This regulation issue Union army forage cap bears its original paper maker's label on the underside of the top reading, "Size / No.| 5, / 7 3/8 / U.S. Army / LJ & I P." Lewis J. and Isaac Phillips of New York had huge army contracts for caps every year of the war, furnishing some 35,000 in 1861, 175,000 or more in 1862, 251,000 in 1863, 330,200 in 1864, and even 50,000 on a contract of January 1, 1865. From the slightly smaller crown and taller body this is likely from one of their earlier contracts. Derived from the prewar army shakos. Extant caps from this company appear in two main variants with some minor variations exhibited on others. This is currently considered the Type Il variant, having a larger crown disc and squarer brim. Every soldier was likely issued several of these in the course of his service and if there was a typical forage cap, it was likely one by L. J. & I. Phillips. The color on this is excellent and the fabric is good. There are a scattered moth holes and a couple of slightly larger, but not big, spots that have been professionally backed with a matching fabric stitched in place and not readily visible, on the lower front, just under the top edge. The chinstrap and buckle are in place, are the correct form, and appear original to the cap. The visor has good color, finish, and is firmly attached, as is the reaffixed goatskin sweatband inside that shows good color, the typical impressed cross-hatched pattern, and just light rubbing along the bottom edge with only a slight separation at the rear seam. The brown polished cotton lining is complete, in place, and shows just light wear. The label is fully legible.
The top of the cap has some bends that give it a great, field-used look and it displays very, very well. This would be the centerpiece of an infantry display and a fine addition to a collection.
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Inventory Number: UNI 127 / On-hold