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R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)

Blood Stripes!
Chapultapec Or Uniform Regulations?
From the book, The Marines, by Edwin Howard Simmons, J. Robert Moskin, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, 1998
"...For generations drill instructors have solemnly told recruits that the scarlet stripe on the blue trousers of Marine officers and noncommissioned officers are "blood stripes" in honor of Marines killed in storming of Chapultapec in Mexico City in 1847. Interesting but not true.

The wearing of stripes on the trousers began in 1834, following the Army's practice of having trouser stripes the color of the facings. Col. Henderson prescribed buff-white stripes for officers and sergeants. When in 1839 the uniform changed back to dark blue coats faced red, officer trouser stripes became dark blue edged in red. Ten years later officer stripes changed to red and in 1859 the uniform regulations prescribed a scarlet welt inserted into the outer seam for officers, and a scarlet cord for staff noncommissioned officers and musicians.

After more variations were tried, finally, in 1904 the simple and striking all-scarlet stripe was adopted..."

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