Uniforms & Equipment

The following uniform and equipment standards are based on a number of sources, including official regulations and other primary Army documentation, period photographs, period publications and authoritative secondary sources.  We should also note the difference between Full Dress, Garrison dress  and Campaign uniforming.  Full Dress refers to formal clothing, including such worn at ceremonial occasions with the prescribed dress uniform, white berlin gloves and sword or saber.  Garrison is any mode of dress on post which is not ceremonial, except when leaving post on campaign or patrol, or immediately returning from a campaign.  Campaign dress is clothing worn away from the post in the field, which may or may not follow prescribed military custom and regulation.  Clothing items often mix and match in the field on campaign.  Sack coats and shell jackets were worn by some on campaign after 1872, and belts sometimes with eagle belt plates.  Campaign dress was much more casual than what was expected in garrison and dress duty.  Likewise, while in garrison it is expected that kepis not campaign hats are worn.  I have made an honest attempt to draw distinctions between Full Dress, Garrison and Campaign clothing where necessary.

-Henry B. Crawford, Curator of History, Museum of Texas Tech University

Basic 1866-1872 cavalry trooper uniform should consist of:

1861 or 1870 Mounted trousers, reinforced in the seat and inner leg to the cuff; with 1/2 inch stripe for corporals, 1-1/2 inch stripe for sergeants.

1884Suspenders (aka braces)

1858 Sack Coat


1855 Shell jacket, yellow pipping

1858 Forage cap (not kepi)

Headgear option:

1855 Hardee hat with appropriate branch of service color, eagle and one ostrich plume for enlisted men. To be worn with pre-1872 full dress uniform.

12″ Civil War cavalry boots, square toe, to be worn with the campaign uniform.  One-piece fronts (a single piece of leather which makes up the front from toe and upper to the boot top if possible.

Brogans, especially for wearing the dress uniform.  Brogans are regulation footwear when in full dress.  Cavalry should wear spurs with their brogans while in full dress.

1851 saber belt with eagle belt plate (the correct terminology is belt plate, not buckle) including over the shoulder saber support strap while in full dress.  The over the shoulder saber support strap is not required on campaign.


1858 Stamped sheet brass crossed sabers, edges turned upward, Company letter and regimental number affixed according to regulation for Full Dress and Garrison, however, common practices of the period may dictate the configuration of such insignia while in the field.

Yellow chevrons according to 1851 pattern (unchanged until 1872)

White berlin gloves for Full dress.

*Modern-day recipients of the Medal of Honor may wear a 19th century version with the Full Dress uniform.

Transitional period 1872-1874

1872 pleated blouse with yellow piping for cavalry.  Sack coats and shell jackets may be worn as field campaign uniform.

1851 saber belt with eagle belt plate. no shoulder belt needed


1874 blouse with yellow piping for impressions 1874-1883

1883 Navy Blue Wool Flannel 3-button Shirt.