Old South Military Antiques

Impeccably Provenanced Surgeon’s Cap, Captured at Corinth
Item #: OS-7386












The organization of the Confederate Medical Department was identical with that of the Federal Army once the Yankees launched their invasion of conquest. The Confederate army regulations were copied from them as well. The medical staff of the armies of the Confederacy embraced only three grades of rank, they were: one surgeon-general with rank, emoluments, and allowances of a brigadier-general of cavalry; about one thousand surgeons with rank, allowances, and emoluments of a major of cavalry; and about two thousand assistant surgeons, with the rank of a captain of cavalry. There were also an unknown number of contract surgeons.

The black staff officer’s cap shown here is the regulation headgear for a Confederate Surgeon. It has the three rows of braid on a black cap, indicating a Major of the Medical Department; this is only correct for a Confederate Surgeon. Originally it had a quatrefoil on the crown, but this was removed by the surgeon or captor for unknown reasons. This does however help us identify the cap to an early museum collection, which I will go into further.

Some would argue that provenance is everything. If that is the case, then this cap has everything!

The cap comes with an old tag that reads: "Confederate Cap Captured at Corinth Miss” and on the opposite side it reads: "Dr D.A. Hoffman cato. no 12”.

Another supporting document is a page from an unknown museum collection which lists a number of the museum’s acquisitions. It describes the cap in general terms, but it specifically mentions that "It has old museum tag indicated (sic) that it was a battlefield pickup at Corinth Mississippi”.

A third document is a page from the catalog with a picture of the cap. It would be impossible to identify the cap by the poor photograph, but remember the missing quatrefoil? Well, the listing accompanying the photograph reads: "Confederate Officer cap. Has metallic thread piping design (quatrefoil pattern in crown is missing). Some wear but mostly very good cond.”

Dr. David Allen Hoffman, was born in Ohio, but by the time of the War, he was living in Oskaloosa, Iowa and served as surgeon with the 8th Iowa Cavalry. The 8th was only in Corinth one time, and that was during their January, 1865 expedition into Mississippi. After the War, the 8th’s Lieutenant and adjutant Henry H. Belfield wrote: "In the night of January 16th, orders were received to move in the morning with four days' rations, and, on the 17th, the Eighth and two other regiments of our brigade (First Tennessee and Second Michigan) crossed the river and bivouacked beyond Eastport, supported by a brigade of infantry and a section of Napoleon guns. He made a rapid advance on Corinth, Miss., passing through Iuka and Barnesville on the 15th. On the 19th, the Eighth, having the advance, charged into Corinth, driving out Ross's Brigade of rebel cavalry. The object of the reconnaissance having been accomplished, we returned to Waterloo, having lost one man killed…”

No doubt that Dr. Hoffman took the Confederate medical officer’s cap out of professional interest.

Ross’ Brigade, mentioned above was formed by the famous ‘Sul’ Ross and was composed of the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 27th Texas Cavalry. Ross' Brigade fought in the Atlanta and Tennessee Campaigns, then returned to Mississippi. In January of 1865, Ross’ Cavalry Brigade was near Eastport, Mississippi, where the Tennessee River forms the extreme N.E. boundary of the state. With Hood’s Army moving to Tupelo, General Nathan Bedford Forrest made his headquarters in Corinth, with Ross’ Brigade tasked with picketing the river to prevent the Yankees from pursuing the shattered Army of Tennessee.

Soon Hood was replaced by Joseph E. Johnston and moved off to the Carolinas, leaving Ross’ Brigade to protect Corinth, Mississippi. As noted above, the 8th Iowa was ordered to Corinth and Ross’ Texans were driven out. This is where and when Dr. Hoffman captured the Confederate Surgeon’s cap. Since there were so few Surgeons, it is quite likely that by studying the rolls of the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 27th Texas Cavalry that the original owner the cap could be identified. It is unlikely more than one was killed or captured in this engagement.

The cap is in very good to excellent condition. It has no repairs or restoration and comes with compelling supporting documentation.
Price $24,000.00 USD