The American Soldier, 1805

Before 1805, the Army had few trained technicians, particularly in the field of engineering, and had depended largely upon foreign experts. To remedy this situation, the engineers were separated from the artillery and the Corps of Engineers, consisting of 10 artillery and engineer cadets and 7 engineer officers, was created in 1802. The Corps was to be stationed at West Point and was to constitute the Military Academy. In 1803, 19 enlisted men were added to the Corps,"to aid in making experiments and for other purposes."

In the left foreground of the scene showing construction work near West Point in 1805 is an artillery cadet in the mixture of commissioned and noncommissioned uniforms prescribed for cadets of artillery. His blue coat is faced and lined with red, and has yellow buttons and wings piped with red-the coat worn by artillery noncoms. On his left shoulder he wears the small epaulette ordered for cadets. His officer's cocked hat bears the black nationalcockade with an eagle button and the red plume of the artillery; with his enlisted man's white linen summer overalls, he is wearing officer's half-boots.

On the right is an engineer private in the blue coat with black velvet collar and cuffs and false yellow buttonholes on the collar, cuffs, and breast adopted for the enlisted men of that Corps in 1803. He is wearing white winter overalls and an artilleryman's cocked hat with a red plume since the cap or shako could not be procured until a year later.

In the background enlisted infantrymen are working clad in the "coarse linen frock and fatigue trousers" allowed by Congress as a part of the annual clothing allowance in March 1802. For protection from the weather, old issue hats, bandanas or anything else that took the wearer's fancy was used as a headdress.