Rare Non-Excavated Civil War Period South Carolina Cartridge Box Plate


Rare Non-Excavated Civil War Period South Carolina Cartridge Box Plate – These rarely encountered plates were essentially modeled after the U.S. M1826 Eagle breast plate. This plate, as opposed to the U.S. eagle plate, depicts a Palmetto tree with two oval shields resting against the trunk. In the shields is the South Carolina state mottos: “Animis Opibusque Parati” (“Prepared in Spirit and Resources”) and “Dum Spiro Spero” (“While I Breathe I Hope”). The Palmetto tree appears to be growing out of a small mound of soil that bears the date “1776”. This configuration had attained the status of effectively being the South Carolina state seal, for its military forces, by the 1850s. Various iterations of this seal started to appear on a wide range of South Carolina military insignia, buttons as well as belt and hat plates. A variety of die strikes of this seal exist, as well as numerous modes of attachment to include iron loops for cartridge boxes, belt hooks and spring pins for use with web cross belts, belts and leather shoulder belts. Examples of this plate appear in Steve Mullinax’s book, as well as in works by Sydney Kerksis and Will Gavin. Kerksis, on p. 415 of his seminal work, shows a plate with this plate’s die stamping and similar iron loops embedded in the lead solder backing; he maintains that this configuration of loops is indicative of use as a cartridge box plate. Kerksis indicates, as well, that this form of the plate is quite rare, as compared to the plates with the other of modes of attachment and resultant use.


The plate remains in fine, untouched condition, exhibiting a great, mellow, aged patina. There are a couple of very slight dings in the rim of the plate that are hardly noticeable. This is an extremely rare plate, and the only example we have had.