For much of the nineteenth century, the production of military clothing and equipment was geared to national emergencies. During the Mexican and Civil wars, the hardpressed Quartermaster Department was forced to rely on civilian and, later, European suppliers. A contract system too often resulted in profiteering, inferior goods, and administrative confusion. By 1887 reforms in the system were accompanied by strict specifications for matériel, which were published by the War Department in 1889 and distributed to fewer than sixty officers in the Quartermaster Department.
Never before reprinted, this rare book contains not only complete specifications but detailed line drawings of virtually every item of uniform and equipment issued, from mosquito bars and tent stoves to overalls for mounted men and uniform coat buttons ("the burnishing to be done in the best manner known to the trade"). This valuable reference for articles used by the army during the period of the Indian wars will be of special interest to collectors, historians, archaeologists, curators, and antique dealers.