EXTREMELY RARE CIVIL WAR SIGNAL CORPS EMBROIDERED BULLION INSIGNIA

$4,500.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 480-194

Civil War insignia for the signal corps is among the rarest of the rare. Initially titled the signal service as part of the army staff, it was only established in 1860 with the appointment of one officer, and expanded into the signal corps by an act of Congress in March 1863. 1864 regulations for officers’ cap insignia called for crossed signal flags and a torch over a small silver Old English US, and simple crossed flags on the arms for enlisted men, but this type of bullion hat insignia with no torch and silver stars in the upper angle of the crossed flags and a U.S. below is known from photographs and a very few extant examples. The elite nature of the organization and its small size may account for its appearance on the hats of some enlisted men and in one or two cases, at least, on a enlisted man’s jacket sleeve.

This measures about 2 inches tall and 2 5/8 inches wide with a jaceron wire border and the insignia embroiders on a black velvet. The Old English “U.S.” at bottom is embroidered with coiled silver wire. The staff of the crossed flags are in gold, with the flag to the right showing a gold bullion bordered red field with four strands of bullion in the center to indicate a red flag with white center and the left flag shows a wide silver bullion border with small red center to indicate a white flag with red center, as directed in the 1864 regulations. The thirteen stars between are made from simple silver bullion cross stitches. The reverse has its polished cotton backing in place, though with a tear at center and exposing the pasteboard stiffener and threads used to draw the edges of the black velvet tight, and a few loose threads.

The army, and the signal corps, was reduced after the Civil War and this insignia, along with that incorporating a torch, was replaced in 1872 by the standard staff wreath and U.S., though some officers may have held onto it for a while. See Frasca’s North-South Trader article on hat insignia and Emerson’s Encyclopedia for discussions and parallel examples, particularly Emerson’s Figure 23-8, which is identical, but not as nice. This is in excellent condition, with good color to the velvet, bullion, and the red material of the flags. One narrow silver bullion strand of the Old English “S” is slightly displaced, but could easily be realigned with the head of a pin and a steady hand.

***We show a photo of the same insignia on the hat of an enlisted signal corps member whose CDV is offered elsewhere on our site. ***

This is an extremely rare piece of Civil War embroidered bullion insignia in great condition and for a branch of service that was small, but grew exponentially in importance during the war.  [sr]

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