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"Corps insignia on the kepis and hats ?" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 12:02 a.m. PST

Hello everyone,
From which battle of the Civil War did the infantrymen of the Northern army corps wear corps insignia on their kepis and hats?

The horsemen, artillerymen and sappers of the northern army corps also wore corps insignia on their kepis and hats?

The insignia of the Northern army corps were only worn on caps and hats?

Did this type of insignia only exist at corps level?

And the Confederates also had a system to distinguish their army corps?

This type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 3:43 a.m. PST

The system of corps insignia is purely Union, and comes into existence gradually following the Peninsular Campaign. As a general rule, it begins with the Army of the Potomac and spreads unevenly. At its most elaborate, divisions within the corps were distinguished by the color while corps were distinguished by the shape. So a crescent indicated the XI Corps, but red, white and blue crescents indicated which division. Some manufacturers in the larger scales cast the corps insignia on the kepi. Check before purchasing.

Now the serious ACW players can mock me.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 4:51 a.m. PST

Robert that's pretty much it.

This backs the story the way I understand it and have read

"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:
Red — First division of corps
White — Second division of corps
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 II, III, VI, IX, and XX Corps
Yellow — Fourth division of XV Corps (reportedly Orange was also used for a 5th Division Badge)
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."

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 6:10 a.m. PST


From a quick Google search: link Lays everything out.


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 7:29 a.m. PST

Don't get hung up on corps insignia unless you are building a specific force for a specific battle. All of my figures are used for 1861-65 and in any theatre of the war.

Grelber19 Apr 2024 8:43 a.m. PST

In the fall of 1863, two army corps from the Army of the Potomac were transferred west to help in the relief of the Army of the Cumberland, besieged in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While the Cumberlanders were in a bit of a snit about the easterners "We had to come bail you guys out" attitude, they did like the corps badges, and they adopted them after the battle of Chattanooga.

So, XIV Corps got acorns, representing their stout defense of Horseshoe Ridge (with its oak trees) during the battle of Chickamauga. Insignia for the other two corps seem to be a bit more confusing.


Bill N19 Apr 2024 9:11 a.m. PST

I am somewhat curious about what happened when units were switched between commands. When the 1st and 3rd Corps were dissolved did their units promptly adopt the badges of the new units they were assigned to? If not when did they switch over. Likewise as the heavy artillery regiments and other Washington garrison troops began deploying to the Army of the Potomac, how long before they began adopting the badges of the corps to which they were assigned.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 9:49 a.m. PST

Bill, as you'd about expect, it wasn't all smooth sailing with the dissolution of I and III Corps. I've seen stories about the "new" corps badge being sewn on the seats of trousers, and I suspect the old corps badges lingered into the Overland Campaign. I'd pay decent money for a history of forbidden/unauthorized uniform bits and insignia.

But I bet the heavy artillery adopted their new corps badges fairly promptly. The AoP was well-supplied, the corps insignia system was established, and the new corps badge wouldn't be replacing an existing one. I'm confident that in 1863 Union soldiers without corps badges were mocked in certain DC area drinking establishments as not being real soldiers. Under 30 days would be my guess.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 4:19 p.m. PST

Bill, I think they switched over when they felt like it. You see photographs of some soldiers wearing two badges -- one for their old command and one for their new. I imagine that the sense of pride in the old unit did not fade away just because of an organizational change. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that insignia was authorized, not mandated.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2024 10:20 p.m. PST

This reminds me of the 2nd Boer War in which the British army wore "flashes" a piece of cloth attached to the side of the helmet to identify which battalion or regiment the soldier belonged to. They made good targets for the Boers. Despite that, the practice is still in use today by some battalions.


Cleburne186320 Apr 2024 5:24 a.m. PST

The First and Third Corps fought tooth and nail to keep their old badges. Look at their headquarters flags. They got to keep their old flags. The Third Division, Second Corps flag had a clover inside a diamond, for example. And this was the Nov. 1864 issue flag. They were authorized to keep wearing their old badges. The Iron Brigade, old First Corps, wore their circular badges for the rest of the war, long after being folded into the Fifth Corps.

donlowry20 Apr 2024 8:26 a.m. PST

From which battle of the Civil War did the infantrymen of the Northern army corps wear corps insignia on their kepis and hats?

The Chancellorsville campaign was the first one after the corps insignia had been adopted. In the West, it wasn't until the Atlanta campaign.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2024 11:29 p.m. PST

@robert piepenbrink
Thank you and this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25?

Thank you and this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25?

Thank you and this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25?

Thank you and this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25?

@Bill N
Thank you and does this type of badge exist in "transfers" for figurines of 25 mm?

Thank you and does this type of badge exist in "transfers" for figurines of 25 mm?


So in 1863, at the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, the infantrymen, cavalrymen, artillerymen, sappers and other types of troops of the corps of the Army of the Potomac were already wearing corps insignia on their kepis and hats?

And this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25 mm ?

@Old Contemptible
Thank you and so the corps insignia were not obligatory?

And this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25 mm?

it's true that you have to be careful, but I like that "history games with figurines" respect historicity, that is to say what is historical, what belongs to an era about which we have written documents if possible.

And this type of badge exists in "transfers" for figurines of 25 mm?

Cleburne186321 Apr 2024 7:36 a.m. PST

Kinda strange that you ask the same question 9 times.

I am not aware of any decals or transfers for the corps badges in 25/28mm. I couldn't find anything on Google either. Sorry.

Dagwood21 Apr 2024 11:02 a.m. PST

Paskal, you'll have to do your own transfers!!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2024 1:39 p.m. PST

I never use transfers myself, Pascal, so I'm not familiar with sources. I did point out that the insignia are sometimes cast on the kepi.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2024 11:24 p.m. PST

It's not strange, it's because there are nine speakers that I ask the same question 9 times.

I'm also not aware of any decals or transfers for the 25/28 mm corps insignia, which is why I was asking the question.

If so, it would be strange if there wasn't one…

I should do my own transfers??

No pity, I will have enough things to do in the decades to come.

@robert piepenbrink
Yes, the badges are sometimes cast on the kepi like with Old GLory, but I only have my little MiniFigs anymore.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2024 2:41 p.m. PST

@Paskal, I have never used Corp badges or Corp flags for my 15mm wargame figures. Don't use division patches for WW2. Allows them all to be more generic.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2024 11:02 p.m. PST

I've never used 15mm wargame figures.

And do not use Corp badges on 25mm figures for the middle and end of the ACW bothers me.

25 mm transfers don't exist for this?

This is really weird.

Bill N23 Apr 2024 5:40 a.m. PST

Not really. A large number of ACW gamers are content to have largely generic U.S. figures, using division and corps flags to indicate the formation. Those that want their figures to be unit specific can freehand paint those badges. Then consider it from a manufacturer's side. To meet the shape and color requirements of just the AoP of 1863 at Gettysburg will require about 20 different sheets.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2024 5:46 a.m. PST

Paskal I know of none, but stopped painting years ago.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2024 11:13 p.m. PST

@Bill N
Painting these badges freehand? Yes but it depends which ones…

Perhaps this type of transfer never existed?

donlowry24 Apr 2024 8:37 a.m. PST

I have never heard of such decals, for any scale, but then I wasn't looking for them.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2024 11:18 p.m. PST

It would be strange if such transfers did not exist.

Cleburne186325 Apr 2024 3:28 a.m. PST

They don't exist. Just accept it.

Trajanus25 Apr 2024 9:39 a.m. PST

Given the differing size of heads and hats on 25/28mm items from the various manufactures, I don't think anyone has considered transfers/decals.

Putting them on hats and getting them the stay there isn't a task I would hurry to do!

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2024 11:20 p.m. PST

Since no one knows if they don't have or don't exist, I keep looking.

Anyone who hasn't considered this type of transfers/decals for 25mm monk figurines is normal, but for 25mm or 28mm and above it's weird.

Putting them on hats and making them stay there is not a task you would rush to do, because all your figures all belong to the XIII and XXI Corps !

Me when I have them, putting them on hats is a task I will rush to do!

And if in a few years I haven't found anything, I will paint them, starting with the Army of the Potomac in 1863, a period that interests me very much::

I Corps: Very easy to paint.
II Corps: Easy to paint.
III Corps: Easy to paint.
V Corps: It's getting tougher.
VI Corps: Easy to paint.
IX Corps: In a stroke of luck, he was detached in February 1863.
XI Corps: Easy to paint but detached in September 1863.
XII Corps: Easy to paint but detached in September 1863.
Cavalry Corps: No corps badge?
Artillery Reserve: No badge?

Bill N26 Apr 2024 4:46 a.m. PST

But the IX Corps came back in 1864. Plus there are the VIII Corps units and the units of the Army of the James that fought along side the AoP. Then remember that each of those corps contain between two and three divisions each with their own individual color. Plus the typical wargamer is probably going to want individual sheets for each of the divisions.

donlowry26 Apr 2024 5:30 p.m. PST

Yes, the 9th Corps returned in 64, and it did come up with a corps emblem then.


Same goes for the 8th Corps (actually, the Army of West Virginia), when serving under Sheridan in 64.


You can look up the other corps yourself.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2024 11:53 p.m. PST

What interests me is the year 1863 until the defeat of Gettysburg…

donlowry28 Apr 2024 8:21 a.m. PST

Gettysburg was a victory!

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2024 11:10 p.m. PST

It depends for whom….

donlowry29 Apr 2024 8:33 a.m. PST

For the side that wore the corps emblems, at least.

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2024 5:23 p.m. PST

+1 Don!


Cleburne186330 Apr 2024 4:40 a.m. PST

+1 Don.
Gettysburg was a victory for the side that mattered.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2024 10:53 p.m. PST

Although in the South most citizens did not consider it a loss.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2024 3:21 a.m. PST

Why ?

42flanker05 May 2024 9:24 a.m. PST

Whether on the battlefields of the unpleasantness of 1861-65 or out on the veld of South Africa, the effect of sun and rain on divisional badges or regimental 'flashes' meant that distinctive colours might very soon fade to more homgenous shades (and of course there was a reason why the British wore their flashes to one side).
On the gaming table, of course, a different matter

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2024 1:50 p.m. PST

So certainly they changed them regularly ?

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