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OFFICER’S SEAL FUR HAT AS WORN BY OFFICERS IN THE FRONTIER ARMY DURING THE INDIAN WAR ERA – A SPECIAL WINTER UNIFORM ITEM NOT COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED – VERY NICE SPECIMEN: Very similar to the Pattern 1879 US Army Muskrat Fur Hat issued to the Enlisted Men, this Seal Fur Winter Hat is the style worn by many officers on the Western Frontier.   

The army was well aware of the need for improvements in cold weather protection for the troops, particularly for those serving in the extreme climates of the Western Frontier where temperatures of 50 below zero were recorded during campaign conducted by Gen. Miles in the winter of 1876-77 which resulted in the capture of Crazy Horse. 



Gen. Miles (center LEFT) & OFFICERS

Cantonment Tongue River 

As early as 1875, already concerned for the welfare of the soldiers, General Meigs, Quartermaster General of the Army, initiated a survey of the current uniform being provided to the soldiers, soliciting evaluations and comments from officers serving in the field regarding the serviceability and durability of the uniform currently in use.  As a result of the survey, it was determined that the current issue of great coats and standard headwear provided insufficient protection against the weather encountered throughout much of the frontier and it was recommended that fur coats, gloves or mittens, and hats  be issued.   

Before the army settled on the Pattern 1879 Muskrat Hat, the initial production of fur hats for the soldiers was made of seal skin with the fur on.  Apparently seal fur winter outer wear was held in high regard at that time, so it is not surprising that the officers who were expected to provide their own uniforms, bowed to the current fashion and purchased seal fur hats for themselves, such as can be seen in the photograph above.     

This Seal Fur Hat presents in excellent condition.  The fur is completely intact with no loss of hair or bald spots.  The satin lining and sateen sweat band are fully intact with no separation or loose seams.  The interior of the crown is embroidered with a fine pattern of white stitching that is consistent with the various quatrefoil stitching designs applied to other pieces of officers’ uniforming.   

Overall, this is an especially beautiful fur hat which has survived in excellent condition and would be an appropriate addition to a display of a Frontier Army officer’s grouping or display.  SOLD



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