U.S. Army Officer Coatee

Dress coat worn by a lieutenant during the U.S.-Mexico War

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The U.S. Army started wearing coatees, or close-fitting short coats with tails, as part of their regulation dress uniforms in 1812. This coatee was worn as part of a U.S. 7th Infantry officer’s dress uniform during the U.S.- Mexican War.

First organized in 1798, the 7th Infantry Regiment is one of the oldest continuously serving regiments in the U.S. Army. It has served in more campaigns than any other infantry unit. The 7th was among the first regiments to garrison Fort Brown, which it defended from Mexican bombardment during the first days of the war between the U.S. and Mexico. The regiment also fought in the Battles of Monterey and Cerro Gordo, the Siege of Veracruz, and the Battle for Mexico City. When Mexico City fell to American forces in September 1847, the 7th was one of the regiments that occupied the city until the end of the war.

New uniform regulations introduced in 1833 made slight changes to the coatee, including worsted, or fringed, epaulettes instead of shoulder wings for officers. The epaulettes for Infantry officers were silver, and those for field officers were more ornate and had heavier fringe. We know this coatee was worn by a lieutenant because of the two buttons and loops on the cuff and the 1/8th inch bullion fringe on the epaulettes. The slits visible on the inside of the tails are pockets.

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U.S. Army Officer Coatee Artifact from Black Mountain
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