[Uniforms] CONFEDERATE CAVALRY KEPI
Posted By: John Morris (220.127.116.11)
Date: Thursday, 14 October 2010 0934 hrs. EDT
Contributed by Sam and Wes Small of The Horse Soldier, Gettysburg, PA. Note that item was sold long ago and is no longer available.
AN ORIGINAL, CLASSIC CONFEDERATE CAVALRY KEPI, WITH MAKERS STAMP, IN WONDERFUL CONDITION
The head cover specimen presented here is in wonderful, original intact condition and is the quintessential Southern horseman's 'rebel kepi. Correctly termed a Confederate cavalry forage cap, this article of clothing constituted an important part of the Southerner's uniform and was typical issue to scores of enlisted volunteers during The Late Unpleasantness. Distinguishing the forage cap from a kepi was the forage cap's soft sides, high crown and sloping forward flat top.
Following the design of the French kepi, this forage cap is based on the US Model 1858 pattern and is made of what appears to be a wool / cotton blend material with butternut coloring. The cloth is unusual and speculation is that it is wool material that was saturated or coated with an oil-like substance for waterproofing. Cap retains light remnants of the maker's ink stamping on the cloth inner surface of the crown. Maker's name is indiscernible. Although gray was the officially adopted color for the Confederate Army, when supplies of gray dye ran out due to the Northern embargo of rebel ports, Dixie textile makers substituted a concoction made of copperas and walnut hulls that served as a dye at their clothing depots. That color dye was called "butternut" and was used extensively in uniforms that were worn by the South's soldiers.
This forage cap, which measures about a size 7, has a 3 7/8" high front crown, a 5" diameter flat top that slopes sharply forward toward the brim and is 9" high in the back. Cap interior is lined with a yellow cotton cloth material that is in very good condition with no tears, rips or fraying. Flat top crown is lined with yellow polished cloth. Sewn around the circular edge of the flat top is a welt formed by a 1/16" diameter reed that is enclosed in a distinctive, double stranded, heavily tarnished gold bullion braid piping. The small, curved visor or brim, 1½" deep in front, is made of cloth material and covered on its top exterior with a veneer of heavy black paint, now cracked and exhibiting almost 50% flaking. Brim underside is covered with a yellow painted, hard-surface cloth material, and is in strong condition. Cap retains its original, black leather chinstrap with two sliders or adjusters and measures approximately 11" long by ½" wide. Chinstrap is secured to the forage cap with two, four-hole buttons sewn on each side; one button of bone and the other made of horn. Along the rim on the inside of the forge cap is a 1" wide, red (now a dark burgundy color) leather headband that is folded over and sewn in place. Some evidence of a hand-sewn repair is found along the cap's exterior outer edge rim. The original, cloth upper body has a sewn, exterior center seam and exhibits a 1½' x 1" hole / tear along the seam where it meets the flat crown.
This original, museum quality forage cap specimen is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from a leading Confederate States authority on cloth, Mr. Les Jensen, of Virginia. Here is a unique, complete and wonderfully rare example of an original Confederate kepi that could be a significant focus of any Civil War cloth collection or Confederate cavalry display.
There are enough photos at the link below to keep even Mark happy.
Many photos of hat
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