This is a rarely seen cavalry hospital steward jacket.
It is single breasted and made of six piece construction from dark blue wool broadcloth. The privately tailored jacket is mounted with twelve small (17mm) U.S. Cavalry officers buttons on the breast, with two at each functioning cuff and two on each face of the standing collar. The buttons are not backmarked. The collar is made of grey wool broadcloth, original in color. There are no bolsters present.
The tapered sleeves measure 8⅝” at the elbow, 4¼” at the cuffs and are well gathered at the shoulder seam. Of special note are the two hospital steward’s chevrons set in the sleeves and contemporary to the jacket. Made of light green woolen material, each is 2” wide with a wavy metallic gold braid at the border and a gold embroidered caduceus device with red highlights at the center, its head facing the outer portion of the sleeve. The two chevrons are slightly different in their manufacture. One is 9" long along its top edge, the other is 8½". Both are made of a light green woolen material but the chevron on the left sleeve is backed with a cheesecloth-like fabric.
Medical Department Staff included hospital stewards who were non-commissioned officers that ranked comparably with sergeant majors. Regulations authorized each regiment to have one hospital steward, chosen from among the enlisted men in the unit. This policy was modified on September 6, 1862 by General Order 126 to allow two stewards in Cavalry regiments.
Regulations called for Union hospital stewards to wear an emerald green half-chevron with a two-inch long embroidered caduceus and gold braid trim on each sleeve. Their coat was to be an enlistedman’s frock coat trimmed with crimson facings and a worsted wool crimson sash (an example pictured above.) Latitude appears to have been given as photographs exist of stewards wearing short length jackets such as this. Army regulations specified that men selected as hospital stewards had to be of good character and must be "temperate, honest, and in every way reliable." Temperance was important the hospital steward controlled and dispensed medicinal whiskey. They also assisted in field surgery.