6th U.S. Cavalry Uniform

Contributed by Richard Cashman


General:

Below is are some views of the uniform that belonged to Samuel Murdock of the 6th U.S. Cavalry. During the Indian Wars the 6th U.S. Cavalry was best known for fighting the Apache tribe of Indian in the southwest - in Arizona in 1876, 1881 & 1882, New Mexico in 1882, Colorado in 1884 and Pine Ridge in 1890. The unit also fought the Comanche tribe in Texas and Oklahoma in 1874.  In the Spanish American War the 6th was initially sent to Camp Thomas, on the old Civil War battlefield at Chickamauga, Georgia. By June 7th, 1898 they were stationed at Fort Tampa, Florida. Soon they were enroute for the front, landing at Daiquiri, Cuba, on June 23rd and setting up camp on the 24th. On July 1st they assaulted San Juan Hill.

Samuel Murdock, the man to whom the tunic belonged survived the San Juan Hill assault. Murdock, born in 1849, entered the service on September 6, 1871 for a five year enlistment in the 3rd Cavalry, Troop H. He joined at his hometown of Baltimore. Murdock later re-enlisted for five more years, and was assigned to the 6th Cavalry, Troop A and then spent five more years in the 3rd Cavalry, Troop K before going back to Troop A of the 6th Cavalry for his last enlistment, which was dated February 8, 1899 at Fort Riley, Kansas. He ended his service in 1902 after 22 years in the army.

The Uniform:

Government issue 5-button blue kersey tunic marked "6th U.S. Cavalry" and "PHILA" depot. The sleeve linings are unbleached muslin with a gray flannel lining meeting the 1883 regulations. However those regulations called for two horizontal pockets. This coat only has one interior pocket conforming to the newer 1887 pattern. This combination of style indicates it was probably made somewhere between 1883 and 1887 and may have been issued to Murdock when he re-enlisted on February 8th, 1886 or shortly thereafter. At that time he enlistment in Troop "A" of the 6th Cavalry. Stenciled in the sleeve lining are cavalry crossed sabers, 6th Cavalry, Troop A, and Number 17. The yellow Cavalry Sergeant chevrons were sewn into the seam by the arsenal before shipping.
 
 


Bibiography:

Field, Ron, Spanish-American War 1898. (Washington: Brasseys Inc., 1998).


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