Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Officers Uniforms

Officers Uniforms

Unknown Infantry Officer in an Enlisted Frock Coat

This image of an unknown infantry company grade officer was taken in Geneva (Ontario County), New York. It is possible that he was a member of the 126th or 148th New York Infantry Regiments that were raised in that area.

The unusual feature of the photograph is that he is wearing an enlisted man's frock coat with officer's shoulder straps. The striking difference between an officers and enlisted man's coat is in the detail of the cuff. The enlisted cuff has two small buttons and an inverted "V" of cording in the color of the branch of service. An officer's cuff has only three small buttons. Enlisted coats were issued to soldiers from government stocks, while officers were required by custom to privately purchase their uniforms with their own funds. It is very unusual to encounter a photograph of an officer in an enlisted frock coat since that might constitute a misappropriation of government property. The particular circumstances in this instance is unknown and there may have been a legitimate explanation why this officer is wearing a coat intended for enlisted use.

A kepi (forage cap) has an infantry horn, which may be of the metallic type. The tassels of the horn appear under magnification to overlap the chin strap. That would not happen if the horn was sewn to the front of the cap, but might if it were pinned. It is not possible to read a regimental number. He wears a vest and has a very evident watch chain. The pants are light blue in color as would be worn by regimental officers.

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