CARTRIDGE BOX BELT PLATE FROM 9th CORPS LINES AT THE WILDERNESS, EX-KERKSIS

$495.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-5800

This regulation belt plate for the cartridge box sling was in the collection of Syd Kerksis, well-known and respected early collector and author and comes with his annotated envelope indicating he found it in May 1969 at the Wilderness (the 105th anniversary of the battle) in a position occupied by the 9th Corps. This was the opening battle of Grant’s overland campaign, a continual push and sliding movement forcing Lee to confront him or leave open the path to Richmond. The 9th Corps had been held in reserve while the 2nd, 5th and 6th began crossing the Rapidan in the early hours of May 5, 1864, and fighting escalated during the day as Confederate forces rushed forward. That afternoon the corps was ordered to join the main army. They arrived in time to fill a gap in the center of the Union lines on May 6, taking position on the left of the 5th Corps and supporting the right of the 2nd, which was in trouble from a flank attack by Longstreet. By the time fighting ended that night, casualties reached somewhere in the area of 18,000 among Union forces and 11,000 among Confederate. The campaign continued as Grant pushed on toward Spotsylvania.

The face of the plate shows good detail to the eagle and fairly even brown/olive color. The right shows some unevenness to the rim and some raised dimples to the surface to the right of the eagle’s beak and over the wing, indicating an impact of some sort to the edge. The reverse shows a wide shallow ding to the rim, but the fill shows no large losses, mostly shallow corrosion, gray and white in color and both loops in place.

These plates were adopted in 1826 with hooks on the reverse for the bayonet shoulder belt and made of brass for artillery and white metal for infantry. This was changed to brass for both services in 1831 and when the bayonet was moved to the waist belt around 1842, the plates were redesigned with two loops on the back for wear as fixed ornaments on the cartridge box sling and plates with hooks were relegated to the NCO and musician’s sword shoulder belts. (Some militia versions used hooks at a different angle for wear on the waist belt.) Although in theory the plate was dropped with introduction of the 1864 cartridge box rigs with no plates, the plate remained in use in the field and was not discontinued until the new 1872 sets of accouterments were distributed. [sr] [ph:m/L]

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