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My new little piece of obscure local history


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Today I picked up a rare piece of local history, from Farmer Auctions, which was in the Wood estate from Clifton Forge, VA. I bought a costume jewelry lot because I knew it had an interesting military hat badge. The Clifton Forge Rifles were a local Virginia voluntary militia unit starting, on paper, in 1900 and disbanding no later than 1907. From what rosters I can find online the company was 54 men in 1901 (this was the first year, only the name was created in 1900 and Virginia commissioned the officers, first men started enlisting in January 1901). There were 56 men in 1902, 59 men in 1903 and 1904 and in the last year I can find, there were 54 in 1905. In 1905 the Clifton Forge Rifles became H Company of the 72nd Virginia Regiment. I do not see any evidence that they mustered again, at least under that name. Going by the different rosters and counting the ones that served for multiple years, that is a total of 96 men. The equipment was sent to Staunton including uniforms in 1907. I found the roster at Alleghany Historical Society, in Covington, several years ago. Certainly less than 100 of these hat badges were ever made but that number could be far less. I don't have any pictures of the unit but I did find a 1905 report that said they were not properly uniformed or all with working rifles so it very well could be that just officers or maybe officers and NCOs had them. Who knows. Wonder how many survived?

 

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Very cool piece of Virginia history!

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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Very interesting write-up! I cannot say that I have heard of this unit, however I find it interesting nonetheless. Please keep us updated if you discover more information relating to the unit.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Neat to find local history. Congratulations! I just noticed the one of the rifles is for a left hand shooter.

BKW

 

Yeah that is very strange, but looking online, it looks like all the crossed rifles of the 1895-1905 period have the left hand rifle.

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Thinking further on this, people wonder why they can't find interesting items anymore -they can but they do not take the time to learn or research as much as they used to. Your post is a wonderful example of how something seemingly obscure enough to be overlooked by many, is actually very difficult to find and has an interesting history. Hats off to you for taking the time to research it!

 

I hope more members and collectors are inspired by your post to read up and learn what to look for.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif
donation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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