The Museum's superb military collections document the history of the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. The collections include ordnance, firearms, and swords; uniforms and insignia; national and military flags and banners; and many other objects.
The strength of the collections lies in their enormous depth. Some 3,000 military small arms and 2,400 civilian firearms document the mechanical and technological history of the infantryman's weapons from the beginning of the gunpowder era to the present. Among the 4,000 swords and knives in the collection are many spectacular presentation pieces. The collections also include Civil War era telegraph equipment, home front artifacts from both world wars, early computers such as ENIAC, Whirlwind, and Sage, and materials carried at antiwar demonstrations.
"Military - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Physical Description
- Dark-blue cloth, double-breasted, with two parallel rows of buttons. Standing collar and cuffs of dark-blue velvet; the collar and cuffs are embroidered in gold, with oak leaves and acorns, according to the designs in the Topographical Bureau. Buttons bear the shield of the United States and the letters "T.E." in old English characters.
- Chapeau for Officers of Topographical Engineers
- The chapeau is of black beaver felt and is described in the regulations as "cocked without binding; fan or back part not more than eleven inches, nor less than nine inches; the front or cock not more than nine inches, nor less than eight inches; each corner, six inches; black ribbons on the two front sides." The ends are decorated with tassels of gold bullion; the front has a black silk cockade under a gold loop, eleven inches long, ornamented with a gilt spread eagle, a scroll, and the button of the Corps. The plume is of black swan feathers, drooping from an upright stem, feathered to the length of eight inches.
- Specific History
- This coat and hat were part of the uniform of a Topographical Engineer.
- General History
- Topographical Engineers were authorized for War Department duty by a March 3, 1813 act, to conduct engineering surveys for military purposes and to explore routes for the passage of troops. Specifically the duties of the topographical engineers were "to make such surveys and exhibit such delineations as the commanding generals shall direct; to make plans of all military positions which the army may occupy and of their respective vicinities, indicating the various roads, rivers, creeks, ravines, hills, woods, and villages to be found therein; to accompany all reconnoitering parties sent out to obtain intelligence of the movements of the enemy or of his positions; to make sketches of their routes, accompanied by written notices of everything worthy of observation therein; to keep a journal of every day's movement when the army is in march, noticing the variety of ground, of buildings, of culture, and distances, and state of roads between common points throughout the march of the day; and lastly, to exhibit the positions of contending armies on the fields of battle, and the dispositions made, either for attack or defense."
- date made
- ca 1830
- associated date
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center