Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Officers' Grade (Rank) Insignia

Colonel's Strap

Colonel's Shoulder Strap

The embroidered colonel's eagle illustrates the skill of the embroiderer. This particular insignia was worn in 1862 by Joshua A. Varian, Colonel of the Eight New York National Guard. It conforms to regulation, but has many stylistic features more commonly found on post-Civl War straps. For example the eagle's wing are not made from sequins (common during the Civil War), the border is all dead bullion (alternating dead and bright is common during the war and very unusual afterwards) and the back is nicely finished off. This illustrates that stylistic features can not be thought of as absolutes. Embroiderers had the ability to made straps conforming to regulations in many different ways. The customer did not care about these little differences. Over time particular style features became typical but these can be found on straps made during an eariler period as Varian's straps show us. Ties can be seen at the top of the strap. These were used to allow the straps to removed from the uniform when epaulettes were worn.

(Courtesy of John Rupp)
MORE: Other regulation straps-Lt. Colonel, Major, Captain, 1st Lieutenant
Stylistic Features of Civil War Colonel's Shoulder Straps
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