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PATTERN 1883/1889 CAMPAIGN HAT – A RARE LATE INDIAN WARS-SPANISH AMERICAN WAR UNIFORM HAT:  Commonly referred to as the Pattern 1883/1889 due to the minimal differences in the uniform regulations that defined the Patterns 1883 and 1889 hats, this Pattern 1883/1889 US Army Campaign Hat was issued during the late Indian War Period and continued in use during the Spanish American War.  To place it in the context of period, this would have been the hat worn by the soldiers patrolling the deserts in Arizona, at the terrible incident at Wounded Knee, and assaulting the heights of San Juan Hill.   

Having retained its body and shape, this hat has survived the passage of time in decent condition and shows evidence of having been worn by a veteran of the frontier west or the Spanish American War.  The crown features the “snowflake” design of ventilation holes on each side, and the back, of the crown – the snowflake on the back being somewhat unusual – identifying the hat as a Pattern 1883/1889.   

The hat does show evidence of having been issued and worn, with the soldier applied roll to the front of the brim and the crease of the crown.  The front of the crown has mounting holes from a set of crossed sabres or rifles having been attached to the hat.  The ribbon trim around the crown is intact, including the proper flat bow.   The crown is full form, however there is a separation at the front of the crease, and a hole towards the rear of the crease, both the result of wear.  Both of these wear points are fairly well concealed when the hat is displayed, and only visible if the crease is pushed open.  The brim is in overall excellent condition with none of the characteristic breaks in the edge of the felt.  The sweat band shows the most wear of any of the features of the hat, a common result of any antique hats that have been subjected to any amount of wear.  The deposits left by perspiration affect the leather band and through time this results in deterioration.  The sweat band apparently suffered from this deterioration and was eventually removed.  In spite of these signs of wear and age, the felt is overall clean and still retains its shape and body, and the hat displays quite well.   

When originally collected, this hat had a fishing fly hooked into the ribbon trim and it has been left in place since.  Whether the soldier who wore this hat fished the western stream to augment his daily rations or ease the boredom of a remote post, or the hat was worn by a later descendant who found the hat a perfect addition to his fishing outfit, we’ll never know, but it certainly adds an individual flavor to the appearance of the hat.   

Any 19TH Century US Army Campaign Hat is a rare offering, and finding one that presents in this condition is notable.  An item of clothing that was prone to be worn to destruction – even after the soldier separated from the service – and one that was difficult to store through the years in such a way as to avoid crushing or damage, these early campaign hats simply did not survive in large numbers to pass into modern collections.  This is a very respectable example and one that would display nicely with an Indian Wars or Spanish American War grouping.  (0501)  $450

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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