Virginia Tongue and Wreath Belt PlateNK1_1702

Virginia Tongue and Wreath Belt Plate on the Original Belt with Pre-War Sash and Officer’s Shirt Buttons – War Period Battlefield Pickup

Virginia Tongue and Wreath Belt Plate on the Original Belt with Pre-War Sash and Officer’s Shirt Buttons – War Period Battlefield Pickup – This superior and extremely rare example of a pre-war Virginia tongue and wreath plate, still attached to its excellent condition sword belt, was found in the combination trunk and camp cot of Lt. Henry J. Carlton of the 16th New York Infantry. We obtained the trunk in Saratoga Springs, NY, from an older re-enactor who had purchased the trunk from Lt. Carlton’s granddaughter, in the early 1990s. Lt. Carlton’s trunk had been hidden in a barn, wrapped in plastic, by Carlton’s granddaughter, for many years. She related to the re-enactor that her grandfather, very proud of his service in the Civil War, often regaled her with his war-time exploits, including his removing this Virginia belt, as well as the accompanying sash and shirt buttons, from the body of a deceased Confederate officer, after a battle in which the 16th NY participated, in Maryland. Indeed, the 16th NY, the famed, so-called “Straw Hat” Regiment, was active in the 1862 battle of South Mountain (Crampton’s Gap) and was held in reserve, at the Dunker Church, at Antietam.


This sash, discovered, with the plate, attached to its original belt still in the Carlton trunk, where it had been placed over 150 years ago, is the pre-war style, with each end trimmed in a pointed design, as opposed to the later, war period type that had knotted tassels on each end; it is typical of Mexican War and militia use and is clearly spattered with bloodstains. As Carlton related to his granddaughter, with the belt and sash, within the trunk, we found five period shirt buttons, made of brass and mother of pearl. In addition to the shirt buttons, Carlton also returned with a button, from the dead Confederate officer, that contained the image of a young woman. This button appears to be one of the famed “Jenny Lind buttons” carried by many soldiers; the button still has a lengthy remnant of a sash tassel threaded through the button’s shank – apparently, the Confederate officer had attached this button to his sash, perhaps, as a good luck charm. The Jenny Lind button, with the mother-of-pearl shirt buttons have been attractively mounted in a period, lacquer and inlay image case, for display purposes.


Accompanying this fine grouping is a copy of an account, written by the re-enactor who originally obtained the belt, sash and buttons from Mrs. Adelaide Carlton Penfield, Lt. Carlton’s granddaughter, of his conversation with Mrs. Penfield about the provenance of the grouping. We will also supply the buyer with a complete history of Lt. Carlton, the 16th NY and pictures of the Carlton trunk and contents, which included his haversack, canteen, dress epaulettes, diary, military manuals, havelock and many other small personal items. This is an extremely fine and rare example of a great Va. belt plate, belt and sash, accompanied by a fine provenance – SOLD

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