Dirty Billy makes about the only repro of the M1872 Andrews Hat; it would be great if more 7th Cav "dress-alikes" were brave enough to sport something authentic on their heads!
Missouri Boot and Shoe will make you the proper M1872 High-top cav boots and brogans; but you have to request them. Very high quality footwear and properly made as well with brass screws, rough out, etc.
Archeological surveys turned up several wire "hook and eyelets"--- which are a sure indicator of the hats being there onsite...fyi, the hat had these hook and eyelets sewn in two places on the brim which allowed the trooper to fasten the brims together, either for storage or --as some wore them-- wear. The 7th was issued these hats before the 1873 expedition, had them on the Black Hills expedition (readily discerned on enlisted men in photos, and on the officers in the famous Black Hills photo-op), and had them at the little bighorn along with other headwear options such as straw hats (sans hatbands as purchased from a sutler at one of the staging points on the Yellowstone) Most folks go for the farby 'stetson' or worse yet 'Aussie -"man from snowy river"-look' and omit the authentically quirky, but highly distinctive Andrews hat. Nothing says "LittleBighorn 1876" like the Andrews. Interesting enough, Benteen's Andrews hat is still in existence and we can surmise that he was wearing it in June of '76.
Something for the hardcore enthusiast to consider.
Something to consider...If you want an Andrews hat for your collection I'd suggest you don't wait. Suppliers tend to discontinue items that aren't popular and Dirty Billy is the only source at present. IWP stuff is waning in popularity and suppliers are dropping the items from their catalogs. (One needs to have access to an original to get the details correct, as the brim is shaped differently than what you'd think...not many of these hats have survived as they were made pretty cheaply)
The 1872 campaign hat was modeled after the original Andrews hat, issued to the Second Dragoons in 1851. This had the same hooks and eyes to allow the folding up of the brim. Despite the poor quality of the hat, this item saw extensive use in the field. Photos bear this out from the Black Hills officer photo of 1874 to a rare photo from the field during the Nez Perce War of 1877, which clearly shows a soldier sporting the floppy headpiece. John Ryan, in Ten Years With Custer mentions at least twice using his "big campaign hat"; on one occasion filling it with water to give his horse a drink, and on another pulling it down over his eyes during a halt to catch a few winks. Like everything else with the LBH fight, there is nothing definitive on this. Some troopers state there were an assortment of hats, everything but the issue hat. Yet as Mark states, there is archaeological evidence of its presence at the fight.
Despite its unpopularity and replacement by a modified 1876 model, the hat lingered and died a slow death. One replacement officer, Lt. Ezra B. Fuller commented in 1877 on the poor quality of the hat, comparing it when wet to a pair of elephant ears.
Dirty Billy's Andrew Hat as new. Note the eye let and hook on either side of the brim, there is an other set on the rear of the brim, for folding up, hooking and storage. My hat has now transformed into a more likeable hat for it is not a stetson, but with time it comes around.
"Now, Custer, don't be greedy, but wait for us." General Gibbon "No, I will not." Custer, noon, June 22, 1876 passing in review.
Regarding the '72 Andrews hat; hook and eyelets from the brims of these hats have been found in multiple places on the LBH battlefield-- so we know some of the troops were wearing them there. Looking backward; you see them on both enlisted and commisioned in the photos from the 1874 Black Hills expedition; troops mentioned having the Andrews on the 1873 Yellowstone expedition as well; including Stanley's observation calling it the "most uncouth rag..." The hat is unrepresented in both living historian and reenactor ranks...unfortunately most guys will go for a more hollywood/dances with wolves look instead of the quirky yet authentic Andrews...yet no hat says "Custer's 7th" more definitively than it does. Yeah, troops lost or tossed it and found others-- but beyond the straw hats they bought at the Yellowstone depots-- you can only guess what they (broadbrim hats) looked like since nothing survived or was photographed on the enlisted troops in association with Custer's 7TH. Yet the Andrews hat was. I think I might have seen one broadbrim hat on an enlisted troop studio shot, but it would be certainly a less prevelant type...and the photo may have been post LBH, even tho the guy was a battle participant.
As far as civil war surplus --you have to remember a couple of things; 1st--that the govt. was looking to issue out as much leftover gear to make better use of the inventory left over after the late hostilities ---yet modification to eqpt. was needed as the rigours of western service dictated a different approach and troops and horses were hard on the gear. There's alot of detail in research documented on the modification of CWP equipment, i.e. the "M1872 saddle" being the 1859 covered in leather, sans stirrup hoods, fenders and sweats-- even breast straps (which may be more of a reenactorism than reality for CWP cav. outfits, as most CW cav guys will tell you) The 2nd thing to consider is that just because a peice of eqpt. has a model year that pre-dates the LBH-- doesn't necessarily mean that it was in the system and getting to troops in the field...i.e.; M1874/75/76 versus M1872. If in doubt go earlier rather than later. Check out Doug McChristians book "The US Army in the West" and you'll see what I mean. Hope this helps. Now go out there and get yourself an Andrews hat before they're all gone...
I have an Andrews hat! Lol. I would rather have an impression that represents the common rather then the unique. Nothing gauls me more (yes that was intentional)lol then everyone wanting to portray the abaration rather then the common schmo. I'm curious if the guys were in shirt sleeves etc during the fight or were they wearing their sacks. I'm sorry if this is an ignorant question. I'm just not sure if this was a common thing in the 7th on compaign. Obviously it was concidered under ware in normal society. Was it a top button thing etc. obviously it was 9,000.000 degrees kelvin during the fight so I don't think it's an unreasonable supposition. Thanks in advance!
I would imagine the guys were stripping off the excess clothing when the temps got high. Looking at photos from the era, there are very few that show enlisted troops on the march; but there are a couple (YSE 73 & BH 74) you need a magnifying glass and even then it's difficult to see. Officers in their group posed photos wear their blouses, of course. In the age of reenactments there is much that is imported from the modern mindset and mythology-- that's not necessarily period correct. It's not surprising; after all-- folks spend alot of money on their 'stuff' and want to get some use out of it...hence wearing all the bandannas, gauntlets, hats and cords and shiny stuff, chevrons and shoulder straps, sabers and medals... everybody is in a different stage in life as to their knowledge and attention to detail. Anymore, I'm just glad to see IWP guys show up wearing dark blue on top and sky blue pants...!!