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November 2011

There were many different styles of waist belts used by Confederate Infantry. Contrary to what is seen at some reenactments, not everyone had a brass CS oval buckle. The roller buckle belt was used in great numbers. Any harness shop could fabricate these belts and they came in many different configurations. Shown below are some examples of roller buckle and other Confederate waist belts for your enjoyment.

CS roller belt with Enfield scabbard frog.

This picture came from the REBEL RELICS website and Brian Akins has graciously given permission for me to use it on my site. This was a matching set that served together and originally had a maker marked Confederate Cap Box on it .... Brian believes the whole rig was made by McKensie of South Carolina.

Notice the iron wire roller buckle which was so common in Confederate service. Also the frog has the strap with iron wire roller buckle fastner.

This group of waist belts are from the collection of Mr. William Ivey. Mr. Ivey had a Confederate waist belt display at the 2003 Richmond NS Trader Civil War show and was kind enough to let me photograph some for use on this site.

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Common Georgia Frame. The feature that caught my eye was the width of the belt.  It is approximately 2 inches.

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The cast CS at the top of these three was used mostly in the western theater. Cast CSA buckles have been found in ANV and AOT sites. The unique one in this group is the Snake Buckle belt. It is made from fabric (canvas?) and all the hardware is iron. It is thought to have a CS connection but as with any belt with snake buckles, it is difficult to tell the time period when they were used.


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Common, rounded iron buckle belt.

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This is my personal favorite. Notice the lead finial on the CS cap box. The construction of this belt will surprise you.

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Such a great box. Had to show it. Yes, that is a hole in the finial. I have no idea why it is there.

Looks like some initials and a "46th" scratched on the front of the flap.

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Fabric and leather waist belt. Period images show some North Carolina soldiers wearing this type belt.

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Back of the belt. You can almost see the wave stitching up and down the belt.

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Stitch pattern can be seen in this view.


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Pictured are two roller buckle Confederate waist belts. The top belt was found in one of hospitals used by Picketts division after the Battle of Gettysburg. It has traces of black enamel on the buckle. Notice the wear mark at the next to the last hole.

The picture below is an enlarged section of a image of a dead Confederate in the trenches of Petersburg. The original picture is in the Library of Congress. This view shows his belt with attached iron roller buckle, CS cap box and a portion of his cartridge box which may or may not be carried on the belt. These items appear to have been recently issued or well maintained. Another portion of the image not shown shows a painted fabric (cartridge box?) strap with the same wave stitching as exhibited by the North Carolina belt in the Ivy collection shown on this page. This strap appears to be in a position on the body to have supported the cartridge box but it's use cannot be accurately determined.


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Shown above are the remains of a Confederate soldiers belt and cap box. The group consists of a roller buckle, Confederate lead cap box final and approximately 35 musket caps. These were found in a Confederate trench line at Petersburg.

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Above is a roller belt made by Paul Braynard. It is modeled on an early war North Carolina belt but could be a generic roller buckle belt for any state. One very similar belt is pictured on  Levin Gayle who appears on the Portsmouth Rifle page. .

Shown left is a rifleman's belt used by both sides especially early in the war. This belt was used with the M-1841 Mississippi Rifle and the M-1855 Springfield with saber bayonets. The two keepers on the belt had holes for hooking the hook of a knapsack strap to help support the belt. The weight of the saber bayonet and the cartridge box made belt support necessary (the Mississippi cartridge box was belt mount only).





Here is a variant of a white web belt with what appears to be straps for carrying a sword or other item of equipment. The webbing or the buckle is not quite the same as seen on numerous Va. militia web gear. The buckle attachment method on this belt is much more sturdy than that which the typical Virginia web belt used. This belt had to support the weight of whatever was carried by the straps. As can be seen from the frock coat, the enlisted version of the white web belt was only used to carry the cap box, the cartridge box and bayonet having their own support.

Above are pictures of Butch Myers Clip Corner buckle web belt. This buckle is based on an original found near Smithfield Va. in a 3rd Va. Inf camp. The brass sheet  is the same thickness and size as the original. The webbing is almost identical to that used by Virginia militia units. The biggest difference is the patterns along the top and bottom edges of the webbing. This webbing has two patterns and the original has only one. These belts were not made to stand the rigors of active duty and came apart quickly. The buckles were modified by the soldiers and used on other belts or webbing. Specimens have be recovered at sites from the battles as late war as Chancellorsville.

A Canvas Sword Belt of the Troiani Collection

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This belt is made of untreated cotton duck and has a tongue and wreath plate of a variety that was commonly issued to the Army of Northern Virginia cavalry. The belt was made to size and is not adjustable. It is 1 3/4 inches wide. The actual saber hangers, of which only a portion remains, are of interest. They hang from brass ovals attached to the belt via the aforementioned duck loops. The hangers themselves are of leather and of a much higher grade of workmanship than the rest of the belt being neatly stitched at 8/inch. It is very possible they were salvaged from another damaged belt. There was no provision for a shoulder belt.

It is unknown if this belt was a product of a Confederate arsenal. The low quality of workmanship and possibility of salvaged parts certainly raise the possibility it could have been made in the field. Whatever the case, it is an interesting piece of material culture and a wonderful example of Confederate ingenuity.

Thanks to John Stillwagon for submitting the belt pictures and description.



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