A Veteran Soldier

The sergeant seen here saluting a superior officer has a white V-shaped badge sewn to his coat’s left sleeve. On August 7, 1782, General Washington ordered that soldiers who had served at least 3 years in the Continental Army with “bravery, fidelity and good conduct” should mark their coat sleeves with these “Badges of distinction.” This small detail helped to determine that Pierre Charles L’Enfant painted this watercolor in August 1782.

Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.