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Your Hat May Be the Most Important Part of Your Civil War Uniform

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  • paulamccoach
    Your Hat May Be the Most Important Item of Your Civil War Uniform Impression! by Paula and Coach McCoach The first things that will strike people about your
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2004
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      Your Hat May Be the Most Important Item of Your Civil War Uniform
      Impression!

      by Paula and Coach McCoach

      The first things that will strike people about your impression when
      they look at you are your hat and your jacket. If you have a good hat
      and jacket, you have a great start on your Civil War Uniform
      Impression. Confederate regulations stated the kepi would be the
      official headgear, but obviously, regulations had little to do with
      what was actually available for issue. So, wear the headgear that
      you prefer. Following are three kepis that would be accurate.

      Kepi made from sumac dyed wool by Greg Starbuck. I broke my rule on
      this one and added the Calvert cross, but there is an actual photo of
      it in ECHOES OF GLORY: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY, p. 95.
      The hat above was dyed with sumac and was almost gray when I first
      started wearing it. Within one reenacting season, it turned to this
      butternut color. If you are interested in Victorian dyes, there is
      information about it in THE CIVIL WAR UNIFORMS PACK 2.

      To see this kepi, go to http://www.civilwaruniforms.net/kepis.htm


      ECHOES OF GLORY is a must for every serious Civil War reenactor's
      reference. The original photos of equipment, uniforms, details are
      amazing! Coach highly recommends this book. There is a Union and
      Confederate Version.
      To order either of these resources, go to
      http://www.civilwaruniforms.net/books.htm

      I used the original photo of the kepi worn by Pvt. Robert Royall of
      the Richmond Howitzers on pg. 163 ECHOES
      To see this kepi, go to http://www.civilwaruniforms.net/kepis.htm

      I had this kepi made without the red top for a more generic look
      Personally, I stay away from too much flashy color and gingerbread –
      hat brass, numbers, etc.
      To see this kepi, go to http://www.civilwaruniforms.net/kepis.htm


      Hats and headgear worn by soldiers during the Civil War varied as
      much as shirts, especially in the Confederacy. Kepis were the issued
      headgear, but slouch hats, straw hats, hats made of stitched cotton,
      wool or whatever they had on hand were worn.

      Cavalry hats were sometimes decorated with yellow trim or yellow hat
      cord.
      See page 159 ECHOES: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY for
      cavalry hats. Some cavalry hats had a crossed-sabers pin on it while
      infantry hats were identified by a horn and sometimes blue trim and
      artillery hats were identified with crossed cannons and red trim.

      I recommend keeping the trim and hat brass to an extreme minimum.
      In my research, I have discovered these were not soldiers who wanted
      to stand out from the ranks. They kept their uniforms very generic.
      I guess that's why they are called uniforms.

      Captain George J. Pratt of the 18th Virginia Cavalry wore a light
      gold kepi with brown/gold trim. This hat was considered a regulation
      kepi. As with many Confederate uniform items they tried to be
      economical and the brim was made with inexpensive oilcloth instead of
      leather. ECHOES OF GLORY: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY pg.
      161.

      Let your hat show some personality. It was not proper to NOT wear a
      hat. Some soldiers wore the brim up and tilted the hat with style.
      You could also put some type of feather, flower, etc. stuck in your
      hat but don't overdo it.

      Soliders wore camp hats and wool hats in cold weather.

      Slouch hats were also very popular during the war. They were the
      civilian style of the day that the soldiers wore with their
      uniforms. Materials used for slouch
      hats included felt, wool, stitched cotton, straw or, as with all
      uniform articles, whatever they could find that would work.

      Slouch hats had soft brims that were often worn turned up in the
      front or on the side to show the personality of the soldier as
      mentioned in the last newsletter.
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