Help support TMP

"Iron Brigade Hardee Hat" Topic

16 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the ACW Discussion Message Board

2,454 hits since 12 Feb 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Jagger Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 9:42 p.m. PST

I am curious whether the Iron Brigade wore their Hardee hats with the side flap pinned up or not?

I found an 1862 photo of the 2nd Wisconsin color guard. Note that 6 out of 7 members have their hats pinned up on their left side. But is this the exception or the norm?


Jagger Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 9:47 p.m. PST

And here is an undated photo, but I think 1862, of Company k, 7th Wisconsin. They all have the badge on the front of the hat but it appears the hats are not pinned. Although tough to make out if all are unpinned or not from the photo.


Jagger Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 9:51 p.m. PST

As a side note, here is a nice photo of Iron Brigade "Wisconsin" regiments early war in Wisconsin and wearing kepis. Apparently they didn't start the war with the Hardee Hat.


TKindred Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2012 10:14 p.m. PST

Actually, they are wearing forage caps. There was a long thread or two about the distinction between the styles on TMP earlier.

A lot of the pinned/unpinned had to do with the amount of interest the Colonel of the regiment had in enforcing uniform standards, as well as the ability of the men to replace the brass eagle insignia when it was invariably lost.

The eagle "pin" had a pair of brass loops on the reverse which fitted through slits cut into the hat brim and side. A short piece of leather or wood was then pushed through the loop to fasten it in place. These invariably fell out at some point, and if the wearer lost the badge it as difficult to replace on campaign, though not impossible. The replacement, unless lost in action, would, of course, be paid for by the soldier.

The M1858 Dress Hat eagle device:


TKindred Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2012 10:17 p.m. PST

Officers had an embroidered version of bullion on velvet which was sewn to their hat, thus ensuring it stayed in place.

Officer's version (one version, there were several, though all about the same size/shape, etc):


dglennjr Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 10:39 p.m. PST

Actually, as with most civil war photos, the photos are reversed. Therefore the hats are pinned up on the right side, not the left. (The rifles, at the 'Order Arms' position are actually along the right side of the soldier along his right leg.)

The reason for the pinning of the hat (Hardee, Straw, or whatever) was for convenience. When the soldier raises his rifle with bayonet attached to the 'shoulder arms' or 'right shoulder shift' position, the right side of the brim of the hat normally gets in the way. Since they spend most of the time marching in these position, it made sense to get the brim of the hat out of the way of the gun so as not to dislodge/knock off or damage the hat. (In full uniform & gear and while on the march, it's a PITA to pick up that hat that just got knocked to the ground.)

David G.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2012 11:07 p.m. PST

Actually, David, The infantry by regulation pinned theirs up on the left side. All other branches pinned theirs on the right.

The reason was because of Scott's tactics. When the hat was issued, the musket and rifled-musket was habitually carried on the left side. With Casey's manual (a plagiraism of Hardee's) the primary positions changed to the right, but "Support Arms" remained at the left, and much closer to the body.

Most Infantry continued to loop theirs on the left, accordingly, throughout the war, though there are always exceptions to be found.

If you examine those images above, you will see that they are not reversed. The coat seams and hat insignia are correct, as are the bayonets on the weapons.


Agesilaus Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 11:34 p.m. PST

First of all any unit wearing the grey militia uniform is not yet part of the Iron Brigade. The 2nd wore them at Bull's Run, but they were brigaded with Eastern troops. By the time the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin were brigaded with the 19th Indiana they were all in blue.
The kepi/forage cap of the Militia is shown in one Photo as a cloth shako. Apparently it was supposed to be starched and worn blocked high on the head. Conjecture is that this was just too absurd for the Wisconsin boys and they washed the starch out and wore them as forage caps.
As for the Hardee hat. It is worn pinned on the left or the right sometimes opposite sides in the same photo. The Iron Brigade used Scott's manual of arms at least until after Gettysburg. The Second was using Scott's at their muster out in 1864. That means at Shouldered Arms the musket was carried on the left shoulder, the most likely place the hat would get knocked off. My personal experience is that after a a few hot rainy days the brim of the hat was so pliable it didn't matter if the musket hit the brim.
In a letter from Lt. Nathaniel Rollins from 1862 he states that his new Model 1858 hat just arrived. He threw away the eagle pin and the feather and let the brim down and he planned to wear it that way. I imagine that's the way most of the boys did it.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2012 11:46 p.m. PST

Concur with Agesilaus.

Agesilaus Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 11:48 p.m. PST

Your Second photo, the one of the Seventh at South Mountain tells the story. They are all standing at Shouldered Arms with their muskets on the left shoulder(image reversed), butt cupped in the hand. There is no other manual of arms that has a shouldered arms position on the right side with the rifle but in the hand, so this has to be Scott's with the image reversed. The noncoms carry their muskets by the trigger guard on the right shoulder(like everyone does in Hardee's). Their hats are pinned up on the right.
Also note that most of the privates are wearing sack coats.
there are no gaiters and no feathers.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2012 7:17 a.m. PST


The 2nd image is not reversed. If you examine the cartridge box slings and position of the weapons, it is straightforward.

And I agree with you, though with Federals, very few actually used "Hardee's" but instead used Casey's manual, for political reasons.

Note also how most of the men in the South Mountain image do NOT have their hats pinned up.

Good stuff, though.


Cleburne1863 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2012 8:27 a.m. PST

In the South Mountain photo they also don't have gaiters.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2012 9:02 a.m. PST

Interesting thread. I agree with TKindred that the image is not reversed. The troops are positioned at the "carry" or shoulder arms position from Scott's heavy infantry manual or perhaps Baxter's manual.

Silas casey came up with his manual which was a simplified version of Hardee's light infantry manual. The shoulder position was on the right side.

Any way you look at it, it is can be a pain to be at the shoulder without the side of your hat pinned up. On the other hand, leaving it unpinned provides more shade. I've done both and I prefer the shade.

Jagger Inactive Member13 Feb 2012 9:32 a.m. PST

Thanks all. Plenty of food for thought.

What if we get away from the Iron Brigade and just focus on the Hardee Hat. In general, did regiments wear it pinned or unpinned?

From the above, it sounds like there are definite utility reasons for wearing it pinned. And there were probably colonels who insisted it be pinned. At the same time, what if the pin was lost? Or what if it were really, really hot and you needed the shade?

Are there any photos of units with the majority of the unit having pinned hardee hats?

Agesilaus Inactive Member13 Feb 2012 12:45 p.m. PST

Right the image is not reversed. I got my photos confused.

marcstorch Inactive Member13 Feb 2012 6:13 p.m. PST

The reason images are reversed is because they were taken as a ferrotype (tintype) during the war. CDVs (or what many call albumens when they are the larger images which these are) are created by making a glass image and then transferring it onto the paper. Thus multiple copies can by made where you only get one copy (or as many as there were lenses in the camera) for a ferrotype.
The images of the 7th and 2nd were taken at Fredericksburg across the city from the river, not South Mountain. The place is now a soccer field but you can still walk there and see the same backdrop of the city when the leaves have fallen.
I have found in general the there is a variation within regiments even between the Eastern and Western theatre regarding side pinned or not. Probably due to the reasons stated: comfort, commanders, pins break or they are never issued!

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.