CARTRIDGE BOX BELT PLATE FROM THE SITE OF HATCH’S ASSAULT AT SECOND MANASSAS

$495.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 490-5828

This is a nice example of the regulation belt plate for the infantry cartridge box shoulder sling recovered at a critical spot on the battlefield of Second Manassas: the site of Hatch’s August 30 assault on the right of Stonewall Jackson’s line along the railroad embankment. The plate comes originally from the collection of Syd Kerksis and still has his collection envelope noting he found it at Second Manassas in February 1954, notes its size, and that he found it at the site of “Hatch’s Assault.”

These is one of the smaller size cartridge box belt plates, about 2.33 inches in diameter, usually called Burnside pattern plates from their recovery in areas of Virginia fought over or camped on by elements of Burnside’s 9th Corps in 1864, but which appear in other contexts as well. A number of theories have been put forward to explain them including that they are simple contractor variations that were deemed acceptable or that they might be left over plates from 1830 pattern bayonet shoulder belts for Hall rifles. See Paul Johnson’s book on cartridge boxes for further discussion. He notes there were enough of them that contractors for leather gear began putting an additional slit in slings to accommodate the shorter distance between the fastening loops on these plates.

The face has good details and shows as brown with some light brown around the edges of the rim, which shows a couple of shallow dings. The reverse is a mix of thin, light brown over gray and white, with some shallow divots or shallow gouges and some dark brown rust stains from the iron wire used to form the loops. The loops are essentially gone, though some of the wire is visible.

Hatch had taken command of King’s division of McDowell’s 3rd Corps of Pope’s Army of Virginia on Aug. 28. Late on Aug. 29 they had a stiff fight with Hood’s troops who advanced from the west and pushed them back on the Warrenton Turnpike before withdrawing, helping convince Pope Confederate forces were withdrawing. The next day Pope ordered Hatch to support Butterfield’s attack against the west end of Jackson’s line drawn up along the railroad embankment to the north. This assault required Hatch to wheel his brigades to the right to face Jackson’s line, exposing his left flank to fire from Longstreet’s forces and as well as Jackson directly to his front where at a critical moment southern troops, running out of ammunition, resorted to rocks. It was at that moment that Lee sent Longstreet forward from the west, collapsing the Union line and Pope’s reputation.

This is a nice variant, regulation plate, from a critical location in an important battle that put McClellan back in charge in the Union army and set the stage for Antietam, little more than two weeks later.    [sr] [ph:m/L]

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