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Old South Military Antiques

Atlanta CSA on its Original Russet Belt
Item #: OS-6759

The Confederate Arsenal and Depot in Atlanta, Georgia was a conglomeration of Confederate owned manufactories and independent contractors in the surrounding areas. Supplies from other Confederate arsenals were also funneled through the Atlanta Arsenal for distribution to the Army of Tennessee. While researching at the National Archives, Dean Thomas discovered a very interesting bit of correspondence from the commander of the Atlanta Arsenal:

C. States Arsenal

Atlanta, Georgia

March 3rd, 1863

Mr. Francis Minchener, Atlanta, Georgia

Sir: You will please to make for this arsenal four thousand belt plates as per the sample furnished –to be plain and well gotten up, the letters C.S. A. to be plain and neatly finished, the casting to be substantial and good, the hooks on the plate to be strong and well pointed and the whole to (be) in good taste and style, -to be inspected before they are received.

I will pay you fifty cents each for all received.

At the time the preceding order was written, the Atlanta Arsenal and its affiliates were producing 90,000 uniform garments and 15,000 pair of shoes per month. This indicates that Minchener’s belt plate production was only a very small portion of the plates the Atlanta Arsenal contracted. There are at least 17 slight variations of belt plates attributed to the Atlanta Arsenal. From Major Wright’s order to Minchener, we can assume that a sample pattern was sent to various foundries in and around Atlanta. This would explain the many variations encountered.

The CSA plate shown is without a doubt on its original issued belt. The belt is strong and supple; its only defect is a break at one hook, which is shown in the close-up image of the plate’s back. It is still russet in color and has the classic Confederate tool lines around the entire border, including the fly end. The "ghosts” on both the belt and the plate assure that it is not a post War "marriage” of the two. While not perfect, it is darn close!
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