The Uniform of the Union Army was widely varied and, due to limitations on supply of wool and other materials, based on availability and cost of materials during the United States Civil War. The standard U. Army uniform at the outbreak of the war had acquired its definitive form in the regulations. During the war, enforcement of uniform regulations was imperfect. Uniforms were adapted to local conditions, the commander's preference, and what was available.
InLouisiana had their militia uniforms manufactured in England which became the south's principal supplier of cloth despite the northern blockade. There were literally dozens of types of buckles used and produced by or for the Confederacy. Both men were emigres who joined Civil war uniform descriptions Union Army. Nevertheless, the issue of uniforms received the immediate attention of the new southern congress as well as their individual states. The knapsack is seen hanging, and almost defies science because of the amount to be stuffed in such a small bag. Wad uniform at the Brauty pageants in georgia of the war had acquired its definitive form in the regulations. They were used only for field duty. Serious researchers have concluded unifrom the Confederate records reveal facts to the contrary. Such uniforms were, descripttions fact, inspired by those first worn by French colonial troops in Algeria in the decade before the U.
Breast club. Breadcrumb
This descriptikns of hat had its drawbacks, however. No Reproduction Without Permission. Vest, Military. Cross belt eagle plate on cartridge belt. Also see the Civil War Camp Equipment page for other items camp furniture, fire sets, pots, pans, tents, etc. The Confederate Civil War Uniform The Confederacy was not an industrial powerhouse, they did not have many manufacturing plants that could easily create thousands of uniforms. Cookies Civil war uniform descriptions Required. One description has the Marines dressed in frock coats of a particular and undetermined shade of gray, and dark blue or black trousers. Nevertheless, their large manufacturing base did produce huge quantities of clothing for the Can sex cause acne. Firstly, they were indicia of rank. Cole, David. Confederate Naval Caps were made of steel gray cloth. Wounded veterans who returned to service were assigned to a Veterans Reserve Corps pursuant to General OrderMay 29, InGeneral Order permitted the use descrptions the shoulder insignia substituting for the shoulder strap. When in full dress and sometimes also in wxr, all ranks above Corporal i.
Union Officer Uniform.
- Standard Civil War Union uniforms were made of wool and featured a dark blue shirt with four brass buttons.
- Civil war uniforms served the dual purposes of distinguishing friend from enemy on a smoke filled battlefield, particularly in hand to hand combat, and encouraged unit cohesion.
- The Civil War uniform for both Northern troops and Southern troops was one of the most basic and important things a solider could have.
- Union Officer Uniform.
- Also see the Civil War Accouterments page for leathergoods holsters, belts, cartridge boxes , canteens, blankets, musical instruments and other military accouterments.
- Each branch of the Confederate States armed forces had their own service dress and fatigue uniforms and regulations regarding them during the American Civil War , which lasted from April 12, until May
The Uniform of the Union Army was widely varied and, due to limitations on supply of wool and other materials, based on availability and cost of materials during the United States Civil War.
The standard U. Army uniform at the outbreak of the war had acquired its definitive form in the regulations. During the war, enforcement of uniform regulations was imperfect. Uniforms were adapted to local conditions, the commander's preference, and what was available. For example, shoulder straps began replacing epaulets in dress occasions. As a result, almost any variation of the official uniform could be found as officers and men abandoned some items, adopted others and modified still others.
In general terms, as the war went on, the service uniform tended to be replaced by the cheaper and more practical fatigue uniform. The enlisted infantry uniform was completed with a black leather belt and oval buckle with the letters US. Officers, NCOs and cavalry troopers were equipped with a sword belt with a rectangular buckle with eagle motif. Rank was displayed on epaulettes dress occasions or shoulder straps field duties : no insignia for a second lieutenant, one gold bar for a first lieutenant , two gold bars for a captain, a gold oak leaf for a major , a silver oak leaf for a lieutenant colonel , a silver eagle for a colonel and one, two or three silver stars for a general , depending on his seniority.
The color of the shoulder strap fields  — with trims in gold braid — were as follows:. Contemporary photographs and a Winslow Homer painting, Playing Old Soldier  , show staff officers occasionally added their departmental initials within the shoulder straps between the rank insignia. With the exception of slight changes to the representing insignia for the more junior commissioned grades as well as additional color combinations for new career fields, the shoulder strap insignia and color scheme survives largely unchanged in the modern era on the Army Service Uniform.
Individual officers would sometimes add gold braid Austrian knots on their sleeves but this practice was uncommon as it made them easy targets and risked friendly fire as this was the standard insignia for Confederate officers.
Nevertheless, many officers personalised their uniforms. For instance, the "Jeff Davis" hat would be pinned back with eagle badges.
Many cavalry officers were adorned with eagles and belts with eagle motifs. The designs were based on the Great Seal of the United States. Ranks were worn as chevrons on the right and left sleeves above the elbow.
They were colored according to service branch:. Brass shoulder scales were worn on dress uniforms, with different features to signify enlisted ranks.
Shoulder scales were not normally worn on service or fatigue uniforms. When in full dress and sometimes also in battle, Sergeants in non-mounted service branches carried the M NCO Sword suspending on a leather belt except for Hospital Stewards who carried a special sword model. Additionally all ranks above Sergeant i. Corps badges were originally worn by Union soldiers on the top of their army forage cap kepi , left side of the hat, or over their left breast.
The idea is attributed to Gen. Philip Kearny who ordered the men in his sew a two-inch square of red cloth on their hats to avoid confusion on the battlefield. This idea was adopted by Gen. Joseph Hooker after he assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, so any soldier could be identified at a distance, and to increase troop morale and unit pride — the badges became immensely popular with the troops, who put them anywhere they could, and the badges accomplished the objectives they had been created for, and the idea soon spread to other corps and departments.
Daniel Butterfield the task of designing a distinctive shape of badge for each corps. Butterfield also designed a badge of each division in the corps a different color. The badges for enlisted men were cut from colored material, while officer's badges were privately made and of a higher quality.
Metallic badges were often made by jewelers and were personalized for the user. The badges eventually became part of the army regulations. The uniform itself was influenced by many things, both officers' and soldiers' coats being originally civilian designs. Leather neck stocks based on the type issued to the Napoleonic-era British Army were issued to the regular army before the war. These were uncomfortable, especially in hot weather, and were thrown away by the men at the first opportunity to be replaced with cotton neckerchiefs , bandanas or in the case of officers neckties or cravats.
The basic cut of the uniform adopted in was French, as was the forage cap worn by some men, and the frock coat was a French invention. However, some parts of the French uniform were ignored, such as enlisted men wearing epaulettes and collar ornaments. The army went even further than simply having a French-influenced uniform, with some regiments wearing French Imperial Guard voltigeur uniforms, or many even wearing zouave uniforms, such as the 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry , 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry , New York Fire Zouaves as well as the 18th Massachusetts.
These consisted of a short blue jacket with red facings, fez , red or blue pants, a red sash and a blue waistcoat with brass buttons or alternatively a red overshirt.
The late-war sack coat was copied from the fatigue jacket worn by the 19th century Prussian Army. The Hardee hat was inspired by the headgear of the Danish Army. Zouave units wore identical uniforms to their French counterparts [ painting Zouaves in Fight].
The uniforms of the Union were deeply influenced by the French ones of the same era French Light Infantry, above. Photograph believed to be Private Alonzo F.
Garibaldi guard wore slouch hats and blue frock coats with red facings. Soldier of a Union army regiment [Bugle horn on cap] although he has no rank he has a Model army noncommissioned officers' sword. Private Samuel K. Drummer boy Johnny Clem wearing sack coat and kepi. African American Union soldier in uniform with family; he has been identified as Sgt. Black frock coat worn on campaign by the regimental padre.
Note the use of civilian hats by the men. Regulation artillery musician's uniform with "birdcage" chest piping [identified soldier of Independent Battery 'B' Artillery , Pennsylvania Volunteers, Private William P. Haberlin, who was killed in action on Dec. Gun crew wearing the late-war sack coat.
The officer's private purchase blue wool jacket is based on a typical civilian style. The soldier with his back to the camera has a pair of riding boots and several of the men wear civilian hats. Custer 's personalized uniform with Austrian knots , yellow piping and a non-regulation red fireman's shirt with a Brigadier-General's star embroidered on the collar points.
Civil War re-enactors wearing shell jackets , kepis and greatcoats. Replica Jeff Davis boots used by historical reenactor. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. February Union Infantry Private in full marching order identified only as "W. American Civil War portal. Army Uniform of the Civil War". Retrieved Wikipedia Commons. Retrieved 9 July Army Publishing Directorate. Archived from the original PDF on 6 May Chicago: S.
Clarke Publishing Company, The Emancipation Century. Hidden categories: Articles needing additional references from February All articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from May Articles with unsourced statements from May Commons category link is on Wikidata.
Garibaldi guard wore slouch hats and blue frock coats with red facings. The blue color was the military default position dating to the Revolutionary War. The Emancipation Century. The Confederacy was not an industrial powerhouse, they did not have many manufacturing plants that could easily create thousands of uniforms. Trousers were almost always a shade of blue. Also see the Civil War Accouterments page for leathergoods holsters, belts, cartridge boxes , canteens, blankets, musical instruments and other military accouterments.
Civil war uniform descriptions. Civil War Uniforms In Articles From History Net Magazines
The kepi dipped in the front while the forage fatigue cap was higher and flatter. Both were adaptations of the French kepi. T he Confederate cavalry officer favored an antecedent of the cowboy hat. The Marine corps was a relatively small branch of the Confederate armed forces. The hat insignia was made of brass and rarely used. Brass was a significant metal for casting cannona higher priority. The kepi had a leather brim and adjustable chin strap.
Marine Corporal Stripes. The Naval service developed its own intricate sleeve patterns. One stripe: Lieutenant and three stripes for Captain. The war began with dark blue uniforms but changed with the gray regulation orders. Deck officers on CSS Alabama. Buttons on Confederate uniforms served more than one purpose. Firstly, they were indicia of rank. The more buttons in a row the higher the rank. Seven evenly spaced buttons for the junior officer and eight for the higher ranks.
Secondly, the buttons were often identifiers of state of origin or specifically branch of service. Although their resources were greater, they also struggled with cost and production. The latter was constantly exacerbated by deliveries of poor workmanship often caused by unscrupulous contractors seeking to cut corners.
Reports from the field revealed that some clothing would hardly last longer than a single march. Nevertheless, their large manufacturing base did produce huge quantities of clothing for the Union. The blue color was the military default position dating to the Revolutionary War.
In some few cases, such as the utilization of green for hidden riflemen, it was seen as a tactical advantage for Berdan's sharpshooters who used rubber buttons to avoid glare that would disclose a sniper's position. In the main, the use of color for camouflage would not be considered until the appearance of khaki in the Spanish American War almost a half century in the future.
Military strategies envisioned mass troops battling on wide open fields. Field fortifications were believed to diminish personal initiatives and aggressive charges. The many months defense of Petersburg , late in the war, started Union officers to rethink tactics which would eventually include uniform color.
Thus, standardization was built about blue, but with room for variety advanced by otherwise federalized northern states. The Ogden plate is rich in varietal detail.
Henry A. The coat or jacket was dark blue and the trousers were light blue or described as sky blue and created a pleasant contrast. Cross belts carried the cartridge box, waist belt with oval buckle and cartridge box breast plate.
Regulations provided for the issue of the frock coat for all duty officers. The sack coat and jacket both below were essentially unauthorized but were often worn in battle. The sack coat was shorter than the frock coat and afforded more freedom of movement. Like most of the outerwear, wool was the chosen material. This was often an impediment in hot whether, but cotton was a southern product and rarely available. War Department Regulation provided: "All officers shall wear a frock-coat of dark blue cloth, the skirt to extend from two-thirds to three-fourths of the distance from the top of the hip to the bent of the knee; single breasted for Captains and Lieutenants; double-breasted for all other grades".
General and staff level officers wore 8 or more buttons and lower officer ranks, from captain on down, 7 buttons. Courtesy of Bob Borrell. Wounded veterans who returned to service were assigned to a Veterans Reserve Corps pursuant to General Order , May 29, The distinguishing feature of their frock coats were dark blue collars and cuffs trim.
Note the nine buttons and three on cuff denoting an officer as contrasted with the enlisted man's frock coat 2 cuff buttons and civilian hat. As the war reached its climax, the clothing issued to Reserve Veterans was more in line with the standard jacket issue. Cross belt eagle plate on cartridge belt. Enfield Musket. Many high ranking officers indulged their fashion tastes with private tailoring that included intricate embroidery on sleeves and body of the frock coat.
Velvet collar and cuffs were standard for the frock coat. The private purchase also extended to their swords and scabbards which were often intricately engraved. Officers, as a general rule, were required to purchase their own uniforms, sabres and swords , and accoutrements, but some utilized the issued styles.
Thus many officers wore the standard sack coat in the field which was a loose fitting, four button garment and styled after the civilian work jacket.
The Regulations issued by a cost conscious War Department defined most of the uniform basics pictured below. The distinction in rank is evident. The captain wears a single breasted coat, and the colonel is in a double breasted garment. The branch of service is mounted on the front of the hat. The artillery captain displays crossed cannons and the colonel shows his branch of service, the infantry horn.
The latter always displayed an "I" on the eagle belt buckle. Both wear the light blue trousers, but the colonel displays a blue welting running on the trousers, and the artillery man displays a red stripe on his trousers matching the sash color hanging with his sword. The "round" jacket was favored by mounted soldiers. There was little difference in style between the garment worn by the officers and the enlisted men, but trim colors and rank badges emphasized the distinctions.
It is evident that function dictated the use of the jacket when a day was spent on a saddle. There were also certain differences between between the mounted man and those on their own legs all day. Trousers were reinforced and hats and boots differed see below. Regardless of rank, the saber always was present. Some mounted officers wore a double breasted version of the jacket. Ohio and New York troops wore dark blue shell jackets with shoulder straps and belt loops.
The jackets had 12 small brass buttons on its front and colored tape established branch of service. One New York force 79th favored the shell jacket that was a copy of the British Highlanders 79th, and replete with kilt for dress uniform. As indicated, the sack coat had universal appeal shared by officers and enlisted personnel. These photographs also display the shoulder strap and the alternate insignia both of which displayed an officer's rank on the sack coat..
The insignia had the added virtue of less conspicuousness on the battlefield. In , General Order permitted the use of the shoulder insignia substituting for the shoulder strap.
Hats were proscribed by regulations, but the range, in practice, was infinite. Infantry musicians took the entire uniform to a new level. It was not unusual for enlistees to wear a civilian hat and officers to wear the stiff version of the slouch hat. There is a marked similarity with this early version and the later "cowboy" hat. The crown was lowered and creased in the center.
The kepi became the workday standard. It was used for fatigue duty and in campaigns. It had a stiff brim with leather peak.
An officer's rank could be displayed on the crown and the company letter designation on the non officer cap. There is an interesting historical fact in this war we are reviewing that deals directly with footwear. In , Major General Heath led a Confederate division. He learned that a nearby Pennsylvania town had a large supply of foot wear.
He ordered a regiment to seize the shoes. With no other plan in mind, on July 1 , his forces crossed the town named Gettysburg. Both artillery and cavalry were issued calf high leather boots. Some, in the cavalry, wore thigh high boots for added protection for the exposed leg on horse back. There also was the Jefferson Davis boot that was a mainstay of the army. The hat he wears was the McDowell cap with a sloping crown, and was quite common.
He wore a cross belt, holster and cap box. His right arm displays his sergeant chevrons. He wears the calf covering boots. His left hand grasps his sabre. The additional reason, more significant, is his place in history along side of Captain Doherty. Corbetts center image displays the 4 button sack coat and his cap appears to be the typical kepi with cross sabres and his company initial.
His Jefferson half boots are covered by his trousers. Each leg carries the vertical yellow cavalry stripe. On the far right, is the uniformed Captain Edward P. Doherty in a short coat. He wore a single breasted coat with one row of buttons. His left shoulder displayed his rank on a shoulder strap. He also holds the hilt of his sword attached by a hook to his sword belt. He wore the Jeff Davis hat. Both men were emigres who joined the Union Army. The sergeant was born in London, and the captain in Canada.
The Union soldier was relatively self sustaining in the field. Aside from the clothes he wore and his weapon, food, utensils, clean socks, shelter were carried in his knapsack. Famed artist and on the field observer, Winslow Homer, caught it all in his "Camp" painting. The knapsack is seen hanging, and almost defies science because of the amount to be stuffed in such a small bag. Other Items accessories, accouterments, camp equipment, leathergoods, tents, tinware, etc.
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Navy Officer's Frock Coat. Navy Officer's Fatigue Coat.
Kids History: Civil War Uniforms
Civil war uniforms served the dual purposes of distinguishing friend from enemy on a smoke filled battlefield, particularly in hand to hand combat, and encouraged unit cohesion. As the war lingered and became more intense, maintaining morale was critical. The uniform became a soldier's personal flag and promoted an esprit de corps with brothers-in-arms. In , North and South shared the mutual concern of a single standard for their uniforms. The variety of color and style was staggering.
The notion of northern blue and southern gray was to evolve over the war years. New York Garibaldi Guard. Library of Congress. The distinctive Zouave uniform was created 30 years before by the French army in North Africa. It attracted French immigrant recruits in New York where the style was utilized by New York fire company militias.
The contrast with the simplicity of a rebel private was stark. The South also had its moments with the garish Zouave style when adopted by a New Orleans militia known as Wheat's Tigers, and sharply contrasted with the desired standard. In , Louisiana had their militia uniforms manufactured in England which became the south's principal supplier of cloth despite the northern blockade.
English textile manufacturers were heavily invested in southern cotton prior to the war. Uniforms of Confederate Forces. The Ragged Rebel Myth. The Confederate states began the war with several impediments that were not shared in the north. Shrinking manpower, diminished financial resources, and a nascent industrial base would ultimately doom their rebellion.
However, recent examination of Confederate documents, mainly in the early years, indicate that Confederate shortfalls in resources were less significant when applied to clothing its army.
Serious researchers have concluded that the Confederate records reveal facts to the contrary. Their conclusion, based on their studies, is that the image helped explain their ultimate defeat--plausible denial. It was not that they were ultimately beaten in battle; not that their strategies failed; not their generals were fallible. The rationale for the loss was first explained in the southerners oral history of the war as a defeat predicated on limited resources as described above and portrayed by the image of "Johnny Reb" in tattered rags.
They produced a pictorial history that heavily relied upon the images of the dead Confederate soldier whose uniform always reflected a tattered appearance. In books written since the war, it seems to be the thing to represent the Confederate soldier as being in a chronic state of starvation and nakedness. During the last year of the war this was partially true, but previous to that time it was not any more than falls to the lot of all soldiers in an active campaign.
Thriftless men would get barefooted and ragged and waste their rations to some extent anywhere, and thriftlessness is found in armies as well as at home. When the men came to houses, the tale of starvation, often told, was the surest way to succeed in foraging Of particular interest to the Confederate army, were the resources required to equip their men.
In , the seceding states, or wealthy donors therein, often supplemented the new central government by financing the weapons and uniforms for the men they sent into battle. Nevertheless, the issue of uniforms received the immediate attention of the new southern congress as well as their individual states. The latter used the material available and produced diverse styles and colors. An example was found in the Kentucky State Guard infantry units.
The same state unit and strikingly diverse styles and colors. Preparations were underway to equip the troops. Many of the Confederate leaders as well as Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States, were graduates of West Point and were fully aware of the logistics necessary to prepare for war. They readily identified themselves with Cadet gray and the range of uniform design necessary for parade and battle.
These leaders were conflicted with the need for standardization and the independent judgments of their several states. Their Constitution celebrated the ideal of the independence of each state and the latter created distinctive patterns, trimmings and colors. However, chain of command was ceded to the Confederate Armies with Jefferson Davis as Commander-in-Chief who then approved decentralized strategies for his armies.
Undoubtedly, there were periods of shortage that affected production of uniforms. However, this had no great affect on the southern government to clothe and equip their armies. Some southern regions supplemented their supply with captured goods. In Texas, an assault on a Union depot uncovered thousands of blue uniforms. There also was a continuing exchange of jackets and shoes with the dead on battle fields.
Some army units appointed officers to examine the government issue to determine if the clothing met certain standards. Hardly the act of soldiers desperate for basic cover. Historians have uncovered a trove of Confederate Quartermaster records covering their most difficult years of the war. They were issued by the central government excluding supplies from southern states the following clothing:.
During the same period, Georgia produced over 26, jackets, 28, trousers and 37, pairs of shoes. It is safe to assume that the other states still under Confederate control were adding to the supply. Before the first year of war had passed, a Clothing Bureau was established in Richmond, Virginia and divided into a "Shoe Manufactory" and a "Clothing Manufactory".
This format was repeated in several other cities with central regional depots. In those states under Union occupation, these sources closed. However, these agencies remained operative in Virginia and Georgia throughout most of the war. The government issue later G.
Those new soldiers were given a clothing allowance to outfit themselves. Some of the volunteers continued to serve in their civilian clothes. Ultimately, that system was not practical, and all serving under the Confederate flag were supplied by the central government with exception of those supplied by the states. The system was known as the "commutation period". The actual manufacturing operated a system very much similar to that network which survived in the United States for hundred years.
Tailors, located in one location would cut the cloth into the pattern required to make the garment, bundle these separate sections, and sub-contract the pieces along with the buttons, trim and thread to thousands of women to sew them into a finished piece.
Raw material and finished cloth does not appear to have been an insurmountable problem. As late as mid , the Richmond depot received in one week yards of English gray and 3, yards of English blue cloth. Wool mills in the south delivered 20, yards. Blockade runners were "let" clothing contracts. One such order called for , uniforms to be procured in Prussia and delivered through England. Inevitably, the variety of sources led to differentials in color and weight.
Once landed, delivery was to the region in which the particular Confederate army operated. These armies operated independently in a decentralized system.
The goods were delivered to the regional bureau for distribution in a production fashion similar to the Richmond model. Thus the pattern or cut of a jacket for the Army of Northern Virginia differed from that used by the Army of Tennessee.
Variety was subjective from Department to Department. The butternut color, a mix of gray and brown, was used so extensively that Union soldiers referred to the rebels as "Butternuts".
Cavalry units operating in the Western Theater displayed differences in style and color. Infantry units serving in proximity in the deep south exhibited significant differences with the seated Florida gentleman wearing coat with tails and the Orleans cadet in standard frock coat below. General Forrest Cavalry. Although patterns differed between Confederate armies, they were subject to centralized, general regulations.
In , frock coats, knee length, were ordered as the permitted outer wear. This had replaced an earlier rule that dictated that officers shall wear a tunic of gray cloth known as cadet gray, the skirt to extend half-way between hip and knee, double breasted for all grades. However, in , the jacket, waist length, became the army's fashion statement.
When wearing jackets commonly, worn by the common soldier, the officer added colorful piping or cord to exhibit his rank. Richmond Depot would produce three types of jackets during the war.
Type I had piping about the collar and cuffs and a shoulder strap. Type II retained the nine buttons, single breasted, but eliminated collar piping and the entire cuff.
It has been suggested that the two patterns probably were produced simultaneously, but type II replaced type 1. The change required only omissions of embellishments.
We know that type II was worn into as it was common to these Confederate prisoners captured at battle of Cold Harbor , Virginia. Type I. Type II. The Type III jacket pattern was a departure from the domestic manufacturing system. Late in the war a Confederate buying agent contracted with Peter Tait, a manufacturer in Limerick, Ireland to produce ready made garments. Tait made deliveries with his own blockade runners.
The Tait uniform pattern was adopted by the Richmond Depot. The jacket was more tapered than its predecessors and had 8 buttons. The earlier types had either 8 or 9 buttons.
It was not long before the various depots adopted shoulder strap, collar and cuff changes. Collar and sleeve insignia signified the officers rank and branch of service, and the color matching kepi hat was issued pursuant to regulations of and However, cavalry often used an alternate called the stag hat.