The Bugle

Impression Standards

1st Maine's mission is to portray the Federal cavalry of the Civil War as accurately as we can. A large part of that involves accurately made arms and equipment; how those things are used and worn in conjunction with the operations and day-to-day business of being a cavalryman. The impression is rounded out with some knowledge of the men; the environment they came from and lived in that created their mindset - the character that the actor is playing.

All members of 1st Maine are expected to maintain, at least a minimum standard regarding their uniform/clothing, equipment, general appearance, etc.

The following outline has been established as a guide for unit members to consult in putting together their impression.

Civilians standards are those set by the Atlantic Guard Soldier's Aid Society (AGSAS).

It should be remembered that this is a work in progress and is subject to alteration even as you are reading it!

Approved Vendor List

Equipment Guidelines


  • Headgear
    • Forage Cap
      • Finely woven dark blue or royal blue wool (not navy blue) with painted leather brim and chin strap.
      • Plain US regulation, small size buttons. Black or brown polished cotton or Selisia liner.
      • Should not be worn with the sides of the brim rolled under as a modern baseball cap
      • Insignia: Cavalry, unlike the infantry, were issued hat brass for forage caps. Inspection records show "deficiencies" where the men are NOT wearing required insignia of regimental number, crossed sabres, and company letter. This means also that many men were wearing only some or no hat brass. Basically, after Hooker's reorganization of the cavalry in 1863, hat brass should be more common.
    • Hardee Hat
      • 1/4 inch ribbon at base of crown.
      • 2 rows of stitching on brim.
      • shellacked with label inside.
      • Regulation brass, insignia, plume and cord.
    • Slouch & other non issue headgear - Period types only!
      • Sewn-on edge binding of silk ribbon
      • Leather or cotton duck sweat band
      • Made of fine wool felt without a `fuzzy' appearance.
      • Medium to dark gray, medium to dark brown, or black, with black preferred.
      • No Garth Brooks stetsons.
      • No limp hillbilly farmer hats.
      • No hat cords of any color.
      • no stampede strings
      • Hardee hat turned slouch is perfectly acceptable (see above).
  • Jackets
    • Mounted Service Jacket
      • Of dark blue or royal blue wool broad-cloth or fine kersey.
      • Padded or Quilted front
      • Yellow dyed worsted wool tape piping, 2 rows of trim on standing collar.
      • All visible buttonholes hand sewn.
    • Fatigue blouse
      • Of wool flannel with a visible `wale' in the fabric, in a shade between a medium and dark blue color. A "wale" means you can see the diagonal weave. Avoid the blackish-blue material that fades to purple; it is the wrong color and it is too heavy. The color will NOT be a blackish `navy' blue which fades to an even more unacceptable purple color. The correct blouse has a short collar and faced lapels and cuffs. Four evenly spaced US eagle buttons should fit into hand-worked buttonholes. Sleeves should have a small, scalloped vent in the rear of the cuff. Unlined versions have all seams flat-felled. Lined versions should have a one-piece body lining of wool or wool/cotton weave and a sleeve lining of muslin.
  • Pants
    • Mounted Pattern Trousers
      • Made of sky-blue kersey-weave wool.
      • Top of the waist band should reach the wearer's navel.
      • Reinforced seat and instep strap.
      • Thin, tapering waist band.
      • Narrow, three to five button fly.
      • Yoke in back.
      • Raised back.
      • Side pockets that start below the waist-band.
      • Right-side watch pocket.
      • Facings on vented cuffs.
      • All detail work, especially buttonholes, finished by hand.
    • Foot Pattern Trousers
      • As above but without reenforced seat.
    • Dark blue Mounted pattern trousers
      • As above but dark blue.
  • Shirts
    • US Issue Shirts:
      • Domet Flannel will have three tin buttons: one at the neck and one at each cuff.
        • Domet flannel is a cotton warp and wool weft, off-white in color.
      • Gray Wool Flannel will have 4 or 5 tin buttons, with two or three on a placket front and one on each cuff.
      • Blue Wool Flannel will have 4 or 5 tin buttons and almost always have a breast pocket
      • Knit:
    • Civillian Pattern Shirt
      • Made of 100 percent natural materials in woven check or plaid material, or with a printed geometric pattern on them.
      • Small metal, bone, wood, shell, or mother-of-pearl buttons.
      • Fall down collar or a banded collar, with or without a detachable collar.
      • One, two or no pockets.
      • No calico and no oversized wooden buttons.
  • Suspenders/Braces
    • Not an issue item, civilian pattern of period materials and attachments.
  • Drawers
    • Canton flannel, cotton flannel, wool knit, and wool flannel all acceptable.
    • Button closure.
    • White, natural, colored acceptable.
  • Footwear
    • Socks - of solid-color yarn: off-white, gray, buff, blue, or bluish-gray. No rings or bands of contrasting color. No elastic. Of wool, cotton or a wool/cotton union. No modern hunting socks.
    • Shoes - Issue brogans with pegged or sewn soles. Heel plates optional.
    • Boots - correctly constructed, below the knee, military style boot.
      • Single-piece vamp.
      • Pegged or sewn soles.
  • Overcoat
    • Mounted pattern: Of correct make and construction. Sky blue wool kersey, double breasted with cape extending to the edge of the cuff.
    • Foot pattern is accepted: Of correct make and construction. Sky blue wool kersey, single breasted with cape extending to elbow, and stand-up collar.


  • U.S. issue M1858 sword belt - Of black buff or bridle leather
    • 2 piece enlisted eagle buckle with applied silver wreath.
    • Shoulder and saber straps.
  • Cap pouch
  • Pistol Cartridge Box - For pistol cartridges - 3 sizes for .36 and 2 for .44 (one for 6 hole packets, one for 7 hole packets)- we do not carry extra cylinders!
  • Holster - Black leather, butt forward, end plug, worn on right side.
  • Carbine Cartridge box - M1860 or "Sharps."
  • Carbine Sling - Of black buff or bridle leather with iron roller snap hook.
  • Haversack - US issue tarred, may be worn on saddle or person - some opt for 2 haversacks.
  • Canteen - M1858 smoothside
    • Hot dipped tin.
    • cotton strap or undyed leather strap with iron roller buckle and leather safe.
    • NO snaphooks.
    • Wool covered; with jean, or blanket material.
  • Blanket - Gray/brown US Issue with black stripes woven in.
  • Shelter half - Light canvas with hand sew grommets and bone buttons. Paperbacked tin buttons accepted.
  • Gum blanket and/or poncho - with small grommets


    1st Maine received 6 Burnside carbines per company in March of 1862. Besides sabres and pistols, these were the only weapons in the regiment. In the Spring of 1863 the regiment received Sharp's carbines while retaining the Burnsides. Spencer carbine began to be issued in the spring of 64 replacing both Sharps and Burnsides. At about the same time the remnants of the 1st DC Cav, approximately 200 men, with their Henry rifles, were folded into the regiment. The most common repeating carbine in the cavalry operating in Virginia was the Spencer which began to be issued in late summer, 1863.
    See Company A Quarterly Ordnance Returns
  • Carbine
      To maintain uniformity, the Sharp's is the preferred carbine as it is the easiest reproduction to aquire.
    • Sharp's either model. The patch box does not designate a '59 or '63 - these are identified by their serial numbers - serial number beginning with C. are 1863 models, the others are '59s. Patch boxes are found, or not found on both models.
    • 5th Model Burnside (only originals and parts guns are available - note: 1st Maine was armed with 2nd Model Burnsides - good luck finding one)
    • Spencer repeating carbine (Where appropriate at events depicting Summer 1864 or later)
  • Pistol - One sidearm or no sidearm - No "spare" cylinders. Pistols are loaded using cartidges
      Company A was predominantly armed with 1860 Colt Army revolvers.
    • Colt model 1860 "Army" Revolver, .44 caliber
    • Remington model 1858 .44 caliber "Army" or .36 caliber "Navy" revolver allowed for events portraying 1864-65.
    • Non issue "Private purchase" side arms must be approved.
  • Saber - (repo sabers are generally junk - do not acquire a saber without assistance) Must be correctly constructed with wire wrapped, leather bound grip and peened tang. (sabers with the nut on the end will not be accepted.)
      Company A was armed almost exclusively with model 1840's.
    • U.S. Model 1840 "Wristbreaker"
    • U.S. Model 1860 "light cavalry"
    • Sabre Knot: With a tied leather lace turks-head, not an embossed sleeve.

Horse Equipments

  • Saddle - Model 1859 McClellan - All iron hardware, including jappaned or blued iron bar buckles.
    • Coatstraps should be of correct weight with correct buckles, leather stops recommended.
    • Wool web girth and surcingle with iron roller buckles.
    • Crupper was an issued item often thrown away - use at your discretion.
    • Breast straps (martingales), were not an issued item though troopers would go out of their way to get one. Any breat strap should therefore be of civiliam pattern or field produced (three leather straps joined by an iron ring) Brass heart sutler row breast straps are not allowed.
    • Hooded wooden stirrups, no toe straps.
    • SaddleBags
      • Smaller black bags with iron buckle closure.
      • Should contain a correctly reproduced or original curry comb, brush, hoofpick, and horseshoes.
  • Carbine Socket - U.S. issue of black bridle leather and iron hardware with pronounced wasp waist.
  • Halter - U.S. issue of black bridle leather and iron hardware.
  • Bridle - Blackened bridle leather
    • 3 or 6 buckle.
    • All buckles should be jappaned or blued iron bar buckles.
    • NO Rosettes on browband.
    • Bit - U.S. issued iron bit
    • Link Strap - with iron wire snap hook.
    • Enlisted Reins - sewn to bit and in the center.
  • Watering Bit & Reins (Optional)
  • Nosebag (Optional)
    • Flat bottom; rounded bottom accepted.
    • Black or undyed leather with iron roller buckle.
  • Picket Pin and Lariat (Optional)
    • 4-strand, left-laid hemp.
    • whipped at one end.
    • Eye spliced to hand forged iron picket pin.
  • Horse Blanket - U.S. issued blue wool with orange stripe woven in.
    • "U.S." hand stitched in center.
    • Orange stripe should be lighter shade as per originals if possible.
    • NO saddlepads - use your issue grey wool blanket or shelter half.

Generally solid colored (aside from stars, blazes, stripes, snips, socks, stockings, etc) no Paints, Appaloosas or other breeds with stand-out colorings and markings.
Preferred breeds include: Morgan, Canadian, Standardbred, Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse, Arab, Thoroughbred

Other/Personal/Optional Items
Store personal items in blanket roll, saddlebags, haversack, pockets, etc.
The only "modern" personal items you should have on you are your car key and any medicines you require. Your car key should be placed somewhere safe and out of sight - you don't need the whole ring just the key to get into your vehicle. Medicines should be stowed in a period container as best as possible not only to hide it, but to protect it.

  • Issue tin cup, boiler, mucket - no speckleware or stainless.
  • Folding pocket knife
  • Personal hygene items.
    • Tooth brush.
    • Small looking glass (mirror).
    • Comb.
    • Shaving equipment.
  • Cotton or Linen ration & poke bags.
  • Small bottles or flasks.
  • Spoon and/or a fork - no stainless.
  • Plate (not a pie tin), small sheet metal skillet, canteen half - no cast iron.
  • Pipe & tobacco pouch.
  • Housewife (needles, thread, thimbles, buttons, patch cloth)
  • Pencil and paper.
  • Hard candy like lemon drops.
  • Lucifers (matches).
  • Period eyewear, or contact lenses if required - no darkened glasses.
  • Handkerchief.
  • Gambling paraphernalia.
  • Wallet.
  • Pocket watch.

updated July 17, 2011 - Gerald Todd