VERY RARE RICHMOND CLOTHING BUREAU / RICHMOND DEPOT ARTILLERY ENLISTED MAN’S CAP

$18,000.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1179-409

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Formerly in the collections of the Texas Civil War Museum, this Confederate artilleryman’s cap is discussed and illustrated as Figures 052a-c in Fred Adophus’s excellent article: “The Quintessential Confederate Cap, Part II: Caps of the Richmond Clothing Bureau” (available online and updated as of June 18, 2023.) Sometimes also referred to as the Richmond Depot, the Richmond Clothing Bureau was one of the regional operations of the CS Quartermaster Department. Richmond produced caps following a fairly standard pattern of its own, much as it did uniform jackets. These caps were chasseur style kepis with a low top and inset crown, and are found in a general service gray and, more rarely, “variegated” with gray sides and branch specific colors on the inset crown and lower band or, like this, with the sides in the branch of service color and the lower band and inset top gray. Adophus was able to record just eight variegated Richmond Depot enlisted artillery caps, and two of those might duplicate other listings.

The cap body is made of Cadet (or “Confederate”) gray and red satinette with white cotton warp, with the lower band one-piece, about 1 1/16” wide, the sides in two pieces, rising about 1 5/8” above the band on the front (allowing for some pushing down on the crown at front center,) and a one-piece inset crown set over a pasteboard stiffener, about 4 ½” inches in diameter inside the top roll of the side panels. The visor is about 2” deep, measured on the underside, and 6 ¼” at its widest. As is characteristic of these visors the cutout is a deep crescent, making it unlikely to shift. The chinstrap is ½” wide. The sweatband is about 1 1/8.” All these measurements, as well as those of the chinstrap, visor, sweatband etc., correspond to Adophus’s specifications for the pattern and he personally viewed the cap in 2008 and 2009 according to the notes in his article.

The interior is lined in unbleached, white Osnaburg cotton, cut like the body with two-piece sides and single top. (Some Richmond Depot caps have a single-piece bag style lining with drawstring top.) There is a pasteboard stiffener inside the top, in place and somewhat wavy as might be expected. The sweatband is one-piece, made of varnished black enameled fabric, with a buckram backing and interior stiffener the height of the lower band. Both visor and chinstrap are in place and also use varnished black enameled cloth in place of leather. The visor is made of pasteboard with the varnished cloth top and bottom and the edge reinforced with a welt or binding machine-stitched in place, and the visor whip-stitched to the cap body. This is one of the few caps that still has its chinstrap. Some are one-piece and non-functional, others are two-piece and functional like this, with standing loops of the same material on each end, with a short tab extending from under the loop on the wearer’s right for adjustment. (Of four caps with the two-piece chinstrap in place, the tab appears on the right on two and the left on two- apparently at the whim of the seamstress.) The side buttons are black enameled, or japanned, tin buttons (technically tinned iron) with four holes, sometimes identified as trouser buttons and seen on other Richmond Depot caps.

The condition is good, solid, showing strong color, and making a great display. It has been professionally conserved to stabilize it and mask a few of the holes with matching fabric that is tough to discern. It still shows its proper age and wear, but can be handled. There are small pencil-point moth nips overall. The gray band shows wear along the bottom edge and moth tracking exposing the off-white weft behind portions of chinstrap and along the lower edge with a 1-inch rectangle and smaller spot next to it at center rear. The red body shows some small holes at center front and narrow holes at lower left and right front sides that have been backed. There is shallow tracking, showing pinkish, on the front and along the lower edge of the side panels, above the band, and some on the top fold, mainly on the left, but with only some larger holes on the rear of the cap backed. The inset top has five or six small wear spots, three of which were backed with matching gray cloth. There is a small threadbare spot at front concealed under the roll of the body pieces.

This is a wonderful cap that would enhance any collection, especially one concentrating on  Confederate artillery, though heavy artillery might drill as infantry also and a composite brigade of 1,400 heavy artillerymen organized as infantry fought in the Appomattox campaign.  [sr][ph:L]

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