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Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Staff Officers Uniforms

S. B. Bean Unknown Staff Officer
Captain Sylvanus B. Bean
Assistant Quartermaster of Volunteers
Unknown Staff Captain

Captain Sylvanus Bean is wearing an officer's frock coat. His kepi has a small U.S. wreath on the front, which was worn by both general and staff officers. His trousers are dark blue with a one-eighth inch gold cord running up the outside seam. He is wearing a sword belt with a cross strap and holding a model 1850 staff and field sword.

Sylvanus B. Bean was from Brownfield, Oxford Co., Maine. He was a graduate of Norwich University, Class of 1834, and served as a militia sergeant during the so-called Aroostook War of 1839 on the border with Canada. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the 11th Maine Volunteer Infantry as first lieutenant of company "A." On November 26, 1862 he was discharged from his infantry regiment to receive a commission as captain and assistant quartermaster of volunteers. A typical quartermaster on a regimental staff was a first lieutenant and a member of the regiment. Above them were assistant quartermasters serving with larger units and depots with the rank of captain. Bean served as assistant quartermaster with the Army of the Potomac Artillery Reserve and later First Brigade, Second Division, 5th Army Corps. The quartermaster corps was reorganized under an Act of Congress passed on July 4, 1864 and was allowed a total eleven officers with the rank of major. On May 25, 1865 Bean was promoted from captain, which was the highest grade allowed volunteer officers, into one of those limited major positions within the Regular Quartermaster Department. He also received a brevet as major on March 13, 1865 for faithful and meritorious service. Bean served until mustered out on May 19, 1866.

The second image is an unidentified staff captain and may be another of the 465 captains who served as assistant quartermasters or one of the 46 Regular Army Quartermaster Department captains.* It is also possible that he is an officer with another staff department. Unlike Bean, he is wearing an officer's four-button sack coat. These were not mentioned in Army Regulations, but became popular with officers in the field. The is wearing rather large captain's shoulder straps, which may be double bordered. His pants are dark blue with a thin cord similar to Beans. His kepi also has a U.S. wreath, but it appears to be larger than Bean's.

* Note: This is the number of positions authorized by Congress. Allowing for wartime attrition, the total number of ever serving quartermaster captains would be higher.


Officers' Sack Coats (Photos)
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