This assemblage shows three different patterns of Union officers' headgear - kepi (known as a "forage cap"), slouch and havelock - as well as numerous variations in the style of kepi. The infantry of the line is represented by the caps of Mai Samuel S. Linton, 38th Illinois Infantry (4), First Lt Peter Palen, 143rd New York Infantry (5); Capt. Selleck L. White, 10th Connecticut Infantry (7); and Capt. Lindley M. Coleman, 19th Maine Infantry (8). Staff officers, however, wore a different badge, as shown by (6) which belonged to Capt. Charles P. Pierce.
The other two hats illustrate the variety of headgear. First is a slouch hat belonging to Lt Henry M. Brewster, 57th New York Infantry, whose regiment's number is superimposed on the divisional insignia (2). The other hat, a curious combination of kepi and slouch styles, belonged to Lt George W. Taylor, 4th Massachusetts Battery (3).
The badges at either side of the bottom row are the pattern used on Hardee hats, one set belonging to Capt. Langhorne Wister, 13th Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves. (9, 10), the other pair to Col. Richard Biddle Roberts, 1st Regiment also of the Pennsylvania Reserves (17, 18).
Standard infantry officer's
McDowell pattern forage cap with infantry insignia Slouch hat with badge of the 2nd Corps, 1st Division Patent havelock cap or "Whipple hat." with battery insignia The unit name is stenciled in black on the front of the hat Forage cap with 10th Corps insignia Chasseur's pattern cap with regimental insignia Staff officer's forage cap Chasseur's pattern cap with regimental insignia Forage cap with regimental insignia, and patent air vent in the crown and 10 Hardee hat regimental and national insignia
11 Colonel's shoulder straps
12 Second Lieutenant s shoulder straps
13 First Lieutenant's shoulder strap insignia
14 Captain's shoulder straps
15 Lieutenant Colonel's shoulder strap insignia
16 Colonel s shoulder straps
17 and 18 Hardee hat regimental and national insignia
Union Rank Insignia
In the Civil War the Union service used exactly the same insignia of rank for officers that have obtained in the U.S. down to the present day. The system had a number of advantages in that it was simple to understand, easy to recognize, and also, despite the branch of service, the insignia remained exactly the same. The only difference was that the color of the background facings, which was used to indicate the branch-of-service: thus, blue for infantry, yellow for cavalry, and red for artillery Of the rankings shown here, two were unique to the Civil War, each being held by only one officer, Ulysses S. Grant, who was the only officer to hold the ranks of lieutenant-general and of general or general-in-chief. It should, however, be mentioned that at the very start of the war, Winfield Scott held lieutenant general's rank by "brevet," an archaic system which continued to cause confusion, since officers who had been given "brevet" promotion were permitted to wear the badges of the brevet rank, even though their actual rank was lower.
Full General U.S. Grant after 1866
Full General U.S. Grant after 1866
Union Officers of Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry
Officers in the Federal service enjoyed a luxury denied to their foes in the Confederacy they could almost always count on their uniforms measuring up to established regulations. Variations in colors and insignia were almost negligible, and usually owed more to the individual tastes of officers rather than to an inability of the War Department to supply the officers properly. The colonel of infantry at left illustrates well a completely uniformed commander who meets the regulations - proper buttons, proper gloves, proper kepi, correct badges-of-rank, etc.
In the center is an equally completely and correctly outfitted officer of artillery, with every color according to regulation and his cap squarely placed on his head. Standing next to him, at right, is a captain in the cavalry, equally correct in almost every detail, but with his cap tilted at a more rakish angle, to indicate cavalry "dash." These were the men who led, as they were most commonly seen and recognized by the men they led from Manassas to Appomattox.
Artifacts courtesy ot The Civil Wat Lib'ary ami Museum. Philadelphia Pa
Was this article helpful?