Answer to Quiz #79 - October 1, 2006
Many thanks to Polly Kimmit for submitting this week's quiz photo.
What war did these soldiers fight in?
specific branch of the service did they serve in?
(eg infantry, cavalry, artillery, etc.)
How can you tell?
Answers: Spanish American War Infantry.
The crossed-rifle insignia of the infantry was used after 1878.
The style of cap was adopted in 1895.
Infantry Hat Insignia of Two Crossed Rifles
Typically, the hat insignia features two crossed rifles. Usually above the rifles is the a
number, which is the number of the regiment. Below the rifles is a letter, indicating the
company within the regiment. In the quiz picture, the crossed rifles show a 5 on top for
5th Infantry and K on bottom for company K.

Crossed muskets were first introduced into the Army as the insignia of officers and
enlisted men of the Infantry on 19 November 1875 (War Department General Order
No. 96 dtd 19 Nov 1875) to take effect on or before 1 June 1876. Numerous attempts
in the earlier years were made to keep the insignia current with the ever changing styles
of rifles being introduced into the Army. However, in 1924 the branch insignia was
standardized by the adoption of crossed muskets and the 1795 model Springfield
Arsenal musket was adopted as the standard musket to be used.

Note that if we could discern the type of rifle used on the quiz photo's infantry pin, we
might be able to date the picture more precisely.
Forage Caps
Civil War Era Forage Caps
This 1872 forage cap is similar in style, but shorter in height than the Civil War era
caps.  Because of this, the cap tends to ride quite high on the head - giving one the
sensation it will slide off.
Hat in Quiz Photo
Infantry sergeant
wearing forage hat
c. 1895
In 1895 the US Army introduced a new style forage cap, replacing the previous style,
which had been worn since 1858.  This new style was 3 1/4 inches high and was
cylindrically cut, resembling a railroad conductor's cap of the period. This style of cap
is often called the "pillbox" cap. It had metal side buttons and a leather chin strap with a
metal buckle. The 1895 cap was official issue for 7 years until superceded by the
Model 1902 dress cap.
Other Parts of the Uniform
Standard Model 1883
Five Button Sack Coat
Some of the troops during the
Revolutionary War wore half gaiters, while
others had breeches made gaiter fashion
held down by a strap under the bottom of
the shoe; others wore
leggings of buckskin
and other skins, but not until about 1885
were leggings adopted for general use in the
service.  Many of the soldiers on the march
and in campaign tied pieces of cloth around
the bottoms of their trousers or tied the
trousers with a piece of cord at the bottom
to keep out dust, etc., and to make it easier
to pass through fields, underbrush,
swamps, and rocky places. From this came
the canvas leggin adopted about
1885, which was short and only extended about halfway between the ankle and the
knee. In 1898 it was made longer and came up almost to the knee.
Springfield Trapdoor Rifle
A Case of Mistaken Identify
Dear Mr. Schmidt,

I am writing to give you some information on Shiawassee County Civil War soldier
images at the State Archives of Michigan...The image you have on the web page [
//] is very nice but unfortunately he is not a
soldier of the Civil War period.  Your soldier is wearing the model 1895 forage cap with
crossed rifle insignia.  The crossed rifle insignia was not adopted by the US army until
the year 1876, before this it was a hunter’s horn.  Your soldier is from the 1895-1898
period and with the 8 on his hat and collar my guess is that he was with a Michigan
National Guard regiment.  

Dale Niesen

PS, Do you have access to the book, “A Distant Thunder: Michigan in the Civil War”
by Richard Bak?  If you do you may recognize my name from there. The website for
the state database is:


Thanks for your sharp eye.  My web page history of the civil war is pretty lame, but I
will correct the photo description or delete it.

Thanks again,
Steve Schmidt
Owosso, Mi

Note: The image that they are discussing has been removed from the Shiawassee Co.,
Michigan website.
The Spanish American War
The Spanish-American War took place in 1898 and resulted in the United States gaining
control over the former colonies of Spain in the Caribbean and Pacific. The US lost 379
troops in combat and over 5,000 to disease. As a result of the war, Cuba would be
declared independent in 1902.....
Read more.
Bonus Question
Some of you received a bonus question: "What is the contraption in the door of the tent
in the background to the left?"
A treadle sewing machine
Treadle Sewing Machine
Comments from Our Readers
Dear Colleen,

Thanks for featuring my fellas this week. Note that one of the guys is wearing a belt
buckle which says Mass. on it. All of my ancestors were in Mass., so unlikely that it's
Penn [as you have suggested]. I have found a company K in Mass, and there is a
Joseph Barnes listed, he could be a distant uncle. I haven't done much else with it. Got
distracted by the rest of my life! I love that everyone is putting their brains to work on
my behalf!  Thanks again!                                                                  
Polly Kimmitt

Looks just like the [sewing machine] I learned to sew on! I do understand having lived
with men why they needed the machine and it would have been superior choice over
what I use as it needed no electricity.  I sold my old Underwood upright typewriter for
a hefty price for the same reason -- a writer going into a country where electricity was
not available.  Not that I want the treadle back, mind you!                 
Kitty Huddleston

If in fact these are soldiers from the Spanish-American War, I found it interesting that
the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (located on Cuba) was a result of the Spanish-
American War.  It just seems so odd that we occupy 45 sq miles of Cuba (a country
that isn’t exactly a friend of the USA). Great quiz this week!                 
Evan Hindman
Congratulations to our winners!

Fred Stuart                Mary Fraser                Eva Royal
Jim Kiser                Rick Mackinney             Kitty Huddleston   
Frank Nollette                Sandy Fahrnbruch          Bill Hurley  
Lynda Snider                    Stan Read                    Kelly Fetherlin  
Evan Hindman                Maureen O'Connor                Pam Rien
Pam Rein                        Carol Phillips                Elizabeth Mackey
Robert Drusse
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Quiz #79 Results