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Steve Rogers

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Everything posted by Steve Rogers

  1. In answer to the mating numbers on the buckle and hasp, yes, they are pretty common. On enlisted plates being made up and assembled in large batches the numbers get into the three digits.
  2. Since the battle is taking place at night and one or both ships are on fire, it might be John Paul Jones and the Bon Homme Richard fighting HMS Serapis, although they were locked together for most of the fight and it looks here like they are some distance apart. The ship at left firing toward US vessel might back this up. Pierre Landis, captain of the Alliance, part of Jones' squadron actually fired into the Bonhomme Richard during the engagement.
  3. I would be hesitant about the corps badge. Some suspect the pie crust and scallop edged sandwich badges are misinterpretations by modern makers of GAR badges with stamped semicircles around the borders that were imitations of some Civil War types that had actually had more detail.
  4. Hi Mike, There are several books out there that include good material on accouterments, along with various articles and some specialized studies on specific things like Mann's accouterments by Fred Gaede. A good start is Todd's American Military Equipage. The first three volumes have been reprinted as one. But you will want to go to O'Donnell and Campbell for the ins and outs of the plates. On this one you can see the hasp is retained by a single rivet. A cavalry, artillery or NCO belt will have it just stitched on or will have two rivets added to reinforce the stitching. On the other end the adjusting hook is taken from something else, likely a knapsack. On CW belts the adjusting hook is a single flat piece of brass, usually with a flaring triangular base riveted in place. After the war they used brass wire, so the hook is rounded in cross section. I think this was what skypilot was getting at. But the form on this one is not correct in either case. You can see they narrowed the end of the belt to wrap around it. On CW belts the end will taper, but the hook is riveted in place. The page that skypilot posted from Philips shows two such hooks from a knapsack (the right shoulder strap has a hook and triangle to make it easy to unsling the pack,) the next two are hooks like I am talking about, though the narrow bases suggest these are from shoulder support belt or rifle sling. You can also see what is likely part of an inspector's stamp on the leather. I am guessing this is an infantry belt that has been reused. The leather and inspector's stamp look CW, but it is not a cavalry, artillery or NCO rig. Officers purchased their own gear. The belts would not be made specifically for them, but were part of the general stock of military goods dealers. (I suppose one could a belt specially made.) NCOs would be issued their belts and plates, though they might get away with a privately purchased version. This would be more common with members of the NCO staff, though: sergeant majors, QM sergeants and the like. I don't think there is any way to tell when that belt was put together. You could come up with various scenarios where a sergeant might have to cobble together a replacement belt, but it could be done a lot later. The photos are not good enough to guess the date of the rivet.
  5. The belt seems to be made from a CW infantry waist belt for an oval plate.
  6. The plate looks fine. The only problem with the pattern is dating them precisely since they were used widely by not just the army from 1874, but by National Guard units, cadets, etc., etc., and remained in use for full dress right up to WW2.
  7. This type of insignia, a stamped brass wreath with numbers or letters, goes quite late, well into the 1890s, and shows up on caps for various organizations that adopted uniforms of some sort. My guess would be that the last letter stands for "Band" and it represents civilian marching band of some sort 1870s-1890s.
  8. To better read the inscriptions, I would try blacklighting it or look at the pinned post at the top of this section regarding the use of nightvision devices. I notice the canteen throat seems to have a carved "G" so I would wonder if there is an other initial there and whether it lines up with what you can make out of the inscription on the cover. As for use, I would assume the canteen was hung up as a memento of military service by the Civil War soldier and was added to by a son who did some service in the Spanish American War, not that he carried it, but that he too served in the military. It seems more likely that the Civil War inscription would read "Vt" as does the Spanish American inscription, but you are in a better position to judge that. It is a bit surprising there is no regimental number. If you can make out the two initials of the CW soldier it might be possible to nail it down by cross referencing men with those initials who served in a company A.
  9. Loops per se are not disqualifying. Metal backed insignia, that it is: bullion badges like this wit a tinned iron plate inside to stiffen it, usually had loops, but they were smaller and brass. These look like someone used loops from a catridge box plate as a pattern. There are issues with the fabric on the back, etc., as well.
  10. Here's a poor photo of an officer's hat badge and some other pieces that belonged to 2nd Lt Adolph Reutlinger of the 5th KY. He was in, and out, pretty early. Note the use of the "LL" in the loop of the hat insignia.
  11. These seem pretty clearly to be nineteenth or early twentieth century equivalents of hot water bottles that are curved to fit the body. Their Civil War connection is less certain. I don't know of any listings among hospital or medical stores or period photos of them. There might be, but I simply can't think of any offhand. If they are of the period and civilian, they still might have made their way into a general hospital or something like that in the same way that various other civilian items might for the comfort of patients. They have been accepted as "medical canteens" since their publication in the first volume of Lord. He illustrates one with what seems to be a standard bracket for a strap showing on one side (P.166.) That strikes me as earlier than the wire loops shown on this one. Whether it is wartime is another question. Another illustrated in the same photo has no brackets, is said to be pewter and marked "Compton & Co., C & M, 1861." That marking would indicate British manufacture. Dammann in Vol. 2, p69, of Medical Instruments shows one he describes as "kidney bean," with no brackets or loops showing, and painted "U.S. / M. Dept." I would have my doubts about the paint, but even if real the markings seem postwar. All the canteens noted above have spouts on top. I suspect the spout on the side might be an innovation to keep it from spilling if the person wearing it is lying down. I don't know about the screw top and swiveling wire loops. They strike me as much after the CW, but I know there were some early screw tops on things. I don't think they pass muster as canteens to carry water to the wounded or anything like that. A simple issue canteen would do as well and probably carrying a lot more water.
  12. They are from a fraternal organization, not military.
  13. The screw at the throat of the scabbard marks it as an import 1840 style, likely German made.
  14. Thanks very much guys! I now suspect that he was in the unit in the 1930s when it was part of the VA national guard and did not have active service in the unit in WW1 or WW2. I checked his 1918 and 1942 draft registration cards and he had lost four fingers on his left hand. I guess that pretty much disqualified him for field service!
  15. Can anyone identify an "R.P. Lacey" serving in Co. F of the 116th Infantry? The only information I have is that he was from Scottsburg, Va. Thanks!
  16. You have an 1851 pattern sword belt plate. These were worn by enlisted men who carried swords: cavalrymen, artillerymen, non-commissioned officers. The 3-piece wreath indicates it is an early war product. They went to a slightly taller plate with a one-piece wreath midwar. Officers wore the same pattern, but usually with finer die work and an integral wreath that was often silvered. The enlisted version is German (ie nickel) silver. They are often take as officers plates because the wreath maintains its color where the silver wash has usually worn off the officer's plates.
  17. Here is your guy in the army record of enlistments. 1) Louis J. Hartson enl May 24 1892 at Springfield Mass; born Orange Mass; age 21 3 months, laborer, blue eyes 5 foot 9 inches assigned to 1st Cav Company K; disch 8/23/95 G.O. 80 AGO-90 at Ft Riley as private very good character, 2) May 29 1896 25 2 months blue eyes dark brown hair dark complexion 5 9 ¾, 7 Cav 15 Inf E. H [2nd enlistment, last enlistment in co. K 1 Cav disch 8/28/95.] Disch Nov 1897 S.O. 265 AGO-97 Fort Huachuca AT Music Good The initial assignment to the 7th Cavalry in his second enlistment seems to have been a false start and remedied in the 15th Infantry document shown above by simply listing him as coming from the 1st Cavalry. In any case it would seem to date your photo to 1892-1895 while he was in K of the 1st cav. I omitted the birth place info in the second reference. It is the same as in the first.
  18. Harold Peterson's The American Sword can still be a handy book for quick reference on dating swords. It went through a number of printings, including a paperback, so you can likely find one reasonably priced. But he is too doctrinaire about calling any brass mounted sword of this period artillery and any iron mounted sword infantry. He is taking that from the use of gold and silver as branch of service colors in the regular army, but all bets are off when you start talking about militia swords and the vast, vast majority of swords during this period were for militia, where such things were often up to individual taste or regulations at a company level. I think everyone is right in the dating of the sword-- roughly somewhere from 1820 to 1850. It is sort of a degraded form of an earlier high grade officer's sword. Peterson looked at the 1821 US regulations that mention straight-bladed swords and assigned it a date on that basis, but even he admits they continued to be used for a long time.
  19. I agree with MAW that we have probably overdone the commentary, but what the heck. Here's a couple more points. I think the jacket does have regulation trim. The contrast with the coat body is just washed out in the copying process, but you can make it out a bit on one cuff and the bottom of his lapel. I don't think the image is prewar. Lots of early CW cav guys show they were not exactly familiar with how to put on the brass insignia. More importantly, up until 1861 the army did not have a mounted regiment designated "4." The knife and pistol do seem to be additions to add to his warlike appearance, either courtesy of the photographer or a buddy waiting in line for his turn in front of the camera. But the saber is mounted on a regulation saber belt and more likely to be his. That it is non-regulation is a good indicator it is early war, when state and federal governments were scrambling to get arms and US makers were not able to supply them. The saber belt shows no rivets, also an indicator of early war production, and his trousers seem to be dark blue, which was used early in the war until the government went back to the prewar sky blue. In other words, the answer to the question posed is yes.
  20. I should add that a shortcut to the particular roster would be to simply google "Civil War soldiers from Franlkin Pa" or from Venango County PA. This will probably get you to a roster based on Bates, the standard source for PA Volunteers. Bates can be inaccurate or incomplete for service data, so you will want to check the NPS soldiers and sailors system and fold3, and also check to see if there is a regimental history that might be available through archive.org, etc.
  21. The insignia plainly indicates the fellow was in Company K of 4th regiment of cavalry. There is nothing in the uniform that narrows it done to which 4th cavalry. I do notice, however, that the backmark on the image is Franklin, Pa. This only tells you where the copy was made of course, and as Ludwigh1980 notes the copy was likely made around 1900, so original image may have traveled from elsewhere. That having been said, Company K of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry was raised in Venango County, which is where Franklin is located, so you have a very good chance that this is a member of that company and a search of their roster for a familiar family name would be a start.
  22. Attached is the plate from O'Donnell and Campbell. Note the difference in the hook and the better die strike, which they particularly note.
  23. I think Will M. has the right period. A few Indian War period cap insignia show up modified with lead backs and pins. This seems to be a collar badge. Dimensions would help. Definitely not CW or earlier though.
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