Hancock's First Veteran Army Corps Jacket

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James N.

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Union Soldier in Veteran Volunteer JacketPF.jpg


Near the war's end, with enlistments mainly by bounty and re-enlistments rare, an idea was tried by the U.S. government to entice discharged veterans ( who weren't subject to the draft ) to re-enlist by the creation of a special all-volunteer corps to be commanded by wounded war hero Winfield Scott Hancock. The attempt was ultimately doomed to failure for various reasons, but saw some degree of success at first. Among the blandishments offered to encourage enlistment was a NEW distinctive uniform jacket tailored as shown above in a photo from my collection. It's a short shell jacket with an exceptionally short ( almost NO ) collar, devoid of trim, but having "vetrans' " half-chevrons or "slash marks" as used in the Regular Army. Unfortunately the gilding has, as so often, obscured the insignia on his hat.

Summarized by Francis Lord in They Fought For the Union,

"First Veteran Army Corps ( Hancock's ): Created by General Orders, No. 287, Adjutant-General's Office, November 28, 1864, to consist of men who had not served less than two years. Discontinued, July 11, 1866."

W.S.Hancock.jpg


CDV of Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock from my collection taken by or distributed through the Philadelphia, Penn. studio of W. Gutekunst.
 

Yankeedave

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Hancock is the man. Finally came on board the 2cd Corps at Antietam and never looked back, tho I suspect at Gettysburg he looked down. Good ole 2cd Corps. Cracked the sunken road nut at Antietam, Held the path open at Chancellorsville, the command standing back to back as the rest funneled between them, Stopped Pickett at Gettysburg, and captured Jackson's old Division en mass at The Mule Shoe. Scrappy, profane, and a snappy dresser...gotta love the guy.
 

James N.

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Let's try this again - for SOME reason, this is the THIRD time I've attempted to download this, the main photograph; I sincerely hope it's "the charm"!

Union Soldier in Veteran Volunteer JacketPF.jpg


If I remember correctly, this was found in a box of old photographs in a room in a nursing home following the death of one of the female residents or patients.
 
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James N.

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I found these corps badges recently, and I've been trying to identify the one on the right - I think it may be from Hancock's First Veteran Army?
It's the same shape as one illustrated in Jack Coggins' Arms and Equipment of the Civil War, a sort of sunburst, which he labels Hancock's 1st Corps Veterans, so I think you may well be onto something!

Thanks for your contribution, and welcome to the forum!
 

James N.

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Hey James, just stumbled across this thread. I picked up this CDV a while back. No ID or backmark. Could this be another US Veteran Volunteer?
Expired Image Removed
It certainly LOOKS like it's the same to me! The short roundabout jacket with its standing collar, and the veteran's stripes; does it have a TAX STAMP on the back? That would definitely place it within the 1864 - 66 period, same as that of the short-lived VRC.
 
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drkuluth

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Unfortunately, no evidence of a tax stamp. So another theory could be he was a volunteer who reenlisted and had this image made between June 1863 (when veterans stripes for volunteers were authorized) and August 1864 (when tax stamps were required). But, that still wouldn't explain the weird uniform (including the dark trousers, different from your guy's). From what I can tell, all the Vet Volunteer infantry regiments were organized in Dec 1864 or later; only the engineers regiment was mid-1864.
 

major bill

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Michael McAfee has an article about these veteran strips in the newest issue of Military Images. for those not aware, Military Images now has down loads of its articles. The cost depends on the length of the article, McAfee's article about veteran stripes cost 99 cents to down load. I have no connection to Military Images magazine so I am not suggesting you use their service, but it sure seem nice to be able to down load articles of interest without having to subscribe to the magazine.
 

James N.

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Michael McAfee has an article about these veteran strips in the newest issue of Military Images. for those not aware, Military Images now has down loads of its articles. The cost depends on the length of the article, McAfee's article about veteran stripes cost 99 cents to down load. I have no connection to Military Images magazine so I am not suggesting you use their service, but it sure seem nice to be able to down load articles of interest without having to subscribe to the magazine.
Very briefly back in the 1980's I was actually carried on the masthead as a contributing editor by the founder of MI, Harry Roach. Unfortunately, I was never a very prolific contributor; and after Harry p****d me off by rejecting one of my contributions, I never bothered again! ( It subsequently appeared in D. Mark Katz' short-lived magazine, Incidents of the War. ) All that aside, I remained a subscriber for years until I moved and discovered I had a veritable mountain of back issues, so finally let my subscription lapse. I always found it to be helpful and interesting, though the photographic reproduction was always marginal at best, not very good for a scholarly journal. Mike McAfee was very helpful the one time I wrote him for information, ironically about the very image I wrote about that wound up in Katz. I guess I need to take a look at current or at least more recent issues to see just how it's doing under new management.
 
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drkuluth

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I strongly encourage everyone to check out the past year of Military Images. Ron Coddington has done amazing things as editor, including a complete visual redesign and several new departments. (Disclosure: I'm leading one of those new departments, Photo Sleuth, which focuses on solving Civil War photo mysteries. First column is available here for free.)
 

Private Watkins

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How about these guys...? They are described as being from Hancock's First Veterans Corps...
82bba5f2083d04c57028b5fd3b2767b8.jpg

Quarter plate tintype of 3 members belonging to the 75th New York Infantry. This view would have been taken no sooner than December, 1864. While these men formally served in the 75th New York, they are not serving in that regiment here. The two men in the front wear the corps badge for the Hancock's First Veteran Corps. The Veteran Corps consisted of 10 regiments made up of discharged veterans who were then re-enlisted in U.S service instead of their state regiments. It's an extremely rare badge. The man to the left has the numeral "75" still pinned to the front of his cap. One of the enticements offered to encourage men to enlist in the newly founded organization was a distinctive tailored jacket given to each man that enlisted which is the jacket worn here. It was a short shell jacket with a very short collar with each jacket bearing the veterans half chevron. It was a very short lived experiment only lasting about a year and a half. The trio seems to taking a respite from the monotony of camp life by enjoying a bottle of wine and some southern tobacco. The sergeant seated to the right has his hand wrapped around a wine bottle and his friend behind him holding onto a glass which is half full of the beverage. Behind the man is a canvas backdrop with scenes of military tents and a palm tree. This may have been taken in Savannah, Georgia where veterans from the 75th were ordered in January, 1865.
http://thecivilwarimageshop.com/Hard_Images.php
 

Package4

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And I've read stories that he always had a clean white shirt shirt on. His men probably wondered how he got them as did Stonewall's boys did about his lemmons.
This is one of the "Jackson Myths", he didn't particularly like lemons, but ate whatever fruit was available due to health concerns. His favorite fruit were peaches and he did like persimmons, which were quite often mistaken for lemons, in fact Henry Kidd Douglas told a story about Jackson getting stuck in a persimmon tree while attempting to collect a number. Douglass wrote that they had to bring a pair of fence rails over to let him unceremoniously slide down.
 
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