CIVIL WAR ISSUE UNION CAVALRY SHELL JACKET: SCARCE CINCINNATI DEPOT VARIATION

$2,750.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1117-121

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To Order:
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This is an excellent example of the Civil War Union enlisted cavalryman’s regulation jacket from the Cincinnati Depot showing a known and scarce variation with an eleven-button front. Derived from some earlier patterns, this jacket was made regulation in 1854 for mounted troops, who encompassed dragoons, mounted rifles, and light artillery, with orange, green, red trim. In 1855 the new cavalry regiments adopted the same jacket with yellow branch of service trim, as this one has, and this was the regulation mounted jacket for all U.S. cavalry regiments, both regular and volunteer, during the Civil War.

As is correct, the dark blue jacket is trimmed on collar, lapel, back, and waist with yellow worsted wool tape. The cuffs are functional and correctly show yellow chevrons at the base. The back shows two arcs of yellow tape from the back of the sleeves down to the waist, with two bolsters, intended to support the weight of the saber belt with accouterments, that are trimmed in yellow as well. The collar shows two false buttonholes with buttons and double rows of trim on either side. The collar fastens at bottom with a hook and eye. The fabric has excellent color and no moth damage. A few seams show they had opened slightly and were closed up. Similarly, there are one two spots where stitches on the trim have popped, but there are no missing sections and the trim is secure and has good color. All buttons are all in place and are the correct small general service eagle buttons with no branch of service letter on the shield on the eagle’s chest. Some buttons on the front have been resewn and one has a backmark where the rest are unmarked. None of this is unusual.

The interior is lined with a loosely woven gray/brown fabric, that has a single interior pocket inside the left lapel, and the sleeves are lined with a plain white fabric. Inside the upper right sleeve at the shoulder is a slightly blurred inspector’s ink stamp reading “F. H. SHAFER. / U. S. / INSP. CINC.” Next to the inspector’s stamp are two dots indicating the size of the jacket in terms of the army’s four standard sizes. Inside the upper left sleeve at the shoulder is a stamp reading “CHRISDIE,” the marking of a well known New York City theatrical costume company that purchased large quantities of original Civil War uniforms for rental. There were many Civil War themed dramas and melodramas staged throughout the country for decades after the war and original uniforms purchased from surplus stocks were a cost-efficient means of supplying the productions. They even show up in early movies. As theatrical demand dropped off, collector demand picked up in the 1960s and old costume companies became a treasure trove for dealers, collectors, and not a few reenactors.

This jacket is in excellent condition and shows bright color. It would make a good centerpiece of a cavalry collection and for the uniform collector offers a hard to find variation with an eleven-button front known from some other Cincinnati and St. Louis Depot jackets.

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