Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria
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NEW YORK STATE MILITIA OFFICER’S FORAGE CAP – EXCELLENT CONDITION:  A style of head wear adopted by the US Army and State Militias from the French Army in the 1850’s and which continued in use through the 1880’s, this Officer’s Forage Cap, or Kepi as it was sometimes called, has survived in excellent condition.  The cap is identified as having been worn by a New York State Militia member by the New York State “Excelsior” side buttons.  

Featuring gold bullion cloth braid around the base of the cap body and in four strips up the sides, terminating at the crown, this additional decoration indicates this was an officer’s cap.  The red stripe within the base braid suggests this cap may have been worn by one of the Zouave units such as the 14th Brooklyn Infantry Regiment who incorporated red into their uniforms.  While the bullion is now tarnished as would be expected, there is enough gleam of the gold remaining in the threads to be visible and to imagine what a dramatic appearance this cap presented.  There is a slot in the crown, directly behind the front vertical bullion strip which was apparently for the mounting of a plume. 

Measuring 10” from the forward edge of the brim to the rear of the headband, and 5” tall at the rear, this forage cap has survived the passage of time in excellent condition.  The patent leather brim has a shiny black surface with no cracking or loss of finish on the upper side, and likewise a shiny surface with only a small bit of wear on the underside.  The body and crown of the hat are full form, made of a very attractive medium dark blue wool.  The wool is in very good condition with some minor moth tracks but no holes or other damage.  The matching side buttons are both present and both are the State of New York uniform buttons.  The interior features a fully intact sweat band and the lining of the crown retains the fully legible maker’s label.  The sweat band shows some expected wear along the lower edge, with an old repair below the right side button, but it is overall intact and very supple with the size tag still present and intact. 

This officer’s forage cap is very attractive and would display very well type of headwear is not given to surviving well in form or condition, given the shape and the materials from which it is made.  This shako was obviously well cared for and it presents very nicely with wonderful eye appeal.  (0226) $625

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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