Dug Volunteer Militia of Maine (VMM) Belt Plate



Dug Volunteer Militia of Maine (VMM) Belt Plate – This nice example of the rarely encountered VMM box plate was excavated in the 1960s in Burke, Virginia. The plate is in overall good condition with some ground action “wrinkling” along the outer edge of the front of the plate and some minor ground action to the lead solder filling on the back. Both the single, brass belt hooks are in place on the back of the plate. These plates have always been difficult to find, and this one is a good, solid, provenance-known, dug example.

Burke is an unincorporated section of Fairfax CountyVirginia, When the Orange and Alexandria Railroad was constructed in the late 1840s, the railroad station at the base of that hill was named “Burke’s Station” after Burke, who owned the land in the area and donated a right-of-way to the railroad company. The community that grew up around the railroad station acquired a post office branch in 1852. The railroad tracks located on the same historical line are owned by the Norfolk Southern Railway and form part of the Manassas line of the Virginia Railway Express commuter rail system, which has two stations (Rolling Road and Burke Centre) in the Burke area. The original Burke Station building can still be seen in the community, turned 90 degrees from its historical footprint.

During the Civil War, the railway station was garrisoned by Union troops. The Bog Wallow Ambush occurred nearby in 1861. On December 28, 1862, Confederate cavalry under General J.E.B. Stuart raided the station. Stuart seized supplies from the area, destroyed a nearby bridge, monitored Union messages passing over the telegraph lines, and then famously sent a telegram to Union Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs complaining of the poor quality of the mules he had captured. Further action was seen in the neighborhood in 1863.