WE CAN, WE WILL !
It is important to realize that the uniform in the early period would be worn "as issued" in garrison, but field conditions were of necessity a good bit more casual. Soldiers would wear civilian purchased shirts, neckerchiefs ( not yellow ) and hats quite a bit, and the uniform blouse, more often than not, was carried rolled up at the saddle. Buckskins were quite common, and when a hole needed to be patched, white canvas tended to be the only thing they had.
Much of the time, in the field, the only way you knew who was who, officer or enlisted, was by personal knowledge, not by the uniform!
Uniform issue was spotty at best in garrison, and pretty much non-existent in the field. If something wore out on campaign, it had to be replaced with whatever could be scrounged or made on the spot.
By the 1880s, this had changed. The field uniform had finally adapted to the conditions of the West, and the soldiers liked it and wore it.
The full-dress uniform was Prussian influenced, and not used in the field. Click here for pictures.
The key here is RESEARCH. Read all you can about the subject, take notes, and DON'T take just one book's word for it. Get several sources, and compare them.
- Officers: Standard issue uniform, but it can be modified in any number of interesting ways. Research your particular period, and have fun!
- Enlisted: Standard issue uniform, which can be modifed with "field expedients."
- Civilian Scouts: Hired civilian Scouts would wear their normal clothing. Many wore buckskins, and the Indians would wear their normal native dress. Odd items of uniform could be worn by the Indians.
- Seminole Scouts: A combination of Native dress and uniform, usually the uniform jacket.
- Apache Scouts: A combination of Native dress and uniform, usually the uniform jacket, with a red headband. In 1890 (to 1926), the crossed arrows in nickel and red and white hat cords / rank chevrons were authorized as uniform wear for the Indian Scouts. A gold version of the crossed arrows is now used by US Army Special Forces. Officers would wear normal uniform.
NOTE: the 9th Memorial Cavalry expects all participants to wear the uniform / dress of the Spanish-American War period as "standard."
Schofield revolver, Colt revolver and other standard issue or period-common pistols.
- 1874 SHARPS INFANTRY RIFLE
Originally fielded during the Civil War as a percussion breechloader, the Sharps went on to become one of the most successful rifles of the cartridge era. Actually in production since 1871, the 1874 Military Model was renowned for its accuracy. It was a popular target rifle at the Creedmoor military matches and was the issue longarm of the New York State Militia. The officers of the Militia, dismayed by the Union Army's poor marksmanship during the Civil War, went on to found the National Rifle Association to improve the shooting skills of the average American.
- 1874 SHARPS CAVALRY CARBINE
Until the adoption of the "Trapdoor" Springfield, the Sharps and Spencer carbines were the issue weapons of the Frontier Cavalry during the Indian Wars of the 1870's. Thousands of Sharps carbines were distributed to the "Blue Coats" throughout the West. They saw action in skirmishes with "Captain Jack" during the Modoc War and played a major role at the Battle of the Little Big Horn with Custer's 7th Cavalry. This model was also popular with Indian warriors, like the great Apache war chief Geronimo.
- 1873 SPRINGFIELD CAVALRY CARBINE
The classic U.S. Cavalry carbine of the Old West era was undoubtedly the 1873 "Trapdoor" Springfield. Designed at the Springfield Armory, the Model 1873 utilized the new, more powerful .45-70-405 Government cartridge. The legendary 7th Cavalry received its first shipment of 1873 carbines in June of 1874 to replace its aging Civil War Spencer carbines and Sharps conversions. By that fateful day of June 25th, 1876, most of Custer's troopers were armed with the 1873 "Trapdoor" when they were overrun by Sioux and Cheyenne forces. The 1873 Springfield continued to serve through all the Indian campaigns on into the Spanish-American War near the turn of the century.
- 1873 SPRINGFIELD INFANTRY RIFLE
The "Trapdoor" Springfield rifle was carried by the U.S. Army from the Indian Wars period to the Battle of San Juan Hill.
- .30-40 KRAG INFANTRY RIFLE
- .30-40 KRAG CARBINE
- Uniform Regulations: 1898
- Uniform Regulations: 1872
- U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry
- 9th Cavalry Heraldry
- U.S. Army Uniforms to 1885
- Period American Flags
- Decorations and Medals Of The Period
- Field Uniforms of the Indian War Army 1866-1871, Lee A Rutledge, North Cape Publications 1998
- Field Uniforms of the Indian War Army 1872-1886, Lee A Rutledge, North Cape Publications 1997
- Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian 1866 - 1890, Robert M. Utley, Macmillan 1973
- The Old West: The Soldiers, Time - Life Books 1973