Veterans on Cockades

For this Veterans Day, I thought it would be fascinating to show you some cockades from history that honored veterans. (And if you need a cockade to honor a veteran, hang on till the end and I'll give you some great ideas!)

Patriotic cockades in the past had many emblems on them - stars, tassels, military buttons - but one favorite historic emblem for cockades was a veteran's picture. With the invention of the tintype button in the 1850s, it became quite easy to put the veteran of your choice in the center of your cockade.

As the most famous of all American veterans, George Washington was a favored choice for patriotic cockades. Washington received his military education in the British army during the French and Indian War. Both friends and foes took note of his military wisdom even then. When the American Revolution began, the Continental Congress appointed Washington to be the first Commander in Chief of the American military forces, and the Army was born.

Historians note Washington's ability in choosing his generals, coordinating with a sometimes-uncooperative Congress, preserving a volunteer army, and dealing with often-overwhelmingly frustrating logistics (or lack thereof!). Everything in the American Army had to be constructed from scratch, and Washington did it - while fighting and winning a war!

Washington pulled together a ragtag, untrained collection of militia into an army that eventually won against one of the mightiest nations on earth.

He showed his personal integrity at the end of the war by resigning as commander-in-chief rather than accepting a military dictatorship. He is truly one of our greatest and godliest veterans.

An award-winning drill master, Colonel Ellsworth raised and commanded the 11th New York, also known as the Fire Zouaves, at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was formerly a law clerk in the offices of Abraham Lincoln, and remained Lincoln's friend to the end of his life.

History remembers him, though, for another reason. As Ellsworth was leading his men in Alexandria, Virginia, he saw a Confederate flag flying over an inn. Patriotic fervor led him to go up and cut down the flag. As Ellsworth descended the stairs, the innkeeper shot him dead. This was one of the first casualties of the war and a wave of national mourning ensued. His body lay in state at the White House before he was buried in New York.

Major General Custer began his military career as a cavalry officer in the Civil War. After the war ended, he continued to serve as Lt. Colonel of the 7th Cavalry in the Indian Wars.

Custer was fearless and gallant, a favorite with this men because he led from the front rather than the rear...and enjoyed rollicking fun during "down" time!

Historians often only note that he was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 at "Custer's Last Stand." But Custer ("Armstrong" or "Autie" to his friends) was more than a one-time loser - he was a brave officer, beloved by his men, and admired by the nation for his military achievements and prolific writings on military life.

Grant won early attention after graduating West Point when he served successfully in the Mexican-American war. After some post-war service in the American West, he retired, but rejoined the military at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Grant gained fame as an energetic and forceful commander as he met victory after victory in the western theater of the war. In 1864, Lincoln promoted him to the Commanding General of the United States. Grant's tactics eventually led to the North winning the war.

As a national hero, the Republican Party happily chose him to run for president in the 1868 election. The cockade shown here is a campaign badge from that election, which he won. He was reelected again in 1872.

Many know Jeff Davis as the president of the Confederacy but his US military service is less well-known. After graduating West Point, Davis served honorably in the Mexican-American War as colonel of a volunteer regiment. As he was carried wounded from the battlefield, his father-in-law General (later President) Zachary Taylor reportedly said, "My daughter, sir, was a better judge of men than I was."

Davis also had a long and illustrious political career, serving as US Representative, Senator and Secretary of War. This cockade is probably from his 1857 Senate campaign.

The respect of the nation for Davis was shown in his unanimous election as President of the Confederacy.

Need A Cockade to Honor Your Veteran?
I offer custom rosettes for your veteran's photo - patriotic colors or mourning. Check out my Creative Cockades shop. And if you'd like a memento with the military's emblem instead, I carry all the military branches in my new shop, Creative Rosettes! Whatever you need to honor your veteran, I have an option for you.

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