INDIAN WAR ENGINEER OFFICER’S KEPI

$1,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 480-184

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

The Corps of Engineers has always been small and elite. Before the Civil War officers were drawn from the top of each class and many of the most famous Civil War generals started in that corps, Lee and McClellan among them. The Civil War expanded the number of enlisted men in the corps from one regular company to four, and a fifth in 1866, with volunteer units supplying the bulk of the manpower and officers. The regular officer corps remained small, however, even after the topographical engineers were made part of it again in 1863.

This is a high-quality Engineer officer’s cap from the Indian War period, with a nice deep blue wool exterior showing just some dust and one tiny moth nip. The bound, black leather visor is in place and secure, with good surface and just some losses to the tarred finish on the underside where it may have lain on something or where the officer’s thumb would touch it in putting it on or taking it off. The narrow leather chinstrap is attached with a small US staff buttons at the either side. The turreted castle insignia, introduced in 1839/40, is affixed to the front along with a gold bullion wreath below, that overlaps a wide gold band that is not regulation, but might imply state use or staff duty, as do the buttons. Campbell and O’Donnell indicate the background for the insignia changed from black to dark blue in 1872. Surplus insignia may have been available, of course, but Emerson notes that officers changed from leather chinstraps to gold cord in January/February 1884, likely giving the cap an upward limit on date.

The interior has a nice red silk lining that is quilted on the underside of the top and a small hanging tab with small metal loop sewn inside at the back. The silk shows some rubbing at the back, where it would make contact with the officer’s head, but has not worn through. The sweatband is present and intact, but the most of the stitching holding it is loose. The only defect is a piece of the silk missing from the quilting at that top, which exposes some of the cotton batting lining. This is at center, the usual place for an embossed maker’s mark, that one might suspect had been removed to pass the cap of at some point as Civil War, though it is scarce enough for what it really is and is worthy of a prominent place in an Engineer or postwar army collection.

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