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Re: [Uniforms] Civil War
In Response To: [Uniforms] Civil War ()

Mr. Ewell:

Continue de-farbing.

Hat cords of the typical brightly colored genre among Confederate enlisted men = reenactorism, most particularly if in greater incidence than, perhaps, 2 per 1,000.

In an article authored for North-South Trader, I described and illustrated two surviving slouch hats that demonstrate a "militarization" technique apparently employed with some frequency by North Carolina to convert civilian soft hats to a facsimile of the US 1858 Army ("Jeff Davis")Hat. Among several other modifications, this process involved the addition of a blackened cloth hatband under which faux cords are anchored. That is, two crude 2" strings, of natural brownish color, extend from the base of the crown, appearing to be cords but <not> encircling the hat. In the surviving examples, these cords have torn ends so that it is unknown whether any simulation of tassels had been added during the conversion process.

The article suggests that what came to be the classic Confederate slouch hat originated, in many cases, within southern states' 1861 uniform regulations that attempted to yield headgear to mimic the appearnce of the federal army dress hat, such citations appearing for North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and other states. Perhaps most notable is the strong identification and provenance of one of the studied hats to an NC infantryman who did not enlist until late 1863. Thus, the practice of converting civilian hats was apparently not only an early war experiment. It needs also be recalled, alternatively, that NC produced immense quantities of Confederate uniform "suits", even to the point of clothing being sold to sister states as late as 1865.

Another component of the NC hat conversion process was the addition of a means for the brim to be turned up, on one side, via a button being sewn to the side of the crown and a slit being made in the brim. Thus, if some of your unit's members strongly desire a somewhat differentiated hat, slice away. (But, not to exceed about 3 per 1,000!)


Bob McDonald

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