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    Description

    Historic Cap Worn in Battle by Valiant New York Officer and Congressional Medal of Honor winner. The piece was worn by Captain Paul Oliver, Co. E, 12th N.Y. Vol. Infantry, who had it knocked off his head by a Confederate bullet when wounded at the battle of Gaines Mill, June 27, 1862. The chasseur pattern cap shows genuine period use and has great character, with its somewhat faded body trimmed in decorative black piping, also faded. On the front is sewn a large gold embroidered infantry bugle with the number "12" in tarnished silver numerals inside the bend. The interior is an attractive brown/white checked material with a glazed leather crown. The full dark brown sweatband is present along with the addition of a long cloth loop sewn in the back which could be used to hang the hat when not being worn. In addition to the usual leather chinstrap, a long black ribbon is in place beneath the eagle "staff" buttons to serve that purpose as well. Oliver was wearing this cap when a rebel minie ball grazed his forehead at Gaines Mill, knocking the hat off his head and destroying the original visor. When purchased from the family, the visor was missing. An appropriate visor was restored to the piece by a well meaning collector before it came into Mr. Kurtz's collection. Oliver joined the 12th New York in October, 1861 as a 2nd Lieutenant, rising to 1st Lieutenant in May, 1862 and then Captain in January, 1864. He was detailed to serve on Gen. George Meade's staff in June, 1863 and was heavily engaged throughout the Gettysburg campaign. He later served on Gen. Joseph Hooker's staff. He left the service with a brevet general's rank in May, 1865. Oliver would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions commanding a brigade at Resaca, Ga. A copy of the letter recommending him for the honor, signed by Gen. Daniel Butterfield, details many of his exploits and accompanies this grouping. With the cap is a very colorful red/white/blue patriotic ribbon as would have been worn by loyal citizens at the outset of the conflict and which came with the rest of the Oliver material from the family. The tri-colored ribbon is about 6" long and fastens at the top with a silver metal "eagle" with pin back for affixing to clothing. Also with the grouping is a copy of a typewritten facsimile of the letter Oliver wrote his brother on July 8, 1863 describing his activities during the Battle of Gettysburg. In addition, included is the family's original "Memorial Book" put together after Oliver's death in 1912 which contains clippings from a variety of newspapers detailing his life and the circumstances of his passing. The set emerged directly from family members in 1989-90 and a letter from the person who obtained the items also is with the set, and describes the replacement of the visor on this kepi. This is a wonderful cap with great character, actually "touched by fire" in the Civil War.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th-21st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,220

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