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Re: [civilwarwest] Bummers and their caps

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  • keeno2@aol.com
    In a message dated 9/2/2007 6:37:30 P.M. Central Daylight Time, huddleston.r@comcast.net writes: A discussion came up on another site about exactly what a
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 2, 2007
      In a message dated 9/2/2007 6:37:30 P.M. Central Daylight Time, huddleston.r@... writes:
       
      A discussion came up on another site about exactly what a "bummer's cap" is.
       
      Are we talking forage cap here? The taller floppy kepi big enough for a bucket? The headband of which could be used for a bail?
       
      Lots of modern sutlers sell them to reenactors but we got to thinking: when did the phrase "bummer" come into use? Was it unique to Sherman's March to the Sea or was it used earlier? Was it also used for Rebels as well as Yankees.
       
      I have to believe the name had been in existence for some time--like hookers. It fit Sherman's free-ranging foragers, so they picked it up and revelled in it.
       
      ken
       
       




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    • Carl Williams
      I searched bum in http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=bum&searchmode=nl dissolute loafer, tramp, 1864, Amer.Eng., from bummer loafer, idle person
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 3, 2007
        I searched "bum" in
        http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=bum&searchmode=nl

        "dissolute loafer, tramp," 1864, Amer.Eng., from bummer "loafer, idle
        person" (1855), possibly an extension of the British word for
        "backside" (similar development took place in Scotland, 1540), but
        more prob. from Ger. slang bummler "loafer," from bummeln "go slowly,
        waste time." Bum first appears in a Ger.-Amer. context, and bummer was
        popular in the slang of the North's army in Amer. Civil War (as many
        as 216,000 Ger. immigrants in the ranks). Bum's rush "forcible
        ejection" first recorded 1910. Bummer "bad experience" is 1960s slang.

        So the claim here seems to be a direct ACW connection through the
        German-Americans.

        Note that the last entry has to do with 'bummmer' again and comes from
        the Sixties and means to have a bad experience, as in "that was a
        bummer". Doing my etymology from my own memory of this, the
        origination of that usage seemed to be from getting "bummed out" from
        a "bad trip" on drugs. Thus there is still a link to the word "bum."
      • Dave Gorski
        From - The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology The Origins of American English Words. Page 92 - Bum - n. 1864, in American English, possibly identical
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 3, 2007
          From - "The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology
          The Origins of American English Words."

          Page 92 - "Bum - n. 1864, in American English, possibly
          identical with earlier Scottish bum, (1540) lazy, dirty
          person ( a special use of bum rump, before 1387, perhaps
          borrowed from Middle Dutch bonne, modern Dutch bom bung)
          and fussing with a shortened form of earlier English, bummer
          loafer, idle person (1855) apparently alteration of German
          bummler, from bummeln, to loaf showing influence of German
          immigrants at the time.
          v. 1863, American English, perhaps back formation from
          bummer loafer, or from the noun (reinforced by bumming n.
          1857)
          adj. of poor quality, 1859, American English, from the noun;
          also in bum steer bad advice (1920's), and in bummer bad
          experience or situation (1969)"

          "The Civil War Word Book," by Darryl Lyman states:
          page 30 -
          "Bum - The modern senses of bum originated just before
          and during the Civil War: the adjective meaning worthless;
          the verb meaning to loaf, beg, or wander; and the noun
          meaning tramp, loafer, or sponger. The Civil War caused
          an explosion in the use of the word; the war uprooted many
          men an got them use to a wandering camp life."

          More from Lyman -
          "Bummer - (1) A loafer or sponger. From German Bummler,
          (loafer). This sense of the word originated just before the
          war, perhaps in the Far West. (2) During the war, an independent
          forager, especially a soldier who left his ranks and plundered,
          often as part of a raiding force."

          And more-
          "Bummers cap - The Union army's regulation fatigue or forage
          cap. The name reflected the popular association of the cap
          with Sherman's bummers."

          European use of "bum", or a form of it, seems to stretch
          back into the 1300's. The verb and adjective use of the
          word in America seems to appear just prior to the Civil War.
          IMO, it would seem natural to develop a descriptive word
          into the noun for someone "of poor quality" and a "loafer"
          or "idle person." And that is what seems to have been done.

          Regards, Dave Gorski
        • Carl Williams
          ... were there any conclusions about what the bonified cap was supposed to look like? pretty good article at wikipedia on the kepi:
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 6, 2007
            > A discussion came up on
            > another site about exactly what a "bummer's cap" is.

            were there any conclusions about what the bonified cap was supposed to
            look like?

            pretty good article at wikipedia on the kepi:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepi#North_American_usage
          • holywham
            ... to ... I thought a Bummers cap,was whatever they Stole,I mean foraged liberally on the road BVT
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 7, 2007
              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Carl Williams" <carlw4514@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > > A discussion came up on
              > > another site about exactly what a "bummer's cap" is.
              >
              > were there any conclusions about what the bonified cap was supposed
              to
              > look like?
              >
              > pretty good article at wikipedia on the kepi:
              >
              > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepi#North_American_usage
              >
              I thought a Bummers cap,was whatever they Stole,I mean foraged
              liberally on the road
              BVT
            • Sweetsstar@aol.com
              In a message dated 9/7/2007 9:50:34 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, holywham@yahoo.com writes: I thought a Bummers cap,was whatever they Stole,I mean foraged
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 7, 2007
                In a message dated 9/7/2007 9:50:34 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, holywham@... writes:
                I thought a Bummers cap,was whatever they Stole,I mean foraged
                liberally on the road
                BVT
                A friend always called it creatively procured.
                Susan




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