The troops from the army of the Potomac, sent to join the army of the Cumberland, carried with them various ornamental habits and customs that were new to the Western soldiers. Among them was the corps badge, which designated the corps to which officers and men were attached. For instance, the badge of the Eleventh Corps is a crescent, that of the Twelfth a star. The badge is made of any material,–gold, silver, or red flannel,–and is worn conspicuously on some part of the clothing. The Western corps had no such badge. How an Irishman explained the matter is thus told: A soldier came by the headquarters of Gen. Butterfield,–a tired, weather-beaten straggler. He was one of those who made Sherman’s march from Memphis to Chattanooga, thence to Knoxville, and was now returning in the terrible cold of that returning march, thinly clad, one foot covered with a badly worn army shoe, the other with a piece of rawhide bound with strings about a sockless foot–both feet cut and bleeding. “Arms at will,” he trudged past the headquarters’ guard, intent only upon overtaking his regiment.
“Halt,” said a sentinel with a bright piece, clean uniform, and white gloves. “What do you belong to?”
“Eightl. Misshoory, sure.”
“Morgan L. Smith’s, av coorse.”
“Giles Smith’s Second Brigade of the Second Division.”
“But what army corps?”
“The Fifteenth, you fool. I am one of the heroes of Vicksburg. Anything more, Mr Sentinel?”
“Where is your badge?”
“My badge, is it? What is that?”
“Do you see this star on my cap? That is the badge of the Twelfth Corps. That crescent on my partner’s cap is the badge of the Eleventh Corps.”
“I see now. That’s how yez Potomick fellers gits home uv dark nights. Ye takes the moon and shtars with ye.”
“But what is the badge of your corps?”
Making a round about, and slapping his cartridge-box, our soldier replied, “D’ye see that? A cartridge-box, with a U. S. on a brash plate, and forty rounds in the cartridge-box, and sixty rounds in our pockets. That’s the badge of the Fifteenth, that came from Vicksburg to help ye fight Chattanoogy.”
Originally posted 2008-04-04 12:18:35.