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Chevrons and their positioning

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  • Chevrons and their positioning


    Is there a specific point in which a chevron is placed on a federal uniform sleeve, and if so, what is it?

    Through everything I look through I get completely different answers on this with everything from "somewhere above the elbow" to varying inches from the top seam of the sleeve and I just need some clarification on this.

    Ryan Schuda
    Co. C, 45th IL / Co. G, 15th TN
    Dirty First Mess

  • #2
    Re: Chevrons and their positioning


    In brief...

    No one seems to have thought to cite inches from Point X or Y.

    The 1861 manual published 1862 reads:

    1549. The rank of non-commissioned officers will be marked by chevrons upon both sleeves of the uniform coat and overcoat, above the elbow, of silk or worsted binding one-half an inch wide, same color as the edging on the coat, points down, as follows:

    From the photographic evidence, "...above the elbows,..." was somewhat open to interpretation.

    IF, and a big if, a statement might could be made, NUG, the point of the chevron located at the point of the elbow is a good... compromise. As IMHO, lower is more PEC than higher up the arm.

    Others' mileage will vary...


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    Cpl. Ryan...

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    Curt Schmidt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
    -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
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    -Vastly Ignorant
    -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.


    • #3
      Re: Chevrons and their positioning

      As Curt pointed out, the official answer for per US regulations (with CS regs having an identical paragraph at 1529 is “above the elbow.” Some threads on other sites describe things like, “I bend my arm and put the point at the crook,” or “I place two fingers above my elbow and position the point there,” all of which is fine and dandy, but without documentation has nothing to do with how it was done then.

      Attached are a few random pictures of soldiers with chevrons and one of an NCO jackets. I blew them up and measured from the tip of the chevrons to the cuff and the tip of the chevrons to the shoulder seam. Then I calculated the percentage of the sleeve length that was above and below the tip. For example, if I say the chevrons are 53% up the sleeve, that means 53% of the total sleeve length is below the tip and 47% above it. Obviously working with pictures like this, and not examining original uniforms, I am getting at best a rough estimate. So rough, other people looking at the same pictures may draw slightly different conclusions.

      Two of them show everyone’s favorite model in the uniforms of an artillery First Sergeant and a cavalry Corporal. While this probably represents the ideal, it does not necessarily show what was commonly done. Interestingly, the chevron’s on the model’s uniform are among the lowest I checked, with the tip of the chevrons being about 53% and 51.5%, respectively, of the way up the sleeve.

      The chevrons for Albert Kendrik, 28th Wisconsin, are 54% of the way up the sleeve.

      The chevrons for James Cantrell, 80th Indiana, are 56% of the way up the sleeve.

      The chevrons for Henry Steward, 54th Massachusetts, are 58% of the way up the sleeve. However, as his chevrons appear to be tacked on, and not properly sewn on, I question how representative his chevrons are.

      The chevrons in the photo of the Confederate Sergeant Major’s jacket are about 57.5% of the way up the sleeve.

      While this is a small sample, and I welcome others to examine and post additional uniforms, based on these, it appears that you can’t go wrong with placing chevrons so that the tip is somewhere in the neighborhood of 55% of the way up the sleeve, give or take a percentage point or two.

      Of course, for every rule there is an exception, as evidenced by Corporal William Graham, 1st Tennessee, who has inverted chevrons with the tip about 73% of the way up the sleeve.

      Es, es, es und es
      es ist ein harter Schluß
      weil, weil, weil und weil,
      weil ich aus Frankfurt muß!
      Darum schlag ich Frankfurt aus dem Sinn
      und wende mich, Gott weiß wohin.
      Ich will mein Glück probieren,
      (that was for Curt)

      Click image for larger version

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      Eric Paape
      Because the world needs
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