CIVIL WAR COMMERCIAL FORAGE CAP WITH EARLY FORM 6th CORPS BADGE

$3,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-101

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This original Civil War forage cap with its 6th Corps badge surfaced in 1958 in Johnstown, Fulton County, New York. The cap itself is a commercial version of the army issue forage cap, but of much higher quality, typical of those purchased by officers, and also by enlisted men with some money to spend.  The visor is flat and features a bound edge. The chinstrap is in place, secured by small eagle buttons on each side. It is the same width as those on issue caps, and uses the same floating friction buckle to adjust the strap by acting as a stop against one of the standing loops on the ends of each chinstrap half.

The sweatband is complete and in place inside. The body is lined and has a quilted interior top with the batting extending down inside the side lining. The lining was likely black, but has shifted to green from age and the instability of the dyes. The lining is in very good condition with only a few small stains. The only significant wear spot is at the lower back of the cap, where it would rub against the back of the wearer’s head. The exterior has shifted to a green also, again from the instability of the dyes, oxidation, and exposure to sun light. The fabric is very good on the whole with small moth nips but the only real damage being along the upper and lower edge of the front, where there are threadbare spots, likely from rubbing against the upper edge of the chinstrap.

The corps badge is a simple soldier-made, or home-made, red cross created with two overlapping strips of cloth. The long vertical bar creates religious associations, and who knows the outlook of the soldier or the loved one at home who sent it to him, but simply follows instructions that the badge of the Sixth Corps, officially adopted March 21, 1863, was to be a cross and that it was to be perpendicular. (The diagonal or Greek Cross only took its place in Spring 1864.) Instructions for the badges sent out by army circular sometimes included a drawing, but unless the maker had read one of these or seen one of the army’s issue die cut versions, a verbal or written description would be all there was to go on. The use of red cloth naturally implies he was in the First Division, but the brigade of artillery batteries attached to each corps in the Army of the Potomac often used a red (or scarlet) corps badge as well, likely from it being their branch of service color. In the 6th Corps this was ordered to be the case October 23, 1863, but was likely in effect earlier.

This cap comes with a note from the previous owner, a well-regarded, long-time collector who originally acquired the cap in central New York in 1958 while still a college student. This is a great, original example showing some wear and field use.  [sr] [ph:m]

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