Captain of Artillery Shoulder Bars - Inventory Number: INS 298 / SOLD
This fancy set of high-grade shoulder straps for an artillery captain constructed with a red velvet field and a border formed of gold bullion embroidery. The boarder features uniform strands of alternating groups of four strands of dead and one strand of bright bullion. The borders and rank bars were, as usual, edged with gilt brass jaceron wire. The backs were left open, showing the paper and web underside of the strap and thread, with the edges simply turned under when they were sewn to the officer’s coat.
These show they were mounted on a coat and worn, but the bullion shows only minor oxidation, and the bullion strands are still largely close together. The velvet has minor nap and the fabric shows good color. A very attractive set of straps and the rarity and history more than make up for the wear.
In terms of numbers, at Gettysburg there might be only five or six batteries assigned to an entire army corps. Those numbers might be bolstered by batteries in the army’s artillery reserve, but proportions are indicative of how scarce the straps are. In the field artillery captains were the battery commanders, assisted in action by four lieutenants (in a six-gun battery,) who commanded sections of two guns and the line of caissons, and it is worth remembering they served in the very front lines of battle, engaging not only enemy artillery, but infantry in close fighting, using rounds of case-shot and switching to canister at 400 yards or so. One of the most famous battery monuments here at Gettysburg reads, “Double canister at ten yards,” giving an idea of how desperate the situation might be.
This is a nice set that displays very well and would look great in an artillery display and likely fill a gap in an insignia collection since on any battlefield there were far fewer captains of artillery than infantry or, likely, even cavalry.
Comes housed in an 8 x 12 inch display case with black velvet backing and descriptive card.