THANK YOU! I found ONE out of these with the two extra stars above the crest - Federal sword belt plate, regulation 1851, O'Donnell Campbell pattern 623 VERY interesting. I was certain you all would be able to help! Now to learn all about it, and the family member who wore it...
I became much more interested in this period in history when I was working on my wife's genealogy, and learned that her ancestors were Unionists from Alabama. Before that I'd never even known that was a thing. When they taught us in school that brother fought brother, I just assumed that was because one lived in the North and the other in the South.
Right now I'm reading Carl Sandburg's biography of Lincoln.
A rather distant cousin of mine has started sharing some of his items with me, as he has no descendants and wants to make sure they are cared for and appreciated after he passes. Recently he gave me a belt buckle that I'd like to learn more about. He (we) have a common ancestor that fought in the Civil War, and while I know this resembles a buckle used then, there are also tons of later models, reproductions, etc. I'd like to know more about this if anyone can help.
I've noticed it has 12 stars - most I've found pictures of have ten, but this has one above each side of the silver crest. I think it's bronze. It has no proof marks that I can see. I have no idea if the red canvas is original to it or not. The catch on the back seems longer than many I've seen pictures of.