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Here's something unusual-- a REAL Civil War corps badge. Sorry for the upper case letters, but if you are interested in Civil War insignia and badges, you are well aware of the flood of fakes that has inundated all the online antique venues and begun filtering into the shows, etc. There's no point in going on about it... but, here is a real one for a change.
These sandwich style badges were available to soldiers by mail order through newspaper ads as well as through camp peddlers, sutlers, etc. This is a thin stamped brass frame with an impressed design running along the edge. A T-bar fastener was then soldered on the reverse and a piece of fabric of the appropriate division color was then placed underneath with a cardboard backing. The section stamped out was then placed over the cardboard and held in place by two short flat brass flanges soldered into place on either side. Please see the photos and you will get the idea.
I show some images from Phillips showing similar badges. A few use a piece of scrap tin on the back; some just use the cardboard, etc. The guiding principle seems to have been to keep costs low.
This one, of course, is a Maltese cross for the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, and red for the First Division of the corps. The badge measures 1 1/8 inches across, which is pretty typical for the small cheap mail order badges that soldiers could afford. The fabric was a thin velvet and you can see the edge of the fabric with the nap on it peaking out from beneath the cardboard on the reverse. The face of the badge is missing the nap entirely and what you are looking at is the base of the fabric, which is a very light pinkish red, but preserves enough color to make the division clear.
If you were bold enough to try it, an old piece of red velvet could replace what is there, but it would require a good deal of care in raising the flanges, and I am as yet too sober to think that would be a good idea. It displays fine and I would not mess with it.
The badge came out of New England, but there is no further identification or locale and things travel in any case. The First Division of the Fifth Corps was a hard fighting organization in most of the major battles of the Army of the Potomac. If you want a real Civil War badge, here's your chance.
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