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Military Uniforms

Except for a raid on St. Albans during the 1860s, which has the claim to fame of being the northern most battle of the Civil War, there have not been any battles fought on Vermont soil since the age of photography (which begins just prior to the Civil War). However, it may be possible to find men in military uniform in an historic Vermont photo. Drills, victory parades, final goodbyes and welcome backs from war, and bridge and dam projects are a few of the events that have been captured on film. Following is a brief discussion on the evolution of military uniforms.

Uniforms of the Civil War (1861-1865) era are generally characterized by their long coats, with single or double breasted brass buttons from the neck to the waist. The flat top hats are also very characteristic of the uniform. The image on the top illustrates actual uniforms worn during the Civil War. The historic image below it depicts drill formation on the University of Vermont green. The uniforms reflect the design of those worn during the Civil War, however, the image may date after the war. Other clues in the image suggest an early 1880s date.

Civil War Uniforms

Civil War Uniforms: Image courtesy of Philip Katcher, The American Soldier: U.S. Armies in Uniform, 1755 to Present, 1990

Circa 1880s Drill Formation

Circa 1880s Drill Formation: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Archives

During the late 19th century, the U.S. was involved in the Spanish American War. Recruitment for the Vermont National Guard began around 1898, and a number of camps were set up around Vermont for training. The men in the image below still wear long coats, but the hats have become more rounded and have brims.

1890s Vermont National Guard

1890s Vermont National Guard: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Collamer Abbott collection

Another late 19th to early 20th century Vermont National Guard image is seen on the left. The uniforms appear to be those worn during the Spanish-American War, which are illustrated in the drawing on the right. The hat in particular is quite distinct.

Uniforms of the Spanish-American War Uniforms of the Spanish-American War

Uniforms of the Spanish-American War: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the St. Albans Historical Society. Image courtesy of Philip Katcher

The U.S. got involved in World War I in the late 1910s. For those who fought in the war, the uniforms changed quite a bit from the late 19th century military attire. Typical WWI uniforms worn by U.S. troops are illustrated in the images below. Note the rounded helmets on the right and the wide-brimmed hats on the left.

WWI Uniforms WWI Uniforms

WWI Uniforms: Image courtesy of Philip Katcher

A variety of uniforms are displayed in the World War I victory parade below, including the navy uniforms seen in the foreground.

WWI Victory Parade

WWI Victory Parade: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont Historical Society

The Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the construction of a number of bridge and dam projects in Vermont, particularly in the wake of the 1927 flood. The circa 1928 image below gives a detailed look at the uniforms worn at that time. Particularly notice the hats and coats.

Army Corps of Engineers, Circa 1928

Army Corps of Engineers, Circa 1928: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the University of Vermont Special Collections

The uniform below closely resembles those seen in the 1928 image above and the officers' uniforms in the WWII images below. The image likely dates within that period of late 1920s to 1940s.

Early-to-Mid 20<sup>th</sup> Century Uniform

Early-to-Mid 20th Century Uniform: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Williston Historical Society

During the 1940s, the U.S. was involved in the second world war. Below are a variety of uniforms worn during the war.

WWII Uniform WWII Uniform

WWII Uniforms: Image courtesy of Philip Katcher

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