MILITARY INSIGNIA, devices in the form of badges, epaulets, straps, chevrons, buttons, braid, mottoes, and the like, worn to differentiate the ranks and divisions of the military and naval forces. Insignia for these purposes are to-day in use in the forces of all nations, though differing according to the country to which the army and navy belong. In all countries the insignia are identical for officers or non-commissioned men of the same rank, though they differ according to the branch of the service.
In the United States the devices used in the army and navy underwent con• siderable changes during the period in tervening between the Revolution and the Civil War, but from the period of the Civil War the process has been rather of development than of change, and the insignia employed have been largely the same. The letters U. S. are worn by officers on the collar, volunteers being distinguished by the addition of the letter V. Officers of the National Guard wear the initial letter of their States. To indicate the various corps or departments devices relating to the work of each are employed. Thus the General Staff Corps is indicated by the U. S. coat of arms on a silver star; Adjutant-General's Depart ment by a shield; Judge-Advocate Gen eral's Department by crossed sword and pen; Medical Corps by a caduceus; En• gineers by a turreted castle.
The insignia indicating ranks are worn on the sleeves and shoulders. The shoul der insignia are as follows: two silver stars, a major-general; one silver star, a brigadier-general; one silver eagle, colonel; one silver leaf, lieutenant-colo ner ; one gold leaf, major ; two silver bars, captain; one silver bar, first lieutenant; one gold bar, second lieutenant. The
sleeve insignia are as follows: two silver stars, major-general; one silver star, brigadier-general; five strands of gold wire lace in the form of a knot, colonel; four strands, lieutenant-colonel; three strands, major; two strands, captain; one strand, first lieutenant; without gold lace, second lieutenant.
The devices employed in distinguishing ranks and divisions in the United States army are largely modeled on those which obtain in other countries. In the Ger man army crescent-shaped epaulets are the distinguishing mark of the commis sioned officer, combinations of batons and stars being used to indicate the higher ranks, while the arms of the service are indicated by the color of the tunic lace, and the state by the color of the cockade. In the British army the royal arms, arms of cities and counties, castles, antelopes, guns, bugles, crosses, and the like are used to designate the various regiments. Stripes of gold or silver braid are the main devices used to indicate rank in the French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese armies. In Europe generally the branches and departments of the army are distin guished more by the uniform than by distinctive badges.