us_cavalry_1917

U.S. Soldiers Possibly C Troop, 3rd Cavalry c. 1912-1917 at an

A possible identification of this group of Pre-WWI U.S. cavalry soldiers can be made by looking at their guidons. The designations on both guidons are destorted from flapping in the wind, but the top numeral on the rear guidon looks like it is a “3” and the bottom letter on the guidon on the right is definitely a “C.” The photograph was definitely taken on the parade ground of an Indian Wars fort, with Officers’ Row on the left, a large one-story building in the background (possibly an enlisted men’s barracks or a hospital), and a dirt road running around its perimeter.

Fort Sam Houston.

1912-1917 has been a little easier. A close up of the mounted officer in the foreground reveals that his pistol holster is an M1912 for an M1911 Colt Automatic. His saddle looks like an M1904 brown leather McClellan. The shape of his saddle blanket indicates that he is an officer and not an enlisted man. Determining his uniform is harder because the photograph is so dark, the resolution is not strong, and it was taken at a distance. He might be wearing the 1911 uniform with standing collar or else the service uniform prescribed in Special Regulations No. 41 & 42, 1917. He wears the service hat, which indicates he is serving within the continental limits in the U.S. (The steel helmet was worn for the field in Europe).

So since the officer’s holster is an M1912 and given the fact that the 3rd shipped out for France in 1917, that narrows the time frame to somewhere between those two dates.

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