The regulation coat was a dark blue frock coat, the skirts reaching from two-thirds to three-quarters down between hip and knee. This coat was single-breasted for Captains and Lieutenants, ie. Company Officers, and

*See 'American Civil War Infantry'.


The yellow (or orange on earlier issues) braid trim is clearly shown around the collar, cuffs, back seams, front and bottom of the jacket. The position of the collar braid can also be seen, and the two small belt bolsters which are also trimmed top and bottom with yellow braid. VOLUNTEER SHELL JACKET (B)

The only real difference here is in the collar trim, with one braid and button only. The jacket is open at the front, a fashion which was widely adopted, both by Volunteers and Regulars, officers and men. The shirt or vest, of many patterns, colours and styles was exposed beneath—in the illustration the vest would probably have been red wool, and long-sleeved. CONFEDERATE SHELL JACKETS

These are not illustrated as they folio wed the same basic pattern as those of the Union, except solid yellow collar and cuffs were called for, and the front and back seam trim omitted. The collar itself was usually smaller. U.S. FATIGUE COAT (C)

This coat was usually plain, though some with yellow braid trim appear to have been worn.


This was of the same style as the men's but usually of a better quality material, with shoulder bars. The wearing of the belt inside the coat was widely adopted by men and officers on both sides.

Sketches Men Jackets

double-breasted for all other officers. Company Officers had nine buttons, Field Officers, ie, up to Colonel, two rows of seven buttons, and General Officers had buttons grouped to denote rank. Buttons were as for infantry.

This coat could be replaced by the dark blue short jacket or more usually the plain blouse without trim except for shoulder bars on campaign.

Generals and even other officers could, and did, design their own uniforms. General George Custer's wardrobe included a double-breasted black velvet suit with gold braid trim, with sailor collar over, CSA style sleeve braid, red neckerchief and brimmed hat. See Plate 2.

Trousers were sky blue for all officers, though as with other ranks dark blue was originally prescribed, except for Generals who did wear dark blue. The outer seams had |-inch yellow welt for all except general officers whose trousers were plain.

Hats were the same as the enlisted men's, but of better quality, the cavalry device being embroidered in gold on a gilt edged black velvet oval. The badges and devices differed with rank,f the cords being gold for Generals, who had three ostrich plumes, and all other officers had gold and black cords and two plumes.

All officers could wear vests, ie, waistcoats, the regulation issue being dark blue, white or buff. Overcoats were the same as for infantry officers, t Gauntlets were the same as the men's.

Rank insignia were the same as those worn by the infantry, in full dress epaulettes (see illustration on this page) and on active service shoulder bars or strapsf with a yellow field up to Colonel.

t See 'American Civil War Infantry'.

Shoulder Straps Rank Insignia

U.S. Volunteers collar trim.

Custer Collar

U.S. Regulars collar trim. 12

U.S. Volunteers collar trim.

U.S. Regulars collar trim. 12


A: Shows a Lieutenant-General's epaulette, Other devices were two stars for Major-General, one star for Brigadier-General, an eagle for Colonel, an oakleaffor Lieutenant-Colonels, two bars for Captain, one bar for 1st Lieutenant, all silver on the gold epaulette. Majors had a gold oakleaf, and 2nd Lieutenants had a plain epaulette. (See Infantry for illustrations.) The gold bullion fringes were 3i inches long, -¿-inch diameter for all except Lieutenants, who had 2i inches, \-inch diameter.

B: Shows a 2nd Lieutenant's epaulette, with the regimental number worn by all regimental officers.

Cavalry Coats



This officer appears to have removed the collar and trim from the short cavalry jacket along with the shoulder bars. There is no sign of rank insignia at all, in fact. The hat was a light colour, possibly even straw from the shape. Trousers are regulation light blue without seam stripes. The checked shirt has a white collar attached, and a natty polka-dot bowtie completes the outfit. A watch-chain dangles at his waist.


A brimmed black hat (possibly the regulation Kossuth) has been battered into a style favoured by Major-General George Mead (see American Civil War Infantry, page 16). The frock-coat, even longer than prescribed, worn open to show the striped shirt and white collar. This officer has the shoulder bars to show his rank, and also wears gauntlets. Trousers appear to be regulation.


Based on a photograph of Jimmy Dugan, a bugler boy at Carlisle Barracks Cavalry Depot in 1861, who later served in action, the figure wears the regulation Kossuth hat with crossed sabre badge and plume. His jacket has no trim but the full-dress brass shoulder scales are worn. The trousers are the same dark shade as the jacket and, therefore, presumably dark not light blue.


A variation on the regulation cavalry jacket with a fold-over collar and revers is worn by this officer, with trousers again the same dark shade as the jacket, and therefore dark blue. The shirt was pale, probably white, with a dark narrow bowtie. Again a watch-chain at the waist, and heavy gauntlets.


A stiff, black, brimmed hat topped yet another variation on the U.S. cavalry uniform. The short jacket was regulation in cut but had Confederate style sleeve braid denoting rank, yellow trim around the collar and front edge, and was double-breasted. Trousers light blue with seam stripe, worn over the boots. Inside the jacket a white stand-up shirt collar is just visible.

Cavalry Gauntlets


As there are no rank insignia it is impossible to say if the uniform illustrated was worn by KHpatrick when Major- General, or during his early career. It consists of uniformly dark (blue) jacket and trousers with (yellow) trim in the form of a simple loop on the sleeve cuff and around the edge of the cuff. Trim is also apparent around the bottom of the jacket and collar. The waistcoat is the same colour as the jacket and is also worn partly open. The shirt appears white. What appears to be the end of a waist sash can be seen hanging down behind the left hip but no sash is evident at the waist. KHpatrick entered Union service in the 5th New York Volunteers (Duryeas Zouaves) as a Captain. On June 10, 1861, he was wounded at Big Bethel. He was made Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd New York Cavalry in September 1861, and took a very active part in the cavalry operations of the Army of the Potomac for the next two years. Constantly matched against Stuart's Cavalry in the Northern Virginia campaign, he commanded a brigade at Beverly Ford. He also took part in the Stonemans River engagement, destroying large quantities of Confederate stores and reaching within two miles of Richmond. In June 1863 he was promoted to Brigadier-General of Volunteers and commanded a cavalry division at A/die, Middleburg and Upperville, Virginia. Brevetted Major in the Regular Army he took part in the cavalry assaults on the Confederate right at Round Top, Gettysburg. He led the Kilpatrlck raid on Richmond and then transferred to command of the 3rd Cavalry Division in Northern Georgia for the Atlanta campaign. Wounded at Regaca, he was brevetted Colonel, and then served with Sherman in the invasion of the Carolinas, where his division did well. For his services in the capture of Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was brevetted BrigadierGeneral and then Major-General. He is credited with having coined the expiession that 'cavalry can fight anywhere except at sea'. 1. COLONEL ALFRED DUFFIE, 1st RHODE ISLAND CAVALRY This uniform is again based on the Regulations, the kepi being as prescribed. However the short jacket has very full sleeves and an unusual style of cuff trim. The collar and edges of the jacket are also trimmed (yellow). Light (blue) trousers tucked into long, black riding boots and white gloves complete the uniform. Colonel Duffie led the Federal left flank at Kelly's Ford when the Confederate forces were driven back.


This is a hardy veteran later in the war when the Federal cavalry was a match for that of the Confederacy. The dark hat is a civilian one, but short yellow-trimmed cavalry jacket and light blue trousers are issue. The jacket, somewhat the worse for wear, is worn open, and the canteen is carried on the man instead of the horse.


The kepi has no insignia, but shoulder bars indicate the officer's rank. The regulation fatigue coat is open at the throat with the shirt collar just visible above the dark (blue) waistcoat under the coat. The two straps across the chest are the belt support to the left hip and probably a binocular case on the right. The trousers are the same dark (blue) as the jacket.

NOTE: All these sketches are baseed on photographs in Miller's 'Photographic History of the Civil War', which are, of course, black and white. Whilst they are of Union cavalry they show the great variation of dress worn ("which was echoed by the enlisted men,) throughout the war.


These figures are taken from a photograph by Armstead & Carter in the 'Photographic History'. They show the variety of style and equipment, no two men having the same. There are 13 men with carbines and one with a sabre only (probably an NCO) and an officer. Of these all except one are wearing hats; three wear two straps, for carbine and canteen; seven wear one strap, for carbine only; three have no straps; at least three have revolvers thrust in their belts. They are all wearing trousers outside their boots except one, who has riding boots as shown in Plate 1. All the men carry sabres and carbines, except the NCO and officer who have sabres only. The clothing includes Union style fatigue coats, shirts and short jackets, worn buttoned and open. The officer's short jacket has large buttons and apparently Union style shoulder bars. Though lacking in gloss these cavalrymen did valiant service in Mississippi and Tennessee, and their fast and daring raids were a constant threat to Federal supplies. The trooper on the left has a captured Sharps carbine (the Confederate copy had no butt sideplate), whilst the cavalryman in the centre has a Richmond carbine. The trooper on the right, in addition to his two revolvers, has the favourite Confederate carbine, the Enfield Musketoon.



This is the full dress uniform as prescribed in the regulations for Lieutenant and Major Generals. The dark blue frock coat has the buttons on the cuffs. In undress the uniform was the same, without the hat plume, waist sash and belt; the trousers would probably be worn inside high riding boots for mounted duty; the epaulettes would be replaced by shoulder bars. The collar and cuffs were to be dark blue velvet, but this was often omitted.


Again the uniform is as per the regulations, and is the uniform in which the Union cavalry began the war. Prior to the 1861 reorganisation the two Dragoon regiments (which became .the 1st and 2nd cavalry) had orange trim, whilst the two cavalry regiments (which became the 5th and 6th cavalry) wore yellow. The mounted rifles (3rd cavalry) had worn green. The brass shoulder scales, gloves, hat and plume, are the full dress items, and were rarely seen, even on parades, after the start of the war.


This is how the typical Union cavalryman looked throughout the war. The insignia, until discarded, were worn on the top of the kepi because they were too big to attach to the front and still allow the flop-over style then in fashion. The heavy woollen four buttoned sack coat sometimes appeared in volunteer units with the cavalrys' yellow trim. The sabre would, of course, be carried from the waistbelt.


The officer wears the same issue fatigue blouse as the volunteer private, with shoulder bars to indicate his rank. The light blue trousers have the yellow side seam stripe, and are worn inside the civilian riding boot. Again the sabre would be worn from the waistbelt. The coat was also worn over the waistbelt, see Fig D, page 10.


The uniform underneath the overcoat could be that shown on either of the Privates, ie shell jacket, or the fatigue blouse. The carbine sling was worn over the coat but under the cape, which could be thrown back off the shoulders to facilitate use of the carbine and ammunition pouches if necessary. The waistbelt with the revolver holster and sabre were worn over the coat. The trousers have the NCO's yellow seam stripe; although this cavalryman is shown with them over the boots they could equally be tucked inside.

Union Cavalry Uniform

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    What uniform did missouri cavalry officers were?
    8 years ago
  • maksymilian moore
    Who was jimmy dugan bugler in the army?
    8 years ago
  • tewolde
    Did Indian war U.S. Army Cavalry wear rank insignia on blouse?
    7 years ago
  • futsum
    What union officer wore velvet coat at gettysburg?
    7 years ago
  • Silvia
    Did union officers have collar rank?
    7 years ago
  • Evelyn
    Did confederate cavalry wear hat cords?
    6 years ago
  • carrie
    Did the union officers always blouse their boots?
    6 years ago
  • Destiny
    5 years ago
    What buttons did the civil war union cavalry wear?
    5 years ago
  • ailsa
    Did the cavalry wear yellow neckerchiefs ?
    4 years ago
  • maurilio
    Did indian war cavalry officers wear rank on their blouses?
    3 years ago

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