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Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Noncommissioned Officers' Uniforms


Hospital Steward
Hospital Steward
1866 Quartermaster Photograph
(Courtesy: QM Museum, Fort Lee)

The hospital steward is wearing a regulation frock coat with shoulder scales. His green and yellow half chevron is visible on the sleeve. He is wearing a Jeff Davis (Hardee) hat with a metallic wreath and the letters U.S. on the front. Hospital Stewards were the only enlisted men to wear this wreath. His hat cord was also a unique, mixed buff and green cord. The facings or trim of the uniform and the one and one-half trouser stripe were in crimson. There was one hospital steward assigned to each regiment and several assigned to general hospitals. They were among the highest pay enlisted men at $30 a month and were considered to have a very responsible position. They assisted the regiment surgeon, acted as dressers and dispensed medication. Many of them had some medical background. At a time when there were no medical licenses or even a formal requirement of what credentials were necessary to be called a physician, a few hospital stewards were promoted to the position of assistant surgeon. The uniform seen above would be worn only on dress occasions. Photographs of hospital stewards in the field show them wearing a forage cap and no shoulder scales.


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