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Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Double Border Shoulder Straps

Bullion Embroidered and Metallic

Metallic Shoulder Strap
Metallic Staff First Lieutenant's Double Border Shoulder Strap
Embroidered Shoulder Strap
Embroidered Staff First Lieutenant's Double Border Shoulder Strap

Shoulder straps were available to officers in either traditional bullion embroidery or stamped brass false embroidery. Metallic straps were patented by James S. Smith of 15 Dutch Street New York on June 18, 1861. These held up better in the field and were highly popular during the war. Many still have a paper label or stamp on the back indicating Smith's patent. They come in all the same varieties as embroidered straps: regulation single border, multiple borders, miniature and with letters indicating staff departments. The field of the above metallic strap is of velvet.

Bullion straps were more common. Both of these straps are similar in size but the metallic one is curved to fit the shoulder. During the Civil War shoulder straps came in four common colors: light or medium blue for infantry, yellow for cavalry, scarlet for artillery and dark navy blue (almost black) for staff. Staff included both members of the regimental staff, such as surgeons, and also the various staff departments of the Army, such as members of the Corps of Engineers. In short, officers who were not serving in a combat role wore staff officers' shoulder straps

Both of these straps illustrate that on strap officers' straps the bars were also usually doubled when the border was doubled. A captain would have two sets of double bars. Typical regulation style period shoulder straps have a single border. These double bordered straps were not uncommon and were only rarely used after the Civil War.


MORE: Additional Double Bordered Straps
Triple Bordered Straps
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