool coat shown? At that time, had the Army already abandoned khaki, in favor of OD (sort of)? This is my belief, but these early patterns are confusing.

As an aside, this had to be a lieutenant's nightmare. In an Army where pay was low, and officer had to buy their uniforms, it seems they were switching out for a new pattern every couple of years. They must have cried over their clothing allowance. I wonder what they actually looked like in the field, as you'd think this would give a high incentive to buying as few of uniforms as possible, and wearing your old stuff until you simply had to make the switch.
Pat

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Post by Kurt Hughes » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:24 pm

I do not have all my references at hand so some of the following is written from memory, it is in fact quite a complex subject as not a lot has been written on the uniforms of this period, by far the best and most in-depth was written by Gil Sanow and Michael Bruun for a two part article in the Company of Military Historians journal, "Military Collector and Historian", although it was written around twenty years ago I have never seen a better reference on the subject.
Pre 1902 and blue sack coats are still seen in use, the cotton 98,99 and 1901 service coats seeing use in warmer climates, these were replaced by the wool pattern 1902 olive drab coat and the khaki coloured cotton 1902 coat which was for summer or warmer climates.
All the various pattern service cotton coats remained in khaki until 1909 when an olive drab cotton coat was adopted, it was thought the olive drab was more suited to such places as the Philippine jungles.

Initially with the early coats there was a problem obtaining a uniform khaki colour, I have owned a few 1898 coats over the years and seen many more, many vary greatly in colour/shades. Interestingly there is also no specification for the 1898 coats so there are many variations on a theme.
There was also an issue with the coloured facings as it made that coat particular to that branch of service, this did not help with regards to supply, therefore in later 1898 the detachable shoulder strap was adopted and coloured cuffs and pocket flaps done away with. Another feature of many of the 1898 coats (not shown) was a cloth belt, this was also discarded (I will try to post a picture of my cloth belt).

It is important to note many of the changes were minor and would not affect the issue of a uniform, as seen in the photos the difference between an 1899 and a 1901 are minimal these uniforms could be used together, likewise with the adoption of khaki coloured shoulder straps these could replace branch of service coloured straps, plus by replacing the buttons to dull bronze the uniform would be quite similar in appearance to a 1902 cotton coat.

With regards to colour and material here are some extracts from the "Regulations and Notes for the Uniform of the Army of the United States 1899", the description reads "Field Uniforms (a) Blouse. All enlisted men.- For field service, a blouse of cotton drilling or khaki, light brown color"
In the 1902 regulations it reads "Service Coat. A sack coat of olive-drab woollen material for winter wear and of khaki-colored cotton material for summer wear or in the tropics conforming to sealed sample in the office of the Quartermaster General".

As mentioned the changes between specs is sometimes marginal, for example the 1902 coat has a pleat in the top pockets but the 1904 does not but has bellow pockets, the 1907 has a stand and fall collar whereas the 1904 has a falling collar, in other words many of these patterns would have seen use alongside each other perhaps until all used up. For example in some photos of the 13th cavalry in the Philippines that I have, they show a great variation in patterns and even as far as some troops wearing insignia yet others with none, it is quite a non uniform uniform from around this time.
Interestingly I know of another photo of a troop of the 13th cavalry from a few years earlier and all the khaki coats are matching, I put that down to being a new regiment and perhaps a new issue of the same pattern coat, because as mentioned a few years later and there are many variations.

With regards to the quick changes in patterns I guess it is all down to development and finding what works, the uniform was new, so the example of fixed colour facings on the 98 and supply seems obvious reading about it now, later with the 1902 patterns and doing away with gilt buttons and colour shoulder straps is a step towards dulling down the uniform, no doubt important when serving in the Philippines, but as mentioned an earlier pattern uniform could be adapted/dulled down by a simple change of straps and buttons enabling the coat to still be used if needed. Improvements such as to pocket or collar styles were not enough that a whole regiment would be issued a new coat, period photos seem to indicate use next to each other until one was exhausted.

Like some of the accoutrements and saddles there is still much to learn from this time period.
Kurt

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Post by Pat Holscher » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:40 pm

Kurt Hughes wrote:I do not have all my references at hand so some of the following is written from memory, it is in fact quite a complex subject as not a lot has been written on the uniforms of this period, by far the best and most in-depth was written by Gil Sanow and Michael Bruun for a two part article in the Company of Military Historians journal, "Military Collector and Historian", although it was written around twenty years ago I have never seen a better reference on the subject.
Pre 1902 and blue sack coats are still seen in use, the cotton 98,99 and 1901 service coats seeing use in warmer climates, these were replaced by the wool pattern 1902 olive drab coat and the khaki coloured cotton 1902 coat which was for summer or warmer climates.
All the various pattern service cotton coats remained in khaki until 1909 when an olive drab cotton coat was adopted, it was thought the olive drab was more suited to such places as the Philippine jungles.

Initially with the early coats there was a problem obtaining a uniform khaki colour, I have owned a few 1898 coats over the years and seen many more, many vary greatly in colour/shades. Interestingly there is also no specification for the 1898 coats so there are many variations on a theme.
There was also an issue with the coloured facings as it made that coat particular to that branch of service, this did not help with regards to supply, therefore in later 1898 the detachable shoulder strap was adopted and coloured cuffs and pocket flaps done away with. Another feature of many of the 1898 coats (not shown) was a cloth belt, this was also discarded (I will try to post a picture of my cloth belt).

It is important to note many of the changes were minor and would not affect the issue of a uniform, as seen in the photos the difference between an 1899 and a 1901 are minimal these uniforms could be used together, likewise with the adoption of khaki coloured shoulder straps these could replace branch of service coloured straps, plus by replacing the buttons to dull bronze the uniform would be quite similar in appearance to a 1902 cotton coat.

With regards to colour and material here are some extracts from the "Regulations and Notes for the Uniform of the Army of the United States 1899", the description reads "Field Uniforms (a) Blouse. All enlisted men.- For field service, a blouse of cotton drilling or khaki, light brown color"
In the 1902 regulations it reads "Service Coat. A sack coat of olive-drab woollen material for winter wear and of khaki-colored cotton material for summer wear or in the tropics conforming to sealed sample in the office of the Quartermaster General".

As mentioned the changes between specs is sometimes marginal, for example the 1902 coat has a pleat in the top pockets but the 1904 does not but has bellow pockets, the 1907 has a stand and fall collar whereas the 1904 has a falling collar, in other words many of these patterns would have seen use alongside each other perhaps until all used up. For example in some photos of the 13th cavalry in the Philippines that I have, they show a great variation in patterns and even as far as some troops wearing insignia yet others with none, it is quite a non uniform uniform from around this time.
Interestingly I know of another photo of a troop of the 13th cavalry from a few years earlier and all the khaki coats are matching, I put that down to being a new regiment and perhaps a new issue of the same pattern coat, because as mentioned a few years later and there are many variations.

With regards to the quick changes in patterns I guess it is all down to development and finding what works, the uniform was new, so the example of fixed colour facings on the 98 and supply seems obvious reading about it now, later with the 1902 patterns and doing away with gilt buttons and colour shoulder straps is a step towards dulling down the uniform, no doubt important when serving in the Philippines, but as mentioned an earlier pattern uniform could be adapted/dulled down by a simple change of straps and buttons enabling the coat to still be used if needed. Improvements such as to pocket or collar styles were not enough that a whole regiment would be issued a new coat, period photos seem to indicate use next to each other until one was exhausted.

Like some of the accoutrements and saddles there is still much to learn from this time period.
Kurt
Excellent stuff, thanks!
Pat

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Post by Pat Holscher » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:41 pm

Kurt Hughes wrote:I do not have all my references at hand so some of the following is written from memory, it is in fact quite a complex subject as not a lot has been written on the uniforms of this period, by far the best and most in-depth was written by Gil Sanow and Michael Bruun for a two part article in the Company of Military Historians journal, "Military Collector and Historian", although it was written around twenty years ago I have never seen a better reference on the subject.
Pre 1902 and blue sack coats are still seen in use, the cotton 98,99 and 1901 service coats seeing use in warmer climates, these were replaced by the wool pattern 1902 olive drab coat and the khaki coloured cotton 1902 coat which was for summer or warmer climates.
All the various pattern service cotton coats remained in khaki until 1909 when an olive drab cotton coat was adopted, it was thought the olive drab was more suited to such places as the Philippine jungles.
Interesting on the shift in the cotton uniform from khaki to OD. I'd guess that reasoning was solid.

It's interesting to note how rapidly these uniforms became truly "subdued". Black button, etc. They would really blend in, I suspect.

Also interesting is how khaki came back into Army use following WWI. I wonder what caused the change in mind concerning it?
Pat

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