Need source for reproduction Kepi with original infantry emblem

29thWisCoG

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Apr 12, 2021
Where can I get a reproduction Kepi, with an emblem like the one worn by my ancestor?

I am not certain the style of cap he wold have worn, but I am fortunate because I have a direct source in the form of a fellow soldier's diary that explains the emblem:

"he was the numbers and letters on my cap '29 Wis.' and knew I was from the West"

Any suggestions on what the cap looked like, and where I might acquire a repro?
 

James N.

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"he was the numbers and letters on my cap '29 Wis.' and knew I was from the West"

Any suggestions on what the cap looked like, and where I might acquire a repro?
I presume this should read "he SAW the numbers..." This was likely merely a regulation forage cap, decked out with brass numbers and letters on the top like many volunteers thought looked cool or spiffy at the time though they weren't regulation or allowed in the Regular U.S. Army.
 

111thNYSV

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Jul 23, 2019
Location
Rochester NY
Well I would see if you can find any images of 29th Wis infantry soldiers in uniform and base it of that. It would most likely be a forage cap and or a slouch hat being a from a western theater unit. Once you get that sorted you can see what Dirty Billy from Gettysburg has or check Greg Starbuck on Facebook, his site is called Kepi Nation on Facebook. I have a few dirty Billy caps and I am still trying to justify one by Greg Starbuck. I only have one head and can only wear one at a time....
 

29thWisCoG

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Joined
Apr 12, 2021
I presume this should read "he SAW the numbers..." This was likely merely a regulation forage cap, decked out with brass numbers and letters on the top like many volunteers thought looked cool or spiffy at the time though they weren't regulation or allowed in the Regular U.S. Army.

Would the soldiers obtain the brass letters/numbers on their own?
 

29thWisCoG

Corporal
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
I got lucky and found a pic of a soldier from Co K of the 29th Wis, pic from the WI historical society, what style of hat and uniform is this?

Jacob Learn Co K.jpg
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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I got lucky and found a pic of a soldier from Co K of the 29th Wis, pic from the WI historical society, what style of hat and uniform is this?

View attachment 412432
Standard issue forage cap and I assume the numbers and letters would have been on the top disk. He is also wearing a standard issue 4 button sack coat. Dirty Billy is who I would recommend for an authentic and reasonably priced federal cap.
 

111thNYSV

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Location
Rochester NY
Dirty Billy told me that the volunteers had to wait a certain amount of time to puncture the discs of the forge caps with the brass numbers/letters. Something to do with a warranty.
 

Dan Kohli

Private
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May 5, 2021
Would the soldiers obtain the brass letters/numbers on their own?
Most likely - sutlers and other merchants near the camps where units mustered in often had various items for sale to new recruits.

The hat brass was issued by the Army and owned by the Government. Although like the knapsacks and shoulder scales, the Army was of “you break it, you buy it” philosophy according to the regulations.
 

James N.

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The hat brass was issued by the Army and owned by the Government. Although like the knapsacks and shoulder scales, the Army was of “you break it, you buy it” philosophy according to the regulations.
I'm sure that was true - for members of the Regular army. But since by far the majority of soldiers during the war were volunteers serving in state regiments that likely varied widely, particularly in 1861. True, very soon the volunteers were wearing uniforms, etc. largely provided by the Federal government to the states for issue; nevertheless, the issue of the uniforms was completed at state level. Another anomaly was the direct purchase of uniforms by the states, again most common in 1861. Here's an example of this from my collection I have frequently posted before in the forums, but which illustrates pretty well the situation as it existed at the beginning of the war:

Civil War Ambrotypes 001.jpg


I purchased this image precisely because it illustrated many such anomalies, especially in the totally non-regulation FIVE-button sack/frocks they're wearing! I sent a copy of this ambrotype to Michael Macafee, then curator of the U.S. Army museum at West Point and a specialist in uniforms of the Civil War. According to him, these men are members of Company E of the 13th Wisconsin Vol. Inf. ca. 1861, evident from the letter E's on their forage caps (worn against regulations) and brass 13's on their stand-up collars, needless to say again totally against regulations. He said these unusual uniforms were delivered to the state and issued to several regiments including the 13th.

In case you or anyone else wonders what's going on with this brass, both subjects have turned the E's upside down and the man on our right has done the same with the 3 on his collar in order to make them look "right" for the camera! They're also holding their so-called Dresden rifles in their LEFT hands to make it appear that they're holding them correctly in their right hands. Other anomalies include the wearing of boots instead of brogans and cartridge boxes on their waist belts instead on over-the-shoulder straps.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I'm sure that was true - for members of the Regular army. But since by far the majority of soldiers during the war were volunteers serving in state regiments that likely varied widely, particularly in 1861. True, very soon the volunteers were wearing uniforms, etc. largely provided by the Federal government to the states for issue; nevertheless, the issue of the uniforms was completed at state level. Another anomaly was the direct purchase of uniforms by the states, again most common in 1861. Here's an example of this from my collection I have frequently posted before in the forums, but which illustrates pretty well the situation as it existed at the beginning of the war:

View attachment 412723

I purchased this image precisely because it illustrated many such anomalies, especially in the totally non-regulation FIVE-button sack/frocks they're wearing! I sent a copy of this ambrotype to Michael Macafee, then curator of the U.S. Army museum at West Point and a specialist in uniforms of the Civil War. According to him, these men are members of Company E of the 13th Wisconsin Vol. Inf. ca. 1861, evident from the letter E's on their forage caps (worn against regulations) and brass 13's on their stand-up collars, needless to say again totally against regulations. He said these unusual uniforms were delivered to the state and issued to several regiments including the 13th. (In case you or anyone else wonders what's going on with this brass, both subjects have turned the E's upside down and the man on our right has done the same with the 3 on his collar in order to make them look "right" for the camera! they're also holding their so-called Dresden rifles in their LEFT hands to make it appear that they're holding them correctly in their right hands.) Other anomalies include the wearing of boots instead of brogans and cartridge boxes on their waist belts instead on over-the-shoulder straps.
James you are correct, states supplied their troops with brass, sometimes already affixed to the caps prior to delivery. Soldiers would then do what they would, buying extra letters and numbers from Sutlers to supplement. There is the famous California regiment photo, where the trooper actually spelled out California around the disk, then crossed sabers with the regiment number and company letter.
 

James N.

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James you are correct, states supplied their troops with brass, sometimes already affixed to the caps prior to delivery. Soldiers would then do what they would, buying extra letters and numbers from Sutlers to supplement. There is the famous California regiment photo, where the trooper actually spelled out California around the disk, then crossed sabers with the regiment number and company letter.
I wanted such an image to post here to illustrate that fact, but unfortunately don't own anything like that!
 

29thWisCoG

Corporal
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Anyone have a picture with a forage cap with the brass letters/numbers? I looked around to no avail, but I know some of you guys no where to look!

Can Dirty Billy put brass on a cap if I ordered one of his forage caps?
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Anyone have a picture with a forage cap with the brass letters/numbers? I looked around to no avail, but I know some of you guys no where to look!

Can Dirty Billy put brass on a cap if I ordered one of his forage caps?
Early war regulations stipulated that the company letter be on the front of the cap and 1" letter, the same as the Davis Hat. The infantry horn and Regimental letter were then affixed to the disk.

Here are a couple of examples of the M1851 shako letter placement and an identified 9th PA forage cap, their service was very short and the members re-enlisted in various other units. The wearer of this piece accepted a commission in another regiment when his 9th PA term ended.

IMG_0288 (1).JPG
 

29thWisCoG

Corporal
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
I think it might be something similar this, but not sure:

hat style 2.jpg


I sent Dirty Billy and email to see if he could do something like this (less the corps insignia)
 
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29thWisCoG

Corporal
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
I ended up talking to Dirty Billy, I sent him the pics and he is going to line me up. He said the hat was independent contract to states that issued to vollunteers, and the brass letters were typical.... I'll post a pic when the hat comes in.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Dirty Billy told me that the volunteers had to wait a certain amount of time to puncture the discs of the forge caps with the brass numbers/letters. Something to do with a warranty.
Bill must have been in his cups when he said that, he’s a friend and I’ll chastise him for spreading bs.
 
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