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PATTERN 1872 ENLISTED MANíS FORAGE CAP Ė 8TH US CAVALRY REGIMENT:  A style of head wear adopted by the US Army from the French Army in the 1850ís and which continued in use into the 1890ís, this Pattern 1872 Enlisted Manís Forage Cap, or Kepi as it was sometimes called, has survived in very nice condition.  The pattern that replaced the Civil War forage caps and kepis, this 1872 Forage Cap was a standard component of the soldierís uniform, worn on a daily basis unless the soldier was on duty in the field.     

This forage cap shows the signs of wear and aging one would expect of headgear from the Indian Wars era Ė especially one which was issued and worn Ė but this specimen still presents very well. 

Highlighting the front is the insignia identifying the soldier who wore this cap as a member of Company E of the 8TH U.S. Cavalry Regiment.  The 8TH US Cavalry Regiment was created after the Civil War in 1866, at the Presidio of Monterey, California as the army reorganized and expanded to meet the demands of the advancing frontier.  Since the Model 1860 Colt Army pistols were replaced in 1874 with the adoption of the Model 1873 Colt Single Actions, the markings on the grips of this pistol were applied during that fairly tight intervening period of eight years.   During that early Indian Wars period, the 8TH was attached to the Department of California, and Company E was stationed, and saw considerable action, in Oregon against the Modocs, in Idaho against the Nez Perce and Bannocks, and in the Arizona Territory against the Apaches.  

The patent leather brim has a shiny black surface with no cracking on either the upper or lower sides, having only some small marks from handling or storage.  The body and crown of the hat are full form, made of the standard dark blue wool.  The wool is in good condition with some minor mothing around the standing band, and there are two small moth holes at the edge of the flat crown where it joins the side (see the photo below for details).  The mothing is very light, and the wool crown presents very well. 

The chin strap is not only present, but it is full length and in full form with no breaks or other damage, and retains a bright shiny surface.  These straps normally did not survive, are often missing from these caps, and when they are present, they are often found broken.  The matching General Service side buttons are both present Ė correct for this cap and of the type used in the regular army. 

The interior of the crown features the sweat band and polished cotton lining, however both show wear.  The leather sweat band is full length, with a break over the left temple area.  The break has been stabilized and is not particularly noticeable, and certainly does not affect the quality of this cap when displayed.  The sweat band is otherwise stable and presents well, and it still retains the small square size label.  The liner is full form, with minor wear points from regular wear.  Of special note, the M. C. Lilley & Company contract label is present in the crown, retaining the majority of form and finish, and the significant printing is legible.    

Specimens of this pattern of headwear are not given to surviving well, having succumbed easily to abuse and poor storage, and they simply do not appear on the market all that often in any condition.   This Enlisted Manís Pattern 1872 Forage Cap is quite attractive in spite of the obvious evidence of wear, and would display very well in your Indian War collection.   SOLD

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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