I'm wondering about Kepi hats. They didn't seem all that practical to me. Why wouldn't the army issue a better brimmed hat that protected the men from the sun, snow etc.? They claimed to be benificial in foraging. How were they better for even that?
Fuller, my first guess is that they were cheaper and easier to produce. A brim requires more material and time to form to shape. But the leather bill is fairly simple, plus the little chin strap thingy.
Last edited on Wed Jan 24th, 2007 12:51 pm by Widow
The two hats you see framing the banner on top of the page are post war Kepi's... 1870's or later. At the time of the ACW France was thought the pinnacle of Military thought & fashion and they were wearing the Kepi. Everybody copied them.... That's the short & skinny.
Actually the Kepi was more expensive to make than the more practical slouch hat that so many men switched to.
Thanks, Johan, for correcting my false assumption. Now that you've pointed it out, I can see that a simple slouch hat molded from a single flat piece of felt is fast and easy. I hadn't thought of that.
As for French military fashions. Can't imagine why anybody would think those outfits were cool.
The Kepi were actually issued to very few union units w/ far more use in CS service. What was issued was the Forage Cap... it was the regulation wear and was more enforced in the AoT & other button polishing units.
Hardee/Jeff Davis/ 1858 Dress hats were issued to many units and were generally discarded because they weren't all that comfortable until broken in & more comfortably shaped. Many men "acquired" various types of slouch hats from local civilian sources, some bought them through conventional means and many simply beat their Hardees into submission... worked on the CS General too.
As a note; the US Army was very visionary in 1860 when it came to uniforms & Accoutraments. They were by and far the most comfortable to wear of any army in the world. On the Continent if a uniform looked good but was as uncomfortable as all hell it was being worn correctly. Campaign experiance on the frontier proved one thing: a good looking corpse is still a corpse. They also learned that functional was considerably less expensive than pretty.