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Old South Military Antiques

KIA Infantry Officer’s Cap
Item #: OS-6764

This officer’s kepi with regulation infantry blue trim was manufactured in 1861. This style is copied from the French Chasseur pattern and we refer to them as kepis, but during the War the Confederates simply called them caps. The cap’s cadet grey body and royal blue branch of service band are made of high-quality wool broadcloth. The cap is lined with cotton. The sweatband is made of checkered leather, the visor from black patent leather. The single strand of gold metallic braid and quatrefoil are that of a Confederate First or Second Lieutenant.

A unique history is recorded on the cap’s visor. The paper label adhered to the visor reads "______Cap Had _t (it) on when killed November 27th-1863 Battle of Rappahannock.” The main battle of Rappahannock took place on November 7th, not the 27th. The date discrepancy could be a simple mistake, or since the armies were still skirmishing in the area, it is possible that the owner was killed in a skirmish on the 27th.

A presentation is inked on the inside of the sweat band. It reads "JPS to CFT 1861 __24th”.

I have not yet discovered the identity of CFT, but he could most likely be identified with diligent research, by determining what Lieutenant, with the initials, CFT, was killed at Rappahannock Station on November 7, 1863. The Second Battle of Rappahannock Station took place on November 7, 1863, near the village of Rappahannock Station (now Remington, Virginia), on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, between Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Jubal Early and Union forces under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick as part of the Bristoe Campaign of the American Civil War.

At Rappahannock Station, Lee's army took position along the line of the Rappahannock River. Archibald Godwin's brigade of North Carolinians, and General H. T. Hays's Louisiana brigade were sent to the enemy's side of the river to occupy a series of light earthworks that blocked the enemy's approach to Rappahannock Bridge. On 7 Nov. 1863, Union forces attacked the northern bridgehead in overwhelming strength. Hays's brigade soon gave way and Union soldiers poured into the works, cutting off Godwin's escape route via the bridge back to the opposite bank where the rest of the army remained. Darkness had fallen and confusion was complete. Godwin's brigade disintegrated, as most of its soldiers were either killed, wounded, captured, or lost in the darkness. With a handful of only sixty or seventy men, however, Godwin continued to resist even though Union soldiers swarmed down on all sides. Suddenly from somewhere in the ranks someone shouted that Godwin had given an order to surrender. Furious, Godwin called for the man, threatening to blow his brains out if he found him. The thought of surrender had never entered Godwin's mind; when Union soldiers finally overpowered the little group, he was captured with his weapons still in his hands. Godwin and most of his men were then hustled to a military prison in the North.

The sweatband was partially loose and has been tacked down with a few stitches. The cap is in excellent condition inside and out.

This cap is published on page 141 of Collecting the Confederacy. This cap is simply the best of the best; the condition, configuration, and the great battlefield history are all that could be desired by the most discriminating collector
Not for Sale