Sometimes the JCHS gets some unusual things! Recently a county resident brought in remnants from a military uniform that had been found buried in dirt along Lions Club Park Road. That then led our volunteers to research what type of uniform it was and if it was original.
The uniform’s insignia, buttons, and the braid were all used as clues. The material itself was faded and dirty, but it looked black versus dark blue. After lots of web searching about military insignia, checking with local Civil War buffs, and an email and photo exchange with the curator at the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, here’s what we learned:
According to Brett Kelly, Curator of Collections at the Civil War Museum, it appears to be a M1902 Coast Artillery Officer’s Coat. The insignia was correct for that time period, and the button is a Brooks Brothers Great Seal button made from 1902 to 1910. Kelly doubts it is a reproduction.
As early as 1882 leaders realized that heavy fixed artillery and mobile field artillery units needed different types of training, so in 1901, the Artillery Corps was divided into 30 companies of light (field) artillery and 30 companies of heavy (coast) artillery. The U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (CAC) was officially established in 1907 and was responsible for coastal and harbor defense. After World War II, in 1950, the two artillery branches merged back together.