CLASSIC CIVIL WAR UNION “BUMMER,” FATIGUE OR FORAGE CAP

$2,950.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 286-1018

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Introduced in 1858 as a cap for fatigue wear (manual labor around camp, etc.,) this cap became the most widely issued and worn piece of headgear in the Union army in all circumstances and is the quintessential Civil War cap recognized instantly by collectors and anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Civil War from photos or drawings.

These were produced in the hundreds of thousands by numerous contractors and issued to every branch of service in the army, most soldiers going through several in the course of their service. Even though made in large numbers by the government and supplemented by privately purchased versions, they are tough to find any more “on the loose,” and are eagerly snapped up. This is the “Type-1,” as defined by some collectors who note the down-turned visor and smaller circumference of the crown tend to be early war characteristics, with caps looking boxier as the war goes on and the visor changing to a flatter configuration, and although some aspects might be contractor variations, the chronology does seem to hold up.

The exterior of the cap shows good color and just a few minor moth nips or tracks. A couple of spots have lost some nap and we see one or two spots where a collector closed up a small tear (over the right side button,) or laid in a piece of matching blue wool to fill a moth bite. These were carefully done, however, not very noticeable, and perfectly acceptable in a 160 year-old piece of headgear. The chinstrap is a replacement that looks good and has original eagle side buttons. Chinstraps were hardly sturdy to begin with, and held on only by the thread of the side buttons. They are thus frequently missing and replaced by collectors to complete a cap so we have left this one in place.

The interior is complete with the original thin goatskin sweatband and the polished cotton lining of the sides and crown is in place and secure. The stitching along the lower edge of the sweatband back form each side of the visor obviously loosened and was re-stitched, but was secure along the visor. The sweatband itself shows just a few cracks and a short tear or two on its top edge and has only one narrow piece missing, on the wearer’s right rear. The polished cotton lining is excellent. There is no maker’s label present. These were paper labels applied to the underside of the crown and seldom survive if the cap was ever worn.

This is a key piece in a Civil War collection and fits a display focused on any army branch of service (infantry, cavalry, artillery, or engineers.) Needless to say, it is also an essential building block for a uniform or headgear collector.  [sr] [ph:L]

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