Virginia Cavalry Slouch Hat with Insignia!


Description and Photograph




     This incredible slouch hat is made of a very thin wool felt, composed of black, blue and buff fibers, forming an overall "butternut" color.  The hat is of the beehive style, with a tall crown 5” high, and a brim approximately 3 1/4" wide (the exact point of demarcation between crown and brim is open to some interpretation).  On the edge of the brim is a line of stitch marks indicating that there was at one time some sort of edging, or at least a stitched edge.  The sweatband is missing and only a ghost remains to estimate its width.  Around the crown is a cord made of copper bands wrapped around a cotton cord.  These very thin bands of copper give a stiffness that feels like horsehair.  The cord is knotted at the back and the ends are made into tassels.

     Sewn to the front is a brass cross saber Cavalry insignia, 2 3/8" wide at the top, 1 3/4" high and 3 3/4" wide at the bottom.  The length of the blades extends past the line of the hilts.  I find it very interesting that the sabers are sewn on the hat upside down from the norm.  According to William Turner, (author of Even More Confederate Faces) who owned this hat for some years, the insignia was identified by William McGuinn as having been made by either S.A. Myers or E.M. Lewis of Richmond.

     This is a classic example of a Confederate made hat.  The thin felt, the mixture of fibers, and the overall shape are consistent with Confederate practice, and are a classic Confederate design.  Looking through the photographs in the Virginia Regimental Series it is apparent that they were very popular with the Virginia Cavalrymen.  The original E.M. Lewis or S.A. Myers cross sabers are a very important part of the hat.  It is extremely rare to find a Confederate slouch hat with its original insignia, much less, Confederate made insignia.  The copper wrapped band is an interesting and original part as well.  There was some moth-holing in the crown and it has had some professional restoration to repair any significant holes.

     According to William Turner this hat was purchased by John Dugan, a Richmond area dealer now deceased, from a family living in Chesterfield County, Virginia many years ago.  It is believed that the original owner was named Adams and that he was in the 3rd Virginia Cavalry.  Unfortunately there are ten Adams’ on the 3rd Virginia’s roster.  A couple could be ruled out as possibilities, but it is impossible to be sure which of these men wore the hat.

     The bona fide Confederate slouch hat is the most desirable and hardest to find of all Confederate headgear, and to find one with such a good provenance and having its original Confederate insignia is virtually unheard of.  This is only the second I have ever had in all these years of collecting and dealing.




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