Did Civil War Soldiers Have Trouble Keeping Their Pants Up?

hombre_de_plata_flaco

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Just wondering. Seems like people dig a lot of these belt buckles. What is the reason so many CW soldiers lost their belts?

Pants too tight already? Mobile brothels in the fields? Clashed with their uniforms?

Any ideas?
 
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TheRockDoc

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hombre_de_plata_flaco said:
Just wondering. Seems like people dig a lot of these belt buckles. What is the reason so many CW soldiers lost their belts?

Pants too tight already? Mobile brothels in the fields? Clashed with their uniforms?

Any ideas?

Ha Ha, I was wondering the same thing yesterday when I watched Pawn stars and some guy took in the belt buckle with the bullet lodged in it, which I left before the expert got there to determine if it were real. I wonder if it was legit. Anyways, I was wondering why soooo many of these belt buckles have been found. I know a ton of people died in that war, and they were probably wearing it when they died, I wondered if that had anything to do with it. It is a thought provoking question for sure.

Chris.
 

N2CU

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I saw the episode of Pawn Stars. The expert said it was fake. What? He said the Confederate States never used an oval CS buckle during the Civil War. I'm not an "expert" but that goes against everything I ever heard or saw about belt plates.
 
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hombre_de_plata_flaco

hombre_de_plata_flaco

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N2CU said:
I saw the episode of Pawn Stars. The expert said it was fake. What? He said the Confederate States never used an oval CS buckle during the Civil War. I'm not an "expert" but that goes against everything I ever heard or saw about belt plates.

Those dudes on 'American Pickers' bought a belt buckle with a bullet lodged in it too.
 

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hombre_de_plata_flaco said:
N2CU said:
I saw the episode of Pawn Stars. The expert said it was fake. What? He said the Confederate States never used an oval CS buckle during the Civil War. I'm not an "expert" but that goes against everything I ever heard or saw about belt plates.

Those dudes on 'American Pickers' bought a belt buckle with a bullet lodged in it too.
It seems like a lot of people have that buckle with the bullet in it ............ I see it on a lot of shows and tapes............ They say there is more civil war counterfeit items than there is of any other thing....
 

CWnut

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don't you think that a good leather belt would make a handy tourniquet...and the way they hooked the buckle simply dropped off.
 
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hombre_de_plata_flaco

hombre_de_plata_flaco

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CWnut said:
don't you think that a good leather belt would make a handy tourniquet...and the way they hooked the buckle simply dropped off.

That theory does make sense.
 

Woodland Detectors

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Soldiers had suspenders. There wasn't a need for the extra swag. There are 3 reasons you find plates and so many in odd places


1. They were simply killed in battle or skirmishes
2. Soldiers had suspenders, and often tossed the buckles to get rid of weight or bulk.. The plates/buckles were just not needed to hold their pants up.
3. The backs of plates are filled with lead, and often times lead was needed to melt down to cast bullets. The front of the plates were then be discarded.
 
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hombre_de_plata_flaco

hombre_de_plata_flaco

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Woodland Detectors said:
Soldiers had suspenders. There wasn't a need for the extra swag. There are 3 reasons you find plates and so many in odd places


1. They were simply killed in battle or skirmishes
2. Soldiers had suspenders, and often tossed the buckles to get rid of weight or bulk.. The plates/buckles were just not needed to hold their pants up.
3. The backs of plates are filled with lead, and often times lead was needed to melt down to cast bullets. The front of the plates were then be discarded.

Reason #1 doesn't make sense to me. Were the bodies stripped of their clothing before being removed from the battlefield?
 

Dwight S

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I agree with CWnut & Woodland Mike and could also add the following theories.
During the battle if the soldier was wounded, he'd drop the belt, pull the buckle off and use the leather for a tourniquet or sling. Or during the battle, a retreat may be sounded and the soldier may drop the belt, leaving the buckle, cartridge box (box plate) and bullets. Afte the battle, a Confederate soldier comes along needed supplies, pulls the buckle and box plates off and keeps the leather, box and bullets. He doesn't want the US labeled stuff, but could use the box and bullets.

If a puppy paw broke off the back of the buckle, its pretty much useless. Pull it off, toss it in the trash pile and go to the supply wagon and get another.
Most are found with broken attachements.

Another theory I have is, these items were heavy, back filled with lead. A soldier who walked 10 to 15 miles in a day didn't want to carry any more weight than was absolustely necessary, perhaps they would lighten the load by removing the box plate, and belt plates.
 

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All good answers and fairly clear in reason, but one other point. As noted, suspenders were designed to hold up your pants. The belt was designed to carry gear.

Cartridge box, holster, scabbard, etc..

That stuff did not fit in their pockets and it would be little use in their knapsacks.

Yes, wounded soldiers may have been stripped down for transport because it would be economical in the days when stretchers were as heavy as the people on them and their supplies would be needed by those remianing in the fight.

Lastly, POW's were "rendered", sometimes on the spot, sometimes at larger collection areas. This means their gear and emblems would most liekly be taken. Often times a large pile of these would be sent off to a foundry to be recycled. Often times they were simply tossed in a pile and left.

But as a hunt tip, look for a spot where POW's were gathered in transit, you might find the mother lode far from any camp or battle site one day. More likely near an old RR junction or road-stop point along a known path of captured troops.

And check out the OAR thouroughly.
 

Woodland Detectors

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Dwight S said:
I agree with CWnut & Woodland Mike and could also add the following theories.
During the battle if the soldier was wounded, he'd drop the belt, pull the buckle off and use the leather for a tourniquet or sling. Or during the battle, a retreat may be sounded and the soldier may drop the belt, leaving the buckle, cartridge box (box plate) and bullets. Afte the battle, a Confederate soldier comes along needed supplies, pulls the buckle and box plates off and keeps the leather, box and bullets. He doesn't want the US labeled stuff, but could use the box and bullets.

If a puppy paw broke off the back of the buckle, its pretty much useless. Pull it off, toss it in the trash pile and go to the supply wagon and get another.
Most are found with broken attachements.

Another theory I have is, these items were heavy, back filled with lead. A soldier who walked 10 to 15 miles in a day didn't want to carry any more weight than was absolustely necessary, perhaps they would lighten the load by removing the box plate, and belt plates.
"During the battle if the soldier was wounded, he'd drop the belt, pull the buckle off and use the leather for a tourniquet or sling. " Exactly. If you notice in a good majority of CW battlefield photos, the kids shirts are pulled up. When they were wounded, they knew if they were hit in the torso area they certainly would die. They frantically looked under their shirts to find the wound.
 

kuger

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one also must realize that pants were not made in a lot of individual sizes,and a few months on the line one was bound to shed some pounds.
 

maipenrai

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What about the simple reason, that anything that was brass or lead is being found, and all the iron has rusted away. Im sure many other things were lost, but you guys are only finding the stuff that hasent rusted, so now it looks like everyone was running around with their pants around their knees. For me, its hard to believe that the wounded or dead, were stripped of anything heavy, before moving, especially a belt buckle.
 

kuger

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maipenrai said:
What about the simple reason, that anything that was brass or lead is being found, and all the iron has rusted away. Im sure many other things were lost, but you guys are only finding the stuff that hasent rusted, so now it looks like everyone was running around with their pants around their knees. For me, its hard to believe that the wounded or dead, were stripped of anything heavy, before moving, especially a belt buckle.

:icon_scratch:Not sure where you hunt but iron doesnt rot "away",in just 160 years
Dont know where you were going with that anyway?Iron what?
 

hammered

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I can't answer for civil war(US), but over here(UK), I have been asking the same question. Loads of buttons, suspender clips and buckles. I asked a museum curator the same question and, Mikes suggestion aside, the curator suggested that materials used to attach buttons and such in the past were inferior to that which we use today, ie cotton as opposed to nylon. This would also explain the large amount of thimbles found too. Just a thought :dontknow:


hammered
 

maipenrai

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I wasnt "going" anywhere, it was just my 2 cents. Iron doesnt just vanish, but if its left on the serface, it does corrode, a bit faster than brass, so Some of the iron objects have turned to rust.
 

kuger

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maipenrai said:
I wasnt "going" anywhere, it was just my 2 cents. Iron doesnt just vanish, but if its left on the serface, it does corrode, a bit faster than brass, so Some of the iron objects have turned to rust.

:thumbsup:
 

Dwight S

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Think about this, if a soldier was wounded and he was looking after himself or a friend stopped to check on him, the last thing he was going to do is take the time to unbutton his shirt. He would grab it and snatch. Buttons would fly. I still stand by the theory that they'd pull the buckle off and use the leather as a tourniquet.
 

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