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Some eBay finds over a short time this week…


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Almost everything nabbed off eBay within the last two weeks, all repro, to be worn mostly at cowboy action shooting events:


The jacket is a M1884 converted to officer's use. Almost all the officers who went to Cuba had these. The belt is a repro Mills shotgun belt. The overcoat is a M1885, the tin cup is the late 1870s model, bought off a guy getting out of Indian War era stuff. The items around the jacket collar are a "Remember the Maine" pin, a "King and Country" toy soldier of COL Roosevelt as a Rough Rider (molded from the famous photo of him taken after he got back from Cuba), and the coin was cast from one of the props of the original USS Olympia, where Admiral Dewey snuffed out the Spanish fleet at Manila early in the war (the ship is intact today, displayed in Philly)

A little background on the insignia on the collar: The "USV" stands for United States Volunteers. Back in the day, the Army would accept units of people with usually little or no experience for an upcoming conflict. They'd train them, send them off to fight, then cut them loose immediately after the shooting stopped. That might sound bad, but it's what was expected back then. It was also common then that if you could gather a large group yourself for a volunteer unit, you'd be made their officer. The whole volunteer concept was out of favor by the time of WW1, when official National Guard units became more popular, to train part time soldiers to be used in times of crisis. One of Roosevelt's biggest regrets at the end of his life was Woodrow Wilson refused to let him fight in France at the head of another unit of volunteers as he had in 1898.

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