Old South Military Antiques

Alabama Sword Belt Plate
Item #: OS-6650

On February 24, 1860, the Alabama legislature authorized the formation of the Alabama Volunteer Corps or A.V.C. to serve as Alabama’s own army. Raising this Army was deemed a prudent response to the North’s vocal support of John Brown’s fanatical raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The "Army of Alabama” incorporated militia companies all over the state and grew to approximately 8,000, loosely organized, men.

The men who formed the nucleus of the A.V.C. were the most affluent and well-educated sons of Alabama. This nucleus was issued uniforms and accoutrements by the state, unlike the vast majority of companies which uniformed themselves in whatever fashion suited. The uniforms that Alabama issued utilized the A.V.C. belt and box plates and the "Map of Alabama” sword belt plate like that shown here to officers and cavalryman and an oval "Map of Alabama” to enlisted infantrymen. Approximately 500 of these "Map of Alabama” sword belt plates were delivered by Emerson Gaylord of Chicopee, Massachusetts before the North instituted the blockade in April of 1861.

With the outbreak of the shooting war in the spring of 1861, the A.V.C. effectually ceased to exist as its members rushed to join regiments headed for the seat of war.

Due to their pre-war military experience and education level, the men of the A.V.C. would naturally have formed the nucleus of the Alabama Officer’s Corps, which later distinguished themselves on so many a bloody field.

This excavated example was no doubt lost or discarded by the Alabamian who wore it because the keeper tongue pulled of plate making it unusable. His loss was our gain.

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