Capt. H.P. Kile, 41st Ohio Infantry Civil War Uniform with Camp Trunk, Captured Confederate House Coat and More
An unusually complete and well identified archive descended directly in the family of Captain Horatio P. Kile of Companies G and H, 41st Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry. Includes Kile's personal trunk containing his nearly complete uniform consisting of frock coat, trousers, vest, and forage cap, along with two Model 1850 sword belts, white cotton dress gloves and an officer's a sash. The archive further includes Kile's leather forage bag; his personalized "housewife" presented to him by his sister; a folding shaving mirror inscribed in pencil with his name and unit affiliation; two rare linen havelocks, one with affixed with a penciled note “Presented by the Ladies of Lake Erie Institute to the Geauga Rifles, April, 1861;”
two cap boxes, one stamped L.H. Norfolk U.S. Ord. Dept. Sub Inspector
; and a white cotton window pane check mosquito bed net.
Other items include a marbleized pasteboard box with printed green label for fifty .32-100 caliber pistol cartridges by Smith, Hall and Farmer, now holding about 25 round lead balls; a box with about 20 small American flags on brass pins ca 1890; a box with mixed ephemera; and an 8 x 10 photographic copy of a 1908 Christmas greeting showing images of Kile at 17, 23 (in uniform), 28, 50 and 70.
The archive is further enhanced by several war date “souvenirs” collected by Kile during his period of service. These include a Confederate officer's “house” or camp coat of gray wool with red shawl collar, gauntlet cuffs and lining, blue wool tape and red cord trim on the edges and around the inset pockets, with a handwritten note found in the pocket inscribed "Taken at Corinth, Miss, from a Confederate Officer's Quarters;"
an artillery kepi of coarse blue and worsted red wool with an oilcloth interior band, and tarred leather visor which we believe may have been collected at the same time as the smoking jacket, and a buff-colored wool felt-brimmed hat with matching ribbon binding and leather sweatband that may also be a southern relic. Horatio P. Kile, a resident of Geauga County, Ohio entered the service in Co. G of the 41st Ohio Volunteers as a 2nd Lieutenant on Sept. 10, 1861 for 3 years. The 41st was organized in the Cleveland and Northern Ohio area by West Pointer William Babcock Hazen. Under Hazen’s leadership, the 41st developed a reputation as a well-oiled, and hard fighting unit. During the course of the War the unit suffered 174 KIAs and 156 DOD’s. The 41st took an active part in virtually every important engagement in the Western Theater, including Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville, Murfreesboro, the Tullahoma Campaign, Chickamaga, Brown’s Ferry, Lookout Mountain, and the relief of Nashville. Kile was with the unit throughout, missing only the action at Shiloh. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on Jan. 1, 1862 and became Captain of Co. H on March 24, 1863. Kile was wounded at Missionary Ridge, Nov. 25, 1863 and was mustered out of the army on Nov. 10, 1864 at Pulaski, Tenn. Individual Description of Kile’s Uniform Components
1) Forage cap of blue wool with bound black enameled leather visor and chin strap with brass enlisted eagle side buttons and frame buckle, with a light blue velvet 4th Corps badge trimmed in gold bullion cord pinned to the crown. Kepi lined in black diamond quilted cotton embossed with a Louisville, Ky makers label, sweatband of line grained brown leather.
2. Regulation officer's dark blue wool broadcloth single breasted frock coat with gilt "I" embossed eagle buttons, one button missing, standing collar and sleeves with a very wide bell at the elbows. Coat includes a pair of light blue velvet oversized shoulder boards with two toned thick gold bullion embroidery on dark blue wool are present, interior lined in black mixed silk and wool quilted fabric now oxidizing to a greenish hue, sleeves lined in white cotton.
3. An army pattern vest with dark blue wool front and standing collar retains four of the original nine brass staff style eagle buttons and three welted inset pockets, rear of brown cotton with adjustment belt, lined in white cotton.
4. Trousers of dark blue wool superfine broadcloth have japanned fly and suspender buttons, watch pocket and side pockets with buttoned flaps, rear half belt and white cotton lining.
5. A fine sewing kit, or ”housewife,”
of oilcloth, lined with plaid wool and bordered with red tape, the opening flap embroidered in script ”H P Kile 1st Lt 41 Ohio Vol,”
and on the interior ”Presented by Miss Rebecca Kile." The 1860 Federal census lists Rebecca Kile as a 32-year-old dressmaker.
6. Kile’s camp trunk, manufactured of poplar, 25" x 12.5" x 12 of dovetail construction painted on the obverse "CAPT. H. P. KILE / 41. O. V. V."
Fair to Good. Coat, vest and trousers have moderate to heavy moth damage, seam separation and service wear which affects the vest most notably. There is less wear on the coat, but it still has notable mothing; the trousers are the best preserved of the three garments. The cap has only slight mothing and the normal age crazing on the visor finish, liner has a number of tears, but is intact and the maker's stamp is still legible. The Confederate coat is heavily mothed. The possible CS artillery kepi is lightly mothed, and the brim is detached from the body; the brimmed hat has moth damage and a large section of the crown missing. The glass of the folding wooden shaving mirror is cracked in multiple stable pieces. The other items show normal age and service wear.