Union Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Late Civil War Major's Insignia

Different Interpretations of General Orders No. 286

Nathaniel Wales Major
Major Nathaniel Wales (c1831-1924)
with one leaf
Unidentifed Major
with two leaves

Major Wales of the 35th Massachusetts Infantry wears the insignia of a major on his shoulders on what is likely a piece of cloth in the light blue infantry branch color. This is an interpretation of General Orders No. 286 of November 22, 1864, which allowed officers to wear their grade device in place of a shoulder strap. In other cases a pair of leaves were worn as in our second officer.

(Wales' Image Courtesy: USAMHI: MASS-MOLLUS 96:4941)
MORE: Original Lt. Colonel's Leaf
Captain wearing Bars Rather than Shoulder Strap
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