Original U.S. Pre-Civil War Era 2nd Dragoons Officer’s Model 1851 “Albert Cap” Shako

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic example of a Pre American Civl War Model 1851 Shako, used by an Officer of the 2nd Dragoons. The uniforms introduced under the regulations of 1851 were relatively short lived, but the changes that were made were significant for the Army. The new regulations introduce the frock coat as the service uniform for all soldiers, thus eliminating the coatee. A system of branch colors was also introduced: Prussian blue for Infantry, scarlet for Artillery, Orange for Dragoons, green for Mounted Rifles, and black for Staff. Dragoon material from this time period of American history is exceptionally rare.

All branch insignia was to be manufactured in yellow metal, eliminating white metal for foot troops, although gold bullion insignia was utilized by officers just like on this example. A bright brass general service button was also authorized for all enlisted troops, and the branch letter was eliminated from the center of the national shield, but this example still retains both “D” marked shields on the General Service buttons present on the sides.

The “Albert” Cap, copied from the British and named for Queen Victoria’s husband,
replaced the “stovepipe” shako that had been worn since 1832. Troops continued to wear the roundabout and forage cap for fatigue. A uniform jacket based upon the roundabout soon replaced the frock coat as the service uniform for mounted troops.

This is an impressive 2nd Dragoons 1851 pattern dark blue shako. Stands approximatley 6 ½ inches tall, with a blue wool-covered pasteboard body, this shako follows the lines of the US regulation 1851 pattern shako with a flat, bound leather visor that flares slightly from side buttons forward. The flat crown is about 5 ¾ inches in diameter and is pierced at the forward edge for the orange pompom, the branch color for Dragoons. Below this on the top front is a regulation gold bullion eagle with the arms of the US, familiar to collectors from its later use as a side plate on the Hardee or Jeff Davis hat. Two welted seams form a point-up chevron near the base of the hat, beneath which is another gold bullion insignia but is crossed sabers with the number “2” above, for use with the 2nd Dragoons as well. The number “2” is of the false embroidery style. The thin leather chinstrap is in place and secured on either side with a small General Service “D” Shield button. The interior is lined with a brown polished cotton on the sides and crown. The blackened leather sweatband is also present, complete and firmly in place.

The condition is excellent, especially for the age! A lovely, scarce example that comes more than ready for further research and display!

2nd Cavalry Regiment

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment, also known as the 2nd Dragoons, is an active Stryker infantry and cavalry regiment of the United States Army. The Second Cavalry Regiment is a unit of the United States Army Europe and Africa, with its garrison at the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany. It can trace its lineage back to the early part of the 19th century.

The precursor organization was originally established by President Andrew Jackson on 23 May 1836, as the Second Regiment of Dragoons of the US Army. A and I Companies were recruited in the Fort Myer, Virginia area, B Company recruited from Virginia and Louisiana, C Company drew recruits from Tennessee, E, F, G, and H recruited from New York, and K Company was drawn from New Orleans. D Company was organized from a detachment of the 1st Dragoons and served in Florida immediately. In April 1837, the regimental headquarters was moved to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, where the 400 new recruits and their instructors participated in the School of the Trooper, and learned the tactics and ways of being a dragoon, while some of their compatriots were battling the Indians in Florida.

The 2nd Dragoons saw their first combat during the Second Seminole War. Company D drew first blood on 10 June 1836 in an engagement at Welika Pond, close to Fort Defiance, Florida. In December 1836, A, B, C, E, and I Companies arrived in South Carolina, and immediately moved south. In January 1837, the troopers were engaged by the Seminoles at Fort Mellon only two days after their arrival. On 9 September 1837, three Dragoon companies and two companies of Florida militia surrounded and attacked a hostile village, capturing King Philip, an important chief. The 2nd Dragoons brought the fight to the hostile Seminoles, rather than wait to be ambushed inside a fort like other units did.

Under an act of Congress dated 23 August 1842 the regiment was re-designated as the Regiment of Riflemen effective 4 March 1843. This act was repealed on 4 April 1844 and the regiment reverted to its previous designation.

In October 1842, A, D, E, F, and G Companies moved to Fort Jessup, Louisiana and Fort Towson. The remainder of the regiment stayed in Florida to patrol for hostile bands of Seminoles. Fort Jessup became the regimental headquarters, and was the 2nd Dragoons' home for four years. When hostilities with the Centralist Republic of Mexico began to boil over in 1845, General Zachary Taylor assembled his "Army of Observation" at Fort Jessup, and the 2nd Dragoons marched overland to occupy Corpus Christi, Texas.

They soon established Fort Texas, near modern-day Brownsville, Texas. The regiment conducted aggressive patrolling along the Rio Grande, and on 25 April 1846, they received word that Mexican troops were crossing the river. Two companies of the 2nd Dragoons were ambushed by 500–1,600 Mexican troops (accounts vary), and all were either killed or captured. This battle, known as the Thornton Affair, gave US President Polk the casus belli he needed to invade Mexico.

When General Taylor counterattacked, the 2nd Dragoons forced the enemy to turn their flank during the Battle of Palo Alto. The next day, during the Battle of Resaca de la Palma on 9 May 1846, Companies D and E under Captain Charles A. May were ordered to eliminate a battery of Mexican guns. Prior to the charge, May issued a simple order; "Remember your Regiment and follow your officers." This became the 2nd Dragoon Regiment's motto. The attack destroyed the enemy battery and captured a Mexican general.

On 29 June 1846, COL David Twiggs was given command of the regiment from COL William S. Harney, and he was lauded for his bravery at the Battle of Monterrey. COL Twiggs commanded the 2nd Dragoons for the rest of the war, and by the end, the regiment was one of two regiments in the Army that had elements participate in every major battle.

Heroism was not limited to the officers of the 2nd Dragoons; in November 1847, SGT Jack Miller's small patrol of 20 Dragoons was ambushed by near Monclova by 100 Mexicans. Reaching for their carbines, SGT Miller urged them to charge with only their sabers. In the ensuing battle, 6 Mexicans were killed, 13 were wounded, and 70 were captured at the cost of 1 wounded Dragoon and 3 wounded horses.

After the Mexican–American War, the 2nd Dragoons headed west to protect the settlers on the new frontier that had just been gained by the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In June 1849, F Company, under MAJ Ripley Arnold, established Fort Worth along the Trinity River. These years were spent patrolling the frontier in order to protect American settlers heading west from hostile Indians. In 1854, the Companies E and K of the regiment defeated a sizable Sioux force in the Battle of Ash Hollow in Nebraska, forcing the Sioux to sign a peace treaty.

In late 1857, in response to growing hostilities between federal authorities and Mormon settlers in Utah, a battalion of the 2nd Dragoons was sent to quell any Mormon resistance to federal power. These Dragoons, under LTC Philip St. George Cooke, joined a 2,500-man expedition and began the march to Utah, and in response, Brigham Young, the Mormon leader, mobilized the Nauvoo Legion to combat this force. Peace talks succeeded before much blood was shed, but the 2nd Dragoons still had to complete a long and arduous winter march across the frontier. The Utah War ended in July 1858. On 14 June 1858, William S. Harney was promoted to Brigadier General, and LTC St. George Cooke was made the 3rd Colonel of the 2nd Dragoons.

On 1 October 1858, other elements of the 2nd Dragoons that hadn't gone to Utah were engaging in operations against the Comanche in Texas. In the summer of 1858, a group of Dragoons pursued a number of Comanche who had captured a white child, but soon were ambushed by 25 braves. The firefight escalated and the Dragoons and Texas Rangers fought off a band of roughly 500 Comanches, and killed 70 after five hours of fighting. The captured child was rescued in the end, and the engagement became known as the Battle of the Wichita Village.

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