A Vicksburg Stud Tells A Story

Tom Hughes

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May 27, 2019
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235
On one of my afternoon hunts in the woods along Confederate Avenue in Vicksburg, MS, I happened to dig an interesting war related item -
A (GAR) Grand Army of the Republic lapel stud.
It was very decorative with the images of a soldier and sailor shaking hands, a mother with her child, two flags, lady liberty, and a knapsack and camp fire. It's a lot of imagery to put on a small brass lapel stud which is about the size of a nickel.
I love stuff like this, mainly because the pin aroused my curiosity and made me do research to find out more about this GAR organization and its relationship to Vicksburg. After-all, Vicksburg was the Gibralter of the Confederacy. What would a Union veterans pin be doing here? I would've thought a Confederate veterans pin would be more in line with my finding.

First of all, what was the GAR?
The Grand Army of the Republic was an organization composed of Union soldier and sailor veterans of the civil war. Think of it as a predecessor to the American Legion. They had posts where the veterans would meet and fraternize and re-live heroics of their youth. Their organization was powerful and had political clout as well.

What I discovered about the GAR and the stud pin owner's relationship to Vicksburg was very interesting:

The most obvious was the 1917 Blue & Gray Reunion in Vicksburg. It was attended by 12,000 veterans, both North & South, at the Vicksburg National Military Park. Surely, a Union veteran attending this event was wandering the old battlefield and camping ground and lost this stud pin. And of course, this still remains a possibility.

After doing more research, another possibility presented itself. One that was totally unexpected.
During the civil war, there were many blacks that took up arms in the Union army to fight. However, their ability to fight was called into question and they saw action in the army doing remedial tasks such as cooking, digging trenches, and other camp tasks. It wasn't until black soldiers proved themselves at Milliken's Band, LA across the river from Vicksburg on June 7, 1863 that their ability to fight was put to rest.
After the war, Vicksburg had 5 regimental black GAR posts in and around the city. They were active in keeping alive their legacy in the war.
It's also important to remember that Memorial Day and July 4th were exclusively black celebrated holidays after the civil war to commemorate their freedom from slavery. Whites in Vicksburg didn't celebrate these holidays until after WWII.
The local GAR posts helped put on parades and celebrations in town to commemorate the war that gave them their freedom.

So it's entirely possible that with a city that had the numbers to support 5 regimental black GAR posts, this lapel stud pin could've been lost by one of them.
Regardless, the discovery of the stud brought to light new knowledge and information surrounding the city of Vicksburg and the participants on both sides of the war.

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major bill

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Although GAR posts may have been formed by a particular regiment, it was my understanding that GAR posts were ingratiated. They accepted any local Union veteran regardless of color. Certainly some cities had GAR posts that may have been more or less of one race and some GAR post may have tried not to allow too many black veterans to join.
 

Seduzal

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It worked. It got my attention. :wink:
It did not work fo me.

There was something fishy about this. I have looked at this post a number of times and to think about it! A stud and a pin is not the same. A stud could be a 2x4 stud for a building or other similar type of things either metal or wood. A pin could be used to hold things together or an hair pin .
 

Tom Hughes

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May 27, 2019
Messages
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It did not work fo me.

There was something fishy about this. I have looked at this post a number of times and to think about it! A stud and a pin is not the same. A stud could be a 2x4 stud for a building or other similar type of things either metal or wood. A pin could be used to hold things together or an hair pin .
Technically, you are right about the difference between a stud and a pin. This artifact is classified as a stud.
 


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