Confederate Surgeon's Cap

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Description and Photograph

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     This cap is copied from the French Chasseur pattern and collectors usually refer to them as kepis, but during the War the Confederates simply called them caps.

     The Confederate medical department had one Surgeon General with the rank of Cavalry Brigadier General.  The department had roughly one thousand full Surgeons who carried the same rank as a cavalry Major and roughly two thousand Assistant Surgeons carrying the rank of a cavalry Captain.

This capís quatrefoil is made using two strands of silver braid which would be proper for a Captain, the sides have three stripes of silver braid which signifies the rank of Major; the band has four bands of silver braid, which corresponds with the rank of General.  When this cap turned up in an Arkansas estate, it was accompanied by an artillery Lieutenantís cap, which was quite plainly made by the same maker as this cap.  Seeing the progression of braid from Lieutenant of artillery to Captain (two band quatrefoil) to Major (three stripes) to General (four bands) probably shows the original ownerís progression in rank. 

     The cap appeared to be black and it was surmised that it was a surgeonís cap.  I did a full dye analysis and found that the kepi is dyed a true black.  The capís material had been dyed with a natural black (Logwood) confirming that it was definitely a CS surgeonís cap.

     The capís body is of black broadcloth, the liner is made of selesia and the sweatband is made of leather.  The most remarkable thing about this capís construction is the visor.  The visor is made from painted burlap.  Occasionally Confederate caps that have painted canvas visors are encountered, but are extremely rare.  This is the only painted visor I have ever examined that used burlap as a foundation.  The burlap is such a coarse material that it would require coat after coat of paint to fill the loose woven material though once completed would be serviceable.  The cap, chinstrap and plain buttons are original.  The cap has no restoration and is in very good condition.  It comes with a full analysis report from Old South Military Antiques LLC and an examination report from Les Jensen.

 

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