Ordnance sergeant chevrons question

Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
536
Location
Flippin, Arkansas (near Yellville)
#1
Hello everybody, I was wondering if someone could tell me definitively which way the star above the ordnance sergeant's chevrons points. Is it point up (like the stars on the U.S. flag)? Or point down (like a pentagram)? Because I've seen it illustrated both ways for example I believe the Official Military Atlas to the Civil War shows it point down. Great thanks to anybody that can pin this down for me.
 

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major bill

Colonel
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Aug 25, 2012
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14,608
#3
For the US Army of the Civil War period they normally point up. I am not sure Ihave seen official regulations that state this and often the regulations say according to a pattern held at some quartermaster place.

I may have seen the original Civil War era patterns at one point at the museum, but am not sure of this.

William K. Emerson is consdered the leading expert in the world on this subject and literally wrote the book on this subject (he has two of the top books on US chevrons). I hope to see Emerson in three weeks and have a couple words with him, , his heath permitting. I think I owe him a red pop.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
145
Location
Mississippi
#5
Major Bill is right, the star points up during the Civil War era. In 1872 with the new uniform regs, the point of the star pointed downward into the v of the chevron. Ordnance sergeant chevrons were based on the branch color of the unit. There were artillery ordnance sgt's, infantry ordnance sgt's, etc.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
145
Location
Mississippi
#7
Should I draw an ordnance sergeant inspecting an artillery shell or would that not be something they would be doing?
It is based upon the situation. A Federal artillery ordnance sergeant would inspect shells at an arsenal or at a post, but not likely in the field. There were only app. 600 ordnance sergeants in the Union Army. The Confederates embraced the concept of the ordnance sergeant and used them to a far greater extent.

The US Army Ordnance Museum moved to Ft Lee and most of the collection is not on public display. You can call them at 804-734-4878 and they will gladly answer questions, but expect for your call to be transferred multiple times to get to the right person. In the past, they have been of great assistance to me with some of my research.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
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Feb 20, 2005
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14,719
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South of the North 40
#10
Ordnance Sgt's were officially part of the Regular Army. Regimental Armorers were a different beast altogether and were sometimes present in a role similar to an Ordnance Sgt but at a much more... lower level. they would have been in more charge of small arms repair and maintenance at the Regimental level whereas an Ordnance Sgt was at a higher level such as Brigade or higher. There is some evidence that State units would appoint a Regimental Armorer as an Ordnance Sgt on paper but their uniform appeared to be no different. I've never found evidence of a state or volunteer unit having the Ordnance Sgt insignia as an actual insignia. An Ordnance Sgt was tasked with more than just the small arms. He was assigned to the post more than to the unit and was in charge of the arms at that post. Typically the men would be issued arms from the post, not to them. So when they left to go from one post to another they would not be expected to take their arms w/ them unless going on active campaign. The Ordnance Sgt would stay at the post.

Ordnance Sgt's were somewhat of a beast of their own with authority not unlike that of a Sgt Major, in some cases they answered only to the Post commander or even higher. Most were long serving NCO's w/ real time in grade behind them. As to the star, I've only ever seen pics of them w/ the star point up in the same way as that of a flag. Inverted... I can't recall ever seeing that in a pic. That said I don't recall seeing an Ordnance Sgt rank pictured except on a Frock or Sack Coat. I don't think I've seen on one on a mounted services jacket or Lt Arty jacket. Yes an Ordnance Sgt looking at Arty ammo would make some sense, he was after all responsible for all ordnance to include arty, ammo, small arms etc.
 

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