Building roads and bridges the Corps of Engineers had an unglamorous but neccessary job. Sometimes they were also called to fight. The regular Union army's small engineer corps was bolstered by volunteer engineer regiments including the 50th New York Engineers and the 1st Michigan. Engineers wore infantry frock coats trimmed in yellow, with nine buttons down the front and two on each cuff. A distinctive badge worn by engineers on their forage was a brass turrctted castle. Strangely the men of Elmer Ellsworth's United States Zouave cadets also wore this insignia on the collars of their Chasseur dress; possibly because Ellsworth planned to form an engineer battalion in the Cadets, or because he simply like the design.
Engineer officers wore standard dress, but their trousers featured a gold seam stripe down each leg. Topographical engineers who were responsible for making maps, wore special buttons on their coats marked 'TE' and even when they were merged into the Corps of Engineers they jealously guarded the privilege of wearing their unusual buttons.
In the field, engineers were issued with overalls to protect their uniforms from mud and a special pioneer
corps made up of men drawn from other regiments was created in the Union Army of the Cumberland. On their left shoulders, the men wore a special cloth badge with a crossed hatchet motif.
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