It’s Not Unusual … Oh Yes It Is!

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The Coast Artillery Officer’s coat laid out for inspection at the Archives Room.

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.

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The distinctive unit insignia of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery School was approved on October 16, 1929. The Great Seal buttons were made from 1902-1910 by Brooks Brothers.

3 Responses to It’s Not Unusual … Oh Yes It Is!

  1. Jo Ott says:

    I wonder if it might have been washed into that area and buried under tons of flood mud considering the terrible floods the area endured in the 20th century.

    • Audrey Sizelove says:

      The owner of the property did some research for us and it belonged to a Crawford family at one time. There were several Crawford’s who served but not sure which if he was in the Costal Artillery which was Army. Requires more research.

  2. Eric H. says:

    The ‘thin’ crossed cannon with the red lozenge and the artillery shell at the apex of the cannon barrels was adopted by the US Army for wear by Coast Artillery officers in 1904 (from 1901-1904, artillery officers wore crossed cannons with much thicker barrels). The buttons (with rims rather than smooth edges) were adopted by the US Army in 1907. The single trefoil on the sleeve indicates that the officer was a First Lieutenant. The coat itself would have been much longer — hanging down to just above the officer’s knees.

    The name of the officer for whom the coat was made should be written in indelible ink on a tag inside the breast pocket.

    According to the U.S. Army Register for 1908, there was a 1LT Lawrence Carter Crawford, Coast Artillery Corps (with date of rank as 1LT from 25 January 1907). The son of former Brigadier General Medorem Craford, he was born at Brunswick, Maine (25 Nov 1880), where his father was the Professor of Military Science at Bowdoin College. He graduated from the University of South Carolina before enlisting as a private in the 41st Coast Artillery Company in 1901, and was commissioned as a 2LT in the Artillery Corps in 1902. He was promoted to Captain on 11 March 1911, and attended the Coast Artillery School (at Ft Monroe, VA) in 1912. In 1915, he attended the US Army School of the Line (at Ft Riley, KS), and in 1917 he graduated from the US Army Staff College (at Ft Leavenworth, KS) and was assigned to the 125th Artillery Company in Hawaii. As the United States geared up to go to war, the armed forces were dramatically expanded. Crawford was promoted to Major of Field Artillery in the 85th Division of the National Army (5 Aug 1917), Lieutenant Colonel of Field Artillery in the National Army (17 May 1918), and Colonel in the Coast Artillery Corps (5 Sep 1918). When the war ended, he reverted to his permanent rank of captain. He was promoted back to colonel (due to disability) prior to his retirement in 1920. He died in 1949 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/lccrawford.htm)

    You can find electronic copies of the old US Army Registers here: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100113492

    Good luck.

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