c1865 American Civil War Kepi to Private 50th New York Engineers


A fine original c1865 American Civil War Union Soldier Other Ranks Model 1858 Blue Kepi, with the cap badge for the Engineers.

The M1858 forage cap, based on the French kepi, was the most common headgear worn by union troops even though it was described by one soldier as ‘Shapeless as a feedbag’. There were two types of brims: the first, called the McClellan cap was flat; the second, called the McDowell cap, was curved. The cap came with some personal effects belonging to Private George H. Losey of L Company, in the 50th New York Engineers. The cap is made in a floppy dark blue wool (possibly caused by War shortages), with a wood circular top to impart some stiffness. The sides however lack support, giving the crown the characteristic tendency to lean forward. It has a shellacked leather square McClellan type peak and chin strap. The latter is secured by 2 Union Forces Eagle buttons. The cap has the fortress badge made of stamped brass, worn by the Engineers in the Union Army. The inside sweat band is missing. Condition is good, but there is some fraying to the top wool, showing a little of the wood support, which could easily be restored, if desired. Size is quite large. The other items that belonged to Losey include a specially made identity metal tag, some Great Army of the Republic commemorative annual reunion medals and a very nice carved bone ring with the Engineers’ badge on the front. These are listed separately on this website.

George H. LOSEY enlisted in the Union Army, aged 22, on the 15th March 1865, at Rochester. He was mustered in as private, unassigned, but ended in L Company of the 50th New York Engineers. Although serving only until June 13th, he witnessed a number of severe engagements. He signed to serve for one year. He was mustered out on the 13th June 1865 at Fort Barry (Berry), Virginia. He was born January 10, 1843, and although a miller by trade, his chief occupation had been farming and market-gardening. He also worked as clerk in a store several years. After the War, he returned to Parma, and in 1867 married Arrobelle (Belle), daughter of Henry Pullis, of Greece. They have one son, James Le Vere. Living for a time in Greece, Mr. Losey was elected Justice of the Peace and overseer of the poor, and was a postmaster under Cleveland's administration.

The 50th New York Engineers regiment left the State September 20, 1861, and served as infantry at Washington, D. C., in the 3d Brigade, of Fitz-John Porter's Division, from September 30, 1861. They were the Volunteer Brigade of Engineers, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1862. Commanded by Col. William H. Pettes, the regiment was honourably discharged and mustered out at Fort Berry, VA., on the 13th and 14th June, 1865.

Size cap: 26 x 18 x 14 cm (10 ¼ x 7 1/8 x 5 ½ inches)
Head Size: 59 (7 3/8 inches)
Weight: 140 g