Sunday, March 18, 2012

Don't buy a soldier's hat at Gettysburg

Somebody needs to tell the Gettysburg visitor center that the souvenir hats they sell didn't come around until 1872. The crossed rifle pin didn't replace the gold bugle as a symbol of the Infantry until after the Civil War. Also, insignia was on the top of the hat in the 1860's, not on the front. Insignia on the front was for officers only.


If you see an adult reenactor wearing this hat, scold him sternly and slap his wrist. If he argues with you about its "realism," give him an uppercut to the jaw and tell him to go watch Glory.

Kids wearing the Gettysburg kepis are understandable, because only they make hats that small. But if you see a kid reenactor wearing this hat, pay 2 dollars and get him a bugle pin to put on it, and throw away that crossed rifle nonsense.


Per 1863 regulation, the top of the forage cap or kepi could only have a Corps badge made of wool material or an infantry bugle, the Regimental number in brass, and a company letter.

The brim of the hat was a single piece of leather, not whatever that faux sewn plastic leather they use is. Creased hat brims didn't come around until the 20th century when baseball players folded the cap to put in their back trouser pocket.


  1. Hmm... interesting. I have one of those Gettysburg hats. You would think they would know better.

  2. I'll never understand things like this as it is almost just as easy to "get it right" than it is to get it wrong. I'll still buy the kid a hat, though. Think of all of the wrong things we had as children that inspired us to find out what was right.

  3. I think Gettysburg probably knows better. But they continue to sell the cheap hats because the Indian, Chinese, Pakistani or Taiwanese company that makes them sells them way cheaper than the reenactor sutlers. And how much do you think the average factory worker in India, China, Pakistan or Taiwan (who probably works his/her butt off for 60 hours a week getting paid a dollar an hour) cares about American history?

    I used to have one of these from the first time I went to Gettysburg, and I can't remember what country it was made in. If it is made is USA, then....that is just sad.