PATTERN 1892 OFFICER’S UNDRESS
UNIFORM COAT – IDENTIFIED TO A SECOND LIEUTENANT
IN THE 7TH US CAVALRY REGIMENT AND GRADUATE
OF WEST POINT – COAT MADE AT THE WEST POINT CADET STORE
- EXCELLENT CONDITION w/ ORIGINAL SECOND LIEUTENANT
SHOULDER STRAPS AND REGIMENTAL NUMERALS – A BEAUTIFUL
during a time when most army officers did not wear, much
less own, a suit of civilian clothing, these Pattern
1892 Officer’s Undress Uniform Coats were intended to be
worn, as stated in the regulations: “…for fatigues,
marches, squad and company drills, and other drills when
a authorized by the commanding officer, and for ordinary
This Pattern 1892 Undress Uniform Coat was tailor made
at the United States Military Academy Cadet Store at
West Point, the provenance well documented on the
maker’s tag sewn inside the left breast inside pocket.
This coat was made by an in-house tailor by the name of
“Frank” for soon-to-be newly graduated and commissioned
Second Lieutenant William G. Fitz-Gerald. The label is
dated June 5, 1892, just six days before Lt. Fitz-Gerald
would exchange his cadet gray for regular army blue and
assume his new duties in the famous 7TH
United States Cavalry Regiment.
As offered here, Lt. Fitz-Gerald’s Undress Uniform Coat
presents as it must have when he endured the repeated
fittings at the Cadet Store, and when he departed West
Point to join his regiment. There is not doubt that the
Second Lieutenant shoulder straps and the silver bullion
“7’s” on the collar are all original to the manufacture
of this coat and not later additions to enhance an
otherwise unadorned uniform.
According to Heitmann’s Registry of the U.S. Army,
Second Lieutenant William Gerald Fitz-Gerald, born in
Ft. Edward, New York on April 3, 1870, entered the
United States Military Academy at West Point in 1888.
He graduated on June 11, 1892, and was commissioned as a
Second Lieutenant in the 7TH U.S. Cavalry
Regiment, and during that assignment he most certainly
served with some of the veterans who had been present at
both the Little Big Horn and later at Wounded Knee.
Fitz-Gerald resigned his commission on September 30,
1896, and apparently returned to New York where he lived
until at the age of 56 he passed away in Manhattan on
February 25, 1927. His remains were returned to Ft.
Edward, New York where he was interred there in the
Union Cemetery. As of this listing, I am still
attempting to research the details of Fitz-Gerald’s life
and any significant information will accompany the sale
of this blouse.
Similar in design to its predecessor, the Pattern 1872
Undress Uniform Coat, the Pattern 1892 incorporated a
more severe appearance with a standing collar and a
front secured with concealed hook and eye closures
rather than buttons. In addition to the shoulder straps
designating the officer’s rank, regulations stipulated
that the standing collar of the Pattern 1892 were to be
decorated on each side of the throat opening with the
numeral of the officer’s regiment, to be fashioned in
“white metal” - in this case, silver bullion. The
Pattern 1892 Undress Coat continued to feature the
mohair braid trimming highlighted with trefoils which
terminated each end of the braid ornaments which created
a distinctive appearance for the officer as he made his
way through his daily routine.
This 1892 Undress Coat (also referred to as a blouse)
shows obvious signs of having been part of the
lieutenant’s wardrobe, evidenced by the presence of the
shoulder straps, the regimental numerals, and the
tailor’s tag, but it was gently worn, properly stored,
and has survived in excellent condition as an
outstanding specimen of genuine Indian War era
uniforming worn on the frontier.
The coat presents in as close to “like new” condition as
is possible, having been worn. There is no mothing,
wear spots, or damage of any kind. The wool is very
solid with no weak points, and no open seams. There is
no wear to the collar, cuffs, or bottom edge of the
blouse - unusual to find on these original uniforms.
All of the paired hook and eye closures are intact down
the front opening of the coat and at the throat.
The coat is adorned with a very
desirable, and quite rare, matched pair of the
Officer's Pattern 1851 Shoulder Straps.
Introduced before the Civil War, this same pattern was
worn by officers on their garrison and field uniforms
through the end of the 19th Century, in the halls of the
War Department and the parade fields of the frontier
forts alike. Normally found today separated from the
officers’ uniforms, and more often than not as single
pieces, finding a uniform coat with both straps in place
is unusual in itself. This pair is particularly nice,
matched in every way, and as noted above, is no doubt
original to this coat. Measuring 4” long and 1 ½” wide,
these straps are full form and have survived in
Surrounding the yellow field, this pair
of straps features the gilt metal borders rather than
the embroidered bullion borders. These metal borders
were introduced during the Civil War and were recognized
as being more substantial and durable for field service
– a common sense choice for a young officer heading out
west. The gilt is still very bright, retaining all of
the original glitter. The cavalry yellow wool field on
both straps is fully intact, showing no wear and
retaining an even clean color. Each strap features the
wool field, clean and fully intact, and as is correct,
the straps have no other badge of rank as is proper for
a second lieutenant of the day. The straps are full
form and lay flat against the coat with none of the
curling often found in these old straps.
On each side of the throat opening are the regimental
numeral “7’s” embroidered in silver bullion. Both are
full form, are firmly attached, and again based on the
identification of this coat to Lt. Fitz-Gerald and his
history, these numerals are no doubt original to the
The collar, front and bottom edges, the front and cuffs
are all trimmed with the regulation black mohair braid.
The most notable decorations to the coat are the
trefoils on the front of the coat, applied in pairs to
the right and left of the coat opening. (The trefoils
were referred to in the regulations as “herring-bone
loops”.) As dictated in the regulations, each sleeve is
decorated with “a knot of black braid…..on the upper
part of the cuff”. All of the mohair braid is fully
intact, securely sewn with no loose spots, and in
overall excellent condition with no fading or wear.
The body of the coat is lined with black/dark green
polished satin and the sleeves are lined with a white
satin with blue stripes. These linings are all in
excellent condition with no wear or damage.
The Pattern 1892 Undress Blouse was not long in service,
being replaced only three years later by the Pattern
1895. Due to the short service life, the day to day
wear that these coats were subjected to, and that they
were worn into the field, and then coupled with the
limited number of officers in the army during this
period, these coats are not particularly common.
This is an excellent example of the Indian War Officer’s
Pattern 1892 Undress Coat, with the combination of added
values of being identified to an officer who graduated
from West Point and who served in the renowned 7TH
US Cavalry Regiment. This is also the only piece of
officer’s uniforming from the 19TH Century I
have handled which is known to have been created in the
tailor shop of the Cadet Store at West Point – a notable
find in and of itself. This is a very special officer’s
coat which would be a “center piece” addition to your
collection, and would be almost impossible to upgrade.