Rare Original Civil War U.S. Provost Guard Hat Insignia


Please contact us via our contact form with item details to express your interest in buying this item!

Rare Original Civil War U.S. Provost Guard Hat Insignia – We have had many Civil War U.S. army insignias, but this is the first Provost Guard insignia we have encountered. This hat insignia is constructed of a faux embroidered, sheet brass officer’s hunting horn, infantry emblem, attached to a red wool or felt field; in the round bend of the horn, are the sheet brass letters – “PG” for Provost Guard; in turn, these letters are superimposed on a 1st Corps badge, with a red, white and blue, wool field beneath. The front is affixed to a reinforced backing, which is covered by a blue wool or felt, hand sewn to the front red felt. The badge is in fine condition. This is a rarely encountered, Civil War insignia.

Measurements: Width – 3.5”; Height – 2”

Online articles discussing the origins and functions of the Federal Provost Guard:

In 1863, the Office of the Provost Marshal General was established and oversaw the Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC). In the US Civil War, the VRC maintained law and order at garrison areas, while other provost guard units served on the front lines. After the war, the Office of the Provost Marshal General was discontinued as the Union Army disbanded.

Provost Marshal:  The Provost Marshal General was established in March of 1863 under the Enrollment Act.  James Barnet Fry was appointed to the Union position and was tasked, in association with Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, to oversee the drafting of troops.  This included the enforcement of the draft and therefore arresting deserters. Fry then also had to cope with riots in relation to the unpopular draft law.  To accomplish the task of enlisting volunteers, while also maintaining statistics on how many troops were wounded or killed in action, Fry relied on Acting Assistant Provost Marshals General from each state or territory to relay information. Veteran or disabled soldiers frequently served as a “provost guard” that would enforce discipline in the armies.  The office of Provost Marshal General was abolished in August of 1866 and would not be fully reestablished until World War I.

The provost-marshal, appointed for every military department, partook of the character both of a chief of police and of a magistrate. The Provost obtained guards from the enlisted ranks of primarily infantry and cavalry units as a temporary duty for an as required time period. To this officer was entrusted the duty of making searches, seizures, and arrests, the custody of deserters from the opposing forces and of prisoners of war, the issuance of passes to citizens, and the bearing of complaints of citizens.

Among provost duties were the suppression of marauding and the depredations on private property, the preservation of good order, the prevention of straggling, the suppression of gambling houses or other establishments prejudicial to good order and discipline, and the supervision of hotels, saloons, and places of resort and amusement generally. When the draft system was instituted in 1863, the provost was assigned the enforcement responsibility.