|Description and Photograph||
Kentucky was relatively unsettled when the War broke out. She had just under a million white inhabitants and only 235,000 colored, over 10,000 of which were free. In some of the larger cities such as Lexington and Louisville the well off had formed military companies prior to the War, but mostly Kentuckians just wanted to be let alone; live and let live and owe no man for it.
By 1860 it was becoming apparent that being let alone was not going to be an option. Choosing sides was quickly becoming a necessity. In January of 1861 the Kentucky legislature voted against disunion, unanimously, but when Lincoln illegally demanded she supply troops to invade her sister states, she rightfully refused and many of her sons left their homes and went south to support the Confederacy. On December 9th she was formally accepted into the Southern Confederacy. Many were the illustrious sons she gave to the cause, the Morgans, Duke, Buckner and of course the nobles of the Orphan Brigade.
The double breasted frock coat shown here was worn by one of Kentucky’s brave sons. Which one is unknown, but matters little, only that he was a Kentuckian. The relative paucity in numbers and the isolation from home has been cause for a great dearth of Kentucky antiques from the period. So much so, that it is rare that any Confederate Kentucky antique becomes available to the collector’s market.
This rare staff officer’s coat is an extraordinary example. Its super condition is only surpassed by its originality. It remains in this superb condition; it has no restoration whatsoever. The liner remains near perfect. The mouse grey body has only minor surface moth damage. The coat’s collar and cuffs are faced with the off white color denoting a Confederate staff officer. The edges are also piped in off white. All of the coat’s stitching remains tight; the three bars of metallic braid on each side of the collar denote the rank of captain. The inner collar is lined in a very soft, brown broadcloth. The twin metallic braid galloons rise nearly to mid way between shoulder and elbow, flourishing wide at the elbow. The breast is adorned with fourteen Kentucky state seal buttons with Superfin, Paris back marks, with the exception of one which has a Schuyler H&G back mark. The tails are adorned with four of the Superfin variety. Warren Tice writes in Uniform Buttons of the United States 1776-1865 that these buttons were actually made by the Connecticut firm of Scovill Manufacturing and that the mark was a subterfuge to avoid prosecution for supplying the Confederacy during the War. The buttons alone on this coat are worth more than thirteen thousand dollars. The stitching on all of the buttons appears original; even the Schuyler H&G. The cuffs carry three eagle buttons on each side which are also original.
This super rare Kentucky frock coat is one of the best, all original, uniform coats I have ever examined.