www.creativecockades.com How Men Wore Cockades How did men wear their cockades? I wrote about the ladies' cockades in a recent Column so today I'll

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How Men Wore Cockades

How did men wear their cockades? I wrote about the ladies' cockades in a recent Column so today I'll cover the gentlemen!

At first glance, it would seem that the gents have limited options for wearing their cockades, especially compared to ladies! But a closer look at original photos and quotes will show us that there are many ways a gentleman can wear his cockade.

Lapels, Shoulders, Vests, Sleeves, and Hats - Oh My!

campaign cockade


When we look at photographic evidence, a large percentage of gentlemen wore their cockades pinned to their lapels.

Brenda McKean's memoirs of the war recall, "Patriotic individuals were sporting secession badges on their lapels and bonnets."

This civilian gentlemen is probably wearing an 1864 campaign cockade on his lapel, based on the date on the back of the photo. (By the way, do you have your campaign cockade for this fall's reenactment season? Click here to get one!)



Obviously, many uniforms and battle shirts did not have lapels. In those cases, photographic evidence shows a number of soldiers wearing their cockades on their chest or shoulder.

Note these two examples of military gentlemen.

mourning cockade


I have found on rare occasions that gentlemen sometimes wore their cockades on their vests.

It is possible that this man is wearing a mourning cockade (it appears to be made of dark ribbon with a photo in the center). If so, he may have felt it would be more decorous and respectful to the person he was mourning not to wear it flamboyantly on his lapel or sleeve.

It could also be a campaign cockade, in which case he may have wanted to keep it protected under his coat till he reached his political meeting.

hat cockade

This soldier has a small cockade in the center front of his hat


When looking at original quotes, by far the most oft-mentioned method of wearing a cockade is on the hat. (There would probably be more photographic evidence of cockades in hats if it weren't for the fact that many gents took their hats off to be photographed.)

Tennessee soldier Sam Watkins wrote, "I saw then what I had long since forgotten - a 'cockade.' The Kentucky girls made cockades for us, and almost every soldier had one pinned on his hat."


General Grant wears a Lincoln mourning cockade on his sleeve

South Carolina militia men organizing in the fall of 1860 wore their cockades as military hat badges. "The badge adopted is a blue rosette, two and a half inches in diameter, with a military button in the centre, to be worn upon the side of the hat."

Civilian men also wore cockades on their hats. In fact, this January 1861 account mentions some black gentlemen who did so in Tennessee. "The Bolivar (Tenn.) Southerner says that the negroes of A.S. Coleman, Esq., of that place, created quite a sensation in that town a few days ago, by appearing on the streets with blue cockades on their hats."

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And finally, some men chose to wear their cockades on their sleeves. Military gents almost universally did so when wearing a mourning cockade. We can see this by the many photos of officers wearing Lincoln mourning cockades after Lincoln's death in April 1865. Notice General Grant doing so in the picture above.

I have occasionally seen photos of gents wearing political badges on their sleeves as well. In fact, this 1864 Lincoln campaign cockade has string ties on it, making it easy to tie it on as an armband.

The summary? Gentlemen, you have many options!


I have many cockades in my shop that gentlemen are proud to wear!

If you are looking for a cockade from your state, or simply want a generic Union or Secession cockade, take a look at what I have listed or contact me directly to create a special one for you!


Back issues of the Cockade Column are available on my Pinterest site. Enjoy reading the ones you missed! If you are reading this online and want it to come right to your inbox, you can sign up on this form.

Thanks for reading... see you next week!

~Heather Sheen
Owner, Creative Cockades

Every Cockade Has A Story To Tell!

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