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Original modified Union Breast Plate, dug Ft. Fisher


Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is a Union Breast Plate. Commonly known as “Eagle Plates” or “Breast Plates”, they were worn on the leather strap in an area which was right over the heart. Many Union soldiers felt that this made an excellent target for the Rebs and discarded them when they had the opportunity. As seen in the pictures, a piece of this plate was intentionally cut off by the soldier, possibly to be used as a heel plate for his brogans. This plate was recovered at Fort Fisher, NC on the Cape Fear side towards Wilmington (see map).

After being informed about the large Union army heading toward Wilmington, General Lee ordered Major General Robert Hoke's Division to Fort Fisher. Also, Hoke took command of all Confederate forces in the Wilmington area.

The Union attack started on December 24, 1864 with a naval bombardment. The firepower of Fort Fisher was temporarily silenced because some of its gun positions exploded. This allowed the Navy to land Union infantry. The landing force was intercepted by the arrival of Hoke's troops. The Union attack was effectively thwarted, and on December 27 Benjamin Butler ordered the withdrawal of his 1,000 soldiers who were still on the beach. This was in defiance of Grant's orders, which were to besiege the fort if the assault failed. Because Butler disobeyed his orders, he was relieved of command by Grant.

Obviously, the metal hooks are gone from the back of the plate, but a good portion of the lead still remains. This is an interesting piece and shows the ingenuity of the common soldier when he needs to come up with something. It comes in the glass top display case pictured.

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$7.50 (Fixed shipping cost)