I know this person was a family member. I have family on this side who served in the Civil War as well as WWI and WWII. I identified the hat pin as Infantry, 8th Regiment, Company B. Also, I think it is after the Civil War because of the crossed rifles on the hat plus the quality of the photo.

I would like to know the approximate year this uniform was worn and the type of medals pinned to his uniform. It will help me identify the person.

Thank you for any help you can provide! Infantry 8th Regiment Company B

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    Are the medals that out of focus in the original picture, or is the picture of the picture just out of focus? I know questions of this sort have much better luck getting good answers when details like medals, epaulets, buttons, etc. are as sharp and high-resolution as possible
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 2, 2021 at 16:50
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    Based on the pose alone I'd venture it's not US Civil War. Camera exposures in that era were measured in seconds which is why everybody is leaning on something and stone faced (to hold still). Even with his hands tucked behind him (which also stills motion) I don't think this could be a three second exposure.
    – AllInOne
    Feb 2, 2021 at 16:53
  • Thank you both for responding. I tried to zoom in but the medal detail isn't sharp on the original. The clearest item is the pin on the hat. I can read it only because it is larger. I agree that it's not Civil War.
    – Meebly
    Feb 2, 2021 at 17:00
  • He wears what looks to me to be a Spanish-American War era cartridge belt, such as illustrated here: ebay.com/itm/… Feb 2, 2021 at 17:37
  • His cap seems to be the kind introduced in 1902. (See history.army.mil/html/museums/uniforms/survey_uwa.pdf, p57 for cap and form of badge, and p47 for cartridge belt.) Feb 2, 2021 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


This uniform is from the 1902 regulations effective in 1903. The cap is a dead giveaway, an improvement over the 1895 regulation cap, the 1902 was a further step towards the modern army uniform. For the 1895, see page 93 from Repository.si.edu

Can’t seem to find a photo of print of the 1902 undress/garrison uniform except in the new khaki, but here is a nice print of the enlisted full dress showing the full dress cap with the light blue band. The undress cap would not have the band. xenophon.mil.org Looking close, you can see the difference in general cap design vice the 1895. The artist here was one Henry Ogden, pretty much the go-to guy for accurate prints of US Army uniforms up to about 1907. There’s a couple of really nice volumes of his prints covering from the American Revolution up to 1907 if you can get your hands on them – I’ve had mine for about 50 years. The text (from my volume) for the print reads:

Figure 1 Corporal - This non-commissioned officer wears a narrower trouser stripe than the higher ranking sergeant to his left. The breast cord worn by all enlisted men during this period was taken from the dress uniform of the Civil War artilleryman insofar as styling is concerned.

Figure 2 First Sergeant - The ranking non-com of this group visually displays good reason for holding his lofty grade. His sleeve shows two army hitches plus two war service stripes. Note that while brown waist belts ere then regulation wear, black socks and shoes were still worn for dress.

Figure 3 Private - Performing guard duty in the near distance is the lowly infantry private.

Figure 4 Musician - Also called trumpeter or bugler, this soldier with hand on hip lets his instrument hang from the blue cord signifying infantry service. He wears the two narrow stripe trouser stripes common to the bugler.

Figure 5 Sergeant - The sergeant wears a diagonal gold strip awarded to soldiers suffering a war wound. In addition to the would stripe, he wears one for wartime service.

The difference between the undress/garrison uniform and the field uniform would replacing the unadorned cap with a slouch hat. Note the coats and service belts as seen in the OP. The slouch hat was required for both garrison and field when stationed in the Philippines for enlisted personnel.

Below, two photos from U G McAlexander’s History of the Thirteenth Regiment United States Infantry (1905), B Company 13th US Infantry in dress uniform and C Company in field uniform. In the C Company photo, note the coats and service belts as seen in the OP and the officer wearing the khaki colored garrison cap.

Medals related to recognized military fraternal organizations, including those for the descendants of same, were permitted in regulation at least up through the 1912 regulations.

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  • Thank you! Excellent information.
    – Meebly
    Feb 4, 2021 at 19:12

A few notes to help with identification.

The uniform seems a very plain one, though with a dress shirt under the jacket.

The belt looks distinctive. An expert on military gear should be able to deduce when such a belt would be in use.

That style of cap would have been used during different periods by members of different organizations.

The medal hanging on the chest looks like a pre 1944 medal of honor. Thus it should be a medal of honor, or a medal of a patriotic society which was designed to imitate the style of a medal of honor - probably the latter.

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    This isn't an answer, it's a few (fairly obvious) comments. Feb 2, 2021 at 19:39
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    I was able to find out who is in the picture. I thought the photo was black and white, however, the pants look khaki colored so maybe it has been colorized. The man in the photo served in France during World War I, so the foreign service comment is correct. Also, since the medal doesn't quite match the ones in the link provided, and the gentleman was a member of the G.A.R., a.k.a. Sons of Union Veterans, it could be from that group. THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!
    – Meebly
    Feb 2, 2021 at 21:49
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    @KillingTime - You're not wrong. Answers on our identification questions often do seem to tend to be more building blocks than full-blown self-contained answers though, and this doesn't seem totally out of line for that. Perhaps a speculative educated guess, or a range this info cuts it down to, could have been thrown on the end here?
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 2, 2021 at 22:10
  • @Meebly the photo is black and white, just printed in such a way that it's faded to yellowish brown over the decades. Common with prints from that period.
    – jwenting
    Feb 3, 2021 at 11:53

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