Thursday, January 16, 2014

Military Hat



Today's picture shows a man in a military style hat that I believe is called a Slouch Hat. The distinguishing feature is that the brim is pinned up over one ear. I have never understood where this tradition began, given that the primary purpose of a hat is to shade the face.

15 comments:

  1. Pinning the brim up allows a rifle to be carried at the slope on the shoulder without disturbing the hat.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Mystery solved after all these years.

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    2. I echo Sue .... thanks

      All the best Jan

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  2. Man?? Don't think so. This is a teenager. A boy.

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  3. Children grew up faster in the 1800's.

    We retard adulthood these days, by not giving our kids meaningful chores in childhood not allowing them to do productive work in their youth and simply failing to properly educate them in how to make practical decisions.

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  4. Great picture, wouldn't you like to know this kids story? How old did he live to? What was his ocupation after military service? Did he have kids?, grandchildren? etc.

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  5. Looks like Civil pre-war photograph that were popular among the rich.

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  6. This is probably not the reason - but as today's youngsters say - Could it be it looks cool? "The distinguishing feature is that the brim is pinned up over one ear. I have never understood where this tradition began, given that the primary purpose of a hat is to shade the face."

    Just a thought and probably wrong. But yes, like Dave107 commented - wonder what the boy/man in the photograph went on to do?

    All the best Jan

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  7. The picture, in fact, is probably early Civil War era, to judge by the pistols shown. They look like Bliss and Goodyear Pocket Revolvers, which were .28 caliber six shooters. Only about 3000 were ever made.

    The young man's hat insignia indicates he was in Company K of some cavalry unit in the Union Army. The fact he is also prominently displaying a saber confirms he was a cavalry trooper as well, since that was a primary weapon for cavalry troops in that day.

    Despite the fancy epaulettes, the lack of shoulder strap officer rank insignia or arm stripe enlisted rank insignia indicates he was a private.

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  8. Actually the practice goes back much farther to broad-brim hats and sword play. The brim was folded up to keep it out of the way i.e. the Three Musketeers, although Hollywood somtimes gets it worng, period paintings show it correctly.
    -sage

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  9. As anonymous said earlier the side of the hat is pinned up to prevent a rifle, when carried at the 'slope arms' on the left shoulder. Remember it is British forces that carry the rile on the left shoulder. American military place the rile on the right shoulder. Also, the modern 'slouch' or 'bush hat' is an Australian development in the 1800's. The bush hat is common head ware today in many military forces around the world including the Boy Scout movement.

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  10. As a history teacher, you are correct that the hat was pinned up to avoid interfering with the rifles. During the American Revolution, you could tell a military hat from a civilian one by how tightly the sides were pinned.

    We lost more people in the Civil war than all other wars combined. Both sides took anybody that could carry a rifle (it was hardly necessary to lie about your age), and little children were used as "powder monkeys", keeping the soldiers supplied with ammo. Considering the mortality rate, chances are this young man didn't make it home.

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  11. This is not a "slouch hat", it's a Hardee Hat. This pattern of hat was adopted right after the Mexican War for what was intended to be a regiment of Voltguers. The unit never came about, but the hats stuck, being a fairly practical hat for westerns service. The hat remained in service throughout the Civil War and briefly after.

    Photos of the hat during the war show it to be frequently modified by the user, and here the trooper has chosen to pin his cap device in an unofficial place.

    As far as the term "slouch hat" is concerned, the term has been used to describe unofficial brimmed hats worn by solders of this period, of which there were a lot. The term doesn't seem to apply to hats used in that fashion post Civil War, but the practice of soldiers buying their own hats continued up to around 1900.

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  12. My husband and I collect everything and anything but my main interest is old books . in one Particular book we found a very old tintype of two men with an x scratched over one of the men's heads. I have no clue as to how to find out who they are or how old the picture is but it is very interesting. Do you have any suggestions?
    Vickie Watts
    Taylor Mill Ky

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  13. This looks like an early War of the Rebellion (civil war) era cavalry trooper. He has a early union U.S. 1858 shell jacket with shoulder scales, and a Company K Hardee hat. He's also holding dual Colt Model 1855 Root side hammer pistols and a cavalry saber.

    I can't be positive about the sword plate, though it slightly resembles an 1850 militia plate. I think New York used them for a bit.

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