Washington Artillery Uniforms

Notice: Some of the images (all credited) on this page are of artifacts

 from the collection of Confederate Memorial Hall Museum in New Orleans.

They cannot be reproduced in any form without permission from the museum.


In Camp & Battle with the Washington Artillery


Mexican War Era 1840s

First Company, Native American Artillery circa 1840s

(Their sky blue uniforms earned them the nickname "Bluebirds.")

 Shako, circa 1830s like those used in Louisiana (see above lithograph)

 with Napoleonic eagle and letters "L" & "A" for either Light Artillery or Louisiana Artillery

Rare 1839 booklet entitled Address of the Louisiana Native American Association

in which James B. Walton is listed as one of its members.

Antebellum Uniform 1850s

Being a local militia, the Washington Artillery could choose whatever style uniform it desired. It chose to pattern its uniform after the French. After all, New Orleans had a strong French ancestry, and there was a certain amount of "romance" associated with both that European country and its military look. Napoleonic appeal was still strong.

French artillery officer circa 1850s

Washington Artillery officers circa 1850s

(from a lithograph on an 1850s sheet music)

Washington Artillerist circa 1850s

Notice WA buckle and shako hat


Washington Artillery Officer's Uniforms

Antebellum 1858-1860


Washington Artillery "dress" uniforms consisted of dark blue frock coats , royal blue or sky blue pants with a wide red stripe down its outer seam, red kepi with peacock blue band having brass cross cannon and the Zouave-style letters "WA." Collars were red with sewn cloth dark blue crossed cannon. Cuffs were red. Enlistedmen and officers wore standard brass epaulettes attached to the shoulders, Louisiana pelican buttons adorned the front, and white buff belt with shoulder strap. Staff officers wore gold bullion shoulder epaulettes. The buckles were of several variations, including a  rectangular  plate with a pelican within a circle, a rectangular plate with a pelican with rays radiating behind it, or a US Model 1838 two piece sword buckle, altered by removing the "US" and either engraving or casting "WA" on its tongue. Accoutrements consisted of Model 1842 US muskets, cap boxes, and cartridge boxes with brass crossed cannon on their flaps. Knapsacks were black tarred leather with a script "WA" on its flap and a red blanket roll. Every man also carried a sword and pistol. Swords were of various makes and models, some preferring the Thomas, Griswold-made artillery saber with brass scabbard and a white buff leather sword knot.  Pistols varied in make and model. The unit's gold badge of crossed cannon within a circular artillery belt was usually attached to the uniform by a clasp and watch chain as added security against its loss. White gloves, and sometimes even white gaiters, completed the ensemble.

However, as early as September of 1861, the Washington Artillerists' uniform and accoutrements changed. Their blue coats looked too much like their Northern foes and caused confusion in battle. William Miller Owen commented, "The blue cloth dress uniforms have been shipped to Richmond and will there remain for swell occasions. We have reduced our equipment since active service began. Knapsacks have been voted a bore, and have been or will be thrown aside. On leaving home each man had his revolver for 'close quarters' and the sabre was part of the regulation uniform. Both are in disgrace. The revolver will be traded off, sold, or sent home, and the sabres (all that are left, for many have disappeared during the past week) will be turned over to the cavalry."

By March of 1862 Confederate General Joe Johnston would distribute General Order 34, forbidding noncommissioned officers and privates from carrying pistols.

Hand-tinted albumen image of

A. R. Blakeley, 2nd Co. WA.

showing militia uniform with accoutrements-circa 1861


Hand-tinted albumen image of Edward & William Miller Owen

showing antebellum-era officer's militia uniforms

Rectangular pelican (marked "N.O.") buckle type used by William Miller Owen in above image

Rectangular pelican "with rays" buckle type used by Edward Owen in above image

Washington Artillery

Antebellum militia uniform

(Due to their blue color and confusion in battle, these uniforms were soon changed  to

Confederate grey after the First Battle of Bull Run and retired for use at special events.)



Washington Artillery

Antebellum militia uniform of

J. B. Richardson

(Courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)

rear view


 White buff leather sword knot used by WA

 WA Back Pack



Washington Artillery Enlistedman's Uniform

Antebellum 1858-1860


 Private T. H. Fuqua, Third Company WA circa 1861

(from cdv)

WA Enlistedmen (left)

Captain B. F. Eshleman (right) circa 1861

(from imperial size albumen print)


Civil War Era

Washington Artillery uniforms changed to regulation CSA models after confusion at the battle of Manassas at the beginning of the War Between the States.

Their militia blue coats looked too much like the federal uniforms of the North.


Frock Coat

belonging to

William Miller Owen

Owen had his Confederate officer's frock coat tailor-made to his specifications. He chose a special bluish-grey material. However, by 1864 this uniform had seen heavy use.

Unable to afford the purchase of a new one, Owen commented, "Desiring to make a presentable appearance in Petersburg, my good friend Mrs. Dunn has employed a sewing woman to renovate my uniform coat, to turn it inside out, at the cost of $50...[as] ...a new one cost $500."

(courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall)

rear view


Civil War Enlistedman's Shell Jacket


Shell Jacket (left), Joseph Denegre, 5th Co. WA, wearing similar jacket (right)

5th Company, Washington Artillery

(jacket courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall)


Washington Artillery belt

Two-piece cast "WA" buckle on belt, the latter  made from a musket sling

(courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)


Artillery gloves

(courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)


WA kepi

Lieutenant's kepi, Washington Artillery

(courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)



Lt. Vaught, 5th Co. WA

the rowels were made from two New Orleans-made silver coins

(courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)



This form has a tiger head hanging from its artillery belt.

(courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)



Washington Artillery dress uniform 1875

Washington Artillery dress shako circa 1870s- enlisted man's model

circa 1870s (style used 1872-1881)



Washington Artillery dress shako circa 1870s- officer's model


Close-up view of shako's badge insignia


WA kepi 1870s- Indian War era

Note similarity but differences to Civil War era kepi pictured above.

(No peacock blue band, heavier grade gold bullion,

post war pelican kepi buttons on sides and two piece brim)

Artillery  coat circa 1870s - undress or possibly musician's blouse

Label inside coat reads "Walker & Zeller/ New Orleans, La."




Model 1883 uniform

Washington Artillery Commander J. B. Richardson

(cabinet card by Simon of New Orleans)

wearing his 1883 dress uniform.

(image courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)


1883 dress uniform

WA kepi

Undress WA foot artillery helmet

(circa 1881-1901)

US shield with "WA"


close up view of
"WA" on shako plate

Washington Artillery honor guard in their M1883 summer dress uniforms

at City Hall, New Orleans as Ex-Confederate President Jefferson Davis lay in state in 1889.

(image courtesy Confederate Memorial Hall Museum)



Spanish American War


Spanish American War-era


M1898 US uniform in various models

(Lithograph by H. A. Ogden 1899)

Washington Artillery firing at the foot of Canal Street late 1880s.

Enlisted man of the Washington Artillery wearing his sack coat and kepi with WA insignia.

(Above two photos courtesy John M. Fleming Collection)

WA kepi insignia

M1898 Undress Uniform of Washington Artillery

worn by officers and enlisted men

Officer's kepi


M1902 uniforms

Colonel Allison Owen of the Washington Artillery,

wearing his M1902 dress uniform

(note WA commander medal)


Mexican Border


M1912 Field Uniform

In March 1916 the ongoing revolution in Mexico spilled over into the United States when Pancho Villa's guerrillas sacked and burned Columbus, New Mexico. Within days, President Woodrow Wilson dispatched General John J. Pershing with 10,000 troops on a Punitive Expedition into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa.  Pershing spent ten months in Mexico tracking Villa, but was never able to find him. In early 1917 Pershing returned home empty-handed. Further attempts to find Villa were overtaken by American entry into World War I in April of 1917. Three thousand Army Reserve soldiers supported the Punitive Expedition and the accompanying National Guard deployment to the border – the first call-up in the Army Reserve’s history. The Washington Artillery was assigned the name the First Battalion, Louisiana Field Artillery (Washington Artillery) and was part of the 13th Provisional Division when it arrived at the border  on July 18, 1916.

Colonel Allison Owen

of the Washington Artillery, wearing his M1912 field uniform

Men of the Washington Artillery, wearing their M1912 field uniforms


World War I


The United States entered the First World War (1914-1918) on April 6, 1917. The Army set about equipping, shipping and deploying its largest force since the Civil War to France.  The first U.S. units saw action in late 1917, but most of the American divisions came to France in 1918. The Washington Artillery continued to use their M1912 field uniforms during this era.

M1912 Field Uniform

Battery B, 141st Field Artillery upon arrival to the states from their WWI expedition

(Photo courtesy Jay Hotard)

Winter (wool) Uniform, Battery B

(with overseas insignia as in above photo-

ribbons for service at Mexican Border and WWI)

Uniform of Washington Artillerist, Battery B, WWI era

Close-up of WA Battery B collar disc

Close-up of 39th Division patch, left shoulder

 39th Division felt sleeve insignia patch worn by Washington Artillerists in WWI on their uniforms' left upper arms.

First variation

Silver/White  equilateral triangle (with 3 triangles inside:  gold, silver, & blue) within a gold circle on black field.

Second variation

Grey/Silver equilateral triangle (with 3 triangles inside: red, white, & blue) within a red circle on black field.

Winter Uniform, Battery C 

Uniform of Washington Artillerist, Battery C, WWI era

Winter Uniform, Battery A 

Uniform of Washington Artillerist, Battery A, post-WWI era (circa 1918-20s)

The battalion reorganized after WWI on November 25, 1920

under the National Defense Act as Battery A, Field Artillery

of the Louisiana National Guard with Colonel Allison Owen.

(note left collar disc with "LA" on "US" over 141

and right collar disc "A" under crossed cannon designating Battery A)


[more photos pending]

World War II

[photos pending]


more to come later.....