Images of various Artifacts of the Month's

November 2022

Artifact of the Month

384th Army Band Busby

The cloth caps worn by grenadiers in European armies during the 17th century were frequently trimmed with the fur of animals, usually bears. The practice fell into disuse until the second half of the eighteenth century when grenadiers in the British, Spanish and French armies began wearing high fur hats with cloth tops and, sometimes, ornamental front plates. The purpose appears to have been to add to the apparent height and impressive appearance of these troops both on the parade ground and the battlefield.

During the nineteenth century, the expense of bearskin caps and difficulty of maintaining them in good condition on active service led to this form of headdress becoming generally limited to guardsmen, bands or other units having a ceremonial role. In the U.S. military bands of the mid-20th Century, the wearing of the high fur hat, now known as the busby, was limited to the band Drum Major. The 384th Army Band was operational at Fort Eustis in the 1950s and 1960s.