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    Description

    Extraordinary Set of Body Armor in Original Vest with Confederate Capture History. Probably the very best known example of the notorious "body armor" sold privately at the outbreak of the war, this set is complete with its original blue wool vest and is highlighted by a wonderful inscription by the Confederate officer who captured it. At first glance, the vest appears to be the standard one worn by all Union officers, with stand up collar, nine small eagle "I" buttons (most backmarked "Scoville") down the front, two pockets at the waist and one at the breast. The back panel is polished cotton and has two tightening belts with small 1855 patent-dated buckles. Overall condition of the vest is excellent with just a couple repaired moth nips on the front and some stitched repairs to the back around the shoulder blades. Inside, the vest is lined in white cotton with each chest panel having a large "pocket" lined in buckram which opens at the waist and closes by means of three common tin suspender buttons. Boldly inscribed in ink on the left panel is "G. W. Lawrence/Surgn & Medl Director/3d A. C. A. M./Captured from the enemy at Pittsburgh/Landing Apl 7th 1862." On the right panel is inscribed in fancy, tall, hand lettering "'Shiloh'/Apl 7th/1862." The actual body armor consists of two sculpted plates of thin steel which fit into each interior panel. A metal strap, covered in thin glazed cotton, is affixed to each plate by a copper rivet at the top and is designed to pass over the shoulder of the wearer. The plates show signs of some small patches of rust and appear to have been refinished at one time, but are complete and otherwise undamaged with all the glazed covering remaining on the straps. Records indicate that George W. Lawrence served as a surgeon in the Confederate Army but no additional information was available when this catalogue was being written. At the outbreak of the war, "bullet proof vests" designed for the new volunteers were advertised in a number of Northern publications but soon lost favor when their effectiveness on the battlefield was found to be less-than-promised. A true Civil War rarity in incredible condition with a wonderful history.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th-21st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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