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Confederate Identity Disk

Started by VMI88 , May 21 2017 11:03 AM

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#1 VMI88

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:03 AM

I picked up this stamped identity disk this morning:

 

IMG_0680.JPG IMG_0681.JPG

 

It's about the size of a quarter but much thinner, with a depiction of Lady Liberty trailing a banner.  The name Jacob W. Fawley is engraved on the banner.  It's very worn, much more than it would be from wearing just during the four years of the War.  I wonder if a family member wore it afterward or handled it frequently.



#2 VMI88

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:07 AM

The disk appears identical in pattern to another I found online:

 

110-313_Kepi-&-Dog-Tag_2.jpg 110-313_Kepi-&-Dog-Tag_8.jpg

 

It's interesting that the other badge is from New York.  It makes you wonder how a Confederate soldier would have ended up with a Federal disk:  capture of a sutler wagon, trade through enemy lines, running the blockade, etc.?



#3 VMI88

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:23 AM

Fawley isn't a very common name.  The 1860 census lists only four Jacob Fawleys, all from Virginia, where this disk was found.  No middle initials are listed on the census.

 

There is a Jacob Fawley listed on Find A Grave whose headstone indicates he served in the 17th Battalion Virginia Cavalry and died on December 28, 1862.

 

Fawley Headstone.jpg

 

There are three listings for Jacob Fawley in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, all associated with Virginia cavalry units:  the 11th Virginia Cavalry, 18th Virginia Cavalry, and the 41st Battalion of Virginia Cavalry.  All three of these units were formed after the death listed on the Jacob Fawley headstone, so either the tombstone is in error (it appears to be a relatively new one) or there was a family member with the same name who also served in a cavalry unit.  Either way, it seems pretty clear this identity disk belonged to a Confederate cavalryman!


Edited by VMI88, 21 May 2017 - 11:25 AM.


#4 4th Miss Cav

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 09:02 AM


Edited by 4th Miss Cav, 22 May 2017 - 09:08 AM.


#5 Gator

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 09:05 AM

4th

He is using the quarter as a comparison to size.

Mark

#6 4th Miss Cav

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 09:12 AM

Your right too many night in a row at work duh.



#7 iron bender

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 09:51 AM

I have one that's similar I posted a few weeks ago. It would be interesting to find the original use of these identity discs....

 

 



#8 VMI88

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 05:02 PM

Sorry about the confusion - I should have pointed out that the quarter was just for comparison!  I should also make clear that the disk in post #2 isn't mine - it's just a similar type I found online.



#9 Steve Rogers

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:20 PM

I'll play devil's advocate for a moment. This tag, like the one posted by Iron Bender a few weeks ago, is in my opinion a postwar id tag used for things like luggage, keys, etc. They a usually a fairly light weight white metal, come in a number of shapes, and often have a patriotic motif with blank spaces for stamping a name. I note that in the 1880 census for Virginia there are two Jacob Fawleys. It likely belonged to one of them.



#10 USdog

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:59 PM

I'll play devil's advocate for a moment. This tag, like the one posted by Iron Bender a few weeks ago, is in my opinion a postwar id tag used for things like luggage, keys, etc. They a usually a fairly light weight white metal, come in a number of shapes, and often have a patriotic motif with blank spaces for stamping a name. I note that in the 1880 census for Virginia there are two Jacob Fawleys. It likely belonged to one of them.


Agreed, post war.


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#11 iron bender

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 05:39 AM

All it takes is for one author writing a collector's guide to set the record wrong. Example, I can think of a leather covered, glass flask with a removable plated cup that has now been published in several CW collector's guides. It's also in a WW2 Fallschirmjager collector's guide (which is technically where it's most deserving of a spot). All one has to do is use a magnifying glass on the rim of the lid to find the earliest patent date is 1869. Oh well. I'll provide reference books and pics of two different types of this flask when I get home tonight.

 

As for the identity discs, I believe the idea that these are post war identity tags for whatever use seems most plausible. 

 



#12 cutiger83

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 06:21 AM

I wonder if it could be a Confederate ID tag. A Union ID tag was found on The Hunley. Maybe this is the same type of ID tag for the Confederates. 

 

I think I remember reading that these were used for marking the bodies when they were buried during the war. 

 

...Kat


Edited by cutiger83, 23 May 2017 - 07:14 AM.


#13 VMI88

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 09:26 AM

I'm prepared to accept whatever the research shows on this, but what are the reasons for suspecting this to be postwar? Jacob Fawley does seem to be a popular name within a Virginia family that spanned the entire 19th century, so I agree it could be hard to pin down to a specific individual.

#14 AustinO

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 09:48 AM

These are of a style sold around the turn of the century, and most commonly sold as Span-Am war ID tags.  Any number of militia and State Guardsmen could have purchased this type of tag for their use.   Having handled quite a few CW IDs (both fake and real) I can tell you that this is not of that era.  



#15 iron bender

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 09:56 AM

For some reason you can't post links here. Anyhow, look up Motts Military Museum. Click on Civil War exhibits. There's a lot of these tags (including one like mine posted earlier) id'd as Civil War dog tags. Not sure what the provenance is or if there is any provenance. These still don't remind me of an item that would have been used 1861-65.



#16 AustinO

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 10:11 AM



For some reason you can't post links here. Anyhow, look up Motts Military Museum. Click on Civil War exhibits. There's a lot of these tags (including one like mine posted earlier) id'd as Civil War dog tags. Not sure what the provenance is or if there is any provenance. These still don't remind me of an item that would have been used 1861-65.

 

 

If you're referring to the two tags he has photographed on the left - they are to the same man, who was born in 1853 and was not a Civil War veteran.  If  you're referring to the one on top, its an earlier style tag than yours (and is also probably post war).  

2017-05-24_13-06-23.jpg



#17 VMI88

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 10:12 AM

These are of a style sold around the turn of the century, and most commonly sold as Span-Am war ID tags.  Any number of militia and State Guardsmen could have purchased this type of tag for their use.   Having handled quite a few CW IDs (both fake and real) I can tell you that this is not of that era.  


So you're saying it's probably military, just from the turn of the century and not the Civil War?

#18 AustinO

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 10:18 AM

So you're saying it's probably military, just from the turn of the century and not the Civil War?

 

It could be, you'd need to track down the right Fawly first...

 

 Iron's has a greater likelihood of being NY State Guard, as it looks like it has a roster number stamped on the reverse.  



#19 gunbarrel

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:12 PM

For some reason you can't post links here. Anyhow, look up Motts Military Museum. Click on Civil War exhibits. There's a lot of these tags (including one like mine posted earlier) id'd as Civil War dog tags. Not sure what the provenance is or if there is any provenance. These still don't remind me of an item that would have been used 1861-65.


You can post links:

http://www.mottsmili...g/civilwar.html



#20 Steve Rogers

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 01:14 PM

Unfortunately, finding these tags listed as Civil War on that museum site says more about the site than the tags. (Note also their bullet struck belt plates.) Aside from several books on excavated relics, such as those by Stan Phillips, anyone collecting CW id disks should probably have Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War by Larry B. Maier and Joseph W. Stahl.

As for the tags under discussion, they have patriotic motifs, but that does not mean they were military. The number on the back of one of the tags in this thread could signify anything.



#21 VMI88

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 06:37 PM

Thanks to all who provided information on this piece!




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