I got a buckle in Gettysburg around 1970 that looks like this:

enter image description here

These are very widely known as civil war belt buckles. But the farmer/shopkeeper who sold it to me said it was actually not for the belt around someone's waist, but for an ammunition belt over the shoulder. Can anyone tell me if that is true?

In case it helps I will say the back of it is filled with lead but it does have working puppy paw hooks looking pretty much like these:

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


The difference seems to be mainly in the connections, and the 'puppy paw hooks' would be an indication that what you have is the belt buckle.

The other item is called a 'box plate', and has a different back, with a pair of loops to attatch it to the cartridge boxes. (Several images on google images)

This website relicman.com has good images of both items, front and back.

  • Ah. So the guy was partly right. It is not for a belt that holds up your pants, and it was to hold ammunition (among other things). And yet the belt did go around your waist -- outside your jacket. That might even be exactly what the guy told me and i misunderstood. Oct 23, 2016 at 22:51
  • Well, it would be used to hold up a belt that was probably still fairly similar to the types that would be used to hold up pants... but regular belts used to be commonly worn to hold down jackets, or shirts of chain mail/mail in earlier centuries. The fact that ammunition boxes etc. were then attached to this belt, worn over all other clothing, brings to mind that it's basically the predecessor of modern tactical webbing gear, such as the modern-day MOLLE, via stuff like the Vietnam War-era US M1956 Pistol Belt + suspenders combination.
    – Rundil
    Oct 24, 2016 at 10:43

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