Military Epaulet (Shoulder Scale)
This brass epaulet, or shoulder scale, was found near the quartermaster's storehouse of the second Fort Smith. An epaulet like this one was worn on each shoulder to designate the rank for artillery, cavalry, or infantry. This particular epaulet would have been worn by a sergeant some time between 1854 and 1872. Scales could be worn on the field or dress uniform until 1862 when they were only allowed for dress occasions, such as parade duty. Scales for enlisted men were finally abolished altogether in 1872. Military insignia are valuable for the identification of what authority, branch, company, and job in military life a soldier held.
Did You Know?
The soldiers who came to Fort Smith in 1817 were still using some 18th century technology and drill. The cannon was discharged using a lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the primer, which originally was loose powder or a turkey quill filled with powder.