The Hoodoo Hat: 1862

Union soldier daguerreotype

An unidentified Union soldier in a slouch hat. Image courtesy Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

A FATAL HEADPIECE

Tale of a Hoodoo Hat and the Many Victims of Its Influence in the Civil War.

John Cooper, one of Dooly County’s most prominent citizens, was lately in this city on his way to Augusta to attend the old veterans’ reunion. When he got off the train he looked up Capt. Warren Moseley, one of the bravest of the boys who went out in the ‘60s, and they immediately began swapping reminiscences about their army life in Virginia. Finally Mr. Cooper asked Capt. Moseley if he remembered the Yankee hat. A reporter who was standing there heard the following story, which both men vouch for as being absolutely true:

On the first day of the battle of Winchester a Yankee was killed so near the line of battle that a soldier by the name of McLondon, Company I, Fourth Georgia, picked up the hat and put it on and wore it, says the Macon (Ga.) News. He had not had it on his head for more than two hours when he was shot through the head, the bullet piercing the hat in almost the same hole that the bullet had entered that killed the Yankee.

Another soldier by the name of Wooten, of Company H, Fourth Georgia, picked up the hat and put it on, and in less than an hour he, too, was killed, the bullet striking him in the head near the place where the two other bullets had entered.

The next day another soldier by the name of Kilpatrick, of Company H, Fourth Georgia, was wearing the hat, when he, too, was struck in the head and killed.

Although the hat was a fine one, it was left lying on the field, as there was no one who would wear it, as four men who had worn it were then cold and stiff, and each one had been shot through the hat in almost the same place.

Daily Herald [Biloxi, MS] 16 February 1901: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: This, of course, sounds like one of those too-good-to-be-true tales so often found in the American newspapers. However, Mrs Daffodil likes to be thorough and found a history of the so-called “Doles-Cook Brigade” by Henry W. Thomas, published in 1903. Much to Mrs Daffodil’s surprise, on the roster of the Brigade, dating from the time of the War, were John Cooper, Captain Moseley, and the late Wooten, all present and correct. Whether or not one believes in “hoodoos,” it may at least be said that three of the dramatis personae actually existed, two of whom survived and agreed upon their story. Hoodoos of various descriptions (persons with red hair or suffering from strabismus, lilacs, the number 13) were much in vogue around the turn of the century and the newspapers rejoiced in telling of the corpses and the bad luck that piled up as a result. The paltry four dead in this story argues a hoodoo of inferior quality. Mrs Daffodil has seen an article in which thirteen (naturally) of an unlucky family were wiped out by a really efficient hoodoo. And, of course, she has brought to the reader’s notice a “hoodooed” royal ring.

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4 thoughts on “The Hoodoo Hat: 1862

  1. Pingback: The History of a Gauze Hat: 1833 | Mrs Daffodil Digresses

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  4. Pingback: How Hats are Sold in America and in Paris: 1909, 1922 | Mrs Daffodil Digresses

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