RECTANGULAR CSA BELT PLATE FROM THE BATTLEFIELD OF KERNSTOWN, VA

$3,950.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1216-174

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This is a very good example of the classic rectangular CSA belt plate with all three hooks in place on the reverse. This comes with an old collector’s string tag reading: “’Virginia’ type C.S.A. buckle- old label- ‘Kernstown, Va. battlefield’ Chicago auction 2-2-58.” The reverse of the plate shows fine green spotting on the hooks and around the edge but not on the center, perhaps covered by the label referred to on the tag and now missing. We don’t know which Chicago auction this came from in 1958. It may be connected with the Charles Gunther collection, which featured many battlefield pick-ups, went to the Chicago Historical Society in 1920s and lost much through deaccession, but there were certainly many other collectors in the area and, needless to say, estates of veterans.

The letters on the face are well defined with the A showing just a tad softer than the C and S, but with distinct serifs and periods, and well-defined openings. The patina is deep brownish olive with just slight rubbing on some points of the letters and some light brown residue in the recesses of the letters. The edges are good, but the border does show three small dings at the top and four on the bottom. The background shows it was finished to some degree. Given the find location, the “Virginia style” designation makes sense, though those plates tend to have the letters more centered and often show lumps on the front from having the hooks hammered down on the rear. The collector’s tag notes Kerksis Plate 300 as a parallel, and there is some similarity to Mullinax (1991) Plate 085, though with wider opening of the C and less well defined A here, but we note Mullinax’s caution about too rigorously categorizing the pattern.

There were two engagements at Kernstown: March 1862 and July 1864. The first was Stonewall Jackson’s only defeat when he was forced to withdraw after attacking a much superior Union force, but had long-term positive effects in convincing the Union high command to keep forces in the Shenandoah that might otherwise have gone to help McClellan on the Peninsula. The second battle was something of the opposite. Jubal Early defeated Crook, who had been left with just three divisions, and forced Grant to return the 6th and 19th Corps to Shenandoah, but placed Sheridan in command, who saw the fighting to a successful end there by the end of the year.  [sr][ph:m]

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