Uniforms, Arms, and Equipment: The U.S. Army on the Western Frontier, 1880-1892
by Douglas C. McChristian, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2007, two-volume set, $95.
In a whopping sequel to his The U.S.Army in the West, 1870-1880: Uniforms, Arms and Equipment, Douglas C. McChristian devotes two densely illustrated volumes to the uniforms, weaponry and accoutrements that evolved in the Army during a time of transition (1880-92). The dozen years covered here saw General Philip H. Sheridan advocate a program to bring the U.S. Army up to European standard. The taming of the Western frontier was not quite over, however.
Volume 1 reminds the Western scholar that for every grueling expedition and blazing encounter, the average frontier soldier spent months fighting boredom and the elements. As explained in Volume 2, weaponry was issued on the basis of logic that sometimes eludes posterity, such as the long retention of the “Trapdoor” Springfield carbine.
Originally published in the December 2007 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here.