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  • "The Civil War Soldier - His Personal Items"
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Civil War Soldier’s ID disc, dug at Fredericksburg Battlefield

$85.00

Product Description

This is another unique piece being offered, it is an excavated Civil War soldier’s circular ID disc. It is made of brass with a 1” diameter and has “P W” on one side and “W P” on the other. A hole is crudely punched into to disc to allow for pinning on a uniform or for a string to wear around the neck. It was recovered years ago from the Fredericksburg, Virginia Battlefield.

Throughout recorded history, one of a soldier's worst fears was the inability to have his body properly identified should he be killed. During the Civil War, soldiers facing impending doom often sewed pieces of cloth bearing their names, units, hometowns, etc. to the inside of their jackets. Some wore their vital information carved onto objects fashioned from wood or lead around their necks suspended by string or small chain. In my book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I go into more detail on this subject (see pictures).

When soldiers become painfully aware that the rebellion was to last far longer than initially presumed, they sought a better solution. To meet such a demand, camp sutlers often sold an identification disc – the grandfather of today’s military dog tag. The small disc would have information pertaining to the soldier, name, unit, etc., depending how much the soldier was willing to spend on the engraving.

This particular ID disc is kind of a mystery with the placement of these letters. Could it be WP and PW were different people, perhaps a soldier and his girlfriend? Maybe the soldier had very limited funds and could only afford two letters. Maybe the sutler punched the letters backwards and corrected it on the other side, deeply discounted. Like I said, this one is truly a mystery.

No one will ever know exactly who the soldier was or if he survived the battle of Fredericksburg. Over the years I have had some ID discs, but this one is unique and quite a conversation piece. It comes in the glass top display case pictured.

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Quantity:
SKU:
0905212
Shipping:
$6.50 (Fixed shipping cost)