Did the chin straps on Civil War caps fit under the chin?

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byron ed

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If it's a staff cap it's an officer's and privately purchased, not issued by the army. In any case, since foraging was not one of the duties normally expected of a staff officer, it's not likely the button attachments were especially strong so he could do a better job of it than enlisted men...
Officers were expected to purchase their uniforms, so of course they weren't issued. The hats nonetheless had to meet army specification, so differences in construction were no more significant than variations of the issue hat, which itself varied quite a bit.

Nobody here has suggested that a forage cap was used for command-assigned foraging duty. They weren't designed for that. Too small-scale for that. But did a few officers of either side use their caps to grab some elderberries on the way back from the latrine once in a while? Sure. Nothing to blow whistles over.
 
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Officers were expected to purchase their uniforms, so of course they weren't issued. The hats nonetheless had to meet army specification, so differences in construction were no more significant than variations of the issue hat, which itself varied quite a bit.

Nobody here has suggested that a forage cap was used for command-assigned foraging duty. They weren't designed for that. Too small-scale for that. But did a few officers of either side use their caps to grab some elderberries on the way back from the latrine once in a while? Sure. Nothing to blow whistles over.
There was no "army specification" governing the attachment of buttons to caps, and had there been they would have applied to enlisted caps, those being the ones actually being acquired or produced and issued by the army.

Stop making up nonsense to to support a ridiculous argument; you're just digging your hole deeper.
 
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Package4

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Your name dropping aside (we're dutifully impressed) I'm calling you on that one. The thread should have failed at the very point the 2-1/2 lbs limit was first applied -- how long or how far the hats traveled was not additional stress -- unless added english was applied for the journey, as if the tester wanted the threads to fail. Perhaps jogging then? Not what a real person collecting eggs or apples would normally be doing.

The average soldier had basic life skills, could walk and chew tobacco at the same time, so they'd be inclined to hold a heaver load by the seam edge of the hat (as per what I'd seen demonstrated) and in that way easily and reliably carry even more than 2-1/2 lbs. The valid test of your hat should have been to act as a real thinking person would: to carry light loads by the strap, heavier loads by the seam, and as necessary supporting underneath with the other hand.

In that authentic context a forage cap/bummer works well enough as an improvised basket and probably did on occasion. This is not the reenactorism you're looking for.

At least in overstressing your nice hats you found out that apparently they would have failed anyway in the mode of strap deployed to the chin. By your own metric, all it would take is a mere 1-1/4 lb. of stress to cause one side or the other to fail -- so much for cavalry duty.

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*Wickepedia, which you reference, is a good starter source, but can't be trusted for serious study
Wow, really, I made mention of the cap makers as a way to provide proof that they were of original quality and construction.
You also show your ignorance of tensile strength, as a degreed engineer, albeit Industrial, tensile strength is a measure over a period of time, with or without increasing strain. The formula is more complicated than that, but suffice that a thread is similar to a cable where strands gradually succumb to strain and friction, one by one.

Your claim is that it is called a forage cap because the soldier's would use it to forage and I believe enough proof has been offered to show that you are incorrect. The origin of the term forage or to forage I believe is key, it seems apparent that the term forage meant something different to French and British military, where the US military copied both uniforms and terms.

Why would I carry the hat by the seams with a hand underneath when I could readily put 4xs the amount in a haversack or better yet I could sling a knapsack and fill that.

Please provide at least one diary entry where a soldier mentions the utilization of the M1858 cap as a method of foraging.

And the poor southern soldier, whatever did he do without a forage cap, oh yeah they used a haversack.
 

byron ed

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There was no "army specification" governing the attachment of buttons to caps...Stop making up nonsense to to support a ridiculous argument
There were army specs that governed the configuration of kepis and forage caps, just as there was for every item of government gear. The vendors where officers obtained their kepis or forage caps offered independent-maker caps that met the spec. Did the spec require that chin strap buttons be attached by cotton thread? Apparently not. If the cap met the spec per the pattern it was enough. (This is the reason there is so much variety in both issue and private-purchase surviving artifacts, and why its ridiculous to be making blanket statements about construction. CW Collecting 101).

So nothing I've brought up is nonsense. What is nonsense, a reenactorism actually, is insisting on what all soldiers did with their hats even on their own time. Most soldiers were volunteers having no aspiration of an army career after they've mustered out. They were not drones. They were capable of ordinary incidental actions like filling their slouch hat (and/or haversack!) with elderberries or apples on the fly, and likely did. I've no doubt there were some a-hole martinet commanders that punished for it.

That forage caps can be improvised to collect personal forage or that chinstraps were at times attached with wire instead of cotton is nothing to be blowing whistles or popping threads over.
 
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byron ed

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... suffice that a thread is similar to a cable where strands gradually succumb to strain and friction, one by one
...and yet don't fail until something triggers the failure, like jogging or tugging. We've all lost suspender buttons in the field.

Your claim is that it is called a forage cap because the soldier's would use it to forage
?? I never made that claim. Yet it's still funny that a cap that was not intended for such would be called that.

Why would I carry the hat by the seams with a hand underneath when I could readily put 4xs the amount in a haversack or better yet I could sling a knapsack and fill that.
To get the contents back to camp, of course. Haversack would work too. (knapsack not so much, given how it's typically already packed to capacity and how awkward it is to access quickly. Not many soldiers were still using knapsacks after mid-war anyway.

Please provide at least one diary entry where a soldier mentions the utilization of the M1858 cap as a method of foraging.
...you mean something like "today dear, I used my M1858 cap to carry eight eggs back to camp..." Get real. Everyday incidentals were below commenting on. ***edit by Lnwlf: inappropriate***

But anyway how about please providing us a diary entry where a soldier mentions he would never used his M1858 cap for personal forage.

And the poor southern soldier, whatever did he do without a forage cap, oh yeah they used a haversack.
They'd use their haversack. What's being poor have to do with anything?

Look, it's obvious that you want it to be that forage caps were never used to carry personal forage. ok.

This is nothing to be blowing whistles or popping threads over.
 
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Package4

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I have been collecting ACW headgear for over 20 years, so this topic is of great interest to me and comes up periodically. I just went down to the vault and brought up a sample group of original forage caps. All of the caps have two threads holding the cuff buttons onto the chin strap, with the exception of a cap that had some restoration done to it.

I inadvertently popped the thread of one button while attempting to photograph the method of attachment, but it does show the method of attachment on the obverse. The threads went through the wool and were tied off in a knot behind the buckram. The button shank floats outside of the wool and the threads attach in a twist on 2 and straight on the other two, but if the strap were to be used as a handle it would ride directly on the two threads, any movement, with weight, would create a sawing motion. I have twenty more to study, but not sure how many have chinstraps attached with the original thread. The commercial forage caps seem to be of better strength and quality in terms of button attachment.
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byron ed

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I believe enough proof has been offered to show that ...the term forage meant something different to French and British military, where the US military copied both uniforms and terms.
Yes, that's enough proof about those things, though nobody here ever questioned them.
 
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byron ed

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I have been collecting ACW headgear for over 20 years...and brought up a sample group of original forage caps. All of the caps have two threads holding the cuff buttons onto the chin strap, with the exception of a cap that had some restoration done to it.
It appears you don't have one of the M1858 forage caps where the chinstrap "buttons are fastened to the cap’s interior with coiled brass lock rings"

On none of these was the chin strap designed to be a carry handle for purposes of forage. It'd work ok for light stuff (mushrooms etc.) but you'd want to hold by the seam edge for heavier stuff, and support underneath with the other hand as necessary.
 
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...and yet don't fail until something triggers the failure, like jogging or tugging. We've all lost suspender buttons in the field.



?? I never made that claim.
It was the forage cap that was intended as an improvised bucket.


To get the contents back to camp, of course. Haversack would work too, but knapsack not so well given how it's packed and awkward access on the fly. Not many soldiers were still using them after mid-war.
.


...you mean something like "today dear, I used my M1858 cap to carry eight eggs back to camp..." Get real.

Yes, many diaries talk about daily activity, in particular McHenry Howard in his Recollections of a Maryland Confederate Soldier. He is constantly writing about all of their daily activities, food seems to b

Hows about please provide us at least one diary entry where a soldier mentions he would never used his M1858 cap for personal forage. Everyday incidentals were below commenting on. It would be like writing home about where you last defecated.



They'd use their haversack. What's being poor have to do with anything?

Look, it's obvious that you want it to be that forage caps were never used to carry personal forage. ok.
Your contention is that there would be an immediate failure of the thread with weight applied, this is not so, tensile strength comes into play elastic and plastic tension
Yes, there's enough proof about those things, though nobody here was questioning it.
You absolutely questioned why the cap was named as such, just read your posts, complete with definition. The two threads holding the cuff button would not and will not hold much weight.

My purpose is to educate not preach myths, as I was when I first came into the hobby. The reason it was called a forage cap has nothing to do with foraging in a food gathering way, it is apparent that the countries that we copied for our military weapons and attire used the term differently.

I have a vested interest in the topic as I have been slowly gathering research for a book on ACW headgear and this topic keeps coming up. The book will mostly contain Southern headgear and manufacturing techniques, but will necessarily cover pre war headgear as the southern states had to copy from what they knew.
 

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It appears you don't have one of the M1858 forage caps where the chinstrap buttons were attached with wire.
No and I do not know of any as that did not conform to the M1858 specification, there were ring attachments for vests, but this would necessitate a sewn grommet. Pronged attachments from the button were post war, so unless you are joking, I am not sure where you are going with this.
 

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US Army Quartermaster General Specifications for Contractors: Forage Caps—are of 6 sizes; the bodies to be made of dark blue forage cap, or facing cloth. A cap of medium size is 15 inches in circumference at base; height in front, 4 inches; in rear, measured from base to crown on a curved line, 5^4 inches; diameter of crown, 5 inches; the body to be stiffened around the base by a piece of buckram, 2% inches wide; a single row of machine stitches, 16 to the inch, sewed through the buckram and body of cap, with black silk or linen thread, commencing at a point in the centre of front, 1 Yi inches below the crown, and extending each way, by curved lines, around the sides of the body to a point in centre of rear, 1 /a inches above the base of the cap; the crown to be stiffened with a stout circular sheet of pasteboard, and the cap lined throughout, inside, with good black silesia; a sweat leather, of good black goatskin morrocco, 2 inches wide, to be strongly sewed to the base of the cap and through the cloth buckram and lining; a vizor of stiff glazed leather, best quality, black above and green below, in form of a crescent, the outer curved edge 13 inches long, and the interior edge 9 inches long, 2 inches wide in the middle, to be strongly sewed on the front of the base of the cap; a chin-strap, of best quality soft and pliable black glazed leather, composed of two pieces Ys inch wide, each piece 9/2 inches long, and having sewed on one end of each, a black leather loop of same width and material, and on the other end a vest button of brass, strongly sewed to the cap near the extreme points of the vizor; on one of these pieces is to be attached a slide, of No. 19 sheet brass, Ys of an inch long and % of an inch wide, made with a bar in the centre, over which the strap passes and fastens at the middle of the chin-straps in front of the cap; at the base, over the vizor and around the crown, a welt of the blue cloth covering is inserted; weight of cap, 4 ounces
 
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byron ed

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...You absolutely questioned why the cap was named as such, just read your posts
Yes I did, still do. Never claimed forage caps were designed for personal forage, Yet it's still funny that a cap that was not intended for such would be called that.

...I have a vested interest in the topic as I have been slowly gathering research for a book on ACW headgear and this topic keeps coming up
Since the topic keeps coming up my recommendation is that, in your book, you need to address that these forage caps, whatever their intended function, were obviously functional for personal forage. How soldiers at the time used them was a matter of everyday and incidental choice and not published drill. It certainly was apparent to them that they could use their caps to grab some berries on the way back from the sanitary trench or from work detail. It's in the same category as soldiers stuffing a pocket with extra cartridges before a battle. Pants were not designed for that, and they weren't officially allowed to do so, yet is wasn't uncommon that they did.
 
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byron ed

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US Army Quartermaster General Specifications for Contractors: "..a black leather loop of same width and material, and on the other end a vest button of brass, strongly sewed to the cap near the extreme points of the vizor"
The key there being "strongly sewed." Your authentic repros failed with a mere 1-1/4 lb. stress on each side. Get your money back, they wouldn't work for usual cavalry duty. Forage caps/bummers were not designed for forage, and the straps were not designed to be carry handles. Next time you test one with a 2-1/2 lb. load, use common sense and hold the hat by its seam. It'll work fine.
 

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No and I do not know of any as that did not conform to the M1858 specification, there were ring attachments for vests, but this would necessitate a sewn grommet. Pronged attachments from the button were post war, so unless you are joking, I am not sure where you are going with this.
That there are artifacts of the pattern that are attached by an alternate method. This is nothing for me or you to be blowing whistles or popping threads over.
 
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The key there being "strongly sewed." Your authentic repros failed with a mere 1-1/4 lb. stress on each side. Get your money back, they wouldn't work for usual cavalry duty. Forage caps/bummers were not designed for forage, and the straps were not designed to be carry handles. Next time you test one with a 2-1/2 lb. load, use common sense and hold the hat by its seam. It'll work fine.
You were the one who said that they were designed as an improvised bucket
It was the forage cap that was intended as an improvised bucket.
Give it a rest...…….

Oh and by the way, knapsacks were issued throughout the end of the war and were used:

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That there are artifacts of the pattern that are attached by an alternate method. This is nothing for me or you to be blowing whistles or popping threads over.
Do you have proof where might I see an example or is this more speculation and supposition, you seem to subscribe to the farb "if they had had them they would have used them" mentality.
 

byron ed

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You were the one who said that they were designed as an improvised bucket
The key being improvised. The forage cap was not designed to be a personal forage basket, it just happened to be useful that way. It was designed to be a hat. This is a non-issue.

You want it to be that forage caps were never used to carry personal forage. ok.

Oh and by the way, knapsacks were issued throughout the end of the war and were used
Meh. Knapsacks were available for issue but not used much after middle of the war. Think of 1832 artillery short swords, Ames rifleman's knives, brass powder flasks, 1863 Remington two-banders, havelocks, shakos etc. etc.
 
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Do you have proof where might I see an example or is this more speculation and supposition, you seem to subscribe to the farb "if they had had them they would have used them" mentality.
There's no proof either way. This was an issue below notice at the time. I don't subscribe to "if they had them they would have used them," but I'm ok with "when they had them they likely used them."

You want it to be that forage caps were never used to carry personal forage. ok.
 
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