Gold Badge- 5th Kansas Cavalry & 54th US Colored Infantry

Impressive workmanship shown in this 5th Kansas Cavalry badge; corps badge, battle honors, In Gold.

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This is a wonderful example of a jeweler made gold badge identified to Samuel K. Thompson of the 5th Kansas Cavalry & 54th United States Colored Infantry. I believe it was made at the end of the war, and not much after.  Not only quality workmanship, but the badge also acts as a brief history of Thompson’s service having the engraved names of places/ battles/ skirmishes, etc. in which he was engaged while serving in both of these units.

The histories of these regiments record many of the named engraved on the badge, and there are some perhaps memorable to Thompson, and not recorded in the unit journals.  Much research has to be done in understanding the chronology of the regiments with the order of how these names were engraved.

On the front shield above the crossed sabers is “Helena/ Brownsville Ark.”  “Bayou Metre (bracketing the sabers).” And below the sabers, “Ocola / Little Rock / 1863.” (both regiments are represented on the front shield).

Engraved on the back, 1st column down, then 2nd down: “Bayo De Vew; Harrisonville; Morristown; Taylor’s Creek; Springfield; Coldwater; Granada; Big Creek (at bottom extends across divide); 2nd Column: Langueil Bridge; Nevada City; Ball’s Mills; Drywood; Lagrange; St. Charles; Oakland.”

Attached below by one link is the 7th Army Corps (star & crescent), which was a common assignment for both regiments. On the front side is engraved crossed rifles with the name engraved above, ” Robards Plantation.” The Masonic symbol is engraved in the center of the star.  On the reverse side is “Pryor Creek Island 65.”

Thompson’s name is on the reverse side of the “T” bar pin brooch; engraved on the front, “5th Kas. Cav. & 54th U.S.C.I.”  Finely crafted cross sabers with fancy hilts have silver washed grips. The rings are separately applied and swing loosely.  The sabers are separate and applied to the shield.  The middle ring on the top of shield was broken and repaired, and looks to be an old repair.

The badge is made entirely of gold, and 60mm high.  Condition is fine-excellent.


The 5th Kansas Cavalry was organized at Leavenworth City July 12, 1861, to January 22, 1862.  Attached to Dept. of Kansas to June, 1862. Unattached, Army of Southwest Missouri, Dept. of Missouri, to July, 1862. District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of Missouri, to December, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division, District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of Missouri, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of Tennessee, to April, 1863. 2nd Brigade, District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of Tennessee, to June, 1863.

Thompson was discharged on August 27th, 1863 for promotion, and commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the 54th USCI on the same date (Co. “B”).  He mustered out as a 1st lieutenant on August 27, 1866.

The 54th USCI was organized on March 11, 1864, from the 2nd Arkansas Infantry (African), and were attached to 2nd Brigade, Frontier Division, 7th Corps, Dept of Arkansas, to February 1865. 2nd Brigadg, 1st Division, 7th Corps, to August, 1865, Dept. of Arkansas to December, 1866.

Obviously there is too much information to convey here, but far more is available on line for both these regiments.

Samuel K. Thompson received brevet ranks; captain and major of volunteers for faithful and meritorious service during the war. He received a commission of 2nd lieutenant in the 39th U.S. Infantry on October 16, 1867, cashiered from the service in August of 1874; 2nd lieutenant 25th U.S. Infantry, May 15, 1876, and dismissed on June 4, 1877. He died on July 7, 1880 at San Antonio, Texas.

A great badge with an equally impressive history for two regiments that little material ever comes to the surface.

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs