IDENTIFIED G.A.R. VETERAN’S SLOUCH HAT WITH CORPS BADGE OF HENRY R. MAYETTE, 124th NEW YORK, “ORANGE BLOSSOMS:” PRESENT AT GETTYSBURG, WIA NORTH ANNA RIVER 1864

$595.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 490-5902

This Grand Army of the Republic Civil War veteran’s hat bears the owner’s name in ink inside the sweatband: “H.R. Mayette” and comes with a 2018 letter from the Pennsylvania antique dealer who originally sold it. The hat is the regulation style, made of black felt, creased fore and aft, with a grosgrain ribbon around the base of the crown, and in this case carrying an embroidered G.A.R. badge on the front, consisting of the letters GAR in silver, inside a gold wreath, and on its side the red diamond badge of the First Division, Third Corps, added by the veteran to indicate his wartime unit association.

The hat is in excellent condition, now lacking just the hat cord with it when found, and just carrying a little dust. It has a fully intact and in-place leather sweatband impressed with the retailer’s trademark: “The M.C. Lilley & Co. / COLUMBUS, OHIO.” The sweatband is light brown in color, showing just a few scattered darker brown spots from wear. M.C. Lilley started in 1835 in bookbinding, but moved into the regalia business in the late 1860s or early 1870s, adding military goods about 1874. The business name M.C. Lilly Co. dates to 1882 and they much later absorbed the Henderson-Ames company.

The owner, Henry R. Mayette, served in the 124th New York. The regiment organized in summer 1862, left the state in September and served in the 3rd Corps from October 1862 to March 1864, then moving into the 2nd Corps, and mustering out in June 1865. Mayette enlisted at age 19 on 8/5/1862 at Walkill, NY, and mustered into Co. K of the 124th NY as a private on 9/5/1862. He was promoted to corporal 3/5/64 and to sergeant 11/15/64. He was wounded 5/23/64 at the North Anna River as Grant edged to his left from Spottsylvania, forcing Lee to pull back again to keep between him and Richmond, and may have been sidelined for a time, but made sergeant in November was mustered out with the regiment on June 3, 1865.

The regiment drew heavily from Orange County and is well known among collectors by its nickname, the “Orange Blossoms.” Its losses were heavy: 11 officers and 138 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, and another 388 officers and men wounded in engagements that included fighting at Chancellorsville and Grant’s Overland Campaign, etc.  It is best known, however, for its gallant fighting on Juy 2 at Gettysburg where it was part of the  1st Division 3rd Corps, whose badge Mayette added to his hat, reflecting its importance to members of the unit, who used it on the cover of their 1877 regimental history, and were especially proud of their service at Gettysburg. Their regimental history is most unusual in containing a fold-out plate of the unit in line of battle that day, noting the position of  every officer and man. Mayette stood in the rear rank, second from right, covering Corp. J.R. Conning, one of three corporals on duty with company that day and posted in their customary positions in the front rank.

Mayette survived to return home, marry twice and become superintendent of the American Cigar Box Lumber Company in Brooklyn. He live to attend the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of Gettysburg in 1913, only to be killed just a few months later in a freak accident at the factory, and interred in Middletown, NY.

This is a great G.A.R. hat owned by a veteran with some very interesting service.  [sr] [ph:L]

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