This is the first of several posts I will be doing on buttons. Now, why buttons? While we have found many plain buttons made of plastic, bone, ceramic and metal, very few come up which can be indentified. I will post on the buttons we can identify and date.
This first button was found in the 1st stratum of unit 22 (Centennial Hotel) by Dio and company. It is made out of a copper alloy (very thin and fragile). It depicts an American Eagle clutching 3 arrows in the left talon with a block lettered "I" upon an indented shield.
From the web research I have done, it appears to be a U.S. Infantry button dating to 1850-1865. While it is just one button, it should help us in our research for our Preserve America grant which is directed towards the Civil War era of Port Tobacco.
I haven't found information on who would have worn it (members of which Union units?) but I have sent out several inquiries on it and will post an update once I learn more.
The button indeed was used by the U.S. military from 1840-1865. Once the Civil War started, the button was only issued to Union troops. Unfortunately, without the back of the button, there is no further information on the manufacturing of the button. A thank you goes out to Harry Ridgeway, a collector of civil war era relics in Virginia, for his help in identifying our find.