American Civil War Corps Badges

Corps badges in the American Civil War were originally worn by soldiers of the Union Army on the top of their army forage cap (kepi), left side of the hat, or over their left breast. The idea is attributed to Maj. Gen. Philip Kearny, who ordered the men in his division to sew a two-inch square of red cloth on their hats to avoid confusion on the battlefield. This idea was adopted by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker after he assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, so any soldier could be identified at a distance.

Maj. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Hooker's chief of staff, was assigned the task of designing a distinctive shape for each corps badge. Butterfield also designated that each division in the corps should have a variation of the corps badge in a different color. Division badges were colored as follows:

  1. Red First division of corps
  2. White Second division of corps
  3. Blue Third division of corps

These were used in the United States' Army of the Potomac. For the most part, these rules were adopted by other Union Armies, however it was not universal. For example, the XIII Corps never adopted a badge, and the XIX Corps had the first division wear a red badge, the second division wear a blue badge, and the third division wear white.

For Army corps that had more than three divisions, the standardization was lost:

  1. Green Fourth division of VI, IX, and XX Corps
  2. Yellow Fourth division of XV Corps (reportedly Orange was also used for a 5th Division Badge)
  3. Multicolor Headquarters or artillery elements (certain corps)

The badges for enlisted men were cut from colored cloth, while officer's badges were privately made and of a higher quality. Metallic badges were often made by jewelers and were personalized for the user. The badges eventually became part of the Army regulations and a great source of regimental pride.[1]

Corps badges

Corps flags

I Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

II Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division
Corps Hqr'sArtillery BrigadeQuartermaster

III Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

IV Corps, Army of the Cumberland

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

V Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

VI Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

VII Corps, Dept of Arkansas

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

VIII Corps, Middle Department

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

IX Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division
4th Division

X Corps, Department of South

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XI Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XII Corps, Army of the Potomac

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XIII Corps, Army of the Tennessee

No badge was designated for the XIII Corps.

XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XV Corps, Army of the Tennessee

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division
4th DivisionHeadquarters

XVI Corps, Military Division of West Mississippi

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XVII Corps, Army of the Tennessee

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XVIII Corps, Army of the James

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XIX Corps, Middle Military Division

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XX Corps, Army of the Cumberland

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

{Note:XX Corps Badges same as the old XII Corps; the XX Corps was consolidated from the XI and XII Corps}

XXI Corps

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division
Headquarters

XXII Corps, Dept of Washington

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XXIII Corps, Dept of Ohio & Dept of North Carolina

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XXIV Corps, Dept of Virginia

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

XXV Corps, Army of the James, Dept of Texas

1st Division2nd Division3rd Division

Cavalry corps

Brigade badges

I Corps, Army of the Potomac

See also

References

  1. John D. Billings, Hardtack and Coffee
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