Rare Civil War U.S. Navy Regulation Officer’s Cap – Conforms to 1863 – 1864 Regulations
Rare Civil War U.S. Navy Regulation Officer’s Cap – Conforms to 1863 – 1864 Regulations – These caps have always been difficult to find today; most of the U.S. Navy officers’ caps we encounter are postwar examples; this cap is definitively war period, as indicated by its construction, insignia and ancillary elements. The cap is quite unique in that its body and visor are covered in a deep blue, high grade velvet – the velvet appears to have been hand sewn to the body of the cap. Per regulation, the bottom third of the body of the cap is covered with a circumferential, wide, gold bullion band. The original chinstrap and thin brass wire adjuster buckle remains in place, firmly attached, on each side of the cap, by Civil War period, U.S. Navy cuff buttons. The interior of the cap is representative of mid to late war construction – it is lined with a greenish-black silk, quilted and sewn in place via diamond shaped, intersecting lines of thread. In the middle of the black silk lining is a cloth maker’s label; unfortunately, normal wear has obscured the label’s content. The sweat band is constructed of a brown, ribbed calfskin; it is complete and in fine condition. The insignia on the front of the cap, consists of a patch of high grade, deep blue velvet with a bullion, fouled anchor, undergirded by two leafed branches of gold bullion. This insignia is indicative of the 1863 – 1864 ranks of Commodore, Captain, Commander, Lieutenant-Commander, Lieutenant, Master and Ensign.
We have only had one or two other examples of Civil War U.S. Navy officer caps, and this example is, by far, the best example we have had. The enlisted navy flat hats are found markedly more often than these officer caps.
From the Naval History and Heritage Command:
Uniform Regulations, 1864
Cap and Cap Ornaments
Cap, of dark blue cloth; top to be one-half inch greater diameter than the base; quarters, one and a half inch wide between the seams; back of the band to be two inches wide between the points of the visor, with a welt half an inch from the lower edge, extending from point to point of the visor; band in front, one and a half inch wide; bound, black patent leather visor, green underneath, two and a half inches wide, and rounded, as per pattern, inside of the band of heavy duck. The cap ornaments are to be worn on the band in front. During rainy weather a black cover may be worn over the cap.
Cap ornaments shall consist of a gold wreath in front, composed of oak and olive branches, three inches in width, and enclosing the following described devices:
FOR COMMODORE, CAPTAIN, COMMANDER, LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER, LIEUTENANT, MASTER, AND ENSIGN – see picture of regulation insignia