EXCELLENT CIVIL WAR ISSUE FORAGE CAP

$2,750.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 2024-541

This is an excellent example of the Union army regulation issue forage cap that is solid and displays very well, showing strong color, no moth damage (we see just one pinprick that might qualify,) tight seams, full interior brown polished cotton lining and full sweat band securely in place. The chinstrap is present and is the usual form supplied by contractors, made with a single, floating, flat frame buckle that acted as a top against standing loops sewn at the ends of the two-piece leather strap, which is secured on either side by an infantry eagle-I button. These are securely attached and the thread looks old, so they may have been a soldier’s or officer’s upgrade to the usual general service side buttons on an issue cap or indicate a commercial cap closely following the issue pattern, though we see a small stain inside at the top center of the lining perhaps indicating it once had a contractor’s paper label. The sweatband shows some light wear in spots along the lower edge and the polished cotton lining shows some rubbing to the finish, but both are very good, complete, in place, and tight.

Forage caps were descended from the prewar shako, at least as they looked after exposure to the elements, and adopted army-wide for fatigue wear, with the Hardee hat serving for dress and other purposes, but it quickly became the typical headgear of the Union soldier in the field, at least as far as eastern armies were concerned, and are the most recognizable piece of Civil War headgear. They are a key piece in any Civil War collection or display, and scarce in spite of the large numbers manufactured during the war. Most soldiers probably went through several in their army service and few thought to preserve them. Those that were kept usually met their fate in doing chores around a farm, as food for moths in attics, or were simply discarded over the years by the veteran or his family. Those in government stockpiles were sold off as the army was reduced and regulations changed, and surplus dealers advertised them as cheap workman’s caps for years after. This is a very nice example that displays well and is in unusually good condition.  [sr][ph:m/L]

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