RARE WAR OF 1812 TO MEXICAN WAR OFFICER’S SASH

$800.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 766-1557

During the War of 1812 officers in the regular army and militia were required to wear red silk sashes while on duty. Regulations in 1821 called for them to be knotted in front of the right hip, but portraits of the War of 1812 period show it and the practice likely goes back to the 1790s, if not earlier, and if not systematically applied. About 1832 this seems to have changed to placing the knot on the left hip, perhaps from carrying the sword on a waistbelt.

These early sashes were of the construction presented here, crimson silk and flat woven with long tassel/fringe ends, some in the style referred to as sprangwork. About the time of the Mexican War the style shifted and regular army officers begin showing up in daguerreotypes with sashes having a turk’s head knot (usually formed over a wood “mold”) at either end, from which the tassels extended.

This example of the early flat-woven style is about 20 feet, 6” long with 6.5-inch fringe and is about 6.5-inches wide at full width, though it would be worn folded lengthwise. Early sashes were reputedly wide enough and strong enough to carry a wounded officer off the field, at least that is said to be the case of General Braddock in the French and Indian War. The condition of this one is excellent. The crimson color is strong and there are just a very few small holes/runs, as can be seen in the photos above. It would make a wonderful addition to an officer’s uniform or sword from the Federal period up to the Mexican War and perhaps even a bit later in the case of conservative militia units. (See Chartrand, Uniforms and Equipment of the U.S. Forces in the War of 1812; Kochan, The U.S. Army 1783-1811; and Emerson, Encyclopedia of U.S. Army Uniforms and Equipment for details and examples.)  [sr] [ph:L]

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