Amzi L. Williamson Forage Cap
Co. B, 53rd North Carolina Infantry
This forage cap can be found on page 145 of the Confederate volume of Echoes of Glory. Since that series of books was published I had always wanted to see the cap in person. I made contact with the owner several years ago and it took two years to finally get the owner, the cap, and yours truly in the same place so I could study it.
It was a pleasure to look at this cap in a context other than Echoes of Glory. Firstly, the jean wool exterior is more vivid color than is seen in the book. Secondly is the lining fabric, which is nice printed homespun patterned cotton, something unique to this cap. Note, Amzi’s initials and the date "1863" are scratched onto the underside of the visor.
What makes this cap so special is that it’s an impeccably id’d Confederate enlisted forage know to be worn at Gettysburg. His North Carolina jacket also survived the war and is in the same hands as the cap.
Amzi Williams enlisted on May 8, 1863 at Mecklenburg County, North Carolina as a private in Co. B of the 53rd North Carolina infantry. After less than two months as a soldier he was wounded July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg. He returned to duty November 30, 1863. The following spring he was wounded again at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. He was hospitalized at Charlottesville, Virginia in one of the Confederate hospitals. No doubt he was carried there via the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, passing through Gordonsville, Virginia.
Gordonsville was an important stopping point where Confederate wounded were examined and either left at the hospitals there, or taken to Charlottesville hospitals, or on further to the Lynchburg hospitals. The extensive fighting that took place in May 1864 saw tens of thousands of Confederate wounded carried by rail along this medical corridor of Gordonsville, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Danville.
Williamson returned to duty in November 1864 and later was detached to the Medical purveyor’s office in Richmond where he finished out the war.
This reproduction of the Williamson cap is made of Ben Tart Sumac jean, which will fade in sunlight to a color amazingly close to the original. A key feature of the cap is the lining. This lining has been carefully reproduced exactly as seen in the original. This custom lining is exclusive to this project. The original shows remnants of sewing indicating a sweatband and a chinstrap. It is unknown what those were. A brown leather sweatband has been used and a chinstrap added. Available buttons are reproduction North Carolina state seals, eagles, or coin.
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