Captain's Forage Cap


Description and Photograph




      The cadet gray wool Confederate forage cap shown here follows the U.S. Pattern of 1858.  The gold braid is flat, 1/8" wide, and is set in a double band around the band area of the cap.  Double bands of gold braid extend up the front and back seams and up each side to the welt around the crown.  There is a single strand of gold braid around the top of the crown, set 3/8" in from the edge, and a single strand gold braid quatrefoil, with a diameter of 1/8" on the crown.

     The cap band is stiffened with a very loosely woven material, somewhat like cheesecloth.  The top is stiffened with pasteboard, and the sides are padded with cotton.  The lining, which is in very poor condition and no longer attached in most places, appears to have been pink silk.  The sweatband is frozen into the cap, and appears to have been black oilcloth or perhaps black vulcanized rubber.  This could be restored, but the cap is so natural and untouched (which is hard to find) that it would be nearly a sin to do so.

     The visor is black patent leather, and has a patent leather edge.  The back of the visor is lined with black cloth, made of black wool on an unbleached cotton warp.  There is no chinstrap currently in place, although this cap was photographed with one by Time-life Books for Echoes of Glory.  It is shown on page 258.  It retains one of its Virginia state seal buttons which has an "EXTRA QUALITY” back mark.

     This cap has a history of having belonged to a Captain Wallace of Gordonsville, Virginia.  It was found by Gus Pollard of Charlottesville, Virginia about 30 years ago and was sold to Mr. George Wray of Atlanta, Georgia, who subsequently sold it to Bill Turner.  It then went to a private collector, who shall remain nameless except to the next owner.

     This is a very rare, completely original, example of a Confederate officer's "bummer's" cap.  Only a few (probably less than half a dozen) of these high crowned Confederate caps exist, including one in the Museum of the Confederacy worn by Colonel George Wythe Randolph of the 1st Virginia Artillery.

     Unfortunately, the exact identity of Captain Wallace is as yet undetermined as there were several and one would have to determine which was from, or ended up in, Gordonsville.

     The cap comes with a complete examination report from the leading authority on Confederate headgear.




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