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Staff Buttons

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  • Staff Buttons

    Good Afternoon,

    I always wait until I've come to a dead end before I ask, so please understand I did use the search function here, there, and everywhere to no avail. My question seems really basic, but either Iím asking it the wrong way or there is no one answer.

    Understanding there was a difference between the theoretical and the practical, Iím wondering about buttons, in particular staff buttons. Who would theoretically have them? The obvious answer is, "Staff, dummy," but it seems sometimes that the word ďstaffĒ itself has an ambiguous definition or usage, e.g. "He's a staff officer," or, "He's on Gen. XXXX's staff." Although I can find plenty of photographic evidence of them being used in staff and non-staff photos, I canít find a definitive chart or something in regulations that would point this out once and for all.

    Thank you,

    Joe Marti

    ...and yes, I did use the search function...

  • #2
    Re: Staff Buttons

    US or CS?

    Then, there is the question of US staff buttons on CS coats.
    John Wickett
    Former Carpetbagger
    Administrator (We got rules here! Be Nice - Sign Your Name - No Farbisms)


    • #3
      Re: Staff Buttons

      Of course. I'm speaking about US on US.
      Joe Marti

      ...and yes, I did use the search function...


      • #4
        Re: Staff Buttons

        Tough question. There were no formal regulations regarding staff organization at the time of the war for how a general staff was to be set up. Each general was permitted to implement his own system.

        There are some general orders that address the make-up of a general staff. Here are some excerpts:

        General Order No. 15, May 4, 1861, L. Thomas, Adjutant General (plan of organization of volunteer forces) ( Each brigade will consist of four regiments and 1 brigadier-general, 1 aide-de-camp (a lieutenant), 1 assistant adjutant-general (a captain), 1 surgeon, 1 assistant quartermaster (a captain), 1 commissary of subsistence (a captain)… Each division will consist of three or more brigades, and of one major-general, 2 aide-de-camps (captains or lieutenants), 1 assistant adjutant-general (a major).

        General Order No. 16, May 4, 1861, L. Thomas, Adjutant General (plan of organization of regular forces) ( Each division will have 1 major-general, 2 aide-de-camps (a captain or a lieutenant), 1 assistant adjutant-general (a major from the Adjutant-General’s Department), 1 quartermaster (from the regular staff of the Army), 1 commissary of subsistence (from the regular staff of the Army). A brigade shall have 1 brigadier general, 1 aide-de-camp (a lieutenant), 1 assistant adjutant general (a captain from the Adjutant-General’s Department), 1 assistant quartermaster (a captain), 1 assistant commissary (a captain).

        General Order No. 49, August 3, 1861, L. Thomas, Adjutant General (employment of volunteers) ( Each brigade shall be composed of four or more regiments, and shall have one brigadier-general, two aides-de-camp, one assistant adjutant-general with the rank of captain, one surgeon, one assistant quartermaster, and one commissary of subsistence.

        Here’s an excerpt from Customs of Service for Officers of the Army, by August V. Kautz (1866) that also might help (

        305. It is not unusual for Lieutenants to be assigned to duty in some capacity properly pertaining to the General Staff either detached or on the staff of some General officer. It is not intended to do more than indicate what these are, at this time.

        306. He may be called upon to act in any one of the following capacities, viz.:

        Adjutant General.
        Inspector General.
        Judge Advocate.
        Ordnance Officer.
        Mustering Officer.
        Provost Marshal.

        It then goes on to describe the various duties.

        As for who was permitted to wear staff buttons, the following is from Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861 (

        1460. For General Officers and Officers of the General Staff--gilt, convex, with spread eagle and stars, and plain border; large size, seven-eighths of an inch in exterior diameter; small size, one-half inch;

        1465. Aides-de-Camp may wear the button of the General Staff, or of their regiment or corps, at their option.

        1466. For Medical Cadets--same as for Officers of the General Staff.

        As for who actually wore the staff buttons, that’s a little harder to answer.

        ACWA? Didn’t they take over running the old Roaring Camp event? That event always held a special place for me, even if it is kind of like reenacting in Frontierland. I helped organize the first one back in something like ’81 or ’82. My old unit would hold its annual meeting of the Marching and Masochist Society at that event and road march in to it.
        Last edited by Palmyra Possum; 02-11-2015, 03:54 PM.
        Eric Paape
        Because the world needs
        one more aging reenactor