General Sherman's Campaign Hat

Mike Serpa

Jan 24, 2013


Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman: His Campaign Hat. This is the variation of the Model 1858 cavalry hat favored by General Sherman. It has a 3" brim, 6¾" crown, gold braided cord knotted in front, and bears a gold embroidered insignia, the wreath-encircled "U.S." Unlike the M1858 or the similar "Burnside" hat, Sherman's hat was not designed to have the brim folded up and clipped to the crown on one side. The maker was Horstmann of Philadelphia.

This is the hat that General Sherman probably wore from the end of the Civil War and through the early post-war years. From 1865 until early 1869, Sherman was posted to St. Louis, headquarters for the Military Division of the Missouri encompassing most of the great West. He took seriously his responsibility for giving military protection to western expansion - including patrolling the trails of trade and settlement and guarding railroad construction - and he spent considerable time inspecting conditions in the field, even after assuming his duties as General of the Army. The hat shows the effects of perspiration and dust, but otherwise it is in very good shape.

The Smithsonian houses the only other known Sherman campaign hat, a relic of the closing months of the Civil War. It very obviously was ready to be discarded and replaced. Not only is it torn and holed, it is missing its prescribed gold-braid officer's hat band. We can speculate that the gold cord was transferred to Sherman's new hat. It is illustrated with General Sherman's dress uniform in Swanson, G. A. Custer: His Life and Times, p. 181.

Previously sold as part of the Glenwood A. Swanson Collection offered on June 9, 2018.

Sold for $20,000 in February 2020.

Heritage Auctions photos and text.

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