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1. All field grade officers were initially identified by the color of their hat cockades in a policy established by General Washington on July 23, 1775 when he stated: "…the field grade officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats,…"

2. In General Regulations of 1835, the leaf was first introduced to designate Lieutenant Colonels and Majors. It stated that it was embroidered on the shoulder straps of the frock coat, one at each end, each leaf extending 7/8 of an inch from the end of the border of the strap. The color for Lieutenant Colonels was to be the same color as the border. At this time infantry Lieutenant Colonels has a silver border and other Lieutenant Colonels had a gold border. For Majors, it was stipulated that the insignia would be the same design as the Lieutenant Colonel except the leaves would be silver where the border was gold and the insignia would be gold if the border was silver. This policy resulted in the use of both gold and silver leaves for both ranks.

3. In 1851, the border of all shoulder straps was changed to gold. As a result, the leaf for Lieutenant Colonel became silver and for Major it was gold for wear on the shoulder straps. No insignia was worn on the epaulettes and the grade of Major was distinguished from Second Lieutenants by the length of the fringe on the epaulettes. In 1872, the epaulettes were abolished and it was not until 1912 that the regulation defined the type of leaf used in the insignia. The regulation of 1912 for Lieutenant Colonel stated: "Oak leaf, point up, in the middle of loop, stem of leaf five-eighths inch from sleeve end of the loop." For Majors, it stated that the oak leaf was to be worn in the same manner as the oak leaf for Lieutenant Colonels.

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Information Courtesy of U.S. Army

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