CIVIL WAR MAJOR’S CHASSEUR CAP WITH ORIGINAL U.S. STAFF WREATH

$3,950.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-193

This is a very good condition Civil War chasseur style officer’s kepi, defined by the inset crown and short sides popularized by French light infantry- hence the “chasseur” designation. These were commercially made for private purchase, mostly by officers, who had to furnish all their own uniforms and gear, and this one shows commonly encountered features of the pattern such as the flat visor with bound edge and a narrow chinstrap secured by two small side buttons. The interior shows it to be a high quality product with full black silk lining that is also quilted on the underside of the crown. The light brown sweatband is complete and securely in place, but does show some wear spots and some small chips.

The exterior of the cap is trimmed with three rows of narrow gold braid running around the lower band of the cap, up all four sides an over the fold of the crown where it meets a single row running around the edge of the inset top. Within this circle is a quatrefoil of three braids. These usually corresponded to the U.S. regulations for sleeve braid on officer overcoats with three strands marking a major. Mounted on the front of the cap is a U.S. staff wreath consisting of a “U.S.” in Old English within a wreath that appears to be both original and original to the cap.

The condition is excellent all round. There is some dust and dirt on the exterior and perhaps a pencil-point moth nip or two that is not very obvious. The seams are good and the stitching tight. The color is excellent. The insignia shows oxidation to the bullion wreath, giving it a silvery tone close to the US, which would have been silver to begin with. The wreath was a high grade product with strands of “dead and bright” bullion, the later used to indicate the stems of the leaves and retaining much of its gold color, which nicely accents the rest of it. It is firmly attached with no loose or threadbare strands and the old brown thread attaching it at the edge of the underlying fabric.

The interior is in very good condition as well, with no tears or runs to the lining, though it does show a little wear on the sides at the rear with some very small holes and some rubbing and light staining to the silk. These are places of natural contact with the head and are nice signs the cap was actually worn.

We don’t have an identification of the wearer, but this would look great in a headgear display or exhibit of officers’ uniforms. The US wreath would in theory place the wearer in a staff position assisting a general officer, as likely as any to be serving near the front lines, but we do see the insignia occasionally used by regimental field officers and sometimes by surgeons in lieu of the regulation “MS” wreath.  [sr] [ph:m]

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