IDENTIFIED 95th PENNSYLVANIA FORAGE CAP - GOSLINE’S ZOUAVES

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Item Code: 33-262

An identified cap from a fighting zouave regiment of the Army of the Potomac, belonging to Joseph M. Greeley, Co. D, 95th Pennsylvania. The regiment recruited in Philadelphia in the fall of 1861 under Colonel John Gosline and received a special uniform supplied through the US Quartermaster Department on a contract from the Philadelphia clothier Rockhill and Wilson. The jacket was short and trimmed with red piping and brass buttons, and the uniform included a characteristic pair of trousers, vest, and this pattern of cap.

The cap is the pattern specifically identifiable to Gosline’s: a medium height forage cap of kepi form, with inset crown, sometimes called a “McClellan style,” made of blue wool, with red/scarlet piping circling the bottom of the cap about an inch from the lower edge, vertical piping rising from that line on front back and sides, which comes up and over the sides of the cap, ending as it touches the crown. Set slightly in from the perimeter of the crown is a separate line of red/scarlet piping forming a circle. A narrow black chinstrap is in place, secured by small brass general service eagle buttons.

The leather sweatband is in place inside the cap and the sides of the body are lined with a brown polished cotton. The underside of the crown has a thin leather stiffener, maroon in color, on which the owner’s name is written is slightly rubbed, thin white paint, “Jos. Greeley.” The cap is in very good shape and solid. The interior lining lacks a few stitches attaching it to the stiffener of the crown, but is in place. The sweatband shows oil and perspiration marks, but is complete and securely in place. The unbound tarred leather visor is in place and secure, but needs three or four stitches replaced over the wearer’s left ear. There are a couple of small moth nips on the right rear and a small one near the left center. The only substantial area is at the bottom rear of the cap below the horizontal piping and one small bit above that exposes the buckram interlining. This does not show as the cap is normally displayed, of course, but would only be a small bit of conservation work to insert a small piece of cloth matching in color and weave and stitch it down to stabilize it.

Greeley had been born in Maryland about 1824, married in 1851, and was making a living as a barber in Philadelphia when he enlisted and mustered in as a private in Co. D of the 95th on 9/18/1861. He served with the regiment until he was discharged for disability 12/27/62 at White Oak Church, near Falmouth, Va., having been diagnosed with chronic rheumatism. During his service with the regiment they had been part of Franklin’s Division of the Army of the Potomac and saw action first in the Peninsular Campaign at West Point and then at Gaines Mill, where they were particularly hard hit, losing at least 16 killed and 28 wounded. During the Antietam campaign they took casualties at Crampton’s Gap and Antietam, and saw action at Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862.

After his discharge Greeley returned to Philadelphia, spent some time in Bridgeton, NJ, but was buried at the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia after his death on 4/24/1888. In addition to his Gosline’s cap, Greeley left behind one other memento. In March 1862 McClellan moved his troops forward toward Richmond after the Confederates evacuated their fortifications around Manassas. Many of the 95th PA were photographed lounging around the empty breastworks at Centreville. Greeley was one of those soldiers who also took time to visit the Fairfax Court House and add his name to about 120 others scrawled on the walls of the attic, first and second floors of the Wilcoxon home. Later named Blenheim, the house is now a Civil War interpretative center, with the graffiti uncovered and preserved, and is open for tours. Someone should take the cap back for a visit.

A scarce piece of Civil War headgear.  [sr]

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