After taking command of the Army of the Potomac, Major General Joseph Hooker introduced the use of corps badges as a means of readily identifying a soldier or body of men in the confusion of battle. These badges, typically made of cloth, were pinned or sewn onto the soldier’s caps or coats. Badges were also privately produced in metal and other materials. The shapes were distinctive for each corps of the Army of the Potomac and the colors red, white, and blue signified whether they belonged to the first, second, or third division of their respective corps.
“by Spring of 1863 the army was now under the command of General Joseph Hooker, who took to planning out a corps insignia for all those under his command. His chief-of- staff General Dan Butterfield is said to have had the most involvement in ‘designing and perfecting’ the first ideas for what these corps insignia would be.“