Uniform of the 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by Olin Hosford

John L. Wells

Quartermaster Sgt. John L. Wells in the uniform shown below.
In the photo above, he wears an 8th Corps badge.



Click here for a brief history of the 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry.
Click here for a roster of the 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry.
Click here to read Col. Frost Orders thanking the men of the 1st South Dakota for their service.
Click here to read the Orders for the Plan of the Day aboard the Transport RIO DE JANEIRO.
Click here to read a letter from 1st Lt. Jay Beck, written while in transit aboard the Transport RIO DE JANEIRO.
Click here to read a about the floral send-off received by some members of the unit from the ladies ot Terry, South Dakota.

General:

Below is are some views of the uniform that belonged to Quartermaster Sgt. John Lewis Wells of Co. L of the 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry. Sgt. Wells was born in Colfax in what was then the Dakota Territory. He came of age and joined his father in working in the family saddle and harness compny. Wells enlisted as a private at the age of twenty-four when the Spanish American War broke out. He rose through the ranks to become the company quartermaster sergeant. After the war, Wells returned to South Dakota in October of 1899 and almost immedately he met Maude Hemmingway. The two were married a year later in Deadwood, South Dakota. The couple welcomed a daughter, Marjorie. Wells continued to work in the saddle and harness business, and also became a journalist and author. In August of 1938, John and Maude moved to Portland, Oregon, believing the climate would be better for Maude's failing health. In later years, when John Wells was well into his eighties, he worked as a guard at the Portland Art Museum.

1st South Dakota Uniform 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry Trousers

To the left is the 1887 five button sack coat (with the arm insignia showing that Wells was a Quartermaster Sergeant), trousers and hat. The trousers have the broad 1" wide stripe also indicating that Wells was a sergeant.

1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry Hat

This view is a detail of the slouch hat. The hat features the standard hat insignia of crossed rifles with the letters "S" and "D" between the rifles and the letter "L" below. The "S" and "D" indicate South Dakota and the "L" indicates Company L within the regiment. Above the crossed rifles is a cloth corps badge. The badge is the corps badge of the 8th Army Corps. The color - white - indicates the Second Division of the corps. The 1st South Dakota was in the Second Division from October 1898 to March of 1899.

Trouser Detail, 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry Buttons on 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry Coat
To the left is a detail of the back of the trousers showing the size adjustment strap and buckler. To the right is a detail of the sack coat cuff buttons. The buttons are the standard U.S. Army button.


Bibiography:

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


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