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These red patches took immensely with the “boys.” Kearny 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 gallant division. 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 and blue one;--both of the same dimensions as the first. As Kearny commanded the First Division, he would naturally select the same color of patch as his flag. Hence the red patch.

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. Hooker 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 ;--

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Philip Kearny (3)
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