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The 1874 Pattern Infantry Equipment

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An Infantry Equipment Board was assembled in 1874 to once again try to come up with a new system for the infantry to more efficiently carry all the necessary gear to be an effective fighting force.

 

The 1874 pattern equipment was one of the army’s first attempts to come up with a complete “load carry” system that would meet all the soldier’s needs.

 

Designed by men of great combat experience and with the full backing of the General of the Army, William T. Sherman, the equipment was adopted for use but would quickly be replaced. The tactics of the mid 1870’s would require different thinking than the board members experiences. The massed infantry assaults of the Civil War would give way to small unit hit and run campaigns against western tribes. By 1878 a redesigned set of equipment would be issued.

 

The 1874 system was designed around a leather belt and braces. The braces and packs were designed and patented by Lt. George Palmer (US patents 139731, 157537 and 202663) and the belt was designed by Colonel Hagner of the Watervliet Arsenal. The cartridge boxes were designed and patented by Captain Samuel McKeever (US patents 139846 and 139847). The cartridge boxes, each containing twenty rounds of ammunition for the .45-70 rifle, and bayonet scabbard would be worn on the belt. The braces would attach to the belt via fixed loops on the belt plate. The haversack for the soldiers meat can and other mess gear and rations would be attached to the braces under the right arm. The clothing bag for other “non-essential” equipment would be attached in a similar fashion to the left side under the arm. The two packs would then be connected by a strap at the bottom. The system also had a set of “coat straps” that could hold the soldiers blanket, poncho and shelter half. A new set of mess gear, which included the cup, meat can (US patent 163359), knife, fork and spoon was adopted as well. The redesigned canteen utilizing a new strap and buckle was also adopted.

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Each cartridge pouch could hold 20 rounds of .45-70 ammunition. That's a lot of lead!

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The haversack needed some work. The original buckles for the brace straps had the tongue removed and were rounded almost to a “D” shape to conform to the 1878 haversack specification. I used two tongues from later “relic” haversacks in my collection for repairs. I have only seen three or four of these original 1874 pattern packs. They were all in very bad condition.

 

Here, you can see the pouch for the meat can and the connecting strap for the clothing bag.

 

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The coat straps may be the most difficult part of the set to find. This example is only the second set I’ve ever seen. They came with the set of braces and, ironically, came up on eBay the same week the haversack did.

I found the front connecting straps on line from S & S Firearms. The braces themselves seem to be fairly common. The belt and plate come up every so often but usually demand a high price. The cartridge boxes and bayonet are common and can usually be found in decent condition. The clothing bag is common as well.

 

I picked up a box of .45-70 ammo recently and it fits perfectly in the pocket on the clothing bag.

 

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The mess kit is a second pattern with the “D” ring in the center of the lid. The other parts of the mess gear were put together over several years. I finally picked up a late pattern canteen with the Chambers buckle to complete the set as it would have been worn in full marching order.

 

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The set also came with a separate should strap for the haversack so it could be worn by itself, also with the adjustable Chambers buckle. The tunic is an 1874 pattern reproduction.

 

 

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Keystone, thanks for sharing this is great stuff. If you decide you need an heir for all your stuff, I am adoptable:)


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What an informative posting! Very well done. In your research did you get a sense of production numbers for these items? Thank you.


Semper Fi

Jeff

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Keystone, thanks for sharing this is great stuff. If you decide you need an heir for all your stuff, I am adoptable:)

 

:D I'll have to run that one past my wife!

 

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What an informative posting! Very well done. In your research did you get a sense of production numbers for these items? Thank you.

 

Thanks, I don't have any production values but it couldn't have been very many sets. The army wasn't very big compared to the Civil War troop levels.

Tim

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Very nice set.


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Remarkable...


HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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Very nice display.

 

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"Whoever stood in front of the corn field at Antietam needs no praise." . . . . . Rufus R. Dawes, 6th Wisconsin.

 

 

Seeking the unit history of Company D, 321st Machine Gun Battalion, 82nd Division.

 

Looking to purchase the nine volume set WAR DIARIES OF GERMAN UNITS OPPOSED TO THE SECOND DIVISION (REGULAR).

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I like really this amazing and complete "palmer " .

 

thank's for share this essential , but short lived use equipment before massive weeb Mills equipment .

 

Richard

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Exceptional presentation, thank you for taking the time to post. The frontier "skeleton army" as Thomas Nast sympatheticly portrayed in his illustrations will always hold a deep reverence with me.


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Seeking Model 1895 and 1902 Named Officer coats as well as Spanish American War Tropical Uniforms.
Also pre WW2 marine uniforms. Always pre-1945 Colorado National Guard Items wanted! Also seeking Rhodesian

Uniforms and Gear used by Americans in the Rhodesian Security Forces during the Bush War (Africa).

 

Fortune cookie say: "An expert is someone that knows so much about so little."

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Fantastic post! I've returned several times to reread it.


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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