Question about Georgia State Seal "Hat Brass" of Maj Gen Lafayette McLaws

lelliott19

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#1
1552694752536.png

(Dimensions 3.5" high x 2.5" wide. Seal 1" in diameter)
Did Lafayette McLaws wear this on his hat when he served as Major General in the Confederate Army? The item is in the collection of the Georgia Historical Society, along with a number of other articles donated by McLaws' family including a M1840 cavalry (wrist breaker) saber; a Model 1851 Colt "Navy" revolver (.36 caliber, percussion lock, rifled barrel, Serial #22089); a leather officer's belt with 2 piece CS belt plate; a pair of epaulets; a pair of spurs; and an assortment of personal items and photographs.

The hat brass is described as "Brass hat plate with a metal seal of the State of Georgia." The dimensions are 3.5 inches high x 2.5 inches wide, with the state seal being 1 inch in diameter. McLaws was a Captain in the Georgia Infantry Volunteers during the Mexican War and a Confederate Colonel, Brigadier General, and Major General during the Civil War.

Would McLaws have worn this on his hat during the Civil War? Or is this from the Mexican War? or some kind of post-war piece? If this has been discussed here before, I apologize. Thanks in advance for any help on this question. @ucvrelics @Package4 @major bill and anyone else who might know.

BTW - The saber in the collection of the GHS is attributed to his Mexican War service, although that may simply be a result of incorrect assumptions on the part of the GHS staff. The other items, including the hat brass, are not attributed to a specific period of service. Obviously, the belt plate is from his CS service. https://georgiahistory.pastperfectonline.com/byperson?keyword=McLaws%2C+Lafayette%2C+1821-1897

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This is the only image of him that shows a hat. In every other image of him, he is bare headed. Here is a cleaned up version of the same image from wkipedia. No hat brass visible.
Images Courtesy of the Georgia Historical Society.
https://georgiahistory.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/6347F358-C41F-4B1A-B160-257930128129
https://georgiahistory.pastperfectonline.com/photo/5438811F-A8E2-4807-BB9D-056561799437
 
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lelliott19

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#4
Is this the one that Traveller referred to as the "fat general"?
I don't think anyone, including Traveller, ever referred to Lafayette McLaws as the fat general. Certainly not the men of his command. :D
Its hard to tell but with the size its way to big for a hat badge. What does the back look like?
Unfortunately, there is not a picture of the back at the GHS website. Viewing of the actual object is by appointment only so it would mean a trip to Savannah. It looks like it has a large pin on the back that extends slightly below the lower edge of the piece.
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James N.

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#7
IF this is any kind of "hat brass" it *might* be a shako plate for the predecessor to the Hardee Hat of the Civil War. (It's impossible from these photos to judge its size.) It LOOKS more like a belt plate for the over-the-shoulder sword belt or baldric as worn with the M.1821 sword, having a straight 1" blade in a leather scabbard worn in a frog from the waist or shoulder belt.
 

lelliott19

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IF this is any kind of "hat brass" it *might* be a shako plate for the predecessor to the Hardee Hat of the Civil War. (It's impossible from these photos to judge its size.) It LOOKS more like a belt plate for the over-the-shoulder sword belt or baldric as worn with the M.1821 sword, having a straight 1" blade in a leather scabbard worn in a frog from the waist or shoulder belt.
Could very well be James. Regarding the dimensions, it is described by the Georgia Historical Society as follows:
"Brass hat plate with a metal seal of the State of Georgia."
Dimensions: 3.5 inches high x 2.5 inches wide, with the state seal being 1 inch in diameter.
EDIT TO ADD: I went back and edited the OP to include the dimensions just under the image.
 

major bill

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#9
Could very well be James. Regarding the dimensions, it is described by the Georgia Historical Society as follows:
"Brass hat plate with a metal seal of the State of Georgia."
Dimensions: 3.5 inches high x 2.5 inches wide, with the state seal being 1 inch in diameter.
EDIT TO ADD: I went back and edited the OP to include the dimensions just under the image.
Thank you for adding the dimensions. I have had some issues about this item being to large o wear on the front of a cap. From the start I wondered about it being a shako plate.
 
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#10
Let's put things into proper perspective.

1). McClaws never served in the Georgia Militaria prewar or post war.
2). During the Mexican War he was a member of the US Army and might have worn a forage cap with Infantry horn. See attached photo. Definity not a State emblem.
3). Postwar he was heavily involved with veteran organizations.
4). Just because it was among his possessions doesn't mean he actually wore it. It might have been a gift.
5). Might it have belonged to another member of the family?

Have you thought about contacting the McClaws family?

ad07a2c6f50ea686802d6f798737e910 (1).jpg
 
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#11
I believe it to be a shoulder belt plate for Georgia militia, many would collect memorabilia after the war. The piece is too robust for a hat plate, though the Georgia insignia could quite possibly be a hat badge affixed to a clipped corner shoulder belt plate. These types of plates were very popular up until the 1900s.
 
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#13
I believe it to be a shoulder belt plate for Georgia militia, many would collect memorabilia after the war. The piece is too robust for a hat plate, though the Georgia insignia could quite possibly be a hat badge affixed to a clipped corner shoulder belt plate. These types of plates were very popular up until the 1900s.
While I have seen similar methods of attachment on shoulder belt plates, I have my doubts about this.

Did any other member of the .McClaws family serve in the Georgia Militia or Mexican War?
 
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#14
While I have seen similar methods of attachment on shoulder belt plates, I have my doubts about this.

Did any other member of the .McClaws family serve in the Georgia Militia or Mexican War?
It doesn't mean that anyone from the family served in the Ga Militia, it could have been presented to him from a militia member in recognition of his ACW service. Many veterans collected all kinds of memorabilia, particularly reunions at battlefields where there would be militia and regular US troops assisting the old vets. I have two such collections and it is amazing what they collected and were presented. He was very prominent in Georgia after the war and likely picked it up or was presented with it then.
 
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#16
It doesn't mean that anyone from the family served in the Ga Militia, it could have been presented to him from a militia member in recognition of his ACW service. Many veterans collected all kinds of memorabilia, particularly reunions at battlefields where there would be militia and regular US troops assisting the old vets. I have two such collections and it is amazing what they collected and were presented. He was very prominent in Georgia after the war and likely picked it up or was presented with it then.
I don't disagree with you. McClaws .
It doesn't mean that anyone from the family served in the Ga Militia, it could have been presented to him from a militia member in recognition of his ACW service. Many veterans collected all kinds of memorabilia, particularly reunions at battlefields where there would be militia and regular US troops assisting the old vets. I have two such collections and it is amazing what they collected and were presented. He was very prominent in Georgia after the war and likely picked it up or was presented with it then.

I don't disagree with you. McClaws may very well have acquired it postwar. Further research may help to answer some of the questions surrounding this plate.
 
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#17
There was a hat badge similar, but it was the circular seal on an octagon backing that was used for GA state militia on the 1851 shako. The seal in the OP looks to be a post war version.
 



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