A trio of some of the better conditioned 1898 enlisted khaki cotton
service coats that I own.
No specification was issued for this article of clothing; instead,
its genesis was found in General Order № 39 on May 09th, 1898.
It was refined by General Order № 51 May 23rd, 1898 which proscribed
it for enlisted men in addition to the officers to whom it had already
The enlisted khaki cotton service coats feature a garrison belt of
identical cotton twill material. A pleat runs along the center rear
the entire length.
The color yellow appears black on old CDV photographs; moreover, it
is difficult to distinguish between red and blue since both appear a
dark tone in black and white film. Absent the presence of insignia,
identification of branch of service in old photographs is questionable,
On August 6th 1898, the army dropped the branch facings on the collar,
cuffs and pocket flaps leaving only the service designation (color) on
the epaulets, which were required to be detachable.
Many times these enlisted coats are found by collectors without their
belts; in the attached photo, only two of the eight soldiers wearing
their khaki cotton service coats are also wearing the coat's cloth
garrison belts. In a higher resolution scan, exceeding the USMForum
size limits, cavalry insignia can be identified on the hats of three
of the recuperating soldiers in the photo.