The Massachusetts Battalion is led by officers and managed by non-commissioned officers (NCO) just like modern armies around the world. Here we have a photo of a selection of the Battalions leadership. From left to right, we have a corporal of the Light Infantry, a Lieutenant of the Light Infantry and a Sergeant Major of the Grenadiers.
Corporals in the Massachusetts Regiments can be identified by a gold colored cord tied around the epaulette of the soldier’s regimental coat. It is know as a shoulder knot. Corporals are the lowest rank of NCO in Massachusetts service and thus have little additional decoration on their uniforms.
Officers can be identified by a metal plate, usually gold plated, called a gorget worn around the neck. This decoration represents the status of fully commissioned officers as gentlemen. They are of a generally greater social status then the men of the rank and file. Since this officer is serving in the Light Infantry, he has minimized the decorations and embellishments normally found on the uniforms of officers. He still has gold buttons, but he has allowed them to dull with wear.
Finally we come to our Sergeant Major. Sergeants wear a red and white striped sash around the waist. This Sergeant Major serves in Blake’s company of Grenadiers, an elite unit. As such, our Grenadier Sergeant has many embellishments on his uniform in addition to his Sergeant’s sash. He has gold buttons, a fine clean regimental coat and he wears a special hat called a Mitre Cap.