Corps Badges in the West

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#1
Greetings all! I am in the process of creating an impression for a union infantryman during Sherman’s Carolinas campaign in Feb/March 1865 and was wondering about the use of corps badges in his army during that period. Does anybody know how wide spread their use was in his army at that time? Also, if used, what would there placement be on a Hardee or slouch hat? I have seen some from the Army of the Potomac that were pinned on the front for a Hardee hat and on the side for a slouch hat—was that a common practice or were they worn elsewhere? Thanks to all for your help!
 

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Mark F. Jenkins

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#2
I'm reminded of the story that when Hooker's corps got transferred to Chattanooga, they had their corps badge - a star - emblazoned on apparently everything. A Western soldier supposedly asked if they were all brigadier generals... when asked what his corps badge was, he slapped his ammunition pouch and declared "Forty rounds in the pouch!" And thereafter, the corps badge of the XV Corps was an ammo pouch with the legend "Forty Rounds."
 

Irishtom29

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#3
Of all the photos I’ve seen of western soldiers I recall only two in which corps badges are seen and one of those was of a 20th Corps soldier; a westernized easterner I assume. The famous group photo of the color party of the 7th Illinois clearly shows 15th Corps badges on their chests.

DB92CBEE-423C-46EE-9E08-9B8425C27002.jpeg
09C5BBF3-D227-4A0C-B637-4465EF068F41.jpeg
 

Legion Para

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#4


"War Date 15th Corps Badge and CDV of Soldier Wearing One: The badge is a very handsome example with red enamel for the 1st division. Fine condition but the attaching pin is gone from the back. Also included is a 31st Iowa CDV showing a soldier wearing precisely this type of 15th corps badge. The corps badge has a miniature cartridge box with the words “FORTY ROUNDS” above the US plate. As the legend goes the 15th corps adopted this design because in the earlier days of the war the 15th corps had no adopted insignia, and reportedly when one of the men was asked why he wore no corps insignia the hardened soldier responded by slapping his cartridge box and telling the neophyte that this was his corps badge. Whether true or not the story persists as part of the history of the 15th corps.'
 

James N.

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#8
Not many images of Sherman's Boys with Corps badges!
It seems I read somewhere long ago that although these Western corps were given badges or distinctive insignia they didn't actually receive them until either the final days of the war or even following the war. I'm not sure about units of the Army of the Cumberland, but would doubt other units would have had them to any extent and that the examples pictured are likely very late-war images.
 
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#9
It seems I read somewhere long ago that although these Western corps were given badges or distinctive insignia they didn't actually receive them until either the final days of the war or even following the war. I'm not sure about units of the Army of the Cumberland, but would doubt other units would have had them to any extent and that the examples pictured are likely very late-war images.
Chesley Mosman of the 59th Illinois (4th Corps) states in his diary during the Atlanta Campaign July 10th 1864: 'We passed the 20th Army Corps. Their badge is a shield. Our Corps badge is a triangle. The 1st Division is red, 2nd white and 3rd is blue.' He doesn't mention the wearing of any pin or badge which is unusual for Mosman because he writes about anything and everything in his diary.

I suspect most of the images of western soldiers with Corps badges were taken during the Veteran Re-enlistment Furloughs throughout 1864. There were no opportunities for soldiers to buy Corps pins once the Atlanta campaign began and I can't find any direct orders from above that stipulated the men had to wear them. The XVI Corps was chopped and changed throughout the campaign and it's a difficult badge to make yourself so again, we don't see much of it.

I agree on very late war. The 15th Iowa fellow above may have had his image taken in Washington during the Grand Review or back home just before mustering-out - a Revenue Stamp on the back of the image would confirm this. It's an unusual jacket he's wearing, like a long Shell Jacket, so I suspect a Private Purchase jacket, which would confirm an image taken on Veteran Furlough. The other possibility is that the jacket is a standard sack coat that has been field-altered or Tailor Shop-altered, with an extra button fastening between the standard 4 button facing.

Incidentally, I'm wondering if the 15th Iowa private is wearing an earring or is that just a flaw in the image?
 
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#10


"War Date 15th Corps Badge and CDV of Soldier Wearing One: The badge is a very handsome example with red enamel for the 1st division. Fine condition but the attaching pin is gone from the back. Also included is a 31st Iowa CDV showing a soldier wearing precisely this type of 15th corps badge. The corps badge has a miniature cartridge box with the words “FORTY ROUNDS” above the US plate. As the legend goes the 15th corps adopted this design because in the earlier days of the war the 15th corps had no adopted insignia, and reportedly when one of the men was asked why he wore no corps insignia the hardened soldier responded by slapping his cartridge box and telling the neophyte that this was his corps badge. Whether true or not the story persists as part of the history of the 15th corps.'
This might possibly be the original story. The Soldier's Journal of April 20th 1864:

CORPS BADGES
A correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, writing from Huntsville, Alabama, says,
the troops which came here from the Army of the Potomac brought with them various ornamental habits and customs 'that were new ' to the Western soldiers. Among them was the corps badge which designated the corps to which officers and men were attached. For instance, the badge of the Eleventh Corps is a crescent, that of the Twelfth a star. The badge
is made of any material, gold, silver, or wool flannel, and is worn conspicuously on some part of the clothing. The Western corps have no such badge.

How an Irishman explained the matter is thus told :

A soldier came by the headquarters of Gen. Butterfield, a tired and weatherbeaten straggler, he was one of these, who made Sherman's march from Memphis to Chattanooga, then to Knoxville, and was now returning in the terrible cold of that returning march, thinly clad, one foot covered with a badly-worn army shoe, the other with a piece of raw hide bound with strings about a sockless foot both feet cut and bleeding. "Arms at will," he trudged past the headquarters' guard intent only upon overtaking his regiment.

"Halt," said a sentinel with a bright piece, clean uniform, and white gloves.
" What do you belong to ? "
" Eighth Misshory, sure."
"What division?".
" Morgan L. Smith's av coorse. "
What brigade ? "
" Giles Smith's Second Brigade, of the Second Division."
" But what army corps?"
"The Fifteenth, you fool. I am one of the heroes of Vicksburg. Anything more, Mr. Sentinel ? "
' Where is your badge ? "
" My badge, is it ; what is that ? "
"Do you see this star on my cap ? That is the badge of the Twelfth corps. That crescent on my partner's cap is the
badge of the Eleventh corps."
"I see now. That is how yez Potomick fellers gits home uv dark nights, ye take the moon and shtars with ye."
"But what is the badge of your corps ? "
Making a right about and slapping his cartridge box, our soldier replied :
"D'ye see that? A cartridge box with U. S. on a brassh plate and forty rounds in the box and sixty rounds in our pockets. That's the badge of the Fifteenth, that came from Vicksburg to help ye fight Chattanoogy!"

https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/...dges&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=4
 
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#13
Both the 15th Iowan and the three fellows of the 30th Ohio in the front row are wearing the same medal even though one is a 17th Corps man and the others are 15th Corps men.

I wonder if both these images were taken in Washington after the Grand Review - the medals being either issued to participants by the Government or a popular souvenir being hawked to the soldiery?

EDIT: Whoops, just spotted someone's already on the case in this other thread :whistling:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/color-guard-of-the-30th-ohio-infantry.150248/
 
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gary

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#16
I saw the images but unless they could mail order or the subtler had them, where they’d get them?
 

Legion Para

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#17
I saw the images but unless they could mail order or the subtler had them, where they’d get them?
Soldiers are very good at solving problems. We are dealing with tens of thousands of soldiers and many variations of Corps badges.

Where did the badges come from?

--They might have been issued them.
--They have bought one privately.
--They have been given one or sent one by a family member.
--They might have made one or had a friend make one.

They might have gotten one before marching off to War. They might have gotten on there way to War. They might have bought one from a Camp Sutler. They may have acquired one in a large city (like Chattanooga) they passed through while at War.

The possibilities are endless.
 

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#19
Is it correct to say then that the Western troops didn't wear corps badges?
I saw the images but unless they could mail order or the subtler had them, where they’d get them?
Soldiers are very good at solving problems. We are dealing with tens of thousands of soldiers and many variations of Corps badges.

Where did the badges come from?

--They might have been issued them.
--They have bought one privately.
--They have been given one or sent one by a family member.
--They might have made one or had a friend make one.

They might have gotten one before marching off to War. They might have gotten on there way to War. They might have bought one from a Camp Sutler. They may have acquired one in a large city (like Chattanooga) they passed through while at War.

The possibilities are endless.
I think it would be fair to say that by the end of the war virtually everyone likely had and wore them, but that for the majority of Western troops - and especially for "nonconformists" like members of Sherman's Army of the Tennessee - it would not be until very late in the war, not until sometime in 1865. The troops became proud of them and on the monuments they erected in memory of their service both east and west you can often find corps badges represented, even for battles fought before their adoption.
 
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#20
Interesting that the above story involves the 8th Missouri... the American Zouaves. I've scoured many old photos of members of this unit, and Corps Badges are conspicuously absent. Of course, most of these pics appear to be studio shots from early in the war, lending support to the absence of Corps Badges early on.
 

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