FORMER SIGNAL CORPS MEMBER G.A.R. CAP WITH INSIGNIA, EX-MOLLUS COLLECTION

$975.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-18

This G.A.R. cap is one of the pieces we obtained from the MOLLUS museum. The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U.S., composed of former Union officers, incorporated their “War Library and Museum,” in 1888. From 1922 it was housed in a Philadelphia townhouse. It closed to the public in 2008 after plans for a new location or link with another institution failed. Parts of the collection were transferred to other museums and the remainder dispersed recently at auction.

The cap is a kepi of medium height, with gold cord chinstrap and side buttons in place. The bound visor is secure and has a small paper label with the number “5” near one corner on the upper surface and glue remnants with a small corner of paper from a long rectangular label that had been on the underside. The blue cloth body of the cap is very good, showing fading but no moth damage. The black silk lining has is embossed at center Charles Naylor, Philadelphia, maker/retailer address at 104 N. 5th St., where Bazelon, Vol. 1, places him from 1914 to 1923. The front of the cap has an embroidered bullion wreath badge with G.A.R. post number “31” at center. Given the Philadelphia location of the Mollus museum, the cap certainly belonged to a member of General McCall Post 31 in nearby West Chester.

Mounted on top of the cap is an embroidered signal corps badge. This shows dust and some fading commensurate with the cap and is original to it. The insignia may even be the former soldier’s wartime insignia, though we can’t guarantee it since versions of the insignia were used for many years thereafter. Although specified in 1864 regulations, wartime photos make clear that signal corps officers and enlisted men wore a variety of insignia. The common element was the crossed signal flags, which might appear on their own, with a torch (as here,) with stars between the flags, with a torch and a “U.S.,” with or without a wreath, etc. See Military Images Nov-Dec 2001 for some examples. In this case the roughness of edge of the oval blue background indicates it may have had a jaceron wire border that is now missing.

Some searching of records might turn up the post member with a signal corps background. There can’t have been many: it was a small wartime corps in the first place. Given the date of the Naylor address, he survived at least to 1914. We did turn up an online photograph of some members of the post during the period. Our man may be among them. If he is, suspicion might settle on the fellow at right front center. The resolution of the image is not very high, but he may be wearing a signal corps insignia on the front of his cap. In any case, this cap displays very well, shows the pride the veteran had in his service in the corps, and would nicely extend the wartime story of corps members into their veteran years.  [sr]  [ph:L]

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