UNIFORM & EQUIPMENT
THE 18th MISSOURI INFANTRYMAN.
(Upper Left) Here we have front & rear views of three Union Infantrymen of a Western Regiment. The uniform & equipment typify the infantryman of the mid war period. Although the forage cap was still widely worn, men of the western regiments wore broad brimmed slouch hats without insignia or ornamentation, the wide brim giving protection against both sun and rain. The standard mid war uniform consists of the fatigue jacket, or sack coat, with a short collar and 4 brass buttons bearing the Federal eagle insignia. Trousers of sky blue kersey wool and black leather lace up ankle length boots, commonly called Brogans. The soldier on the right of the first photo is a First Sergeant, his rank denoted by the diamond above the three rank chevrons.
EQUIPMENT consisted of a black leather waist belt with an oval, brass buckle bearing the letters US ; a leather cartridge box for carrying the paper cartridges for the rifle musket. An oval US plate was fitted to the lid of the pouch and a round belt plate with the Federal eagle was fitted to the cartridge belt ( shoulder strap). A small, semi circular cap pouch, for the musket's percussion caps, was worn at the front right of the belt and, finally, a black leather scabbard with an integral belt loop, or frog, for the bayonet. One of the most important items of kit was the waterbottle, a round metal design, often covered in blue wool. Rations , spare ammunition and small personal belongings ( cutlery, plate, tin cup etc) were carried in a haversack made of tarred canvas, usually black, to make it waterproof .
The lower two photos show infantrymen wearing the frock coat, a 3/4 length blue coat with a high collar. The collar & cuffs are trimmed with blue piping to denote an infantryman.