Confederate Trans-Mississippi Cap Pouch
Offered here is a scarce Confederate made Trans-Mississippi associated cap pouch. This Confederate cap pouch has all of the classic features that one hopes to find on a southern cap pouch. The finial is lead and secured with a square tin or sheet iron washer. The back of the pouch has a single belt loop stitched down on the bottom edge with the same stitching the secures the cup to the body of the pouch.
The most interesting feature of this cap pouch is the latch tab. All other types of shield-front cap pouches I have encountered have the tab sewn to the underside of the outer flap. This unique style of cap pouch has the tab sewn to the outside of the flap and passed through a slit on the flap. This method of tab attachment involves significantly more stitching that the usual horizontal stitching, but no doubt provided a very secure attachment point.
A number of examples identical to this one have surfaced over the years with solid Trans-Mississippi provenance. One example, in the collections of the Wilsons Creek National Battlefield Park, was carried by Missouri Colonel Alonzo W. Slayback, who, aside from a brief sojourn to Richmond in the spring of 1864, spent his whole career in the Trans-Mississippi theater. Another example was picked up by an Illinois soldier in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1865 and brought home as a war trophy. One more example resides in the Fort Smith Museum of History and is thought to have arrived in that area via the 22nd and 34th Arkansas Infantry Regiments, which marched from Marshall, Texas to Fort Smith, Arkansas to surrender.
Though a specific identification to one arsenal has not yet been made, it is generally believed that this style of cap pouch was produced in Shreveport, Louisiana or Tyler or Marshall, Texas. Future discoveries may enable us to determine the exact locale of its manufacture, but until then, I offer this simply as a Trans-Mississippi cap pouch.
The cap pouch is in good, stable condition. The leather exhibits no weak spots or breaks, other than some grain cracks on the top of the outer flap. The cut stitching is strong and intact, though there is a little separation on the sides where the flap and pouch bodies are sewn together. The body cup has been slightly compressed over time as shown in the photographs. The cup is cut crooked across the top edge. The inner flap is intact and pliable, though the stitching on the ears has separated in a few locations. Fortunately, both ears are still securely attached. A piece of sheep skin is sewn inside the pouch, though the fleece has long since fallen out. The classic Confederate lead finial is firmly attached with a square metal washer. The latch tab is likewise in good condition and quite pliable. It has a second slit cut into it, which does not align with the finial. Perhaps this was a miscut or a soldier modification. The single beltloop is well attached and damage free.
Overall, this is a really nice, and very scarce example of a genuine West of the Mississippi Confederate cap pouch. Documented Trans-Mississippi relics don’t come along very often and I am quite pleased to be able to offer this one.