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PATTERN 1872 OFFICER’S DRESS UNIFORM COAT – EXCELLENT CONDITION – BEAUTIFUL SPECIMEN:    The Pattern 1872 Dress Uniform Coat was worn by all officers during the Indian Wars as described in the Regulations for the Uniform and Dress of the Army of the United States, of 1872 “FULL DRESS FOR OFFICERS - All officers shall wear a double-breasted frock coat of dark blue cloth, the skirt to extend one-half to three-fourths of the distance from the top of the hip to the bend of the knee.”   

The only differences in these coats among the various ranks were the manner in which the uniform was trimmed, and the number and placement of the buttons.   General officers’ dress coats aside as they had their own scheme of trimming their uniforms, officers between the ranks of 2ND Lieutenant and Colonel were divided into two distinct groups for the purposes of trimming their coats.   

Such as seen on this coat, the coats of Majors through Colonels, the field grade officers, were fastened with nine buttons in each vertical row and the sleeves were each trimmed with three stripes of gold braid, pointed on the upper end, and with a small button sewn just below the point of each stripe.   This is the dress uniform coat worn by such luminaries of the Indian War army such as Custer, McKenzie, Otis, Sturgis, and Reno. 

The coats of 2ND Lieutenants through Captain, the company grade officers, were the same style coat except that they were fastened with seven buttons in each row and the sleeves were trimmed with two stripes of gold braid.   

The only departure from the description in the 1872 regulations for the field grade officers’ dress coat that this coat incorporates is a dark blue velvet collar which was a feature reserved in the regulations for general officers.  That being said, the way in which the regulations were written, there was enough ambiguity in the wording to allow those officers who so desired to avail themselves of a velvet collar – which would have been much more comfortable than a wool cloth collar. 

The coat presents in as close to “like new” condition as is possible and still have been worn.  The wool is very solid and clean with no mothing, wear spots, weak points, and no open visible seams.  There is no wear to the collar, arm holes, cuffs, or bottom edge of the blouse - unusual to find on these original uniforms.  The entire coat exhibits a high level of expertise in tailoring, and it was definitely one of the higher grades of uniforms available at the time. 

The coat is decorated with the original matching regulation US Army Staff Officer buttons – two rows of nine down the front, four on the coat tails, and three smaller buttons at the points of the stripes of gold braid on the cuff of each sleeve. All the buttons are present and all of them are full form with no depressions or other damage.   

This frock coat is in very good condition with the dark blue wool material retaining its strength and integrity.  All of the seams are intact and the wool is very clean with no damage or mothing except the points noted as follows:  there are two holes less than 1/16” in diameter on the left breast, neither of which are particularly noticeable.  There is no wear or fraying to the velvet collar, cuffs or bottom edge of the skirt.  Overall, this coat is in excellent condition, and it presents very well. 

The body of the coat is fully lined with dark green polished cotton cloth which is intricately quilted on the front, sides, and back areas of the torso area.  The lining of the body is complete with no damage or wear. 

There is an inside horizontal breast pocket on left side of the coat, and directly adjacent to that pocket is a second shallow pocket set at an angle in the cloth which over-laid the right side when the buttons were fastened.  This second pocket, an unusual feature, is positioned and of such a size that it must of held a small item which the officer wanted immediate access to without having to unbutton the coat – perhaps a handkerchief.  The split tail of the coat is very nicely detailed and includes two deep slash pockets – one in each of the two rear tail pieces – that are accessed by finished vents in the edges of the tails.  

The sleeves are fully lined with pin striped polished cotton cloth which is fully intact in both sleeves and shows no wear or soiling.  Both of the inner arm holes are solid with the exception of one ˝” section of opening stitching where the lining was tacked down – easily repaired should you decide it was warranted.  There is none of the common tearing or material weakness in the armpit area. 

The shoulder-knots required a two piece set of hardware which was sewn to the crest of the shoulder to provide the anchor points to attach the heavy shoulder-knots.  This coat shows evidence of stitching and some wear where these pieces of hardware were attached at one time.  The mounting hardware was likely removed at the time the uniform was placed into storage as they were made of metal and perhaps the officer was concerned they would corrode and damage the wool.   

None of the described faults are significant issues and in spite of the risk of discouraging a perspective buyer, I want to provide you with a fair and complete description. 

This is a very attractive Indian War officer’s Pattern 1872 Dress Frock Coat, trimmed as worn by the well known senior officers of that period, and as it presents in such excellent condition it would be almost impossible to upgrade.  (0451) $3,500



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