Uniforms/Costumes

MILITARY UNIFORMS

The troops in the Wagon Box Fight were members of Company C, 27th U.S. Infantry Regiment.  The relief column were from Companies A, F, and I.  The men wore civil war surplus uniforms including Frock, and 4 Button Coats, Shell Jackets with light blue or dark blue trousers.  Head cover would have included forage/bummer caps or slouch hats with brass insignia and possibly light blue hat cords.  Footwear would be the standard issue Jefferson Brogans.  Accouterments would include a covered canteen, haversack, belt w/oval buckle, cap pouch, bayonet, and ammo pouch.  NCO’s may have carried a NCO Sword, and revolver.  Officers carried a personal revolver and Officer’s sword.  Ammunition boxes may have had a drilled block of wood in their ammo pouch to hold the new metal cartridges.

CIVILIAN DRESS

The civilians defending themselves in the corral would have worn clothing of the middle 1860’s, possible parts of uniforms for both sides of the recent civil war, most likely wide brim hats for protection from the sun, square toed boots, and jacket with vest as was the fashion of the period.  As to weapons they certainly carried one of the many type available 6 shot revolvers in a flap holster and possibly a cartridge belt.  The holster and cartridge belt were probably not a single unit construction worn be later men in the west, but instead two parts as the revolver was fairly new.  We know from discovered artifacts that Henry Rifles and Spencer’s either carbine or rifle were used in the battle most likely by the civilians or military officers.

The women back at the fort and present in the civilian camp would dress for the period with corsets, a number of skirts whale bone slip, sun bonnet, fingerless gloves, with an umbrella or fan.  If riding horseback they would use a sidesaddle.

NATIVE DRESS

The basic dress for a warrior in the battle could be anything from nude with a painted body of one color plus symbols to include additionally of their choosing moccasins, leggings, war shirt, head piece (made of feather, animal skin, a feathered bonnet, usually made by the owner showing his victories,) and possibly a wool blanket.  Weapons would include shields, spears, war-clubs, tomahawks, knives, bow with 20 plus arrow in a quiver, and a limited number of fire-arms.  During the mid-1860s the plains Indians were still limited on both the quantity and quality of fire-arms.  Visual surveys conducted by soldiers during the Red Buttes, Pate Bridge, and Coe-Walker engagements suggest that about 10 percent of the warriors carried an assortment of fire-arms to include old British flintlock trade guns, a variety of pistols, and other types of muzzle loaders acquire through battle or trade.  The coalition that defeated Fetterman the previous winter had also came into approximately 49 muskets, 27 carbines and a small variety of pistols and ammunition.  By the end of the Wagon Box Fight it was probably these new weapons that caused the majority of casualties to Powell’s command.