These men of the First Defenders, were the first to be mustered at Harrisburg, Pa.. after President Lincoln’s call for volunteers to defend the cap, and arrived very shortly after the 6th Massachusetts.
Pennsylvania First Defenders 1895 Cap, worn by one of the men who volunteers according to President Lincoln call for 75,000 troops to defend the Capital. The men from PA. share this honor with the 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as far as arriving at Washington earliest, but a controversy as to who could claim the honor of being truly first goes to the 6th Mass. The 18th date on the hat relates to the date this men arrived in Harrisburg, and then departed for Washington soon after. The other controversy exists between the five companys of the unit as to which of them arrived at Harrisburg.
The First Defenders consisted of the National Light Infantry of Pottsville, the Washington Artillerists also from Pottsville, the Ringgold Light Artillery of Reading, the Logan Guards of Lewiston, and the Allen Infantry of Allentown, Pennsylvanians all.
The pattern 1895 cap is a private purchase cap, copying the U.S. regulations. This cap has all the gilt lettering, etc. directly embroidered onto the material, The cap also has the state “keystone” singnia at center. The buttons are original to the cap, and are General Staff types. All original, with some minor restoration to seams on the crown, and repair to some larger areas of moth damage. It has a nice brown cotton lining, and full sweatband.
A scarce cap with some great, Civil War history, worn by a veteran of that war in the Spanish American War era.