Civil War Officer’s Id’d Grouping – Slouch Hat, Rank Straps, Dress Epaulettes – Capt. S.C. Graves
Civil War Officer’s Id’d Grouping – Slouch Hat, Rank Straps, Dress Epaulettes – This fine grouping consists of the slouch hat of Captain Samuel C. Graves (Co. C, 8th Massachusetts Infantry), his captain of the infantry rank straps and his cased, dress epaulettes. This exact grouping was featured in an article and on the cover of North South Trader’s Civil War Magazine, Vol. 30, No. 6, in 2004. Accompanying the grouping is a letter written by noted West Point Museum curator, Les Jensen, who states that the hat is definitively of the Civil War period and most likely belonged to Captain Graves. The hat is in overall very good condition; its interior is unlined and does not appear to ever have been lined. The sweatband, constructed of a brown leather, is 1.75” in width and is hand sewn to the interior of the hat. Around the base of the crown’s exterior is a wide, black, grosgrain silk ribbon, tied in a decorative bow on one side of the crown. Overlaying the exterior crown ribbon, is an original, Civil War officer’s “acorn”-tasseled hat cord; the “acorns” are the wide, bulky style as is typical of Civil War period officer hat cords. Around the brim of the hat are the remnants of a grosgrain ribbon binding, typically seen in Civil War officer’s slouch hats. The hat, as stated, is in very good condition, remaining very soft and “mellow” to the touch, constructed of a fine quality beaver or rabbit felt. The hat does show signs of wear and outdoor, period use. Affixed to the front of the hat is an embroidered officer’s infantry insignia, constructed of an oval black velvet disk, surmounted by a decorative bullion border along the perimeter of the velvet disk; in the center of the disk is a bullion infantry horn; within the center ring of the infantry horn are the old English, bullion letters “SG”. Les Jensen, in his descriptive letter, postulates that the “SG” either stands for “Sutton Guards” (Co. C, 8th Mass. Infantry was known as the “Sutton Light Infantry”; or perhaps, as the 8th Mass. was garrisoned at Ft. Standish, they may have adopted the moniker – “Standish Guards”) or it is conceivable, according to Jensen, that Graves simply placed the “SG” in his infantry insignia, to represent his initials. In consideration that this was a military hat, we would suggest that the SG stood either for “Sutton Guards” or “Standish Guards”.
The accompanying Civil War period, Captain of the infantry rank straps, are of the single bullion variety, displaying a rich, sky blue, velvet field, superimposed by the a pair of bullion, Captain’s bars, at each end of the straps. These are in good condition, with a section of the original velvet field missing on one of the straps and exhibiting some weathering to the blue velvet field. The accompanying dress epaulettes, are fine examples of Civil War period officer epaulettes, constructed of padded bullion upper sides, exhibiting early eagle motif cuff buttons at each distal end of the epaulette. The undersides of the epaulettes are covered in a bright red, Moroccan leather, with brass attachment bars surmounting this leather. The epaulettes are housed in a fine, period, japanned carrying case, which is in excellent condition.
Finally, also accompanying this grouping is a period, hand-inked note stating:
“These were used in the
Capt Samuel C. Graves
Samuel Chapman Graves
|Residence Marblehead MA; a 31 year-old Shoe Cutter. Enlisted on 4/30/1861 at Marblehead, MA as a 1st Lieutenant. On 4/30/1861 he mustered into “C” Co. MA 8th Infantry He was discharged for disability on 5/10/1861 at New York, NY (Estimated date of discharge) On 10/1/1862 he was commissioned into “C” Co. MA 8th Infantry He was Mustered Out on 8/7/1863 at Boston, MA On 7/20/1864 he was commissioned into “C” Co. MA 8th Infantry He was Mustered Out on 11/10/1864 On 1/5/1865 he was commissioned into “27th” Co. MA Unattached Infantry He was Mustered Out on 6/30/1865 Promotions: * Capt 10/1/1862 (As of Co. C 8th MA Infantry (9-months)) * Capt 7/20/1864 (As of Co. C 8th MA Infantry (100 days)) * Capt 1/5/1865 (As of 27th Unattached MA Inf) Other Information: born in 1929 in Salem, MA Member of GAR Post # 5 (General Frederick West Lander) in Lynn, MA Member of GAR Post # 82 (John Goodwin, Jr.) in Marblehead, MA died 3/20/1911 in Marblehead, MA Buried: Watersite Cemetery, Marblehead, MA (Parents: Amos Evan & Eliza (Chapman) Graves) After the War he lived in Marblehead, MA
8th MA Infantry