Leggings and Puttees
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In 1904 the Army adopted a shorter calf length legging, departing from the taller pre 1900 legging which covered the top of the foot. These leggings are marked with a patent date of 1903 and manufacture date of June 21 1907. They are also marked to the New York Depot and one of it's inspectors. Unlike the pre 1900 legging, the 1904 pattern was worn with opening on the front of the calf. Compared to the M1907 and M1910 leggings, the M1904's saw limited use by the time of the Punitive Expedition in 1916 as most stocks were used up by then.
These leggings are pre 1910 and many of this pattern saw extensive use by soldiers during the Punitive Expedition in 1916. The legging was secured by a web strap that wrapped around the calf, passing through several loops, and finally secured by a buckle at the top. Like the 1904 pattern,they were worn on the calf, opening to the front, though I have seen photographs where the opening is worn to the side. This pattern was also worn by soldiers through the 1917-1918 time frame, though the 1910 and 1917 patterns were dominant by then. This legging can be seen worn in France by African American doughboys attached to the French Army.
The 1910 pattern of legging departed from the web strap and reverted back to the use of laces passing through eyelets and hooks. Laces had not been used on Army issue leggings since the M1904 pattern. The number of eyelets and hooks are kept to a minimum, retaining the simplicity of lacing the leggings. The 1910 pattern is quite dominant seen in period photographs of soldiers training stateside and arriving overseas. Many variations of 1910 the leggings exist.
Variations of the M1910 leggings
The leggings are stamped inside, "Pat Appd for 17". These leggings are entirely different in design from the M1907 and M1910 leggings. They are similar to leggings worn during the Spanish American War, in that they now covered the top of the foot providing more ankle support for the soldier wearing them. A web strap would pass under the arch of the foot then secure by a buckle on the side of the legging. This helped keep the legging in place. The 1904, 1907, 1910 leggings would often ride up the soldiers' calf during daily wear and that problem was not encountered with the M1917 pattern. Mounted troops wore a variation of this legging that had leather on the inside of the legs.
Marine Corps model leggings, USMC marked inside
These leggings, marked USMC-867, have leather foot straps. A fellow collector and I have discussed this particular legging as he has a similar one dated 1918, though in a lighter shade of drab. Both of us feel that this legging could be post war, maybe 1930's, but we are not sure. Any insight on this legging would be greatly appreciated, and please feel free to send me an email.
This is one of several variations of leather leggings as worn by officers and enlisted soldiers.
These British style wool wrap leggings, known as puttees, were adopted by American troops because the canvas leggings were impractical in the muddy trenches. In fact most of the Eurpean Armies were wearing puttees by 1917. Even the German Army, famous for it's knee high leather boots, was wearing puttees with ankle boots, in an effort to conserve leather. Puttees were about 8-12 feet long with 3-5 feet long tie ribbons. A soldier would wrap these around his leg starting from the ankle going all the way up to the knee. Four variations are shown here made from different shades and weaves of wool.
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