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Original U.S. WWI Named M1911 Rain Poncho For African American Soldier From Company B, 509th Engineers

Regular price $450.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic and rather rare example of a US Army M1911 Rain Poncho. The 1911 Poncho replaced the 1908 Poncho, Specification No. 960, which had been adopted by the Army on June 4, 1908. According to the specifications for the 1911 Poncho, excluding the extension along the lower edge, the new poncho measured 75 inches in length and 59 ¼ inches in width. It weighed in somewhere between 2 pounds, 10 ounces and 3 pounds. It was made from waterproofed, khaki cotton duck cloth that weighed between 7 ½ to 8 ounces per linear yard. A 6 foot length of No 3 gilling line was fitted to the square edge of the poncho. Twenty-one standard Army, No. 70, brown japanned, brass tack buttons of 78 line diameter were used throughout the poncho, though there appears to be a few missing from this example. The opening in the poncho’s center through which the head passed was 13 inches long. Two tack buttons were placed along the rear edge of the opening, which, when fastened to the corresponding buttonholes on the forward edge of the opening, closed the opening when the poncho was used as a ground sheet or a tarp. A falling collar that was made from the same fabric as the poncho surrounded three sides of the center opening. The collar was 3 inches wide at the center and 5 ½ inches wide at each end. A tack button was placed on the right hand point of the collar and the left hand point had a corresponding buttonhole. Ten equally spaced buttonholes were placed along the lower, straight edge on the underside of the poncho, One additional buttonhole was situated just to the left of the center seam. Six equally spaced buttonholes were placed along the outside, lower, left hand edge. In addition, six equally spaced tack buttons were placed on the 3 inch wide by 30 inch long extension located on the lower right hand side. Twelve equally spaced tack buttons and buttonholes ran the length of the right hand edge of the poncho. The left hand side also had twelve equally spaced tack buttons and buttonholes which were covered by a matching 1 ½ inch wide khaki cloth fly. All outer edges of the poncho were reinforced with a 1 ½ inch wide strip made from the same material as that of the poncho.

A standard contract label was either sewn or stamped in ink on the inner, front side of the poncho, typically near the lower, right hand corner. The label or stamp was to show the name of the contractor, the date of the contract, the name of the depot, and it had a space at the bottom for the inspectors’ name. This one reads as:


The reverse side of this poncho has the name Richard Woods, who we believe to be Private Richard Woods of Company B, 509th Engineers. We have not been able to locate much on him other than his unit.

Overall an excellent piece of history that comes more than ready for further research and display.

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