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An Album of U.S. Army Shoulder Straps by Dr. Howard G. Lanham

Shoulder Straps of the Post-Civil War Period

Field Officers

Shoulder Straps of the post-Civil War period are much less likely to have multiple borders or those that alternate dead and bright bullion than those of the Civil War period. They tend to be better made and have a finished bottom.

[Shoulder Strap]
Post-Civil War Staff Colonel's Shoulder Strap

This strap is marked Pettibone, an outfitter established in 1872. It has a quarter-inch all dead bullion border. This shoulder strap does not use sequins in the wings, which is a common method of constuction of Civil War period colonel's wings.


[Shoulder Strap]
Post-Civil War Infantry Colonel's Shoulder Strap

White was adopted as the branch color for infantry shoulder straps in 1886, replacing light blue. This strap has a quarter-inch all dead bullion border. The wings are fashioned from a mixture of dead and bright bullion embroidery, the most common method during this period. The entire eagle is done in high relief (raised up off of the level of the field). The eagle faces the arrows, a feature given the term "war eagle" in the 20th Century


[Shoulder Strap]
Post-Civil War Staff Lieutenant Colonel's Shoulder Strap

This lieutenant colonel's shoulder strap likely dates after 1912 when borders were made three-eighths of an inch. The border is all dead bullion and the field dark blue of staff. The leaves are of silver bullion in high relief. They have Jaceron wire as detail and also as a border to the leaves. This last feature is rarely if ever found on straps of earlier periods.


[Shoulder Strap]
Post-Civil War Artillery Majors's Shoulder Strap

This strap was three-eighths inch all dead bullion borders, which were regulation after 1912. Unlike most Civil War period straps the base of the leaves do not touch the border.


[Shoulder Strap]
Post-Civil War Ordnance Majors' Shoulder Strap (1902-1912)

This strap was one-quarter inch all dead bullion borders and an inner border of scarlet soutache (a cord used as trim). The field color is dark blue. In 1902 dual branch colors were introduced on shoulder straps for officers of the engineer, signal and ordnance branches. In time this practice would be expanded to include other support and administrative branches. The leaf is set close to border, a feature suggesting an earlier date of manufacture than those whose leaves are set back from the border.



MORE: Post-Civil War: Company Officers' Shoulder Straps
MORE: Modern Shoulder Straps
MORE: Plate with Shoulder Straps of 1872
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