MAINE VOLUNTEER “VMM” BELT PLATE

$1,295.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1156-32

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These plates for wear on the flaps of the cartridge box followed the standard U.S. 1839 version, but with VMM, instead of U.S., stamped in the rolled brass for “Volunteer Militia of Maine.” These were paired on equipment with the smaller 1839 pattern oval belt plates bearing the same initials. Both belt and box plates were made with and without lead solder filling the reverse. This one is Plate 559 in O’Donnell and Campbell, American Military Belt Plates, and was made without the fill, using just enough solder to anchor the iron wire forming the loops for attachment to a cartridge box flap with a leather thong. See O&C Plates 556 to 559 for details. This is a very nice, excavated example showing just a few minor, shallow dings to the rim, and a nice, deep olive green patina showing just some rubbing to the tips of the letter serifs. The reverse shows gray and white with rust stains from the wire, with the loops rusted but intact. It measures 56 by 89mm. (The O&C example is stated to be 56 by 87, but conversion tables were used to produce the measurements in millimeters, producing some inexactness, in addition to minor differences from production, excavated condition, etc.)

The Volunteer Militia of Maine adopted that name in 1851, but O’Donnell and Campbell date these plates 1855 to 1861, after the 1855 adoption of a state button. The state organized ten regiments of volunteer militia for U.S. service in 1861, some or all of whom would have carried these plates into the field. These unfilled versions of the belt and box plate are harder to find in good condition since they were more subject to bends and breaks.  [sr] [ph:m]

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