Accoutrements

Beltplates

The 1863 Confederate Ordnance Manual called for the foot soldier's beltplate to be 'brass, oval, 3.5 inches long by 2.25 inches wide, stamped with the letters "CS", two studs and one hook, brass.' A similar plate was to be placcd on the cartridge box flap, although these are quite rare and apparently were not produced after 1862. f rom camp sites where the beltplates have been recovered it appears that such plates first appeared in early 1862. The study of photographed enlisted men indicates that nine per cent of them wore this style of plate. Variations include a cast brass plate with 1 1 stars around the edge, which was apparently worn by a Western brigade; and a stamped brass, lead-backed plate bearing the letters 'CSA', which was found at the site of the Battle of Antietam.

This plate was a copy of the US Army infantry beltplate and, in fact, the US plate was more common than the CS one, with 18 per cent of photographed soldiers wearing the US issue. Finds also indicate that sometimes the front of the US plates were removed and the hooks worn by themselves.

The study of photographs also revealed that six per cent of enlisted men wore rectangular cast brass plates marked 'CSA'. This type may have been designed in response to 1861 regulations which called for a gilt rectangular sword belt plate, 'two inches wide, with a raised bright rim; a silver wreath of laurel encircling the "arms of the Confederate States'". No beltplates exactly fitting this description have ever been found. The plainer 'CSA' rectangular plates appear to have been made first in the Atlanta Arsenal, and their widest distribution was among troops of the Army of Tennessee. It appears that troops of the Stonewall Brigade, among other Army of Northern Virginia soldiers, were also issued this type of plate. Francis Minchemer, of Griffin, Georgia, was contracted to produce 4,000 of them, using scrap brass from the Atlanta Arsenal. They were about 2| ins. by 2 ins.; and, as with all Southern-made brass objects, the heavy concentration of copper in the alloy gave the metal a strong red shade. These plates seem to have been issued for the first time in 1862.

Some Western Confederates also wore cast brass rectangular beltplates made with slightly curved edges and bearing the letters 'CS'.

The most common Confederate soldier's waist belt buckle was a plain frame type, usually brass. Fully 50 per cent of the plates seen in photographs are of this type—a percentage confirmed by excavations at camp and battle sites. They appeared in several styles. One was the 'Georgia' buckle, which had two prongs cast as part of the

The most common types of Confederate issue beltplates. The two-piece mounted man's buckle (lop) is somewhat unusual in that most examples are made with the belt loops standing further away from the wreath than is seen in this example. The bottom example is of stamped copper with a lead backing and iron belt hooks, while the other two are cast brass with a very reddish, copper tint to them. (Author's collection)

Confederate Cavalry Two Piece Belt PlateUniforme Sudista

l:Lt.Col., Artillery, 1862 2: Private, Artillery, 1862 3: Private, Artillery, 1862

Cavalry 1862

1: Captain, Cavalry, 1862

2: 1st Lt., Alabama Cavalry, 1862

4th Alabama Cavalry

1: Captain, Cavalry, 1862

2: 1st Lt., Alabama Cavalry, 1862

1: Private, 2nd Maryland Inf.Regt., 1863

2: Bandsman, 1863

3: Cpl., President's Guard, 1863

Confederate President Guard Gaddafi

1: Private, Infantry, 1863 2: Ord.Sgt., 28th NC Inf.Kegt., 1863 3: Drummer, Infantry, 1863

28th North Carolina Infantry RegimentLead Miners RegimentInfantry 1864

1: Private, Infantry, 1864

2: Sgt., 4th Kentucky Inf.Regt., 1864

1: Private, Infantry, 1865

2: Col., 44th Georgia Inf.Regt., 1865

3: Private, Infantry, 1865

4th Alabama Infantry

VslSTAD

frame; some of these were marked 'McElroy & Hunt, Macon, Georgia1. Another had a separate prong of forked shape, with a single prong dividing into two spikes; this type was usually 4 ins. by 2§ ins., although sometimes slightly smaller. A third common type had two separate prongs attached to the centre post. It would appear that the frame buckle was more common in the Army of Northern Virginia, while Western Confederates made more use of beltplates.

Quite a number of plain cast brass and sheet iron beltplates, both oval and rectangular, have been found at camp sites throughout the Southern states. These came in a wide variety of sizes.

The typical Confederate mounted and oflicer's beltplate was a two-piece copy of the Mi841 US foot artillery plate. The 'spoon', or 'male' part, bearing the letters 'CS', fitted into a circular 'female' piece bearing a laurel wreath. Most of these plates have been found in the Virginia area. Some rectangular sword belt plates bearing the Roman letters 'CS' are also known, but these were quite rare. British-made 'snake' buckles were also common. British-made rectangular cast brass beltplates, bearing the Army of Northern Virginia battleflag within a wreath, were also issued; it has been suggested that these were made from a basic design used by British yacht owners.

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