Reference Items
Headgear
Staff Officer's Slouch Hat

Click on an image to enlarge

Staff Officer's slouch hat. This hat exhibits all of the desirable traits of a slouch hat from the Civil War. The fine grade felt retains its original supple texture. The crown is a lofty 5½" high, the brim 3" wide and edged with a silk binding-ribbon which is 11/16" wide, once black and now toned to brown. The ⅜" silk headband ribbon, finely woven, rests beneath an officer's grade hat chord. The chord is composed of alternating wrapped strands of black silk and dead bullion thread. Two acorns are faced with silk filaments under a crocheted silk cap. On the face of the hat is an embroidered staff insignia on black felt, somewhat crudely sewn into place, but appearing to be contemporary to the hat. 

The interior of the hat is a three-ply assembly. The russet-red silk lining, now frayed and worn, is nevertheless present. It is capped with a stiffened top, overlapped at its edges with another layer of the same silk, tensioned with a drawstring thread, and terminating beneath the inner top of the sweatband. The crown of the liner bears a rose motif imprinted in the silk, but no maker's name exists. The brown Russian leather sweatband is original to the hat, 2⅜" wide and unmarked. 

Wide diversity in shape and manufacture are found in the non-regulation slouch hats worn by many officers and enlisted men during the war. Most were privately purchased and customized to the taste of the soldier, bringing great variety to the collecting arena.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-218

Officer’s Pattern Kepi

Click on an image to enlarge

This officer’s kepi of dark blue broadcloth stands 3¾” in front and 5” at its back. The tarred leather brim, 3/16” in thickness, is tight and original, as are the chinstrap, and with two staff buttons. A false embroidered brass officer’s grade infantry device, along with a German silver device "7” are affixed to the front of the kepi. Inside the kepi is a complete 1½” wide Russian leather sweatband. The inside lining is polished cotton linen. The inside top is tarred with no marker’s mark present.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-195

Chasseur Pattern Kepi

Click on an image to enlarge

This beautiful chasseurs kepi has for four dark green fabric strands sewn into an elaborate quatrefoil on the crown, indicating the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The fabric is a rich dark blue broadcloth. The front of the kepi stands 2¾” in height, and 4” at the rear. The tarred leather brim is ⅛” thick and is firmly affixed to the body of the kepi. The chinstrap is supported by two plain staff buttons and is original to the kepi with its brass buckle and a single keeper. The 1½” dark leather sweatband is complete. The inside lining is polished cotton linen and the tarred top has the faint impression of the city "Boston”, all that is discernible of a maker’s mark. A few isolated moth nips do not detract from this wonderful kepi.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-194

Seaman Alden A. Battey’s Hat

Click on an image to enlarge

Alden Battey came from an old Rhode Island family. At a young teen, he took to the sea, serving aboard the U.S. frigate Raritan from 1850-1853. In September of 1862, at the age of 34 he reenlisted in the Navy and for nine months served on board the U.S.S. Santee, a sister ship to the U.S.S. Constitution, as Captain of the Fore Castle (Petty Officer).

Battey’s hat is a beautiful, classic example of an uncommonly seen piece of Civil War headgear. It was commercially made and privately purchased. As a dress hat, it was not for fatigue use, but would have been donned only on special occasions such as shore excursions or for photographs.

The hat is made of a fine dark blue wool fabric similar to that seen on many frock coats. The brim measures 10¼” across with an internal measurement of 7”. The 1⅜” leather sweatband is original to the hat. Its attachment has been strengthened by a few modern stitches. The interior liner is a dark green polished cotton, quilted with elaborate patterned machine stitching, using linen thread typical of that used in uniforms of the period. This thread was dyed with Logwood and has faded from its original black to brown. More common duty hats were lined with old cotton shirting, using the same fabric for the sweatband.

Sailors often placed stiffeners inside their hats to help them hold their shape. Often these objects were "pillows” stuffed with cotton batting, horse hair from old mattresses, or other similar material. The original tailor of Battey’s dress hat made this accommodation with a ⅜” metal spring "grommet,” a feature found only on privately purchased and higher quality pieces of naval headgear.

Finishing the hat is a 1½” silk ribbon (known as a cap tally,) hand painted with the ship’s name ‘Santee.’ The cap tally has a ribbon off to the side, sewn with three white buttons in an ornamental vertical line. While cap tallies do not appear in any regulations until 1886, they seem to have been a common feature on sailor’s dress hats, with anecdotal evidence dating as far back as 1812.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-193

Chasseur Pattern Kepi

Click on an image to enlarge

Lieutenant's grade officer's kepi belonging to Moses P. Richardson, 2nd Massachusetts Infantry. Richardson enlisted at the outset of hostilities, May 25, 1861. He was mustered into Company G as a private, eventually re-enlisting for the duration of the war. During his term of service he rose through the ranks to Sergeant, then Lieutenant, and was eventually brevetted Captain on March 13, 1865. He survived the war.

The 2nd Massachusetts Infantry was a hard fighting unit, seeing action at Winchester, Cedar Mountain (171 casualties including Private Richardson who was wounded), Antietam (72 casualties in Miller's Cornfield), Chancellorsville (129 casualties, including Richardson's second wound of the war), Gettysburg (140 casualties on the second and third day's fighting), Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Averysboro, North Carolina in one of the final encounters of the Civil War.

The kepi is in good condition with fine gold braid and complete lining. Maker's label "Taylor" likely for Charles Taylor, a hatter from Boston, known to have made kepis for the U.S. Government. Fine gold braid is intact with original buttons and strap. Inside is also fine with a herringbone dark brown liner. Sweatband and lining are near perfect, only a few minor moth nips and a couple of period stitch repairs. Accompanied by notarized letter of provenance from Richardson’s grandson.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-179

Pattern 1858 Enlistedman's Dress Hat - Cavalry

Click on an image to enlarge

Regulation Model 1858 Dress Hat, commonly known as a Hardee Hat. This is the cavalry version of the hat that was approved for the U.S. military in 1858 by then Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis. Issued to all branches of the military through the early portion of the war, it was not well received by the troops and was soon replaced by the more durable kepis and slouch hats.

This hat is original with good black felt, finely woven hat band with cavalry cord in excellent condition. A large single plume is fastened on the right side of hat with the brim looped on left, fastened by brass "Jeff Davis” hat pin, matching the infantryman's regulation configuration, but non-regulation for cavalry. The devices are crossed sabers with "K” company designation above a regimental device "1” which rests below. Tarred leather is fastened atop inside of crown with maker’s label in excellent condition, reading "U.S. Army Extra Manufacture” and size 4 marking with eagle motif. The sweatband is Russian leather, partially detached but original to the hat. Minor separations along brim and base of crown.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-178

Additional Pages
[Previous Page]  1  2  3  [Next Page]