Even in an army where cavalry uniforms were more informal than in the other services, the outfit of the Sussex Light Dragoons was particularly out of the ordinary. The origins of the unit are historically obscure, but it probably originated as Company C of the 5th Virginia Cavalry, raised in Sussex County. Its men were later merged into other Virginia cavalry battalions which served in the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee. This trooper is wearing a high-topped blue cloth kepi with yellow braid and a brass insignia carrying the letters "S.L.D." He also wears dark blue trousers which are tucked into a "plastron" panelled shirt front in buff or yellow. His outfit is completed by his carbine, revolver, and saber. The unit itself saw little active service, being chiefly stationed in and around Norfolk before being redesignated in the spring of 1862, but their characteristic dress stayed with them throughout their period of war service.
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