|Description and Photograph||
This beautiful frock coat has the insignia of a Captain of Confederate Cavalry. We know the regulations specify a yellow facing for cavalry, but the reality was that yellow was terribly hard to come by in the Confederacy. So much so that I have only seen two yellow trimmed cavalry uniforms in my life and only a few images of Confederates with yellow trim; the dye simply was not available. Also, if you examine uniforms in the major museum collections that have rock solid provenances to cavalrymen, they are trimmed in “buff” rather than yellow. Confederate regulations called for staff officer’s frocks to be trimmed in “buff” and staff officers were commonly captains.
That begs the question how do I know it belonged to a cavalryman instead of a staff officer; because of the buttons. The cadet gray, double breasted frock has two, seven button rows of “extra quality” Federal cavalry officer buttons down the front and four more on the back pocket flaps. Even during the War it would have been difficult to assembly a complete set of cavalry officer’s buttons, so it was definitely done intentionally. This leaves no doubt that it belonged to a Captain of Cavalry.
The coat is made of cadet gray wool broadcloth with a twill weave. In addition to the “buff” facings, the edges are piped in the same material. The sleeves are lined with osnaburg and the body with wool/silk blend. The breast is padded with cotton and one pocket is set into the left breast. The material and cut are similar to other Virginia identified coats and this is believed to have been made in Virginia.
The coat has light mothing in several places and some minor damage to the liner, but overall is in extraordinarily good condition.
The red officer’s sash wrapped around its waste to protect the frock from the leather of the sword belt cannot be distinguished from its Northern counterpart. I have studied sashes and with the exception of the homemade sash, the Northern and Southern cannot be told one from another; so the origin of this one is anyone’s guess. The belt is a purely Confederate Virginia creation. Its buckle is a course sand cast copy of a Northern made pre War buckle, but this was made at a time when the finer buckles could not be imported so like with so much else, they “made do”. Its belt is a solid leather utilitarian belt as opposed to one of the pre War patent leather belts. The sword hangers have been removed, but otherwise it is a stellar belt. The navy sized holster is of the same make and has the Confederate time and material saving features of a strap fastener rather than a finial and a sewn, rather than plugged toe.