Hi everyone, and welcome back to our Battle of Plattsburgh series of Artifact Corner. Today we will be looking at two buttons found in Lake Champlain at the site of the battle. One of the buttons belonged to an American sailor, the other to a British Sailor.
The first button we will look at is an American sailor’s button. You can see that the button has an eagle with a shield, and on the shield we see an anchor. The eagle and the shield are encircled with stars. This is a solid brass, one piece button. Earlier buttons had a copper repousse top, and a bone or wooden backing. The older style were far more likely to come apart or be broken. These new buttons were cast as one solid piece, and were very durable in comparison.
Our next button is from a British soldiers uniform. This button has an anchor on the front face, and a textured border surrounding it. This is also a one piece button, but unlike its American counterpart, it is made of pewter, not brass.
As you can see, the uniforms are for the Americans and the British are very similar. The average sailor was wearing a wool coat, a wool waist coat or weskit, trousers and a water proofed or glazed hat. A British sailor recounted his ability to blend in with American sailors when he was taken prisoner when his ship, the Macedonian, was captured by the frigate United States. He was able to go out with his new friends/captors to a dinner in New York City simply by covering his anchor buttons.
This series of Artifact Corner could not have happened without the generosity and help of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum! All of artifacts you see this week are from LCMM’s collection, and they have been so helpful in making this series coming together. Please head over to their website, they are a wealth of information on anything to do with Lake Champlain. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Special thanks to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for access to the LCAA collection and their collaboration in making this video possible. Visit them at www.lcmm.org.
Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot