CIVIL WAR NCO SWORD CROSSBELT PLATE FROM FREDERICKSBURG

$495.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-5799

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This pattern of belt plate was first adopted in 1826 with hooks on the reverse for the bayonet shoulder belt and made of stamped rolled 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 plate was redesigned with two loops on the back for wear in a fixed position on the cartridge box sling and those with hooks limited to use on the sword shoulder belt by sergeants and by musicians carrying the M1840 series of swords. See O’Donnell and Campbell, American Military Belt Plates, pages 274 ff., for a thorough discussion of its development, production, variations, etc. They were finally replaced by the introduction of the 1872 accouterments, though few would have been made after 1865.

This is a nice example of the pattern, excavated at Fredericksburg and showing sharp detail on the eagle with arrows and olive branch, and a generally even brown color, with just some light brown and grayish-white in recesses. The rim shows a definite impact point on the right that has bent in the edge with a somewhat rounded point, but did not chip out the lead-solder fill on the reverse. The fill is generally smooth, gray in color, with a little white, and showing some rust staining from the doubled iron wire hooks that remain in place.

These plates were made by a number suppliers during the war. The die strike on this one is similar to that shown as plate 455 by O&C,  and noted by them as showing up also on plates marked by Boyd and by Wilkinson.

Fredericksburg will be familiar to any student of the war. It was occupied by US troops for a time early in the war and then became the site for two battles- Burnside’s disastrous assaults in December 1862 and Sedgwick’s May 1863 fighting to take the pressure off Hooker at Chancellorsville. It was also the general location of extensive Union army camps in between those battles.  [SR] [PH:L]

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