Kepi Fabrication Suggestions:

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Mar 30, 2018
Messages
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Location
Tucson, Arizona
#1
Howdy all...

My eldest son wishes to make a kepi for his younger brother. We portray members of the 39th NC Infantry (Late Summer '62 thru Winter '63) and as such, he has a wide variety of options to choose from. He will be using a pattern that I drew up some time back, based on two originals from a private collection, but would like some guidance from the experts of Civil War Talk. Here are the following choices:

Fabric Type:
a) Wool Jean
b) Wool Kersey
c) Other (specify)

Color:
a) 'Steel' Gray
b) Dark Gray
c) Brown
d) Blue
e) Other (specify appropriate shade / color)
(all of these colors are indicated as correct for NC issued Kepis for the selected time period)

'Trim' Options:
a) Black Band
b) Black Piping
c)Other (specify)

Bill & 'Chin' Strap Options:
a) Heavy Black Leather
b) Glazed Black Leather
c) Enameled Canvas
d) Other (specify)

Lining:
a)Polished Cotton
b) Coarse Cotton
c) 'Homespun' Cotton
b) Other (specify)

Side Buttons:
a) NC Issue
b) Federal Issue
c) Plain Brass
d) Civilian Pattern
e) Other (specify)

When you reply, simply list your choices. My son will base his final decision using your suggestions. Thank you for participating in this experiment.
 

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Joined
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Messages
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#5
Need to think other scenario's he might be using this cap, no trim, just as plain as can be...brown jean, like this one at the Texas Civil War Museum, here in FT. Worth, TX.

Kevin Dally
View attachment 214144
I agree with you, and certainly have tried to face him in that direction, but he is insistent on doing one that fits our unit and time period... and judging from our research, the kepis issued to AoT troops from North Carolina were quite variable.

Personally, I do like this one for me, however. Perhaps we'll be making two!
 

Legion Para

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#8
Several documented North Carolina kepis have survived the War. Why not copy one of them and make one which is historically accurate.

http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/basics-of-confederate-uniforms.html

Amzi Leroy Williamson, Company B, 53rd North Carolina Infantry, wore this North Carolina jacket and cap. The State of North Carolina dyed its uniform fabrics either steel gray or cadet gray. In all likelihood, the present butternut color is a result of fading. Artifact and image courtesy of the Bill Ivey collection.

7016565_orig (1).jpg
 
Last edited:

captaindrew

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#10
I can tell you now, @captaindrew, he's leaning toward Federal Issued buttons, based on a great many original examples. I question the use of canvas brim and strap on an earlyish war kepi, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.
I honestly don't know a ton about the NC produced stuff. I know the Richmond depot used pressed canvas instead of leather fairly often where they could with brims, straps, belts. There's so many variations on caps probably whatever they had on hand that I don't think there's a wrong answer although I would stick to a jean for the material early to mid war. Look forward to see the finished product.
 
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Messages
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#12
Sumac or logwood "steel" gray jeans, or plains. Osnaburg lining, plain bill, and chin strap, generic coin, glass or state buttons. Vegetable dyed cloth to Steel gray will oxidize (fade) to a brown or tan color. "Steel" gray was seen from LA to VA.
 
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#14
Tell him no matter how many times he sticks himself with the needle, it is worth it. I stuck the needle in my thumb and fingers many times while sewing my uniforms. It is worth the pain, trouble, and sore eyes. You really need a bright light to sew. Good luck
 
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#15
I can tell you now, @captaindrew, he's leaning toward Federal Issued buttons, based on a great many original examples. I question the use of canvas brim and strap on an earlyish war kepi, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.
Keep in mind that many extant kepis were worn after the war and as such could not show evidence of any state or national military affiliation. Just because the cap now has federal buttons does not mean that it always had them.
 
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#16
I apologize, I missed this thread. I would certainly go with a brim of pasteboard covered painted cloth, chin strap of painted cloth. You need to decide if you want a Depot kepi, many NC troops (ANV) were issued Richmond Depot kepis which have a definitive shape and are almost entirely made from imported British Army cloth. Osnaburg lining seems to be the most prevalent, at least in 75% of the ones I have viewed. Presently I can only think of one NC kepi that I own and that is an officer, though he was enlisted prior and the cap appears to have had the quatrafoil added. The cap is a dark blue, so if I had to guess early war.
 
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#19
I apologize, I missed this thread. I would certainly go with a brim of pasteboard covered painted cloth, chin strap of painted cloth. You need to decide if you want a Depot kepi, many NC troops (ANV) were issued Richmond Depot kepis which have a definitive shape and are almost entirely made from imported British Army cloth. Osnaburg lining seems to be the most prevalent, at least in 75% of the ones I have viewed. Presently I can only think of one NC kepi that I own and that is an officer, though he was enlisted prior and the cap appears to have had the quatrafoil added. The cap is a dark blue, so if I had to guess early war.
The unit we're with (39th NCT) was an Army of Tennessee regiment. We have good evidence as to kepis being issued in large quantity through Spring of '63, and know that these caps were found in a variety of colors...

As for your blue kepi, we know that a fair number were issued to NC troops through at least the Summer of '62, but have no clue as to the shade of blue.

As for enameled canvas... I'm all for it, but his concern is his understanding that many such kepis were late war issue, and we are portraying and early to mid-war unit. Your thoughts?
 
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#20
The unit we're with (39th NCT) was an Army of Tennessee regiment. We have good evidence as to kepis being issued in large quantity through Spring of '63, and know that these caps were found in a variety of colors...

As for your blue kepi, we know that a fair number were issued to NC troops through at least the Summer of '62, but have no clue as to the shade of blue.

As for enameled canvas... I'm all for it, but his concern is his understanding that many such kepis were late war issue, and we are portraying and early to mid-war unit. Your thoughts?
Here is the early war NC blue and you'll notice the enameled strap, the brim is enameled leather, it also has a Virginia button, but he did serve in the 44th NC Inf. Enameled cloth was actually utilized very early in the war, but the tailor or hatter made a huge difference. You will see many federal officer kepis have enameled cloth bound brims, but were done in such a way that you can not tell. The examples listed above almost all are cloth bound brims. My apologies, I did not research the 39th, I would suspect a more coarse type of cloth and design from a western theatre depot. NC though seemed to supply their troops as long as they could......
IMG_2340 (2).JPG
 



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