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Old South Military Antiques

Confederate Officer’s Cap of the Clinch Rifles, 5th Georgia Infantry
Item #: OS-6756

This is an extremely rare, and likely unique, surviving green wool chasseur pattern cap worn by an unknown officer of the Clinch Rifles of Augusta, Georgia. This famous antebellum militia unit fought from the first of the war to the bitter end. This singular piece of early Southern headgear is in exceptionally fine condition, showing only the most basic wear and age. In all respects its condition is as extraordinary as its historical importance. Upon close examination the high quality of the materials, construction, and especially the embroidered silver bullion "CR" insignia make it clear that this is an officer's cap. While at least two, nearly identical, variations of the Clinch Rifles’ caps are known from period pre-war photographs. One with a flat top and with the chasseur style rolled edge, it is probably safe to say that this is the only documented officers’ version extant from 1861.

The cap is made of quality dyed green wool, tightly woven. The fabric is virtually like new, with only three very small moth holes on the top and perhaps a half dozen scattered pinholes on the back of the body. The cap has the distinctive Clinch Rifles’ embroidered insignia; a wreath surrounding the letters "CR” on a green wool field in old English script. The tarred leather bill is stiff and strong. The thin leather chinstrap still retains its brass buckle and leather keeper, but its second loop is clearly broken off. This does not detract from the appearance and the strap is still soundly fastened to the cap with mismatched, non-military gilt buttons of the period. The brown leather sweatband is intact, showing just slight wear and only one slight tear (not all the way through). A trace of an original paper label remains affixed to the back of the band suggesting that the cap was made under contract in 1861 by an unknown, possibly Northern, military outfitter along with the green uniform coats alluded to in other documentary evidence. The lining is correct black polished cotton and it is completely intact, with no rips, tears, holes or loose stitching.

The Clinch Rifles, were a renowned militia unit even before the War Between the States, and they are thoroughly documented to have worn a distinctive rifle-green uniform with just such a cap and insignia. The Augusta County (Georgia) Museum Collection includes a rare example of the Clinch Rifles’ green wartime officers frock coat. Eventually the rigors of field service forced the company into gray fatigue uniforms.

The Clinch Rifles entered Confederate service in May, 1861, as Company A, 5th Georgia Infantry. The 5th regiment lost a third of its number at Murfreesboro and over half at bloody Chickamauga, fighting with the Army of Tennessee. The 5th Georgia served until the end of the war surrendering just under 200 men in April 1865.

Sold with accompanying letter of authentication, having been personally examined by Mr. Les Jensen of the West Point Museum and authority on Confederate Headgear.

Provenance: ex-Richard K. Tibbals, ex- Paul Gibson, ex-Steve Putnal Collections.

Price $28,000.00 USD