Mount Vernon is open daily. Learn about our policies for bags & face coverings


In 1798, George Washington and Major Generals Alexander Hamilton and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney set out to standardize the dress and equipment of the United States Army. Insignia and other regalia would distinguish ranking officers. Inspired by British tradition, Washington suggested that all commissioned officers wear a black cockade adorned with a silver bald eagle symbol of the new republic. Per Washington's request, Secretary of War James McHenry, ordered five silver eagles for the former president in January of 1799. This eagle is likely one of four Washington received that February.


Cockade insignia in the shape of a left-facing bald eagle perched upon a cloud; two holes are drilled into the bird's upper wings.







Overall: 7/8 in. x 5/8 in. (2.22 cm x 1.59 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Elizabeth Slaymaker Kimball in memory of her aunt, Edith Peter, 1957
Conservation courtesy of the Life Guard Society of Historic Mount Vernon

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save