At the time of Custer, suspenders were actually considered part of one's underwear and would not have been worn openly...
I would certainly agree with you, especially since there is not a single word from anyone who was in the regiment saying suspenders were part of the uniform or even that someone wore them. Having said that, however, at least one suspender slide from that period was found among other remnants by the archaeologists.
Best wishes, Fred.
I agree. There's not a single period photo I have yet found showing either a trooper or officer wearing suspenders in the field in that time period. Plus, I don't believe suspenders were military issue at that time. That, however, does not rule out those who wished to wear them by civilian purchase. The Army pants of that time did include buttons for those who wished to privately acquire and wear suspenders. I have no doubt that any trooper or officer who found himself overweight would likely be using a pair to keep their pants up. In one of his private letters to Libby during his furlough in NYC Custer joked that he was eating so well that he might have to wear suspenders when he returned back to his post.
Regarding suspenders and trousers…the waist line of the time period was above, or higher, than where we consider the waist line today. It's my understanding that infantry and cavalry trousers of the time were made with a vent or split in the back to allow for some adjustment and that that split was closed by a leather string or a adjustable tab/buckle. It's also my understanding that the trousers were all fitted with suspender buttons and that most soldiers, regardless of service, wore "braces" or suspenders. I could be wrong in this, but having reenacted a Federal infantry soldier's impression for 20+ years your pants won't stay up without them. The wool, once stretched from use, does not come back and the weight of your equipment belt, especially an indian war era belt with pistol and cartridge box or a prairie belt with holster will pull your pants down eventually. I'm not saying that all soldiers wore suspenders, but I'd guess most did. I've found countless suspender buckles and parts in CW battlefields and campsites. I would suspect that the relative lack of them recovered from the LBH field during the digs could easily be explained by the fact that suspenders were probably very useful, like boot tops, to the Native Americans . Suspenders could be used for tying and bundling all sorts of things in an NA camp. There were also many different styles of suspenders outside of the John Ford look :-)
I thought suspenders were the norm for that time period as I didnt even think belt loops were used till after the turn of the century or later and I even recall a period movie where they just wore a belt around the waist of the pants with no loops but the link on the top seems to have good info .