The uniform worn by the US Marine Corps in the Civil War was adopted on January 24, 1859, although it was mid-1861 before all Marines were supplied with the new outfit.
William H. Parker wears the full dress for USMC lieutenants. His rank is indicated by two gold loops on each cuff flap, and bullion fringing one-eighth inch in diameter on his epaulettes. The red feather "fountain" plume on his cap indicates that this is a late-war image. (National Archives 127-N-517102)
OPPOSITE Excellent study of a sergeant (left) and five privates posing in full dress for a Brady photograph at the Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, in April 1862. The sergeant holds the modified M1850 foot officer's sword adopted by the Corps on June 3, 1861, as its NCO sword. Again, the yellow loops and fringes on the uniforms have printed black. (Library of Congress)
The full dress prescribed for officers consisted of a dark blue, double-breasted frock coat with eight buttons in each row. The standing collar was edged all around with gold lace and scarlet trim, and displayed two loops of gold lace on each side, with a small Marine button at the end of each. The flaps on the cuffs and pockets in the skirts were also edged with scarlet. Rank was indicated by loops of gold lace on the cuff flaps,
and by Army-style devices attached to the straps of gold epaulettes. Sky-blue trousers were worn in cold weather and white linen in summer; a scarlet welt was sewn into the outer seam of the cold weather trousers. Full dress headgear for staff and field-grade officers consisted of a French-style chapeau with feather adornment, which was yellow for the Commandant and red for field officers. Company-grade officers wore a stiff black shako with a gold net pompon, which was later changed to red feathers. At the front of the cap was a gilt US shield within a half-wreath, with a Marine bugle horn insignia inset.
The undress uniform worn by Marine officers consisted of a dark blue, double-breasted frock coat, also with eight buttons in each row, and with full skirts and a short standing collar. The collar, cuffs and skirt pockets were plain. Trousers were the same as those worn with full dress. Rank was indicated by Army-style devices mounted at the end of detachable gold shoulder knots with a scarlet underlay. An 1863 order replaced the shoulder knots with Army-style shoulder straps for staff and field-grade officers. A white linen uniform of the same pattern was worn in warm weather. Undress headgear consisted of a dark blue cloth fatigue cap with a black ribbed silk
A sergeant of the Marine Guard aboard the USS Miami wears the pullover fatigue "sack" prescribed for seagoing duty at the beginning of the Civil War -see Plate B3. (Detail from Naval Historical Center photo NH 60873)
band at the base of the crown. Narrow black silk bands were also sewn vertically up the four sides, and looped to form a quatrefoil knot on the crown. The cap ornament consisted of a gold embroidered horn on a scarlet background, with a silver Old English "M" within the curl of the horn. A flat-crowned straw hat with black band could be worn in warm weather.
Marine officers were also prescribed a dark blue, waist-length fatigue jacket fastened by a single row of 16 small Marine buttons. A low standing collar was edged all around with gold lace, and a 6in inverted gold lace "V" embellished each lower sleeve. Rank was indicated by shoulder knots. Overcoats or "cloak coats" for Marine officers were of dark blue cloth lined with scarlet, and fastened by four frog buttons. Rank was shown by the number of braids in the black silk knot at the cuffs.
In 1859, the Model 1827 Mameluke sword was replaced by the Ml850 Army foot officer's sword. The prescribed sword belt was white glazed leather fastened by the Ml851 eagle-wreath swTord belt plate. A waist sash of buff silk net, with bullion fringe ends, was worn under the sword belt by the Commandant; the sash worn by all other officers was of crimson silk.
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