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Rare TURNER SOCIETY Civil War BUCKLE / 8th MARYLAND INFANTRY

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Your Price: $ 1650.00
Item Number: 3505
 

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The beautifully engraved nickel-silver waist belt plate of William Eckhardt as a member of the German American TURNER SOCIETY. (An organization of German immigrants founded in this country in 1848, based on the political and cultural Turner societies that had existed in Germany since the Napoleonic Wars.) We will let the plate speak for itself through our illustrations leaving the bulk of our comment to the history. Rare though they rare, there are sufficient 0if these plates to indicate that each is unique. While they offer common society mottoes and signs with common construction, material and style, each seem to have been individually designed to the liking of the wearer. A common feature though is the identification of the specific society member. In this instance the plate offers the script engraved identification ofWilliam Eckhardt who is listed in the 1858 Baltimore directory as a tavern owner at 13 Second Street. He enlisted on October 29, 1862 to serve as a private of Co. K 8th Maryland Infantry. (His Co. K of the 8th was composed of drafted men and substitutes.) By the 1850s the Turner Society was operating in major American cities with Baltimore as a hub of their influence. Expansion spawned formation of the American Know-Nothing party and ultimately led to violent clashes between the two groups. As strong minded Unionists, Turners served in the Civil War Federal military in such numbers that many chapters became inactive or were disbanded because of the number serving in the army. Existing period images of members wearing these distinctive belt plates and at least one example of a battlefield recovery serves to document Civil War military use by Unionist German immigrants. See Thomas Rentschler’s work on German American service in the Civil War and O’Donnell & Campbell’s work on American Military Belt Plates offering an identified Shiloh battlefield recovery. Referred to by specialist collectors as Clear the road !! or Get out of the way!! waist belt plates for the ever present German ’Bahn Frei’ motto, existing examples are prized by specialty collectors. Thanks for visiting Gunsight Antiques!



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