US 1839 TWO-PIECE ENLISTED “ARTILLERY PLATE”

$750.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1184-145

These round, interlocking two-piece plates were adopted in 1839 as replacements for the less sturdy 1832 and 1834 versions that used two-disks with an “S” hook linking them. Those plates, and the short-sword belts on which they were worn, were authorized both for artillerymen and for infantry NCOs (likely just sergeants.) With the adoption of the 1840 pattern NCO sword, carried on a shoulder belt, these plates were relegated specifically to artillery, though with some overlap in the infantry until the new pattern swords and belts were actually issued. They did, however, see some wider use. In the artillery they were employed not only on the short sword belts, but on the saber belts worn with the M1840 artillery saber by light artillery and by mounted officers infantry, that is: staff and field, carrying the Model 1840 artillery saber, and by infantry field and staff officers (“Mounted officers of infantry,” not “officers of mounted infantry” as some wrongly state it.) Further, in 1847 they were used on the waist belts of engineers armed with the sappers and miners musketoon, which carried a heavy saber bayonet; and, in 1849 they were specified for the waist belts of the regiment of mounted riflemen, who carried the heavy rifleman’s knife. These plates remained regulation on sword belts through the Mexican War and were not officially replaced until the Model 1851 sword belt plate, though the government still ordered them for various states under the militia act as late as 1854 and O’Donnell and Campbell mention their continued use on belts worn by some “mounted militia riflemen,” and by some state units, northern and southern, early in the Civil War.

This one has a nice, even, brownish age patina, is non-excavated, and shows nice detailing to contoured letters and the pebbled background. The outer bar of the belt loop on the wreath was cast with a slight inward curve. There are no bends, cracks or breaks. This is a very good example of a regulation U.S. plate.  [sr] [ph:L]

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