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CHAUSSEUR HAT
OR
KEPI

1861 - 1865

companies 1, 2, 3, & 4


enlisted men & noncommissioned officers

The Washington Artillery kepi has a red wool crown and red wool sides with a navy blue-band wool trim at its base. Gold braid rings the very top of the blue band, which separates the blue band from the red sides of the kepi, and gold braid divides the red sides into four sections. There is a circle of gold braid on the crown of the kepi where the crown meets the sides.

There are three construction styles of kepis.  The first is the standard, government issue style kepi, distinguished by its low profile and rounded-edge brim.  The second is the McDowell style, which typically has a markedly elevated crown, but a very, very slender brim, almost giving the impression of a short fingernail tip.  The third style is the McClellan style kepi, which is closest to the French chausseur cap, notable for its slightly longer brim with squared edges and shiny black leather, and its crown slightly taller in profile than the standards, government issue kepi.  This last style is the Washington Artillery kepi.

The kepi should have a squared-edge brim, which is also slightly longer than the standard government issue kepi's brim, commonly known as the McClellan style kepi.   The chin strap should be secured to the kepi with one kepi-size (11/16" diameter) pelican button on either side. The chin strap for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers should be of leather with a brass slide, while the chin strap for officers may be of gold braid with a knotted slide, rather than a brass slide.

Overall, the Washington Artillery enlisted man's kepi is identical to the kepi of an artillery lieutenant in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States of America (PACSA), without the contrefoil that distinguishes the rank of the officer.

Slouch hats, mechanics' caps (which, except for the fabric choices, look much like the modern welding caps worn inside welding hoods), broad-brimmed straw hats, and other forms of headgear are not acceptable for 5th Company soldiers and officers outside of casual wear in camp unless the impression is late war, or on the rare occasions when our Confederate impression is not that of the 5th Company - Washington Artillery.


commissioned officers

The Washington Artillery officers' kepi is much like the enlisted man's and noncommissioned officers kepi.  It has a red wool crown and red wool sides with a navy blue-band wool trim at its base. Gold braid rings the very top of the blue band, which separates the blue band from the red sides of the kepi.  However, unlike the enlisted men's and noncommissioned officers' kepis, there are three rings of gold braid located not at the top of the blue band, but immediately above that blue band.  Like the enlisted men's and noncommissioned officers' kepis, gold braid divides the red sides into four sections. There is a circle of gold braid on the crown of the kepi where the crown meets the sides.

The approximate rank of the officer is reflected in the number of parallel lines of gold braid that constitute the contrefoil on the top of the kepi.  One line of gold braid in the contrefoil indicates a Second or First Lieutenant.  Two parallel lines of gold braid in the contrefoil indicate a Captain or Major (note the two parallel lines of gold braid in the contrefoil on Captain Edward Owens' kepi, pictured below) .  Three parallel lines of gold braid in the contrefoil indicate a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel.  Four parallel lines of gold braid in the contrefoil indicate a General.

There are three construction styles of kepis.  The first is the standard, government issue style kepi, distinguished by its low profile and rounded-edge brim.  The second is the McDowell style, which typically has a markedly elevated crown, but a very, very slender brim, almost giving the impression of a short fingernail tip.  The third style is the McClellan style kepi, which is closest to the French chausseur cap, notable for its slightly longer brim with squared edges and shiny black leather, and its crown slightly taller in profile than the standards, government issue kepi.  This last style is the Washington Artillery kepi.

The kepi should have a squared-edge brim, which is also slightly longer than the standard government issue kepi's brim, commonly known as the McClellan style kepi.   The chin strap should be secured to the kepi with one kepi-size (11/16" diameter) button on either side.  The chin strap for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers should be of leather with a brass slide, while the chin strap for officers may be of gold braid with a knotted slide, rather than a brass slide.

It should be noted that there is historic precedent for using a button other than a Louisiana state militia pelican button for the chin strap buttons on an officer's kepi, however.  A surviving kepi owned and worn by Captain Edward Owens, William Miller Owens' brother, is shown below.  A second photograph, show below the kepi, shows the button worn on Owens' kepi.  Comparison between the button on Owens' kepi (which has two of the button pictured below) and the US Army Staff Officers' cuff button, in use from 1832 to 1875.  It is different from the US Army enlisted man's button, in use from 1851 to 1880, in that the enlisted men's button had a plain background rather than the 24 lines seen on the staff officer's cuff button; and the staff officer's cuff button was not the simple dome shape of the enlisted men's button, but was instead the "muffin" button (which means that it had a slightly flattened outer rim).

 
Kepi Owned & Worn By
Captain Edward Owens



Closeup Of Chin Strap Button
On Owens' Kepi



Modern Reproduction Of
Federal Staff Officers' 
Cuff / Kepi Button

(courtesy of John A. Zaharias, Sutler)


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