Discussion What were the "face masks" of the early Civil War - Havelocks of course!

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017

main-qimg-011e2a53016165d0ce0e5c1a702f6e36-c.jpg

A reproduction havelock

Havelocks were never popular with many of the rank and file. They appeared in 1861 and were rarely seen after that. If the sun was an issue, most Union soldiers preferred to wear a slouch hat, a Hardee hat, or just not worry about getting their neck sunburned. Although havelocks were successfully used in other countries, although loved ones made them, although theories about neck coverings were based on substantial experience and SCIENCE, the camps were soon littered with discarded havelocks. The havelock was supposed to protect men fighting in hot climates from sunstroke. Still, Union and Confederate men complained that wearing a havelock made them hotter by not allowing air to circulate around their heads and necks. Many Civil War soldiers used their havelocks not as cap covers, but as coffee filters, dishcloths, or gun patches. This reaction was similar, I think, to today’s kerfuffle over wearing face masks. Luckily no one was fined or punished for being “havelockless.” It was a matter of choice.
 

Ole Miss

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Location
North Mississippi
I would think having a havelock around your next would enhance your opportunity to be shot! White material would attract attention and provide a good aiming target as well as being so hot especially in the deep South such as Mississippi and Louisiana.
Regards
David
 

mofederal

Captain
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
The British seemed to have a love for havelocks beyond mere fetish, and it makes me wonder why someone came up with this fairly useless device. I know about Sir Henry Havelock, but why was it so popular when it was not so successful as a practical military headgear. Even more strange was the rain cover version of it. Of course it makes less sense why the Japanese wore them in WWII.
 

Cavalier

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Arabs are frequently depicted with headgear extending down the back of their neck. If it was practical for them, why would havelocks not have been practical in the hot climates for other outfits? The French Forign Legion seemed to like them. I ask out of curiosity not sarcasm.

John
 

Stone in the wall

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Location
Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson County WV
Arabs are frequently depicted with headgear extending down the back of their neck. If it was practical for them, why would havelocks not have been practical in the hot climates for other outfits? The French Forign Legion seemed to like them. I ask out of curiosity not sarcasm.

John
I can think of one reason. The slouch hats worked better in the rain, and good in the sun, and as they became more popular well the havelock didn't fit any more.
 

KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
This reaction was similar, I think, to today’s kerfuffle over wearing face masks. Luckily no one was fined or punished for being “havelockless.” It was a matter of choice.

I take issue with this statement. Choosing not to wear a havelock didn't have the potential to spread a deadly disease.
 

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
I take issue with this statement. Choosing not to wear a havelock didn't have the potential to spread a deadly disease.

That statement came from Emerging Civil War itself. They were trying to have a moment of levity over Havelocks, that's all. Considering my family has personally been masked the entire time of this pandemic and we've lost someone to Covid, we take the virus seriously.
 
Top