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Confederate Identity Disk


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I picked up this stamped identity disk this morning:

 

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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.

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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

 

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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.?

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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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.

 

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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!

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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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.

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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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.

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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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Check out my online collection of dog tags... http://historicdogtags.com LOOKING FOR DOG TAGS.... CIVIL WAR, WWI, WWII, KOREAN WAR, AND VIETNAM.PM ME IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING! I WILL LET YOU KNOW IF IM INTERESTED.THANKS,USDOG
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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.

 

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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

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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.

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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?

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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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.

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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.mottsmilitarymuseum.org/civilwar.html

GB

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Thanks to all who provided information on this piece!

Looking for older Virginia Military Institute items: insignia, uniforms, cadet sabers, documents, and groupings belonging to VMI alumni.

Also interested in Virginia Reserve Militia (VRM) uniforms and insignia, or other items of general Virginia interest.

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