Rare Civil War U.S. Belt Plate, Belt and Cap Box Id’d to a Soldier in the USCT
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Rare Civil War U.S. Belt Plate, Belt and Cap Box Id’d to a Soldier in the USCT

$1,350

Rare Civil War U.S. Belt Plate, Belt and Cap Box Id’d to a Soldier in the USCT – This typical mid-war belt, plate (with arrow shaped belt studs) and early war, issue percussion cap box (shield front and belt loops with no rivets) are in overall good condition. The belt does have a considerable amount of finish loss, but remains soft and pliable. The cap box is in very good condition, although no lambs’ wool remains inside the box; both belt loops are in excellent condition, as are the flaps. The most striking feature of this rig are the two names, heavily inked on the inside of the belt proper. It appears that the first name inked is: “W. Chipman”. The second name, apparently inked a bit later than the aforementioned name, as this inking is darker and appears to have been completed partially over the Chipman name, is: “C. Sam”.

There are several “W. Chipmans” on the U.S. Army rosters, so determination of the exact identity of this soldier will take some additional research; as for “C. Sam”, this name is that of Private Casimere Sam of the 73rd United States Colored Troops. Sam apparently began his Civil War military career, as a resident of New Orleans, in the 1rst Louisiana Native Guard, U.S. Army, Corps d’Afrique, in 1862. The 1st Louisiana Native Guard (USA) was one of the first all-black regiments to fight in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The Guard originated in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1862, during its occupation by Union forces. On September 27, 1862, Major General Benjamin F. Butler, the Union military commander, organized the Union Army’s 1st Louisiana Native Guard regiment of 1,000 men that included some men who had earlier served in the Louisiana Confederate Militia under the same name.

Most of the initial volunteers were “free men of color.” They were organized under the command of Captain Andre Cailloux who had previously served as a lieutenant in the Confederate regiment of the same name. Soon escaped slaves from surrounding plantations joined the regiment, and by November 1862 Union commanders created two new regiments. All told nearly 4,000 men were in the Louisiana Native Guard. Line officers (lieutenants and captains) in these regiments were black although higher-ranking officers were white. One of the line officers was Pickney Benton Steward Pinchback who in 1871 would serve briefly as the first black governor of Louisiana.

From September 1862 to May 1863 the Louisiana Native Guard were used primarily as a labor detail. They chopped wood, gathered supplies and dug earthworks and guarded them. Beginning in January 1863 they also guarded rail lines around New Orleans. On May 27, 1863 the 1st and 3rd regiments of the Guard saw combat for the first time when they participated in the first assault on Confederate forces at Port Hudson, Louisiana. Their charge was unsuccessful, and the Guard was pushed back; of the 1,080 Guard soldiers who took part in the battle, 37 were killed, 155 wounded and 116 captured. Captain Andre Cailloux, the commander of the 1st regiment, died heroically in that first assault. The Guard participated in a second assault on June 14 and saw the fall of Port Hudson on July 9. The capture of the city along with the successful siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4 meant that Union forces now controlled the entire length of the Mississippi River, effectively splitting the Confederacy in half.

 Casimere Sam

Residence was not listed; Enlisted on 9/27/1862 at New Orleans, LA as a Corporal. On 9/27/1862 he mustered into “C” Co. US CT 73rd Infantry (date and method of discharge not given) (Estimated date of enlistment)

 UNITED STATES COLORED TROOPS.

73rd REGIMENT INFANTRY.

 

Organized April 4, 1864, from 1st Corps de Afrique Infantry. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Corps de Afrique, Dept. of the Gulf, to March, 1865. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of West Florida, to May, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of West Florida, to June, 1865. Dept. of the Gulf to September, 1865.

SERVICE.-Duty at Port Hudson, La., till March, 1864. Red River Campaign March 10-May 22.Advance from Franklin to Alexandria March 14-26. Retreat from Alexandria to Morganza May 13-20. Manure May 16. Near Moreauville and Yellow Bayou May 17. Yellow Bayou May 18. Near Morganza May 24. Duty at Port Hudson till July, and at Morganza till February, 1865. Moved to Algiers, La., February 26; thence to Barrancas, Fla. March from Pensacola, Fla., to Blakely, Ala., March 20-April 1. Siege of Fort Blakely April 1-9. Assault and capture of Fort Blakely April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12. March to Montgomery April 13-25. Detached as guard to transports April 28, and return to Mobile. Duty there till June. Moved to New Orleans, La., June 10; thence to Greenville, La. Duty there and in Dept. of the Gulf till September. Consolidated with 96th United States Colored Troops September 27, 1865. Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 42 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 173 Enlisted men by disease. Total 220.