Enlisted Man's Kepi Identified To The 39th New York Garibaldi guard - The body of the kepi is dark blue and is in very good condition with one or two minor moth nips and some light moth tracking. The tracking seems to be confined to the back bottom edge. These kepis were issued under a General Order of May 16, 1863. There is a very thin band of piping surrounding the kepi approx. 1.25 inches from the base. The disc is also outlined with piping and there is a line of the same running up the back.
Side buttons are domed “Excelsior” buttons. Instead of a chinstrap there is a thin band of black cloth. On the front of the kepi, below the line of piping, there is a false embroidered white metal “39.” These numbers meas. approx. 0.50 inch in size. Above the numbers is a New York Excelsior eagle and shield. This brass plate meas. approx. 2.00 inches from the bottom edge to the tip of the eagle’s head. This is surmounted by a circular red, white and blue pompon per regulations. There is some wear to the cloth where the base of the pompon passes through the cap. The anchor for the pompon on the inside of the cap is not present.
Visor is in good condition with only light crazing. The cap displays very well and is extremely attractive. The brown polished cotton lining is complete but attached by a few threads. The lining is gathered at the top in a circle leaving a hole exposing the base of the disc that is covered with a black leather material. The sweatband is black leather and is complete with some light wear. The makers label is present. Excellent example.
The 39th New York was one of the more colorful regiments in the Army of the Potomac. Their uniforms originally had a distinctive Italian flare. Despite the name of “Garibaldi Guards” the regiment was made up of men from all over Europe who came to the US as immigrants before the war. There were Italians, Spaniards, Germans, Hungarians, Swiss and Portuguese. The 39th New York spent most of its enlistment in the Army of the Potomac. In the midst of their service they were assigned to the defenses of Washington as well. However, they returned to the army in time for Gettysburg where they served as a part of the 3rd Division, 2nd Corps. During the fighting on July 3rd they were not far from the area where Pickett’s Charge hit the Union line. They were afterward transferred to the 1st Division of the 2nd Corps where they remained to the end of the war. They were truly hard fought veterans of the Army of the Potomac.
Inventory Number: CCB 005