Documenting the American South Logo
William Bradley Umstead, 1895-1954
Service Coat, Summer Issue.
From the William B. Umstead World War I Collection
North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Click to Enlarge

View Options

View at 50% (ca. 26K)
View at 100% (ca. 74K)

Source Description
Service Coat, Summer Issue.
Call Number:
North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Physical Description:

SUMMER SERVICE COAT, United States Army, 1917-1918; heavy cotton twill, high collar with dual chest pockets and dual waist pockets, eagle-crest brass buttons, five buttons on center and one on either shoulder, silver-tone first lieutenant's bars on shoulders, "U.S." [regular army] and 317th Machine-Gun Battalion insignia on collar, officer's braid on end of sleeves above cuff; "WB" marked out in ink on inside of collar, "HGW" handwritten in ink above; overall coat in good condition with some stains, appreciable portion of braid on sleeves missing, unraveled, or consumed by moths.


In addition to headgear and coats, the Umstead Collection contains army-issued trousers, belts, leggings, a duffle bag, blanket, knapsack, and many other military and personal items. This summer coat may have been the one that Umstead was wearing when he and his battalion left New York Harbor aboard a steamship bound for Europe on July 31, 1918. On such coats the rank of lieutenant is identified by a single-bar on either shoulder and a single braid on the lower sleeves. The braidís position farther up the sleeve on this coat (to conform with dress codes), the evidence of earlier insignia stitched near the cuffs, and the two sets of handwritten initials inside the collar suggest that this coat was formerly worn by another soldier, most likely an enlisted man. Umstead was probably reissued this piece of clothing or adopted it and updated its insignia.

Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.