CLASSIC CIVIL WAR “BUMMER” OR FORAGE CAP, EARLY “TYPE-I” BY L.J. & I. PHILLIPS

$4,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-194

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This is an excellent example of an original Civil War Union army regulation Model 1858 Forage Cap decorated by a collector with an original infantry hunting horn and a reproduction corps badge to represent a regiment in the Third Division of the First Army Corps in the Army of the Potomac. Descended from the prewar army shako, essentially a shortened shako with the stiffening removed, this pattern was officially adopted in 1858 for fatigue wear and is the most recognizable piece of Civil War headgear, with most soldiers likely going through several in the course of service.

The is the standard configuration, with a blue wool body, fitted with a tarred/painted leather visor and flat circular top stiffened by piece of thick cardboard, and provided with a glazed leather adjustable chinstrap held by two small general service eagle buttons on the sides, and lined inside with polished cotton and fitted with a thin leather (usually impressed goatskin) sweatband. This has the slightly narrower top and crescent visor now commonly designated by collectors as the Type-I to distinguish it from its boxier counterpart. These are sometimes taken to be contractor variations, but there does seem to be a chronological sequence, with this version showing up earlier.

The condition is excellent, with good color, tight seams and no evident moth damage. The chinstrap is correct, but we feel is a replacement, something fairly common with surplus caps. The buttons are correct and original, showing some age stains, but were likely replaced. The interior is very good. The polished cotton lining is complete and has no tears or wear spots. The sweatband is complete and firmly in place, but lacks most of its finish, which has flaked off, and shows now as a light brown though clearly showing the original impressed checkering.

A strong point with this cap is the presence of much of its original army contractor’s label indicating it is “Size / No. 3” in the army’s standard sizing, helpfully noted as corresponding to size 7 in civilian usage. The bottom edge shows part of the maker’s name “L J & I,” which is just enough to identify it as made by L.J. & J. Phillips.  Lewis J. and Isaac Phillips of New York had huge army contracts for caps every year of the war, furnishing some 35,000 in 1861, 175,000 or more in 1862, 251,000 in 1863, 330,200 in 1864, and even 50,000 on a contract of January 1, 1865. They made both the Type-1 and Type-2 form, and if there is such a thing as a typical Union army forage cap of the Civil War, it is likely one by L.J & I Phillips.

This is an excellent original example of the issue cap. We have left it with the collector’s additions as it came to us.  [sr] [ph:m]

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