Old South Military Antiques

South Carolina Bullet Struck Breastplate
Item #: OS-6796

  Note that the bullet's point is facing the Palmetto tree

New Info: I asked the collector I acquired the plate about its history and this is his reply: "I bought it from a guy that lives in Greenville, SC. He found it at a flea market there. He purchased it from the grandson of the digger. He didn't get his name. I've asked him to let me know if he ever sees the boy again. It was recovered in Columbia, SC. I hope this helps."

This shoulder belt plate bears the state seal of South Carolina. South Carolina was an old and prosperous state prior to the War. As such, she was able to equip her volunteer army with the finest of accoutrements. There are more variations of the South Carolina waist belt, cartridge box and breastplate than there are of any other state in the Confederacy.

These South Carolina breastplates were based on the U.S.pattern 1826. The breastplate was made by die stamping sheet brass with the state seal. The earliest examples had a pin inserted into the back and was then filled with lead to hold the pin in place and give it extra strength. In later examples, like that shown here, iron wire loops were inserted and it was then filled with lead.

As is apparent from the images, this plate was hit by a minie ball. At the time it was struck it was "keyholing”. Keyholing is a modern term for flipping end over end. Towards the end of a bullet’s flight, it loses the rotational spin created by the bore’s rifling and begins to tumble end over end.

The fact that the bullet was nearing the end of its flight, combined with impacting the breastplate may have saved the Confederate soldier’s life or it may not. It is clear the bullet did not continue beyond the breastplate and leather strap, but the impact may have been so severe that it killed him anyway.

This has got to be one of the greatest rarities in buckles; a genuine bullet struck Confederate plate!
Price $4,970.00 USD

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