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1929 Period, U.S. Army, 1921 Pattern, White Color, Mess Dress Uniform, Belonging to a Infantry, Brigadier General, Named: "Charles Duval Roberts" - Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
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Description
 
This uniform is of the 1929 period when then Colonel Roberts became a Brigadier General (i.e.: a 1 Star General). This uniform is a U.S. Army, 1921 Pattern, White Color, Mess Dress Uniform. It includes it's gold color braid epaulettes and it's matching white color vest. The cut of this uniform follows the rare 1921 Pattern fairly closely. Running down the chest are 2 rows of 3 gold color buttons. These 6 buttons are of the removable type which include their 6 brass mounting rings that secures them from within. These buttons are all matching and are of the cheaper 1 piece face types. These buttons have matching hallmarks in back. There were suppose to be 2 frontal closure buttons, but they were missing when we acquired this uniform. The museum has included 2 matching buttons which are also matching in their hallmarks to the others. These buttons would often be of a smaller size than those 6 frontal chest buttons. But found on this uniform are 2 button holes (actually there are 4 button holes, 2 of which are decorative and are not used) of the larger size variety; we have included 2 matching closure buttons of the correct larger size to match. They are hallmarked to match those 6 larger chest buttons. A small fake gold chain is needed to connect to these 2 frontal buttons together as 1 assembly. And such a cheap chain item is easy to find in any antique shop. Each lapel has 1 decorative button hole at the top as is often common to find on this pattern uniform.

The collar lapels are not stain trimmed as is also correct for this pattern jacket. Found placed on each shoulder are the required, Model 1902 officer's gold braid epaulettes. These 2 epaulettes are of the correct slip-on style, and have the correct white color wool backing. They each have white color leather tongues attached, as should be expected to be found on those earlier types of these epaulettes. Later examples of these epaulettes had their tongues made out of a cheaper cloth or fake leather/plastic like material(s). These have the eariler seen, larger size grommet holes as well. They do not have any tailor's label attached (Nuts!). Their gold braid is well aged on their upper surfaces, while the inner gold strands of this braid, which is mostly inaccessible to the touch, it still of a brighter gold color. This 2 tone gold braid color adds much character to this uniform that otherwise is a fairly "Plain Jane" ensemble. Each of these 2 epaulettes are held in place with the correct type of removable, screw down buttons. These 2 screw down buttons are matching and are hallmarked.

As for the sleeves, each has the correct white color, extra wide width braid for the rank of a General. As is correct even to this day, 2 bands of this extra wide braid are used on each cuff so as to get the proper width rings required for the rank of a General. Found sewn just above each sleeve ring of white color braid are the single star insignia for the rank of a Brigadier General. Each star is embroidered in a white color thread, and they are some of the crudest stars that we have ever seen embroidered. Perhaps they were embroidered at home by a non-tailor type of a person (mom?). These 2 stars were then hand sewn to each sleeve.

As for the back of this jacket, it is cut in the proper fashion for the pattern.

Moving on to the inside of this jacket, it is of the partially lined type. But in this case the partial lining gives a bit more coverage than is usual. Most of these jackets have very minimal lining coverage. But this mess jacket has a bit more lining coverage than is usual. The lining material appears to be the same type of material that this uniform is constructed out of. As is unfortunately very common, there is no tailor's label found sewn inside (we hate it when that happens!). But oddly enough, this lining has a inner pocket added which is not always found on these mess dress uniforms. There is no writing or markings found on or in this inside pocket.

Overall this mess dress uniform is made out of a very tough, white color, very heavy twill/linen type of material. This heavy material is reminiscent of a light gauge, high grade of a canvas-like material. It's toughness probably explains why this uniform held up for so long of a period. When we acquired this uniform is was completely ruined by heavy yellowing and by gigantic water stains. We could not believe our luck, but during the cleaning/restoration process, almost all of this staining was removed (WOW......how lucky was that!). Kudos go to our cleaner for bringing this rare and precious uniform back to life again in all of it's original splendor. However, as expected, there are still some tiny stains here and there, along with a few snags and the like. We conservatively condition rate this uniform is a HIGH GOOD CONDITION, and will let the pictures speak for themselves.

When this uniform was acquired it included it's matching vest. This vest is definitely of an earlier style as it's cut, number of buttons, etc. are not of the more common W.W.II, Pattern of 1937. This vest is made out of the exact same material as the jacket. It includes 2 outer vest pockets, and that feature is fairly rare to find. The collar lapels are definitely of a very early period formal style of a vest. This vest was just as ugly with much staining extant, as was the mess jacket. But once again, our trusty cleaner did miracles and got this vest back to a bright white color again. This under vest is in the same condition as the jacket, with the same small flaws. However, found near the bottom of the back lower edge are 2 tiny holes, and 1 larger, 1" x 1" square shape tear/hole. These 3 holes are, thankfully, well hidden inside of this ensemble. There appears to be enough extra unused lining material found inside the lining and sems of this vest to probably allow a competent tailor to make a repair patch to close this hole up. But since these 3 holes are well hidden from view, there is not much reason to go through all the extra trouble and expense to get them repaired. That restoration decision will remain with the new buyer. Due to the 3 holes we will very much underrate the condition of this vest as in only FAIR CONDITION. But in reality, overall it looks just fine.

Now for the good part. As proof of provenance of the owner's name of this General's uniform, found faintly hand inked inside of the rear center seam are the letters: "CDR ?32", which is obviously for "Charles Duval Roberts". We do not know what the partially unreadable number of "?32" stands for. Perhaps this partially unreadable number was a partial serial number of sorts? So.......is this enough proof of provenance for you folks yet? If not, well then we have something even more enticing for you to munch on. And this is, found very faintly hand inked on the outer surface of 1 of the vest's inner pockets is this lovely little tidbit of information to drool over: "Col. C.D. Roberts 1928".

Well there you have it. Here is an identified uniform with DOUBLE proof of provenance! This is as good as it ever gets friends. But now remember......that this uniform grouping belonged to a PROVEN HOLDER OF THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR!!!!!!! And if you think that a uniform grouping that is proven to have belonged to a W.W.I or W.W.II Medal of Honor recipient is rare and expensive to find these days, then just look at how many Medal of Honor's were award during the very short lenth of the Spanish American War. Also, being several wars back in time from our present time, makes a Medal of Honor uniform grouping of this very early age unbelievably rare and desirable. Also, knowledgeable collectors should note that during the Civil War many Medal of Honors were awarded to soldiers who did virtually nothing of significance to earn it/them. And yet those same Civil War period Medal of Honor medals still command gigantic prices today. Just ask yourself how many Medal of Honor medals were issued in each war, and how long did such a war last, and you will know the great importance of this documented Infantry grouping. To add a little sugar to tempt you some more, here is the rather brief, but very revealing citation for the award of 2nd Lieutenant Robert's Medal of Honor: "For Galantry Assisted In The Rescue Of The Wounded From In Front Of The Lines Under Heavy Fire From The Enemy". Awarded, July 1st, 1898, El Canney, Cuba.

Comments from the Curator:

All that you need to know about this fantastic grouping belonging to a rare combat Infantryman's, Medal of Honor recipient is listed above. There is nothing that is needed to embellish this already 1 of a kind, historically significant grouping. This is THE BEST OF THE VERY BEST.

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