Infantry Private Frock Coat and Hardee Hat

Physical Description
Dark blue wool coat with gold-colored buttons. Black wool hat with ostrich plume and blue cord ribbon. Brass Jager horn and "A" insignia.
Specific History
This is the type of coat and hat worn by a Union private.
General History
In 1855 Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was instrumental in the creation of two regiments of cavalry. It was recommended that the cavalry have a distinctive hat; it is sometimes called the Jeff Davis hat. It also was referred to as the Hardee hat, after William Joseph Hardee, an officer of the 2nd Cavalry. In 1858 the hat was approved for the entire army. The hat was made of black felt and had various insignia, which were embroidered for officers and brass for enlisted men. It was looped up by an eagle on one side and decorated with ostrich feathers on the other. The side on which the hat was looped up was changed several times during the period the hat was in use. From 1858–1861 the hat looped on the left for artillery and infantry officers. On the front of the hat was the insignia of the branch of service. The Jager horn represented the infantry. In some cases the hat bore the regimental number and company letter. Hat cords were in the branch color for enlisted men, in mixed black and silver for company or field officers, and in gold for general officers.
Associated Date
1857 - 1872
Physical Description
wool (overall material)
dark blue (overall color)
brass (buttons material)
light blue (trim color)
overall: 37 in x 16 1/2 in; 93.98 cm x 41.91 cm
ID Number
AF.22817 [dup5]
catalog number
accession number
related event
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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