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Small US Cavalry collection from Italy

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The single inside left pocket on breast.

According to one much authoritative work on this (and similar ones) subject, it is the identifying feature for the (unofficial) 1st Variation comparing to the 2nd Variation of Pattern 1890 Blouse.


And, actually, it's the three small buttons on each cuff and the ever narrower dark blue facings inside the blouse, wich can make a (not so big, anyway) difference in the 1890 Pattern Blouse from the 1884 Pattern Blouse.

The older one is virtually the same, as for all the remaining.




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About springtime 1887, trying to reduce sun's fading effects on chevrons and trousers' stripes, the classic Cavalry yellow color was changed to a more "Dark Yellow", actually a bit toward Orange when new.


As a side note: for the same reason, already in 1885 the Infantry's classic Sky Blue color was changed to White for trousers' stripes and blouses' and overcoats' chevrons. Apparently, this problem added to an unexplained difficulty for Army contractors in producing large numbers of trousers having the same exact shade of the basic Sky-Blue.

Not less than 5-6 different shades (!!) of this color were noticeable in Army trousers, so in that same 1885 the decision was taken to go toward a distringuishable darker Blue - in this sense, not longer a "Sky Blue".


Here pictured the "new" Yellow for the chevrons on my Pattern 1890 Blouse (actually one of the first 2,000 specimen - the unofficial "First Variation" Pattern 1890), tried to render this shade the closest possible to true color.


Thanks for watching - Franco.



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As a side note - a bit paradoxally, when you would swear camera's flash is useless for a good shot at a Dark Blue garment, more often that not the opposite is true. And often, at less than 4" from the subject the flash does render very well the correct shade.

Conversely under a good daylight condition, shot often is much likely not to render close the actual color shade, if flash isn't being used - and still in other instances, a very good rendering is obtained only by not employing flash.


Who knows why?!! :o :o


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An extra side note to... the above side note,

the 1886 report from Secretary of War wrote: "... blouses will hereafter be sewed with silk instead of cotton thread, the latter having a tendency to change color. This change will improve the appearance of this garment".


The blue cotton thread used in many 19th century Army coats and blouses faded to brown within less than two decades. Also, both the (imported) main hues - "Indigo Blue" for the field blouses and "Sky Blue" for trousers - posed a continuing problem between 1861 and 1885.

As said, it was in 1885 that a solution was found at least for trousers, by changing to a decidedly darker blue - thus, not longer a true "Sky Blue".

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Some time before purchasing the Pattern 1890 Blouse with sewn-on Cavalry Corporal chevrons, I had found a small grouping of original brand-new, never issued Cavalry Chevrons I intended to be framed together against a dark blue backing.

My searching of a good conditions, original Blouse having a minimum of period-attached chevrons was about three-years, but even after purchasing it I preferred to still retain those different Chevrons - they are no doubt interesting pieces.


here the Sergeant




here the First Sergeant




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Thank you for the information. This is a very well written thread and very educational!

Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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Hi Franco


Thank you again for the photos of your collection, I am enjoying seeing everything.


I thought you might be interested to see my example of the cartridge belt we discussed earlier on, as mentioned mine is in a poorer condition, the six pistol cartridge loops on the left are missing and some of the stitching is broken on the existing pistol cartridge loops, it did have a Palmer brace plate and hasp but they are longer with it.




if it might be of interest to anyone let me know.


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Thanks Kurt for your interest in my posts.

Yes this belt is virtually a copy of mine, conditions looks poorer also for the lack of plate and hasp - not a relic in my opinion. Stitching in my belt too, is broken here and there between smaller loops - evidently a weaker zone?


My huge error as for the collection, was not exploiting the right moment for buying a nice pair of Cavalry trousers (maybe the 1884 Pattern, possibly more toward the late 1880s) having the 1/2" yellow stripe for Corporals. All original and with some small mothholes but, a perfect match for my blouse.

They did surface on the web about three weeks after purchasing the blouse and didn't last even four days. Expense needed for them would have been somehow more than blouse's, and this after such a small time.

I passed on, and I'm currently regretting having acted this way. But patience, this Pattern 1890 Blouse should be representative enough by itself and moreover, is in great shape.


Thanks again!! Franco.

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