Corps and Corps badges.
“You'll find lovely fighting
Along the whole line.
What was an army corps?
The name is one adopted into the English
language from the French
, and retains essentially its original meaning.
It has been customary since the time of Napoleon I. to organize armies of more than fifty or sixty thousand men into what the French
call corps d'armee or, as we say, army corps.
It is a familiar fact that soon after the outbreak of the Rebellion Lieutenant-General Scott
, who had served with great distinction in the Mexican War
, found himself too old and infirm to conduct an active campaign, and so the command of the troops, that were rapidly concentrating in and around Washington
, was devolved upon the late General Irvin McDowell
, a good soldier withal, but, like every other officer then in the service, without extended war experience.
His first work, after assuming command, would naturally have been to organize the green troops into masses that would be more cohesive and effective in action than single undisciplined regiments could be. But this he was not allowed to do. The loyal people of the North
were clamoring for something else to be done, and that speedily.
The Rebels must be punished for their treason without delay, and President Lincoln
was beset night and day to this end.
In vain did McDowell
plead for a little more time.
It could not be granted.
If our troops were green and inexperienced, it was urged, so were the Rebels
It is said that because he saw fit to review a body of eight regiments he was charged with attempting to make a show
, so impatient was public sentiment to have rebellion put down.
So having done no more than to arrange his regiments in brigades, without giving them any discipline as such, without an organized artillery, without a commissariat, without even a staff to aid him, McDowell
, dividing his force, of about 35,000 men, into five divisions, put four of them in motion from the Virginia bank of the Potomac
against the enemy, and the result was---Bull Run
, a battle in which brigade commanders did not know their commands and soldiers did not know their generals.
In reality, the battle was one of regiments, rather than of brigades, the regiments fighting more or less independently.
But better things were in store.
, while comparatively disastrous as a battle-field, was a grand success to the North
in other respects.
It sobered, for a time at least, the hasty reckless spirits who believed that the South
would not fight, and who were so unceasingly thorning the President
to immediate decisive action.
They were not satisfied, it is true, but they were less importunate, and manifested a willingness to let the authorities have a short breathing spell, which was at once given to better preparation for the future.
All eyes seemed now to turn, by common agreement, to General George B. McClellan
, to lead to victory, who was young, who had served with distinction in the Mexican War
, had studied European
warfare in the Crimea, and, above all, had just finished a successful campaign in West Virginia
He took command of the forces in and around Washington
July 27, 1861, a command which then numbered about fifty thousand infantry, one thousand cavalry, and six hundred and fifty artillerymen, with nine field batteries, such as they
were, of thirty guns.
A part of these had belonged to McDowell
's Bull Run
army, and a part had since arrived from the North
The brigade organization of McDowell
was still in force on the Virginia
side of the Potomac
I say in force
. That statement needs qualifying.
I have already said that there was originally no cohesion to these brigades; but since
the battle the army was little better than a mob in the respect of discipline.
Officers and men were absent from their commands without leave.
The streets of Washington
were swarming with them.
But I must not wander too far from the point I have in mind to consider.
I only throw in these statements of the situation to give a clearer idea of what a tremendous task McClellan
had before him. In organizing the Army of the Potomac he first arranged the infantry in brigades
of four regiments each.
Then, as fast as new regiments arrivedand at that time, under a recent call of the President
for five hundred thousand three years volunteers, they were coming in very rapidly,--they were formed into temporary brigades, and placed in camp in the suburbs of the city to await their full equipment, which many of them lacked, to become more efficient in the tactics of “Scott
” or “Hardee
,” and, in general, to acquire such discipline as would be valuable in the service before them, as soldiers of the Union
As rapidly as these conditions were fairly complied with, regiments were permanently assigned to brigades across the Potomac
After this formation of brigades had made considerable headway, and the troops were becoming better disciplined and tolerably skilled in brigade movements, McClellan
began the organization of Divisions
, each comprising three brigades.
Before the middle of October, 1861, eleven of these divisions had been organized, each including, besides the brigades of infantry specified, from one to four light batteries, and from a company to two regiments of cavalry which had been specially assigned to it.
The next step in the direction of organization was the formation of Army Corps
; but in this matter McClellan
moved slowly, not deeming it best to form them until his division commanders had, by experience in the field, shown which of them, if any, had the ability to handle so large a body of troops as a corps.
This certainly seemed good judgment.
The Confederate authorities appear to have been governed by this principle, for they did not adopt the system of army corps until after the battle of Antietam
, in September, 1862.
But months had elapsed since Bull Run
. Eighteen hundred and sixty-two had dawned.
“All quiet along the Potomac
” had come to be used as a by-word and reproach.
That powerful moving force, Public Sentiment, was again crystallizing along its old lines, and making itself felt, and “Why don't the army move?”
was the oftre-peated question which gave to the propounder no satisfactory answer, because to him, with the public pulse again at fever-beat, no answer could be satisfactory.
Meanwhile all these forces propelled their energies and persuasions in one and the same direction, the White House
; and President Lincoln
, goaded to desperation by their persistence and insistence, issued a War Order March 8, 1862, requiring McClellan
to organize his command into five Army Corps
. So far, well enough; but the order went further, and specified who the corps commanders should be, thus depriving him of doing that for which he had waited, and giving him officers in those positions not, in his opinion, the best, in all respects, that could have been selected.
But my story is not of the commanders, nor of McClellan
, but of the corps, and what I have said will show how they were composed.
Let us review for a moment: first, the regiments
, each of which, when full, contained one thousand and forty-six men; four
of these composed a brigade; three brigades
were taken to form a division
, and three divisions
constituted a corps
. This system was not always rigidly adhered to. Sometimes a corps had a fourth
but such a case would be a deviation, and not the regular plan.
So, too, a division might have an extra brigade.
For example, a brigade might be detached from one part of the service and sent to join an army in another part.
Such a brigade would not be allowed to remain independent in that case, but would be at once assigned to some division, usually a division whose brigades were small in numbers.
I have said that McClellan
made up his brigades of four regiments.
I think the usual number of regiments for a brigade is three.
That gives a system of threes throughout.
But in this matter also, after the first organization, the plan was modified.
As a brigade became depleted by sickness, capture, and the bullet, new
regiments were added, until, as the work of addition and depletion went on, I have known a brigade to have within it the skeletons of ten regiments, and even then its strength not half that of the original body.
My camp was located at one time near a regiment which had only thirty-eight men present for duty
There were twenty-five army corps in the service, at different times, exclusive of cavalry, engineer, and signal corps, and Hancock
's veteran corps.
The same causes which operated to reduce brigades and divisions naturally decimated corps, so that some of them were consolidated; as, for example, the First and Third Corps were merged in the Second, Fifth, and Sixth, in the spring of 1864.
At about the same time the Eleventh and Twelfth were united to form the Twentieth.
But enough of corps for the present.
What I have stated will make more intelligible what I shall say about
What are corps badges?
The answer to this question is somewhat lengthy, but I think it will be considered interesting.
The idea of corps badges undoubtedly had its origin with General Philip Kearny
, but just how
or exactly when
is somewhat legendary and uncertain.
Not having become a member of Kearny
's old corps until about a year after the idea was promulgated, I have no tradition of my own in regard to it, but I have heard men who served under him tell widely differing stories of the origin of the “Kearny
patch,” yet all agreeing as to the author of the idea, and also in its application being made first to officers
. General E. D. Townsend
, late Adjutant-General
of the United States Army, in his Anecdotes of the Civil war
, has adopted an explanation which, I have no doubt, is substantially correct.
“One day, when his brigade was on the march, General Philip Kearny
, who was a strict disciplinarian, saw some officers standing under a tree by the roadside; supposing them to be stragglers from his command, he administered to them a rebuke, emphasized by a few expletives.
The officers listened in silence, respectfully standing in the ‘position of a soldier’ until he had finished, when one of them, raising his hand to his cap, quietly suggested that the general had possibly made a mistake, as they none of them belonged to his command.
With his usual courtesy, Kearny
exclaimed, ‘Pardon me; I will take steps to know how to recognize my own men hereafter.’
Immediately on reaching camp, he issued orders that all officers and men of his brigade should wear conspicuously on the front of their caps a round piece of red cloth to designate them.
This became generally known as the ‘ Kearny Patch.’
I think General Townsend
is incorrect in saying that Kearny
issued orders immediately on reaching camp for all “officers and men” to wear the patch; first, because the testimony of officers of the old Third Corps to-day is that the order was first directed to officers only
, and this would be in harmony with the explanation which I have quoted; and, second, after the death of Kearny
and while his old division was lying at Fort Lyon, Va.
, Sept. 4, 1862, General D. B. Birney
, then in command of it, issued a general order
announcing his death, which closed with the following paragraph :--
“As a token of respect for his memory, all the officers of this division will wear crape on the left arm for thirty days, and the colors and drums of regiments and batteries will be placed in mourning for sixty days. To still further show our regard, and to distinguish his officers as he wished
, each officer will continue to wear on his cap a piece
of scarlet cloth, or have the top or crown-piece of the cap made of scarlet cloth.”
The italics in the above extract are my own; but we may fairly infer from it:--
First, that up to this date the patch had been required for officers alone, as no mention is made of the rank and file in this order.
Second, that General Kearny
did not specify the lozenge as the shape of the badge to be worn, as some claim; for, had such been the case, so punctilious a man as General Birney
would not have referred in general orders to a lozenge as “a piece
of scarlet cloth,” nor have given the option of having the crown-piece of the cap made of scarlet cloth if the lamented Kearny
's instructions had originally been to wear a lozenge.
This being so, General Townsend
's quoted description of the badge as “a round
piece of red cloth” is probably erroneous.
As there were no red goods at hand when Kearny
initiated this move, he is said to have given up his own red blanket to be cut into these patches.
Soon after these emblems came into vogue among the officers there is strong traditional testimony to show that the men of the rank and file, without general orders
, of their own accord cut pieces of red from their overcoat linings, or obtained them from other sources to make patches for themselves; and, as to the shape, there are weighty reasons for believing that any
piece of red fabric, of whatsoever shape, was considered to answer the purpose,
These red patches took immensely with the “boys.”
was a rough soldier in speech, but a perfect daredevil in action, and his men idolized him. Hence they were only too proud to wear a mark which should distinguish them as members of his
It was said to have greatly reduced the straggling in this body, and also to have secured for the wounded or dead that fell into the Rebels
' hands a more favorable and considerate attention.
There was a special reason, I think, why Kearny
should select a red
patch for his men, although I have never seen it referred to. On the 24th of March, 1862, General McClellan
issued a general order
prescribing the kinds of flags that should designate corps, division, and brigade headquarters.
In this he directed that the First Division flag should be a red one, six feet by five; the Second Division blue, and the Third Division a red
one;--both of the same dimensions as the first.
commanded the First Division, he would naturally select the same color of patch as his flag.
Hence the red
The contagion to wear a distinguishing badge extended widely from this simple beginning.
It was the most natural thing that could.
happen for other divisions to be jealous of any innovation which, by comparison, should throw them into the background, for by that time the esprit de corps
, the pride of organization, had begun to make itself felt.
Realizing this fact, and regarding it as a manifestation that might be turned to good account, Major-General Joseph Hooker
promulgated a scheme of army corps badges on the 21st of March, 1863, which was the first systematic plan submitted in this direction in the armies.
took command of the Army of the Potomac Jan. 26, 1863. General Daniel Butterfield
was made his chief-of-staff, and he, it is said, had much to do with designing and perfecting the first scheme of badges for the army, which appears in the following circular ;--
Headquarters Army of the Potomac. Circular
. March 21, 1863.
For the purpose of ready recognition of corps and divisions of the army, and to prevent injustice by reports of straggling and misconduct through mistake as to their organizations, the chief quartermaster will furnish, without delay, the following badges, to be worn by the officers and enlisted men of all the regiments of the various corps mentioned.
They will be securely fastened upon the centre of the top of the cap. The inspecting officers will at all inspections see that these badges are worn as designated.
First Corps--a sphere: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
Second Corps--a trefoil: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
Third Corps-a lozenge: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
Fifth Corps--a Maltese cross: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
Sixth Corps--a cross: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
(Light Division, green.)
Eleventh Corps--a crescent: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
Twelfth Corps--a star: red for First Division; white for Second; blue for Third.
The sizes and colors will be according to pattern.
By command of Major-General Hooker
, S. Williams
, A. A.G.
Accompanying this order were paper patterns pasted on a fly-leaf, illustrating the size and color required.
It will be seen that the badges figured in the color-plates are much reduced in size.
Diligent inquiry and research in the departments at Washington
fail to discover any of the patterns referred to, or their dimensions; but there are veterans living who have preserved the first badge issued to them in pursuance of this circular, from which it is inferred that the patterns were of a size to please the eye rather than to conform to any uniform scale of measurement.
A trefoil which I have measured is about an inch and seven-eighths each way. It is a copy of an original.
The stem is straight, turning neither to the right nor left,
The arms of the Fifth Corps badge are often figured as concave, whereas those of a Maltese cross are straight.
This is believed to be a deviation from the original in the minds of many veterans who wore them, and they are changed accordingly in the color-plate.
The Sixth Corps wore a St. Andrew's cross till 1864, when it changed to the Greek cross figured in the plate.
That this circular of Hooker
's was not intended to be a dead letter was shown in an order issued from Fal mouth, Va.
, May 12, 1863, in which
St. Andrew's cross.|
“The badges worn by the troops when lost or torn off must be immediately replaced.”
And then, after designating the only troops that are without badges, he adds:--
“Provost-marshals will arrest as stragglers all other troops found without badges, and return them to their commands under guard.”
There was a badge worn by the artillery brigade of the Third Corps, which, so far as I know, had no counterpart in other corps.
I think it was not adopted until after Gettysburg
It was the lozenge of the corps subdivided into four smaller lozenges, on the following basis: If a battery was attached to the first division, two of these smaller lozenges were red, one white, and one blue; if to the second, two were white, one red, and one blue; and if to the third, two were blue, one red, and one white.
They were worn on the left side of the cap.
The original Fourth Corps, organized by McClellan
, did not adopt a badge, but its successor of the same number wore an equilateral triangle prescribed by Major-General Thomas
, April 26, 1864, in General Orders No. 62
, Department of the Cumberland, in which he used much the same
language as that used by Hooker
in his circular, and designated divisions by the same colors.
The badge of the Seventh Corps was a crescent nearly encircling a star.
It was not adopted until after the virtual close of the war, June 1, 1865.
The following is a paragraph from the circular issued by Major-General J. J. Reynolds
, Department of Arkansas, regarding it:--
“This badge, cut two inches in diameter, from cloth of colors red
, and blue
, for the 1st, 2d, and 3d Divisions respectively, may be worn by all enlisted men of the Corps
This was an entirely different corps from the Seventh Corps, which served in Virginia
, and which had no badge.
The latter was discontinued Aug. 1, 1863, at the same time with the original Fourth Corps.
The Eighth Corps wore a six-pointed star.
I have not been able to ascertain the date of its adoption.
There was no order issued.
The Ninth Corps was originally a part of the Army of the Potomac, but at the time Hooker
issued his circular it was in another part of the Confederacy
Just before its return to the army, General Burnside
issued General Orders No. 6
, April 10, 1864, announcing as the badge of his corps, “A shield with the figure nine in the centre crossed with a foul anchor and cannon, to be worn on the top of the cap or front of the hat.”
This corps had a fourth division, whose badge was green.
The corps commander and his staff wore a badge “of red
, and blue
, with gilt anchor, cannon, and green number.”
December 23, 1864, Major-General John G. Parke
, who had succeeded to the command, issued General Orders No. 49
, of which the following is the first section:--
“1. All officers and enlisted men in this command will be required to wear the Corps Badge
upon the cap or hat. For the Divisions, the badges will be plain, made of cloth in the shape of a shield — red for the first, white for the second, and blue for the third.
For the Artillery Brigade, the
shield will be red, and will be worn under the regulation cross cannon.”
This order grew out of the difficulty experienced in obtaining the badge prescribed by General Burnside
The cannon, anchor, etc., were made of gold bullion at Tiffany
's, New York City, and as it was scarcely practicable for the rank and file to obtain such badges, they had virtually anticipated the order of General Parke
, and were wearing the three plain colors after the manner of the rest of Potomac's army.
The figures in the colorplate, however, are fashioned after the direction of General Burnside
The annexed cut is a fac-simile of one of the
An original Ninth Corps badge.|
original metallic badges worn by a staff officer.
This corps had a fourth division from April 19 to Nov. 29, 1864.
The Tenth Corps badge was the trace of a four-bastioned fort.
It was adopted by General Orders No. 18
issued by Major-General D. B. Birney
, July 25, 1864.
The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps have already been referred to, in General Hooker
On the 18th of April, 1864, these two corps were consolidated to form the Twentieth Corps, and by General
Orders No. 62
Eleventh and Twelfth Corps badges combined.|
issued by Major
General George H. Thomas
, April 26, “a star, as heretofore worn by the Twelfth Corps,” was prescribed as the badge.
The annexed cut shows the manner in which many of the corps combined the two badges in order not to lose their original identity.
The Thirteenth Corps had no badge.
The badge of the Fourteenth Army Corps was an acorn.
Tradition has it that some time before the adoption of this badge the members of this corps called themselves Acorn Boys
, because at one time in their history, probably when they were hemmed in at Chattanooga
, rations were so scanty that the men gladly gathered large quantities of acorns from an oak grove, near by which they were camped, and roasted and ate them, repeating this operation while the scarcity of food continued.
Owing to this circumstance, when it became necessary to select a badge, the acorn suggested itself as an exceedingly appropriate emblem for that purpose, and it was therefore adopted by General Orders No. 62
, issued from Headquarters Department of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga
, April 26, 1864.
The badge of the Fifteenth Corps derives its origin from the following incident:--During the fall of 1863 the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were taken from Meade
's army, put under the command of General Joe Hooker
, and sent to aid in the relief of Chattanooga
, where Thomas
was closely besieged.
They were undoubtedly better dressed than the soldiers of that department, and this fact, with the added circumstance of their wearing corps badges, which were a novelty to the Western
armies at that time, led to some sharp tilts, in words, between the Eastern
and Western soldiers.
One day a veteran of Hooker
's command met an Irishman of Logan
's Corps at the spring where they went to fill their canteens.
“What corps do you belong to?”
said the Eastern
veteran, proud in the possession of the distinguishing badge on his cap, which told his story for him. “What corps, is it?”
said the gallant son of Erin, straightening his back; “the Fifteenth, to be sure.”
“Where is your badge?”
“My badge, do ye say?
There it is!”
, clapping his hand on his cartridge-box, at his side; “forty rounds.
Can you show me a betther?”
On the 14th of February, 1865, Major-General John A. Logan
, the commander of this corps, issued General Orders No. 10
, which prescribe that the badge shall be “A miniature cartridge-box, one-eighth of an inch thick, fifteensixteenths of an inch wide, set transversely on a field of cloth or metal, one and five-eighths of an inch square.
Above the cartridge-box plate will be stamped or worked in a curve ‘Forty Rounds.’
” This corps had a fourth division, whose badge was yellow, and headquarters wore a badge ineluding the four colors.
goes on to say:--
“It is expected that this badge will be worn constantly by every officer and soldier in the corps.
If any corps in the army has a right to take pride in its badge, surely that has which looks back first and Fifth Corps badges through the long and glorious combined.
line of . . . [naming twenty-nine different battles], and scores of minor struggles; the corps which had its birth under Grant
in the darker days of our struggle, the corps which will keep on struggling until the death of the Rebellion
The following correct description of the badge worn by the Sixteenth Army Corps is given by the assistant-inspector general
of that corps, Colonel J. J. Lyon
:--“The device is a circle with four Minie-balls, the points towards the centre, cut out of it.”
It was designed by Brevet Brigadier-General John Hough
, the assistant adjutant-general
of the corps, being selected out of many designs, submitted by Major-General A. J. Smith
, the corps commander, and, in his honor, named the “A. J. Smith
It is easily distinguished from the Maltese cross, in being bounded by curved
instead of straight lines.
No order for its adoption was issued.
The badge of the Seventeenth Corps, said to have been suggested by General M. F. Ford
, and adopted in accordance with General Orders issued by his commander, Major-General Francis P. Blair
, was an arrow.
He says, “In its swiftness, in its surety of striking where wanted, and its destructive powers, when so intended, it is probably as emblematical of this corps as any design that could be adopted.”
The order was issued at Goldsboro, N. C.
, March 25, 1865.
The order further provides that the arrow for divisions shall be two inches long, and for corps headquarters one and one-half inches long, and further requires the wagons and ambulances to be marked with the badge of their respective commands, the arrow being twelve inches long.
A circular issued from the headquarters of the Eighteenth Army Corps June 7, 1864, and General Orders No. 108
, from the same source, dated August 25, 1864, furnish all the information on record regarding the badge of this body.
While both are quite lengthy in description and prescription, neither states what the special design was to be. It was, however, a cross with equi-foliate arms.
The circular prescribed that this cross should be worn by general officers, suspended by a tri-colored ribbon from the left breast.
Division commanders were to have a triangle in the centre of the badge, but brigade commanders were to have the number of their brigade instead; line officers were to suspend their badges by ribbons of the color of their division; cavalry and artillery officers also were to have distinctive badges.
The whole system was quite complex, and somewhat expensive as well, as the badges were to be of metal and enamel in colors.
Enlisted men were to wear the plain cross of cloth, sewed to their left breast.
This order was issued by General W. F. Smith
General Orders 108 issued by General E. O. C. Ord
simplified the matter somewhat, requiring line-officers and enlisted men both to wear the plain cross the color of their respective divisions, and enlisted men were required to wear theirs on the front of the hat or top of the cap.
By General Orders No. 11
issued by General Emory
Nov. 17, 1864, the Nineteenth Corps adopted “a fan-leaved cross, with an octagonal centre.”
The First Division was to wear red
, the Second blue
, and the Third white
-the exception in the order of the colors which proved the rule.
The badge of enlisted men was to be of cloth, two inches square, and worn on the side of the hat or top of the cap, although they were allowed to supply themselves with metallic badges of the prescribed color, if so minded.
The Twenty-First Corps never adopted a badge.
The Twenty-Second adopted (without orders) a badge quinquefarious in form, that is, opening into five parts, and having a circle in the centre.
This was the corps which served in the defence of Washington
Its membership was constantly changing.
The badge adopted by the Twenty-Third Corps (without General Orders) was a plain shield, differing somewhat in form from that of the Ninth Corps, with which it was for a time associated, and which led it to adopt a similar badge.
The following General Order
tells the story of the next Corps' badge:--
Headquarters twenty-Fourth Army Corps, before Richmond, Va.
, March 18, 1865.
[General Orders No. 32
.] By authority of the Major-General
commanding the Army of the James, the heart is adopted as the badge of the Twenty-Fourth Army Corps.
The symbol selected is one which testifies our affectionate regard for all our brave comrades — alike the living and the dead — who have braved the perils of the mighty conflict, and our devotion to the sacred cause — a cause which entitles us to the sympathy of every brave and true heart and the support of every strong and determined hand.
commanding the Corps
does not doubt that soldiers who have given their strength and blood to the fame of their former badges,
will unite in rendering the present one even more renowned than those under which they have heretofore marched to battle.
By command of Major-General John Gibbon
A. Henry Embler
, A. A. A. General.
This corps was largely made up of re-enlisted men, who had served nine months or three years elsewhere.
Here is another General Order
which speaks for itself:--
Headquarters twenty-Fifth Army Corps, Army of the James, in the field, Va.
, Feb. 20, 1865.
[Orders.] In view of the circumstances under which this Corps was raised and filled, the peculiar claims of its individual members upon the justice and fair dealing of the prejudiced, and the regularity of the troops which deserve
rights that have been hitherto denied the majority, the Commanding General
has been induced to adopt the Square
as the distinctive badge of the Twenty-Fifth Army Corps.
Wherever danger has been found and glory to be won, the heroes who have fought for immortality have been distinguished by some emblem to which every victory added a new lustre.
They looked upon their badge with pride, for to it they had given its fame.
In the homes of smiling peace it recalled the days of courageous endurance and the hours of deadly strifeand it solaced the moment of death, for it was a symbol of a life of heroism and self-denial.
The poets still sing of the “Templar
's cross,” the “Crescent
” of the Turks, the “Chalice” of the hunted Christian
, and the “White
plume” of Murat
, that crested the wave of valor sweeping resistlessly to victory.
Soldiers! to you is given a chance in this Spring Campaign of making this badge immortal.
Let History record that on the banks of the James
thirty thousand freemen not only gained their own liberty but shattered the prejudice of the world, and gave to the Land of their birth Peace, Union, and Liberty.
, [Official.] Major-General
W. L. Goodrich
, A. A. A. General.
This corps was composed wholly of colored troops.
In the late fall of 1864, Major-General W. S. Hancock
resigned his command of the Second Corps to take charge
of the First Veteran Corps, then organizing.
The badge adopted originated with Colonel C. H. Morgan
The centre is a circle half the diameter of the whole design, surrounded by a wreath of laurel.
Through the circle a wide red band passes vertically.
From the wreath radiate rays in such a manner as to form a heptagon with concave sides.
Seven hands spring from the wreath, each grasping a spear, whose heads point the several angles of the heptagon.
's Cavalry Corps had a badge, but it was not generally worn.
The device was “Gold crossed sabres on a blue field, surrounded by a glory in silver.”
The design of Wilson
's Cavalry Corps was a carbine from which was suspended by chains a red, swallow-tail guidon, bearing gilt crossed sabres.
The badge of the Engineer
and Pontonier Corps is thus described: “Two oars crossed over an anchor, the top of which is encircled by a scroll surmounted by a castle; the castle being the badge of the U. S. corps of engineers.”
As a fact, however, this fine body of men wore only the castle designed in brass.
The badge of the Signal Corps was two flags crossed on the staff of a flaming torch.
This badge is sometimes represented with a red star in the centre of one flag, but such was not the typical badge.
This star was allowed on the headquarters flag of a very few signal officers
, who were accorded this distinction for some meritorious service performed; but such a flag was rarely seen, and should not be figured as part of the corps badge.
The Department of West Virginia, under the command of General Crook
, adopted a spread eagle for a badge, Jan. 3, 1865.
The pioneers of the army wore a pair of crossed hatchets, the color of the division to which they belonged.
Then, the Army of the Cumberland have a society badge.
So likewise have the Army of the Potomac.
There are also medals
presented for distinguished gallantry, worn by a few. They are not numerous and are seldom to be seen — for this reason, if for no other, they are of precious value to the owner, and are therefore carefully treasured.
In nearly every corps whose badge I have referred to, the plan was adopted of having the first three divisions take the national colors of red
, and blue
These corps emblems were not only worn by the men,--I refer now to the Army of the Potomac,--but they were also painted with stencil on the transportation of a corps, its wagons and ambulances.
And just here I may add that there was no army which became so devotedly attached to its badges as did the Army of the Potomac.
There were reasons for this.
They were the first to adopt them, being at least a year ahead of all
other corps, and more than two years ahead of many.
Then, by their use they were brought into sharper comparison in action and on the march, and, as General Weitzel
says, “they looked upon their badge with pride, for to it they had given its fame.”
These badges can be seen in any parade of the Grand Army
, worn on the cap or hat, possibly now and then one that has seen service.
I still have such a one in my possession.
But at the close of the war many of the veterans desired some more enduring form of these emblems, so familiar and full of meaning to them, and so to-day they wear pinned to the breast or suspended from a ribbon the dear old corps badge, modelled in silver
, perhaps bearing the division colors indicated, in enamel or stone, and some of them inscribed with the list of battles in which the bearer participated.
What is such a jewel worth to the wearer?
I can safely say that, while its intrinsic value may be a mere trifle, not all the wealth of an Astor and a Vanderbilt combined could purchase the experience which it records, were such a transfer otherwise possible.