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    Description

    Early Reconstruction Richmond Police Badge.

    Richmond Coin Silver Police Badge of Thomas Clemmitt. We have been unable to locate any other examples of this hand-engraved police badge dating from the immediate post-war period in the capital of the Confederacy. It is oval in shape and is inscribed: "Officer of Police/ Richmond/ Dec. 8th 1865". It has a t-bar clasp on the reverse, measures 2.75" x 2" and is in beautiful condition. It belonged to Thomas Clemmitt (1825-1873). The Virginia legislature met the first week of December 1865. During this time, they passed the so-called Vagrant Act and, on the 8th, repealed restrictions imposed by the Alexandria constitution on ex-Confederates voting in local elections. The Vagrant Act was a response to a chaotic situation in the labor market wherein newly-freed slaves roamed about and could not be relied upon to complete work contracted for. It set both wages and penalties for non-compliance. The following month, the commander of Union forces in the department prohibited its enforcement. We believe this badge was issued to Clemmitt as authorization to enforce the statute. The badge is accompanied by a half-plate tintype (4" x 6") of Clemmitt, we assume, and his son, Tom, Jr. These two items are accompanied by a 21-page typed transcript written by Thomas Clemmitt, Jr. on April 18, 1933, at the age of 80. The account gives the history of the family, focusing on his father. Seven pages discuss the fascinating events in Richmond during the Civil War. His father served as a fireman and was therefore exempt from military service. He did serve as a Provost Marshal, on the ambulance corps and in blockade-running, making regular clandestine trips to Maryland to purchase supplies. He was assigned the task to follow-up on Jubal Early's raid and burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and capture some much-need fire apparatus, but Union resistance and defense thwarted him in his project. During Union occupation, he was called upon by a Yankee colonel to determine ownership of a disputed property and dislodge Negro squatters. He succeeded in this and was hired as an advisor for an extended period. He success in this predicament may have earned him this police badge. In 1873, he was tragically killed in a street car accident.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2013
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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