Chapter 8: Corps organizations.
With the record of each regiment given in these pages will be found the division and corps to which it belonged.
The history of a regiment is so largely identical with that of its corps, that such information serves at once to familiarize the student with the part which it played in connection with the war. An excessive loss in action, or an immunity from the casualties of battle, requires but little explanation where there is a thorough acquaintance with the history of the division and corps with which the regiment in question was connected.
An additional interest, also, attaches to the record of each command as the history of its corps is fully understood.
The corps badges, which were worn by many commands, were first ordered in the spring of 1863, and were adopted immediately by the Army of the Potomac; but in the Western
armies these badges did not appear on the men's caps until 1864, and then they were only partially adopted.
In some corps they were not worn at all. The badges were of various shapes and were stamped out of flannel cloth; in size, they were about an inch and one-half across, and were fastened conspicuously on the men's caps.
They were of different colors, the first division of each corps wearing red badges; the second, white; and the third, blue.
The idea originated in 1862 in Kearny
's Division, in which the soldiers wore a diamond-shaped shaped piece of flannel on their caps.
The corps badges which were most conspicuous during the war, by reason of their general use, were: the round or disc-shaped badge of the First Corps; the trefoil, or ace of clubs, worn by the Second; the lozenge, or diamond-shaped badge of the Third; the triangular patch of the Fourth; the Maltese cross, of the Fifth; the Greek cross, of the Sixth; the crescent of the Eleventh; the star, of the Twelfth; and the acorn, of the Fourteenth.
The various corps were organized, for the most part, with three divisions, each division containing three brigades, and each brigade consisting of five regiments,--making 45 regiments of infantry in a corps, to which were added about nine batteries of light artillery.
But this form was adhered to only as a general rule, and was varied at times to meet temporary exigencies.
The greatest variation occurred in the brigades, the depletion, at times, of some regiments making additional ones necessary to keep up a proper effective strength.
During the Atlanta campaign
, some brigades in the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps contained nine regiments.
Then, again, a corps would have occasionally four divisions, and some divisions would have four brigades; but such cases were exceptional, and generally proved to be but temporary arrangements.
In 1863 the cavalry were organized into a corps by themselves; prior to that each corps was accompanied by a brigade of cavalry regiments.
Batteries of light artillery, organized in brigades of about five batteries each, were attached to each corps, in addition to which the Army of the Potomac had an artillery reserve