2nd Virginia Cavalry Belt

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Description and Photograph

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     From the late 1850s until the fall of Fort Sumter, the state of Virginia was purchasing Sword Belts from Emerson Gaylord of Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Gaylord produced a very high quality plate by first casting and then die stamping to bring out the detail in the Virginia state seal.  After casting and die stamping the face, the tongue was brazed on and a keeper was fitted.  Both the keeper and the plate were then struck with a matching number.  In this case, number 71.  This example is on its exceptionally rare, original sword belt.  This attractive Sword Belt would have been used primarily by members of the Virginia Cavalry regiments.  This belt comes from the Russell Hicks collection and has a positive identification of having belonged to Private Henry A. Hatcher.

     Henry Hatcher was a 20 year old Bedford County, Virginia resident when he enlisted at Liberty, Virginia in Captain William Terry’s Company of Mounted Rangers on May 11, 1861.  This unit would become Company A, 2nd Virginia Cavalry.  Private John Goode, Jr. described the “Clay Dragoons”: “Which was composed of the flower of the young men of Bedford….it was as noble a body of young men as ever set foot in stirrup or wielded a warrior’s blade.”

     “Rev. John E. Wharton, invoked the Divine blessing upon Captain Terry and his men as they went forth with all the buoyancy of young manhood.”  Picketing and scouting filled their time until the Battle of Manassas where Captain Terry’s men replaced the Tiger Battalion protecting the guns at stone bridge.  In the pursuit of the retreating Yankees, the 2nd captured 24 pieces of artillery along with their crews.  Afterwards the troop advanced all the way to Fairfax Court House.  The next few months consisted of scouting a picketing forward of the army.  In the camps at Centerville, the new men, having never been much exposed began to grow ill at an alarming rate.  Private Hatcher was among the seriously ill.  He died on November 3rd of Typhoid at Culpepper Court House.  Apparently he had been sent home, but never reached it.  However, his accoutrements did make it home and remained in his family until relatively recently.    

     Private Hatcher’s Virginia sword belt is in excellent condition.  All of the stitching remains tight and the belt is strong and supple.  This is the very best.     

 

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