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Old South Military Antiques

“Famous” and Ultra-Rare CS “Spun Hooks” Belt
Item #: OS-7615

This plate is referred to as the "Spun Hooks” variety of the Solid Cast CS. It takes its name from having been turned on a lathe after casting when the slag and rough edges at the base of the hook was machined. These belt plates are associated with the Western Theatre Armies, which served primarily in Tennessee, and Georgia before being pushed through the Carolinas while fighting valiantly, as Sherman destroyed factories, farms and homes. The vandals doing near $100,000,000 worth of damage, only 20% of which was military, by Sherman’s own account. Consequently, these plates are excavated all the way from Tennessee, through Georgia and back up to Bentonville, North Carolina.

Usually when this buckle is found on a belt, it has been recently put on the belt; then there are those few that really are found on their wartime belt, which are usually on leather belts. Some probably were originally issued on leather belts, before the lack of leather curtailed the practice. Some, and perhaps all, were originally issued on these painted canvas belts. It is impossible to tell, since the belts wore out so quickly. There may have been thousands issued on the painted canvas, but almost none survive.

Among collectors, painted canvas boxes and belts are the crème de la crème of Confederate accoutrements. This for a couple of reasons: the use of painted canvas to make these items demonstrates both the ingenuity of the Southern People and the dire straights to which they were reduced by the blockade. It also demonstrates the great imbalance of resources under which the Confederate soldier fought, and generally whipped the best equipped army on earth. It is also the more sought after because of it rarity. As you can imagine, these had to be replaced often, and usually that meant with a field expedient such as a salvaged cartridge box belt or a Yankee belt, so there are only a few more than none in existence. While the spun hooks buckle rates a six on the Mullinax Rarity Scale, the belt would easily rate a ten.

I find the wear to the front of this belt particularly interesting; if you have ever worn a fixed tongue belt for any length of time, you know that once you become comfortable with it, you press the tongue against the belt and then slide until it reaches the hole. This is a very rapid and smooth process that does not require that you look at the hook and hole to put it on. The wear line you see in the front of the belt is from that exact process. The Confederate soldier who wore the belt, day by day, alarm by alarm, and battle by battle, gradually wore the hook through the belts surface and into the canvas. He slid the hook over the belt for a couple of inches, then hooked the belt hook in the eyelet at the left end of the line, not the one that has been used for display for many years. In fact, you can see a "ghost” on the belt where the buckle covered that section of belt for many decades.

This is the rarest of the rare, and best of the best. It once belonged to author Steve E. Mullinax, and it is shown in color on the front cover of his book, Confederate Belt Buckles & Plates, Expanded Edition.

Not for Sale