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Forage caps were used by the British Army at least as early as the 18th Century and information on them is sketchy to say the least. I have seen references to a 'Welch Wig' which was a knitted cap much like the Monmouth cap of today (http://www.isca-morrismen.com/monmouth.htm) and looked a little like a beanie or balaclava. I have also seen a drawing of a watering cap or stocking cap which looks like a nightcap (one you wear not drink).

In the Napoleonic period Highland regiments wore old bonnets with the feathers removed and with a woollen tuft or 'tourie' to the centre top. Other infantry regiments wore a cap like a pillbox but with the top wider than the side and with a woollen ball to the centre top. The side was probably in the colour of the regiments facings

However, I will start off with my earliest example a Light Dragoons forage cap which is described in the Dress Regulations for 1834 and 1846. The DRs of 1857 describe some differences to the cap. There are many Crimean War photographs showing the style of forage cap which had stiffened sides. I will post these later. This one is to a Light Dragoon regiment and was the type used in the Crimean War. The label to the interior is to -

Moore & Co

Late Bicknells & Moore

Old Bond Street,

London

Stuart

LightDragoonsForagecap1-1834-1856.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates
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This is a forage cap to a Line regiment c1800+. The woollen ball to the top would be of the colours as described above. Note the facing colour as the colour of the cap's side.

Similar caps were worn by Cavalry regiments of the time.

Stuart

LineRegimentForagecap-c1800.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates
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The 1857 Dress Regulations describe a new forage cap for the infantry and although it does not specify the type of peak from drawings of 1856 it would appear to stand straight out from the cap rather than being angled. It was much like my Chelsea pensioner's cap below. The regimental number or authorised badge was embroidered on the front

Cavalry and Guards regiments varied from this pattern.

Stuart

ChelseaPensionerCap.jpg

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This is a staff officer's cap and is attributed to Brigadier William Henry Sitwell DSO, commissioned into the 1st Battalion 5th Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers) in 1880. Staff appointment recorded to the Royal Military college in the 1891 Army List, seconded to the Bechunanaland Border Police 20th March 1891 &c.

19thCenturyStaffOfficersForageCap-1.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates
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This is a forage cap to a Line regiment c1800+. The woollen ball to the top would be of the colours as described above. Note the facing colour as the colour of the cap's side.

Similar caps were worn by Cavalry regiments of the time.

Stuart

LineRegimentForagecap-c1800.jpg

Stuart

Can I ask where this illustration is from? Forage caps have been a source of great interest and even controversy among the Napoleonic War / 1812 reeanacting communities: here in Canada many of us wore the type illustrated in #3 for years until evidence - contemoporary prints, mostly - suggested that they were worn only by cavalry.

The newest version, which letters show were shipped out to the Canadas and therfeore must have been ubiquituous in England first, are a really ugly bakers cap: a straight side (1 band of cloth) in white, with a blue top, no decorations and no regimental distinctions. We know 6000 were shipped out to Quebec in 1813-14, enough for every man in the Canadas. However, being hobbiests, with different levels of commitment to absolute historical authenticity, many of the units won't "re-cap" to something so ugly (though cheap)! So, we also have references to some reg'ts wearing their own patterns, modelled on the French "cap de police". Here's a link to a very good article. (Robert Henderson is generally held here to be pretty expert on this period. ) "An Item of Comfort" http://www.warof1812.ca/foragecaps.htm

If I can find a photo of some of our guys in the 'baker's cap' I'll post it. All the best TTYL

peter

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Somewhere I've got an early forage cap for reenacting.

The original item wasn't really a nightcap, although it sometimes looked like one. It was either the inspiration for, or inspired by, the French bonnets de police (sic?), and was manufactured from two sleeves from coats. The buttons from the coats, with their tabs, would be used to hold over the top of the cap, making it look much like the coloured FS caps used during the Second World War in overall shape. I'll try to dig mine out an snap a few pictures.

~TS

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Peter,

there is a good book 'The Thin Red Line, Uniforms of the British Army between 1751 & 1914' by D.S.V. & B.K. Fosten which contains many, many really good drawings. There is a drawing of a Royal Marine in fatigues wearing a similiar cap and dated 1805. And you are right about the ugliness of the 'bakers' cap. I came across the article by Richard Henderson and Keith Raynor about this time last year when I was thinking about doing an article on Forage Caps with Peter S.

~TS,

there is a sketch of a stocking or watering cap in one of my books but if you can post a photo that would be good. BTW: I only said it looked like a nightcap so people would know what I meant. :D

Stuart

Edited by Stuart Bates
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1st Reg't of Foot - Grenadier Company - forage caps (the "baker's cap was the Lt Coy.)

The num,eral 1 is stiched on, as is the "band" - it is a false cuff on the bottom, though some units make them so that the band is the top od a large turn-up and the top can be tucked into the side of the turn-up. There is a small tassel in the facing colour on the end of the cap

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The originals were sewn together from two tunic sleeves. By the era you're doing, I'm not sure if this was still done, but at least during Queen Anne's reign even a single sleeve would almost have been big enough. A friend of mine made his from his sleeve cuffs. Unfortuneately, most of our unit doesn't wear this type of cap so I don't have any pictures. Yours give a better idea of it, anyway.

~TS

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