Original U.S. Civil War 27th Michigan Surgeon Black Campaign Hat with Notarized Letter of Authenticity
Original Item: Only One Available. During the Civil War Hamilton E. Smith was a member of the Union 27 Michigan Infantry. He entered the war with the rank of 1 Asst. Surgeon, and left with the rank of Surgeon. Accompanying the hat is a 1998 dated notarized letter from his Great Grandson. It reads:
October 20, 1998 To Whom It May Concern;
The below-described hat belonged to my Mothers Grandfather HAMILTON E. SMITH a Doctor from the Detroit Michigan area.
Black wool hat with a wide brim and a high crown. The inside leather band has the Initials H E S punched into it in letters about one inch high.
I never knew Dr. Smith, as he died some time before I was born. I do remember Mother telling me about him and that was his hat and he would always wear it in the Parades on the fourth of July or other patriotic days.
According to some old Family records he served in the Civil War with the Twenty-Seventh Michigan Infantry. He also served most of the war and according to my mother was always proud of his service to the North during the Civil War.
Although the Hat described above was always known as "Grandpa's Civil War Hat". I have no actual information to show that he did wear this hat during the war.
Sincerely, Warren R. Miller
This is a post Civil War circa 1870s-1880s campaign hat. It is constructed of black fur felt with grosgrain ribbon hatband, the brim does not have stitching indicating an early specimen. This black felt hat became symbolic of the Army on the western frontier and today is one of the most highly prized pieces of military headgear. The brim measures approximately 3 inches wide. The crown measures approximately 5 inches high. This hat comes complete with an 1870s-1880s Gold Cavalry officer hat cord. Interior has a leather sweatband embossed The Diadem. The sweatband is also punched with the initial HES. Original paper size label still present under sweatband. Condition overall is very good. An incredibly rare hard to find hat from a verified Civil War veteran as used by the Army on the Western Frontier!
The Twenty-seventh Michigan was composed of companies from the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, and its organization was partially completed at Ypsilanti, and eight companies were mustered into service April 10, 1863.
In December of the same year company I was mustered into service, with the following commissioned officers: Captain, Abner B. Wood. First Lieutenant, Porter K. Perrin. Second Lieutenant, John Q. Patterson.
Company K was mustered into service Jan. 4, 1864, with the
following officers: Captain, Edwin J. March. First Lieutenant,
Oscar Hancock. Second Lieutenant, John Armour.
The field, staff and line officers of the eight companies
at organization were as follows:
Colonel, Dorus M. Fox, Lyons. Lieutenant Colonel, John H.
Richardson, Tuscola. Major, William B. Wright, Eagle Harbor.
Surgeon, Cyrus M. Stockwell, Port Huron. Assistant Surgeon,
Hamilton E. Smith, Lexington. Second Assistant Surgeon,
Jonathan E. Davis, Macomb. Adjutant, David F. Fox, Detroit.
Quartermaster, William P. Spaulding, Sault Ste. Marie.
Chaplain, Sylvan S. Hunting, Detroit.
A. Captain, Daniel Plummer, Ontonagon. First Lieutenant,
Charles Waite, Rockland. Second Lieutenant, Daniel G. Cash,
B. Captain, Samuel Moody, Houghton. First Lieutenant,
James H. Slawson, Houghton. Second Lieutenant, Nelson Truckey,
C. Captain, William B. Wright, Eagle Harbor. First
Lieutenant, Frederick Myers, Houghton. Second Lieutenant,
Chester W. Houghton, Houghton.
D. Captain, James Dafoe, Greenfield. First Lieutenant,
Harper S. Richardson, Tuscola. Second Lieutenant, Ambrose B.
E. Captain, James Kernahan, Springfield. First
Lieutenant, Paul Gies, Detroit. Second Lieutenant, Alfred H.
F. Captain, Robert S. Baker, Port Huron. First
Lieutenant, Daniel S. Tompkins, Port Huron. Second Lieutenant,
Warren A. Norton, Detroit.
G. Captain, Edward S. Leadbeater, Detroit. First
Lieutenant, Oscar F. Fox, Lyons. Second Lieutenant, Edward
H. Captain, Alonzo L. Bingham, East Saginaw. First
Lieutenant, John Quigley, Detroit. Second Lieutenant, Lyster
M. O'Brien, Detroit.
The regiment, in command of Colonel Fox, started from
Ypsilanti for Kentucky, April 12, 1863, with an enrollment of
865 officers and men. It occupied several towns in the state
after its arrival, and in June was assigned to the Third
Brigade, First Division, Ninth Corps, and sent to Vicksburg,
Miss., to co-operate with General Grant's army before that
It joined in the movement against Jackson, Miss., in the
rear of Vicksburg, when General Johnson was coming to the
relief of General Pemberton, then closely besieged by General
Grant. After the fall of Vicksburg, the Twenty-seventh was
sent with the Ninth Corps across the mountains to take part in
the East Tennessee campaign. After a long and toilsome march
over almost impassable roads, it reached Lenoir Station, Tenn.,
and was attacked by General Longstreet's forces, then advancing
upon Knoxville. The Union lines were gradually withdrawn
towards Knoxville, but it became necessary to halt at Campbell
Station, to insure the safety of the trains. Here the Union
forces were fiercely attacked by the confederates, and the
Twenty-seventh sustained considerable loss in this engagement.
The Union forces rallied behind their defenses at
Knoxville and in Fort Saunders, where they were repeatedly
charged by the enemy, who were repulsed with great slaughter in
every attempt to get possession of the Union works.
The Twenty-seventh met with severe losses in the defense
of Knoxville, and when General Longstreet raised the siege and
passed into Northeast Tennessee ,the Twenty-seventh followed
him as far as Rutledge, and then fell back to Blain's Cross
Roads, in January, 1864.
The Twenty-seventh suffered the hardships and severities
of this campaign with the other troops of the corps, as they
were poorly supplied with rations, tents, blankets and
clothing, and their shoes were worn out by constant marching,
either in deep mud or over frozen ground.
While at Mossy Creek, in March, 1864, the regiment was
joined by companies I and K, which had been recruited since the
regiment left Ypsilanti, under Captains March and Wood.
General Grant concluded not to disturb General Longstreet
in his camp in the valleys and mountains of Northeast
Tennessee, and withdrew the Ninth Corps to send east to join
the Army of the Potomac. The Twenty-seventh returned to
Knoxville, and then commenced a march of 200 miles across the
Cumberland Mountains to Nicholasville, Ky.
The Ninth Corps was then placed upon cars and sent to
Annapolis, Md. At this point the regiment was joined by two
companies of sharpshooters under Captains Porter K. Perrin and
Richard Vosper. These two companies were designated as the
First and Second companies of sharpshooters, attached to the
Twenty-seventh Infantry, and served with the regiment to the
close of the war. The advent of these "sharpshooters," with
their magazine rifles (Spencer), the then new and most
destructive infantry arm known, was hailed with delight by
officers and men, for not only was the regimental front made
respectable in point of numbers, but the GUNS! the only such in
the Ninth Corps! Petition was at once made--vive voce--to arm
the whole regiment with "Spencers"--make them all
"Sharpshooters." With alacrity unusual in honoring
requisitions, this special was filled, and "Spencers" graced
the shoulders of "ye Twenty-seventh," a prominent factor,
later, in probable loss--certainly in artistic profanity by the
bearers of the once coveted instruments of death. These seven-
shot rifles at any point of attack or defense were "king bees,"
but on advanced picket or firing lines they--the rifles--simply
dominated the situation, as against the muzzle-loaders then in
general use. Often was heard, on these advanced positions,
such plaints as "Damn old Spencer and all his inventive staff;
wish they were out here weeks at a time without relief."
"Well, it serves us jolly well right! If we hadn't been such
fools as to want 'em 'cause they were new, we'd be used like
the rest, but we got 'em--the damned sputter guns--and by G---,
we'll serve 'em!" etc., etc.
The regiment, now composed of twelve companies, 864
strong, in command of Major Moody, joined the Army of the
Potomac, April 29, 1864, at Warrenton, Va., and was then in the
First Brigade, Third Division, Ninth Corps.
The Twenty-seventh crossed the Rapidan with the Ninth
Corps, the 6th of May, and was immediately engaged in the
terrific struggle of the Wilderness, losing eighty-nine in
killed and wounded in the different engagements.
The regiment scarcely emerged from the Wilderness before
it was engaged in the bloody encounter of Spottsylvania, where
its losses were 27 killed, 148 wounded and 12 missing. During
the month of May the Twenty-seventh was constantly marching and
fighting, sustaining frightful losses, and on June 3 fought the
battle of Bethesda Church, where sixteen of the regiment were
killed, sixty wounded, among them a large number of officers.
From Cold Harbor the Twenty-seventh crossed the James
river, and during the 17th and 18th of June charged the enemy's
works before Petersburg, meeting with severe loss from the fire
of both musketry and artillery.
During the months of June and July the regiment was
constantly under fire, and on July 30 took part in the
disastrous charge at the "Crater," when the mine was exploded
immediately in its front. The Twenty-seventh was in the
advance of its brigade in this charge, and suffered severely
from a cross-fire of the enemy, meeting with heavy loss.
During the siege of Petersburg it held advanced positions,
and took part in the numerous attempts to break the enemy's
line at Weldon railroad, Peebles' Farm, Poplar Grove Church,
South Side railroad, and helped to repel the confederates when
they charged the Union lines.
It participated in the desperate charge to capture Fort
Mahone, a strong work called the "Key," in the rebel line, and
succeeded in placing its colors on the eastern wing, capturing
three pieces of artillery and more than 150 prisoners.
When the confederates evacuated Petersburg and Richmond,
the Twenty-seventh followed the retreating army, and April 18
was ordered to Washington, where it did light guard duty,
account state prisoners at navy yard, and it took part in the
grand review of the Army of the Potomac, May 23. It was
mustered out of service at Tannallytown, July 26, and was paid
and disbanded at Detroit, Mich., July 29, 1865.
The Twenty-seventh participated in encounters with the
enemy at Jamestown, Ky., June 2, 1863; siege of Vicksburg,
Miss., June 22 to July 4, 1863; Jackson, Miss., July 11 to
18,1863; Blue Springs, Tenn., Oct. 10, 1863; Loudon, Tenn.,
Nov. 14, 1863; Lenoir Station, Tenn., Nov. 15, 1863; Campbell's
Station, Tenn., Nov. 16, 1863; siege of Knoxville, Tenn., Nov.
17 to Dec. 5, 1863; Fort Saunders, Tenn., Nov. 29, 1863;
Strawberry Plains, Tenn., Jan. 22, 1864; near Knoxville, Tenn.,
Jan. 23, 1864; Wilderness, Va., May 6, 1864; Ny river, Va.,
May 9, 1864; Spottsylvania, Va., May 10, 11, 12, 1864; Ox Ford,
Va., May 23, 1864; North Anna, Va., May 24, 25, 1864; Bethesda
Church, Va., June 2 and 3, 1864; Cold Harbor, Va., June 7,
1864; Petersburg, Va., June 17, 18, 1864; the Crater, Va., July
30, 1864; Weldon Railroad, Va., Aug. 19, 21, 1864; Reams'
Station, Va., Aug. 25, 1864; Poplar Springs Church, Va., Sept.
30, 1864; Pegram Farm, Va., Oct. 2, 1864; Boydton Road, Va.,
Oct. 1865; Hatcher's Run, Va., Oct. 27, 28, 1864; Fort
Steedman, Va., March 25, 1865; Fort Mahone, Va., April 2, 1865;
capture of Petersburg, Va., April 3, 1865; siege of Petersburg,
Va., from June 17,1864, to April 3, 1865.
Killed in action--Officers, 6; enlisted men, 128............134
Died of wounds--Officers, 3; enlisted men, 74................77
Died in confederate prisons--Enlisted men, 40................40
Died of disease--Enlisted men, 102..........................102
Discharged for disability (wounds and disease)..............181
Wounded in action--Officers, 27; enlisted men, 511..........538
Missing in action--Officers, 4; enlisted men, 126...........130
The Twenty-seventh was of the "Three Hundred Fighting
Regiments" of the Union army, receiving special mention by the
War Department and Congress in 1866, these regiments showing
casualty lists of over thirty per cent of total enrollment.
Source: Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers 1861-65
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