This excavated plain waist belt plate tongue is constructed of sand cast brass which now has a very pleasing light green patina. This particular tongue was recovered in the Richmond, VA area and, while it shows moderate wear, it is in very good condition with no cracks, breaks, bends, or repairs. A similar example can be found on page 174 in the second edition of O'Donnell and Campbell's "American Military Belt Plates". The authors list this plate as "Waist Belt Plate, Possible Mounted Rifleman's "Artillery Plate", ca. 1849." In the description of their plate it is suggested by O'Donnell and Campbell that their example may have had raised letters "US" on its tongue disc that were filed off. Further in the description, it states that "The Confederates copied this pattern with letters "CS" replacing original "US"."
Civil War author and plate expert, Mike O'Donnell, kindly provided the following information regarding this plate.
"Confederate enlisted man’s “Artillery Plate” worn with a wide waist belt supporting a CS copy of the Model 1832 U.S. Artillery short sword. It was a contract plate almost certainly made in 1861, prior to the introduction of the more familiar two-piece CS buckle as the Army standard for their sword belt plates. To fashion this mold pattern, a Southern shop began with an existing pre-war U.S. plate, carefully removed the offending letters, and proceeded to cast hundreds of copies. Based upon a comparison of surviving examples, this work was performed by more than one foundry and they have been recovered in both theaters of the war. The more common version employed an actual 1839 pattern U.S. Artillery Plate with shorter belt loops as a mold pattern. The extra tall belt loops seen here indicate that a 1849 variation of the Artillery Plate intended for the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen served as the mold pattern. Sometime around early 1862, a contract was let for a final batch of this design with raised letters “CS” added to the formerly plain tongue discs."
The measurements arë: tongue disc diameter is 31.5 mm., exterior belt loop height is 63 mm., interior belt loop height is 55 mm. This tongue will be an excellent addition to any excavated Civil War plate or general relic collection.
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