During the decades before the war many states adopted distinctive accouterment plates for wear by their state militias, most of them consisting of the state seal in various configurations or the capital letters in the form of abbreviation of the state name. Out of expediency, many of these beautifully fabricated prewar plates were pressed into service at the beginning of hostilities. Original production was limited and hard service caused many to be lost or destroyed, so that today, all are scarce, most are considered quite rare and all are avidly collected.
The most prolific manufacturer was Emerson Gaylord of Chicopee,
Massachusetts, who is known to have produced the oval Maryland state seal plates for that state (1). The similarity suggests that he also made plates for Mississippi (3) and Georgia in the immediate prewar years. A very few such state plates were manufactured in the South during the war.
From the outset, Confederate forces were issued a bewildering array of distinctive central government accouterment plates, usually oval or rectangular in shape, made of brass, and bearing some variation of the letters "CS" or "C.S.A." These appear to have been issued primarily to Confederate forces in western and deep south areas.
Artifacts courtesy of Virginia Historical Society. Richmond. Va
1 Oval Maryland State seal plate
2 Maryland State seal sword-belt plate
3 Oval Mississippi Slate seal plate
5 Oval Alabama State seal plate
6 Louisiana State seal plate
7 Oval South Carolina plate
8 Texas plate
9 Oval plate of the Alabama Volunteer Corps
10 Virginia State seal sword-belt plate
1 I Oval Texas plate
12 Virginia State seal sword-belt plate
13 C.S.A. plate, Eastern Theater
14 Oval CS plate with beaded border. Western Theater
15 C.S.A rectangular plate, silvered
16 C.S.A. plate. Eastern Theater
17 CS sword-belt plate
18 Oval CS plate. Eastern Theater
19 CS rectangular sword-belt plate
20 Oval C.S.A. plate
21 Pewter C.S.A. plate, Western Theater
22 Oval CS plate. Western Theater
23 C.S.A. plate, Western Theater
24 Oval CS plate
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