Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Officers of the First Hawai’ian Cavalry, c. 1855

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on February 8, 2018

A colleague returned recently from a trip Hawai’i, and brought me a copy of Neil Bernard Dukas’ A Military History of Sovereign Hawai’i. This was a neat image, although not very strictly CW.

Major Henry Neilson (l.) and Lieutenant Paul Manini (r.), First Hawai’an Cavalry, c. 1855. The First Hawai’ian Cavalry was organized in response to a riot by thousands of sailors off the whaling ships at Honolulu. The book says the uniforms were purchased from France, and were essentially off-the-shelf, including French Imperial Eagle emblems — which some locals, worried about the prospect of U.S. annexation of the islands, took for American eagles. The uniform colors are not recorded but a few years later, after having been disbanded and then re-organized, they wore a “Garibaldi costume” with a red shirt and blue pants. Image source: Queen’s Hospital Museum.

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  1. Neil B Dukas said, on November 8, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    An updated edition of A Military History of Sovereign Hawai’i was released August 1, 2020 [from Kaladar Books/Barnes & Noble, ISBN 9780983192978]. The caption to this photograph now reads: “Daguerreotype of Major Henry Neilson (left) and Lieutenant Paul Manini (right), First Hawaiian Cavalry, circa 1855. The First Hawaiian Cavalry was organized in response to a riot by thousands of sailors off the whaling ships in harbor at Honolulu. The troop received royal sanction December 17, 1853. The uniform is typical of that worn by city militia cavalry in the eastern United States. The elaborate plumes atop the helmets, however, are a hand-painted fiction. Light dragoon helmets, such as these, had either a simple horsehair “mane” streaming from the back of the crest or a woolen “comb.” A tragic side note to this photograph is that in 1859, Henry Augustus Neilson, a member of Kamehameha IV’s staff, was shot by the king in a pique of anger and mortally wounded.
    — Hawai‘i State Archives, PP-53-2, #17,844”

    • Andy Hall said, on November 8, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks for the notice, and congratulations on the book.


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