3 a) 1 st Lieutenant, Cavalry, Service Dress.
b) Private, Cavalry, Service Dress.
c) Corporal, 2nd Cavalry, Full Dress, 1860-61.
(n.b. Figures should be identified from left to right throughout this section.)
Cavalry, Service Dress.
b) Private, Cavalry, Service Dress.
c) Corporal, 2nd Cavalry, Full Dress, 1860-61.
When the U.S. Cavalry was reorganised in 1861, the two dragoon regiments became the 1st and 2nd Cavalry. Prior to this reorganisation, they had been distinguished by orange braid and trimming, which was changed to the cavalry distinctive colour (yellow); for a time, however, it appears that the old dragoon trim was retained.
The black felt hat, standard issue for all branches of the army in full dress, was known as the 'Hardee', 'Kossuth' or 'Jeff Davis' pattern; it had a yellow hatcord and black plume, the latter reserved for parade. On the front was a brass crossed sabres badge with regimental number and company identification letter; the turned-up brim was secured by a brass badge consisting of the U.S. eagle and shield device. A variation on the 'Hardee* pattern was the 'Burnside' hat, basically a lower-crowned replica.
In full dress, the regulation shell-jacket with yellow piping was worn, with two loops of lace at either side of the collar. One such loop was the official distinction of volunteer regiments, but it appears that the 2nd Cavalry (though a regular regiment) also wore one lace. The shoulder-scales and white gloves were reserved for parade. The official Regulations specified dark blue trousers for all branches of the army except Light
Artillery, but General Orders of 16 December 1861 authorised the more familiar sky-blue trousers, very few of the dark blue being issued. Equipment was of black leather with brass fittings; the Model i860 light cavalry sabre was the regulation arm, but some units retained the Model 1840 Dragoon sabre, the only basic difference between the two being the shape of the hand-grip and a slight variation in length.
The most common uniform worn on campaign consisted of the cloth képi and standard pattern fatigue-blouse, occasionally worn with yellow braid trimming. The light blue trousers (few of the dark blue pattern were in evidence) could be worn either inside or outside the boots. The crossed sabres badge officially worn on the front of the képi was often transferred to the top, to allow the cap to be worn in the fashionable 'pressed-down' style; as the war progressed, képi-badges were often abandoned entirely. All manner of non-regulation styles were common on active service, battered full dress hats or other black felt 'slouch' hats being extremely popular.
4. U.S.A.: a) 1st Sergeant, Cavalry, with Sheridan's Guidon, b) Captain, Cavalry, Full Dress. Cavalry officers' full dress uniform included the 'Hardee' hat with two feather plumes and cords of mixed black and gold. The hat-badge was embroidered in gold on a black velvet oval, consisting of crossed sabres, with regimental number and company letter for company officers (i.e. up to and including the rank of Captain), and just the regimental number for regimental officers (i.e. Major and upwards). A design of the crossed sabres alone also existed.
In full dress, all officers wore the frock-coat, this garment being single-breasted with nine buttons for company officers, and double-breasted with two rows of seven buttons for regimental officers. The epaulettes worn in full dress were of gold lace with bullion fringes for all except 2nd Lieutenants, whose epaulettes had thin cord fringes. On the epaulette-strap was a silver circle bearing the regimental number (nearest the 'crescent'), and higher up the badges of rank corresponding to those worn on the shoulder-bars of ordinary dress. Trousers were sky blue (though dark blue was the original regulation), with a Jth-inch welt on the outer seam. The sabre could be hooked onto the belt by the upper hanging-ring of the scabbard, allowing the wearer to walk with ease without the necessity of carrying the sword in one hand. Sword-knots were mixed gold and black for officers and black leather for other ranks.
The i st Sergeant illustrated wears a more or less standard campaign dress (the waistbelt being worn under the fatigue jacket); he carries the personal flag of Major-General Philip H. Sheridan, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac (1865) who, like other cavalry leaders, signified his position in the field by his own unique guidon.
Federal cavalry formations did not possess Corps badges as did their in fantry counterparts, but two corps had similar badges, worn on the hat or képi. Sheridan's Cavalry corps had a badge consisting of a white sunburst (the rays having squared-off ends), with a dark blue oval centre bearing yellow crossed sabres (this badge can be seen on the front of the 1st Sergeant's képi). Wilson's Cavalry Corps had a badge consisting of a horizontal yellow carbine, from which hung vertically a red swallow-tailed guidon, suspended from the carbine by two yellow cords, and bearing yellow crossed sabres on the centre of the guidon.
5. U.S.A.: a) Sergeant, Cavalry with Custer's Guidon, b) Officer, 1st Rhode Island Cavalry. The Sergeant illustrated in this plate wears the regulation full dress shell-jacket, often worn on campaign with the képi. The trousers had 1 ¿-inch yellow stripes on the outer seams for sergeants. The flag carried is typical of the type carried by orderlies of noted cavalry generals, intended to mark their position on the battlefield: Federal generals Sheridan, Kil-patrick, Merritt and Custer all had 'personal' standards or guidons, that illustrated being the third pattern used by General G. A. Custer. Custer's first flag was a red over blue guidon bearing a crossed sabres badge and two battle honours, the second a more elaborate version with fringe and additional honours, the third that illustrated (bearing the crossed sabres badge in white), and the fourth and
4 a) 1st Sergeant, Cavalry, with Sheridan's Guidon, b) Captain, Cavalry, Full Dress.
5 a) Sergeant, Cavalry, with Custer's Guidon, b) Officer, 1st Rhode Island Cavalry.
final pattern a larger version of the third, with a white tape edge. The flag illustrated was used from June 1864 until March 1865, when Custer commanded the 3rd Cavalry Division. Of all the generals produced by the war, George Armstrong Custer is undoubtedly the most famous, though ironically not for his dashing conduct during the war, nor even his eccentric and ostentateous costume, but for the fact that he and his command fell victim to an Indian ambush which resulted in the 'massacre' of the Little Big Horn in 1876.
The figure of the officer of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry is taken from a photograph of Colonel Alfred Nattie Duffie. Though conforming to the basic regulation style, unusual features included in the uniform are the double-breasted shell jacket with yellow piping and very 'full' sleeves, and the 'baggy' trousers, the whole ensemble appearing much more French than American. That is hardly surprising, as Duffie was a graduate of the St Cyr military academy and fought with great distinction with the French cavalry in Algiers, Senegal and the Crimea. He further distinguished himself when he emigrated to the United States, rising from his commission as Captain in the 2nd New York Cavalry, to command the 1 st Rhode Island Cavalry, to Brigadier-General and divisional commander, becoming an outstanding cavalry commander in the Union army.
b) Corporal, Cavalry, with Regimental Standard.
The sky blue cavalry overcoat was double-breasted, with a 'stand-and-fall' collar; the cape, lined yellow, could be thrown back over the shoulder. When worn buttoned, the cape extended to the cuff of the greatcoat.
Each cavalry regiment carried a Regimental Standard, similar in design to the infantry version but only two feet five inches long by two feet three inches on the pole. The blue ground of the standard bore the design of an eagle with wings outspread, with a red, white and blue u.s. shield on its breast, holding a branch of laurel and a sheaf of arrows in its talons; above the eagle was a scroll inscribed 'e pluribus unum' in black lettering, and below a similar scroll bearing the title of the regiment. The standard-bearer illustrated wears the black leather standard-belt over the coat, but under the cape, as was usual for all equipment.
The waterproof 'gum blanket' as shown on the other figure could serve as a 'poncho'-style garment, or (by means of eyelet holes in the corners) be rigged as a one-man 'pup' tent. One of the most useful pieces of equipment issued during the war, it was carried rolled around the blanket or strapped onto the knapsack.
7. U.S.A.: a) Corporal, Cavalry, with Company Guidon, b) Private, Cavalry, with Designating
Flag, Cavalry Reserve Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, 1862. Both figures in this plate are shown in campaign dress, being the basic regulation fatigue dress, but with a number of less official details: the corporal, for example, wears the collar of the fatigue-blouse turned down with a coloured neckerchief under the collar, and the common 'slouch' hat.
Each Federal Corps, Division and Brigade had its own 'Designating Flag' intended to mark the position of the headquarters of the formation at all times. Designating flags were made in a variety of sizes and an even larger variety of designs. That illustrated is the Designating Flag of the Cavalry Reserve Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, which was authorised by a General Order of March 1862. The two brigades of the Cavalry Reserve were assigned flags at the same time, these also being yellow, with a five-pointed blue star in the centre for the 1st Brigade, and two similar stars on the flag of the 2nd.
The corporal is shown carrying a Company Guidon of the pattern used until 1863 and after 1865, consisting of a swallow-tailed flag, the red top bearing the white letters 'u.s.' and the white lower portion the company identifying letter. The flag was flown from a nine-feet long pole, topped by the standard brass heart-shaped pike-head. Between 1863 and 1865 a different pattern of guidon was carried by cavalry companies, of the same shape but consisting of a 'stars and stripes' design like that of the National Flag.
Pennsylvania Cavalry (Rush's Lancers).
Raised as the 70th Volunteers, the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Rush's Lancers) were named after their Colonel, Richard H. Rush. One of the best Federal cavalry regiments, their many battle-honours included Gaines' Mill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Brandy Station (where they charged and fought continuously for twelve hours) and Gettysburg. The uniform was basically of the regulation style, with dark blue trousers being worn early in the regiment's existence; a photograph taken at Falmouth, Virginia, in 1862 shows them to have been replaced by the more conventional light blue. The regiment wore one loop of lace on the collar (the distinguishing mark of volunteer cavalry); the brass shoulder-scales were soon discarded. Officers wore the crossed sabres badge on the front of the kepi, the other ranks having theirs on the crown. On the carbine-belt was worn an unusual brass oval-shaped plate with pointed ends, bearing the device of crossed lances crudely-stamped into the metal.
The regiment took its name from their principal arm: nine-feet long lances of Norwegian fir, with eleven-inch three-sided heads and swallow-tailed pennons. These pennons, supposedly made by the ladies of Philadelphia for the regiment, were of crimson bunting with a binding of scarlet braid. Finally being accepted
7 a) Corporal, Cavalry, with Company guidon.
b) Private, Cavalry, with Designating Flag, Army Cavalry Reserve Headquarters, Army of the.Potomac.
8 Corporal, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Rush's Lancers.)
9 a) Officer, 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry (60th Volunteers), b) Officer, 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry (64th Volunteers).
10 a) Private, 3rd New Jersey Cavalry, b) Private, Benton Hussars.
as unserviceable in May 1863, the lances were replaced by sabres and carbines, though a number of these had been used at the same time as the lances, twelve carbines per troop being issued prior to May 1863.
The plate shows the typical saddle-equipment used by all branches of the Federal cavalry. The leather-covered wooden McClellan saddle was held in place by a girth and surcingle of blue webbing. Stirrups were wooden, covered with leather and including large leather 'hoods' which all but covered the rider's foot. Horse-furniture was generally of black leather with brass fittings .and steel bit; the blanket under the saddle was often dark blue with a broad orange stripe near the edge, with 'u.s.' in orange letters at the centre, though grey blankets with yellow trim were not uncommon. On the saddle was carried a canvas nosebag, rolled overcoat, blanket, two black leather saddlebags containing rations, ammunition, clothing, horseshoes and other equipment, and a thirty-feet long lariat.
9. U.S.A.: a) Officer, 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry (60th Volunteers), b) Officer, 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry (64th Volunteers). This plate illustrates two of the typical unorthodox uniforms adopted by officers on campaign: they are taken from photographs of the staffs of Colonel W. W. Averell of the 3rd
Pennsylvania Cavalry (Young's Kentucky Light Cavalry - 60th Volun. teers), and of Colonel J. E. Childe of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry (64th Volunteers).
The officer of the 3rd wears a half-military, half-civilian costume, only the dark blue jacket indicating to which army he belongs. Even in this case, no badges of rank are worn, and the civilian hat and bow-tie appear somewhat incongurous when coupled with the sabre and pistol.
The officer of the 4th wears a regulation hat, battered almost beyond recognition, and a long blue coat with breast-pocket (from which a handkerchief protrudes), gauntlets, striped shirt and white collar. Both original photographs from which this plate is taken include other officers dressed in more regulation styles, with képis and shell-jackets, though another officer of the 4th wears the same type of long coat, over a dark waistcoat, white shirt and collar, and large dark bow-tie.
10. U.S.A.: a) Private, 3rd New Jersey Cavalry, b) Private, Benton Hussars.
In the uniform of the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry (1st U.S. Hussars) could be seen the French influence which affected many uniforms during the Civil War. Also known as the Trenton Hussars, the 3rd New Jersey wore the braided dolman-style jacket and 'pillbox' hat so typical of European Hussar regiments. Their attempt at copying these European élite cavalry was hardly an outstanding success -
contemptuously known as 'The Butterflies' because of their uniform, the regiment's reputation in action vvas equally poor. Forming part of the Army of the Potomac's Cavalry Corps (3rd Brigade, 1st Division), the regiment retreated in haste when under artillery fire at Yellow Tavern (11 May 1864). The excuse that their horses had bolted from the noise was not accepted by the majority of the army!
The Benton Hussars (Joseph Nemitt's Cavalry Battalion) was raised in St Louis, Missouri, in late 1861, and wore a most distinctive costume, the usual colours being reversed in the light blue jacket and dark blue trousers. The black braiding on the jacket confirmed the 'Hussar' title, as did the 1851 pattern cloth shako, which latter item no doubt gave way to the képi once active service was commenced. Incorporating Von Deutsch's Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Cavalry Company (Company 'D', afterwards 'G') and Fremont's Bodyguard (Company 'G'), the Benton Hussars served with the Army of the West and the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of South-west Missouri until February 1862, when it was incorporated with the Hollan Horse into the 5th Missouri Cavalry, eventually passing into the 4th Missouri, which united both the Benton and Fremont Hussars.
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