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Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Enlisted Men's Shoulder Scales

Shoulder Scale

Private's Shoulder Scale

This was recovered from a site near Manassas, Virginia. Notice how well the engraving in the Schuyler, Hartley and Graham catalog compares to an original.

"Light-artillerymen went to the front decorated with brass scales on their shoulders, but finding an utter absence of such ornaments on the persons of soldiers who had been in action, and feeling sensitive about being known as recruits, these decorations soon disappeared. Theoretically, they were worn to ward off the blows of a sabre aimed by cavalrymen at the head; practically, it is doubtful whether they ever served such a purpose."
--John D. Billings (10thMassachusetts Artillery) Hardtack and Coffee


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