CIVIL FORAGE CAP BY MURPHY AND GRISWOLD WITH 14th CORPS BADGE

$4,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-227

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Thomas Murphy, William Griswold & Company were hatters on 19th Street in New York City and had major contracts for caps and hats with the U.S. government from 1862 to 1865, with the firm changing to “Murphy and Griswold” in 1863. This is a very good example of their M1858 forage cap, the classic Union soldier’s cap, with their paper label inside reading “M. & G. / No. 4/ N.Y.” (the “4” indicating one of the army’s standard sizes) with just the left half of the “M” missing with a piece of the paper, but no doubt about the maker. If you are looking for a “typical” Union cap, one by Murphy and Griswold would be up there. In 1862 they had contracts for at least 205,000 and in 1863, when they changed to Murphy and Griswold, 205,700, at least another 370,500 in 1864, and reportedly 50,000 in 1865, the year the firm was dissolved. (See Bazelon, Vol. 2, p.349, for a discussion of the company’s state contracts and its complicated business relationships with both “Murphy & Childs,” and L.J. & I. Phllips.)

The cap has excellent color and only minor stains or dust and some minor moth nips on the wearer’s right side, and a few on the rear of the top and two-thirds of the way down the back on either side of the seam, a few of which have been backed with small bits of matching cloth. The seams are tight. The visor is firmly in place. The interior lining is very good, as is the sweatband, both firmly in place. The chinstrap is secured with two small general service eagle buttons, uses a standard floating friction buckle and two stop loops, and appears to have some age. Some connoisseurs would argue it is likely a replacement and that Murphy and Griswold used only chinstraps with a fixed friction buckle and one retaining loop, though with the company supplying more than 500,000 caps and known to have used subcontractors on occasion, there might be some variation.

The left side of the cap has a cloth blue acorn corps badge of the Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, authorized in April 1864, sewn to it, but we cannot guarantee its age. In any case, the cap shows very nicely and a Union army forage or “fatigue” cap a basic piece in any Civil War collection. The acorn badge is a nice touch and would show off well in a display emphasizing the western theater, the Chattanooga and Atlanta campaigns, March to the Sea, or campaign of the Carolinas.  [sr][ph:m/L]

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