Sites & Forums! by
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
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..."