Question about relics

ELongo1986

Cadet
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
During the war, didn't soldiers on both sides understand or even care if they lost buttons, belt buckles and other objects? I guess if you are in camp your focus is to survive but I am amazed at how many artifacts are recovered that soldiers would somehow lose. I know some of these objects were traded but was it easy for the armies to reissue these objects to the soldiers?
 

ucvrelics

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Welcome From THE Heart Of Dixie. The loss of items by soldiers is very common even to this day. During the CW Union troops had a LOT more stuff than the South. I have found many relics in Union camps that were just thrown away. The North could easily resupply. In late war CS camps I have found more US button than CS.
 

ELongo1986

Cadet
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Welcome From THE Heart Of Dixie. The loss of items by soldiers is very common even to this day. During the CW Union troops had a LOT more stuff than the South. I have found many relics in Union camps that were just thrown away. The North could easily resupply. In late war CS camps I have found more US button than CS.
Also, the Union occupied large portions of the South during the war and of course their armies were generally larger. My hometown of Warrenton VA changed hands 67 times throughout the war and in the winter of 1863 the Union occupied the town for the remainder of the war. I have found Union buttons and 3 ringed bullets on the outskirts of the town.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Buttons do come off. Modern Army service coats come with extra buttons as do Army shirts.
 

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
I know some of these objects were traded but was it easy for the armies to reissue these objects to the soldiers?

Threads break, buttons fall into mud puddles or get stepped on in the dark and mashed into the earth. How would you ever find a fly button when going the bathroom in the dark?

In between campaigns, there were (northern) sutlers who'd stock buttons, thread and needle*. I'd hazard that Confederates weren't so choosey and could fashion replacement buttons from bone or wood (just like some of them did when they were at home).

During campaigns, there were always dead bodies - those guys didn't need buttons. Or shoes. Or whatever.

* http://education.mnhs.org/portal/soldiers-sewing-kit
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Also, keep in mind that the fields, camps and battlefields were not the manicured areas that we see today. They fought in knee to waist high grass, wheat, corn etc. it became very easy to lose buttons, buckles, accouterments, caps and even weapons.
 

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