coat of arms of the second cavalry

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  • Coat of Arms of the Second CavalrySource: The Journal of the American Military History Foundation, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Winter,1937-1938), pp. 198-199Published by: Society for Military HistoryStable URL: .Accessed: 15/06/2014 04:31

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  • 198 American Military History

    In the Regiment of a century ago (then called the 27th Regiment, National Guard) there was no over-great cohesion between the companies. They were "separate" in fact as well as in name. Any changes of a regimental nature, such as in dress, were decided upen by committees appointed for the purpose, usually consisting of several enlisted men from each of the eight companies and a number of officers detailed by the Regiment. This influence allowed the soldier in the choice of his uniform becomes understandable when we realize that he alone bore the expense of such a change. These committees, perhaps to insure attendance, appear always to have met at Stoneall's Shakespeare Tavern, a celebrated and well-equipped hostelry in lower New York.

    In 1834 such a committee convened to decide on a new bill of dress. Since 1825 the Regiment had worn a distinctive gray coat with white trousers and a high shako. This uniform, while still popular, was considered by many as outmoded and there had been much agitation, particularly among the officers, for a change. In spite of the conciliatory possibilities of the council-room the meeting was far from harmonious. Some of the company representatives bitterly opposed the idea, others favored it, while still others announced that their companies would go so far as to adopt the new items of dress regardless of whether the Regiment approved or not; and thus the first meeting broke up in high dudgeon. Other gatherings followed in rapid succession, but feeling was too intense and little or nothing was accomplished that year.

    The Board of Officers as a whole favored a change, but realized by this time that if anything were to be accomplished it would have to be advocated with much greater finesse. Convening early in 1835, the officers decided upon exactly what they wanted and planned exactly how to get it. A full bill of dress was prepared in advance and attractive models were secured. Then the Regiment's newly elected commander, Colonel Morgan L. Smith, as his first official act, invited the members of the organization to meet the field officers at the Tavern on January 15. No records exist to tell how many men actually were able to accept this invitation, but it is safe to say that all came who possibly could. Some idea of the number may be gained by the fact that the Regiment had been able to turn out, within the alloted three hours, at least three hundred soldiers under arms on several occasions during the riots of the previous year. We may assume that at least this number attended at the Tavern that night.

    Those who assisted found it well worth their while. From all points of view the meet? ing may be called a success. In the words of Colonel Clark: "The fervent appeals of the new field-officers, strongly supported by a fine entertainment and a free flow of cham- pagne, produced the desired result, and the changes proposed were adopted with great enthusiasm and unanimity." Expensive, perhaps, unique certainly, but undoubtedly an eflfective method; for the uniform chosen at that meeting has endured to our own day.

    The new dress was worn by the full Regiment the following June. In 1836. oddly enough while doing another tour of riot duty, the addition of a pair of epaulettes was approved and by 1837 the uniform as we know it today was being worn by all of the companies. Fred Porter Todd

    COAT OF ARMS OF THE SECOND CAVALRY. Mr. Edward C. Kuhn, of North Tonawanda, N. Y., has called to our attention that the coat of arms of the Second Cavalry as illustrated on page 107 of the Journal (Fall, 1937) is not drawn

    according to the blazon. In other words, while the outlines are accurate, the colors have not been correctly tricked (indicated in black and white lines by a conventional system). Mr. Kuhn's criticism is quite justified and has been supported by the Office of the Quartermaster General. Through the courtesy of Mr. A. E. DuBois of that office, we have been furnished with the official drawing of the coat of arms, as prepared for the standard of the Regiment. It is reproduced herewith. While it will be noted that the shapc of the shield differs from that previously shown, the shape has actually no heraldic signi- ficance.

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  • American Military History 199


    CE 5-6-13 DATED JUNl 4 1921



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