I did some research on CW cavalry uniform items and equipment.. Many old timers who bought their gear years ago will be amazed at how much it now costs. I’ve decided to publish this as a guide for new troopers or for old timers who might want to update or replace their stuff. My favorite sutler is the Regimental Quartermaster www.regtqm.com. They have excellent quality, and are great to deal with. Their prices, however, are high-end. For cheaper prices try C&C Sutlery, here in Idaho, www.ccsutlery.com. Another one you might try is Fall Creek Sutlery. They also show up at our larger events and usually have a tent to sell uniform items & equipment. Except where noted, these prices are from the Regimental Quartermaster catalog. NOTE: These prices may have changed, as I wrote this several years ago. Prices for firearms are current as of July 2015. Required Items (must have by close of 1st reenacting year): Union Shell Jacket, Cavalry Trim, $169.50. As an alternative, a Union Sack Coat, $79.50. The Shell is preferred, as it identifies one as a cavalryman. But, if cost is an issue, the sack coat will do. Shirt, Natural Muslin $37.00 or, Shirt, Print, $41.00. These prices are a little high; CC sutlery prices them in the $20's. You might want to get two, so you can have a fresh shirt each day. U.S. Mounted Trousers, $104.50. Suspenders (Braces) $14.95. CC Sutlery has the same thing for $9.00. Cavalry Boots, $165 or Brogans, $94.50. Cavalry boots are preferred, but brogans will do. NOTE: If purchasing boots, GET THEM ONE SIZE LARGER, AND WEAR TWO PAIR OF WOOL SOCKS. This will prevent blisters. Forage Cap—NOT a kepi. Standard headgear for enlisted troopers in our club. These are as commonly sold just about everywhere. Prices range from $35 to over $100. Regimental Quartermaster charges $39.50. I make a very nice custom-fit model for $45. Cap Insignia--we wear distinctive cap insignia consisting of false embroidered cavalry sabers, letters and numbers. These are not readily available from sutlers, but I have a source. Cost will be around $17 for a set. You will absolutely need a canteen. We require them on the field. Reg. Quartermaster price is $52.50, but you can get them a lot cheaper. I recommend the stainless steel model.
Optional Items: These are not required, but very nice to have. You can pick these up any time: Tin Cup, large, $16.50. You can't use modern cups/cans/bottles to drink out of in camp when the public is around. Sutlers at events have these cups cheaper. Haversack, black -tarred $28.50. Originally used to carry rations, we carry ammo, food and personal items, like wallet and car keys. Wood folding chair, about $15 from Cost Plus Imports. It's really nice to have a place to sit down. Pocket Watch: Sorry, wrist watches are FARB. You can get pocket watches at stores like Target, Mervyns, etc. Almost any one will do, except the Harley Davidson model. Gauntlets: These were optional during the war, but most cavalrymen purchased them. Prevent hand burns when firing weapons with primitive breech loading systems, like the Sharps. Prices vary.
Weapons: You can generally borrow weapons for the first year or so, but if you decide to stay in the hobby, eventually you will have to buy them. We use the M1860 Army STEEL FRAME Colt replica .44 cal. NOT brass-frame, Remington, or any other caliber!! Best price I've seen is Cabela's, for $279.00 (sometimes cheaper on sale). They have a web site. You can order and have it shipped directly. Traditionally, we've carried the Sharps .54 percussion cavalry carbine. However the club has changed to rules to allow us to carry Spencer repeating 7-shot carbines. So now, we are moving toward Spencers, but we will still allow Sharps. If you buy a Spencer, get the .56-50 model (not the .45) as inexpensive, reloadable blanks are available. Plan on paying up to $1,700 for a Spencer, around $1.200 for a Sharps. The Model 1860 light cavalry saber is a totally useless item we never draw in battle. Nevertheless, as cavalry, we would have worn them. Mine, which is excellent quality, came from Atlanta Cutlery, www.atlantacutlery.com, and was priced at $89.96. I consider this an optional piece of equipment. I hope this has been helpful. If you are a new trooper I recommend you shop around for most of this stuff in order to get the best prices.