General Grant's Kepi

Mr. King

Sergeant Major
Jan 15, 2014
Carolina Coast
Well, there was McClellan, and Butler, and McDowell, and Kilpatrick, and. . . oh, you said "wildly successful." Never mind.

(Now Benham -- that man had style.)
Let me also clarify.... there is a difference (maybe just IMO) btwn a kepi and a forage cap...
Also, I only included army commanders, as in AoP or AotT.
Either way, wearing a kepi in the union army doesn't seem to bode well.
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Mark F. Jenkins

Member of the Year
Mar 31, 2012
Central Ohio
Let me also clarify.... there is a difference (maybe just IMO) btwn a kepi and a forage cap...

You are quite correct. There are a number of differences between kepis and forage caps, despite the similarity at first glance. The two quickest "field marks" are that kepis usually had a straight-fronted, flat bill, where the forage cap usually had a curved, oval/crescent-shaped bill; and the seams on the kepi tended to turn the top of the cap down inward, creating a ridge around the crown, whereas the forage cap ordinarily did not.

There were, of course, variations on both; but in the main those are the primary differences.
Dec 31, 2013
All we know is that it is his. Grant was a soldier and required to have uniforms with headgear. No doubt purchased complete; coat, pants, hat, etc. And, He may have said to himself, "I paid money for the cap with the French knots on top?"

Had a variety of headgear but never sat for a portrait in Class A uniform or Blues. Wore what was prescribed for the occasion. Only have pictures wearing my helmet, though. When they were small, my kids thought I was a turtle.

samuel orris

Mar 6, 2010
Elizabethtown, PA
I just did a Google Image search of Grant wearing a kepi and there's nothin', not even any early photos. Amazing . . . The second he got it, he must have stowed it away in a trunk. All the images are of him either bare-headed or wearing his slouch hat.


Feb 20, 2009
Wilmington, Ohio
The kepi is not a comfortable or practical head covering. Grant being practical and wanting comfort probably did dump it in a trunk.
J H Harker chaplain 4th OVI