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leather belt & belt plate

1861 - 1865

5th Company


White Buff Leather Sabre Belt
(shown with standard issue belt closure;
to be replaced with Washington Artillery belt plate)

Washington Artillery 2-Piece Bas Relief Belt Plate


Louisiana State Militia Two-Piece
Pelican Sword Belt Plate
1861 - 1865

There are two belts worn for the Washington Artillery impression, one of which is mandatory, and the other optional. The belt mandated includes:

- A two-inch (2") wide, white buff leather belt (rough side out).

- A one-piece, rectangular 1850s Louisiana militia pelican belt plate for all enlisted men. The plate should not include the state motto, but should have a mottled, or plain, background. To distinguish this Louisiana pelican plate from others, the pelican appears in a profile or a side view, looking more like a vulture (or a dragon, some say) than a pelican. It is not seated on a nest. The belt plate shall have three prongs on the back: two which will secure it to the belt, and a third prong to hook into the other end of the belt when putting it on.

- The belt itself has a white buff leather loop sewn to it through which the belt plate tongue holes end of the belt is passed when putting on the belt.

The optional belt is a saber belt, used only for special occasions requiring a saber by the enlisted men of the Washington Artillery; but standard issue for the noncommissioned and commissioned officers of the Washington Artillery. Details include:

- A two-inch (2") wide, white buff leather belt (rough side out), with hanger straps, brass snap hooks for the saber, and a baldric (referred to around World War 1 as a "Sam Brown belt").

- Use of the two-piece Louisiana pelican belt plate is acceptable with the saber belt. However, use of the two-piece raised-letter "WA" belt plate is preferred for enlisted men as well as noncommissioned and commissioned officers. The inset letters "WA" in a belt plate are not authenticated for 5th Company - Washington Artillery; and we are not certain to which of the first four Companies of the Washington Artillery to attribute the hand-gouged "WA" letters belt plate.

The occasions upon which enlisted men may wear the saber belt do not include any time we are in formation, drilling, marching, or manning the piece. Appropriate occasions for enlisted men would include formal parades, receptions, or weddings where they are asked to form a saber arch for the just-wed couple. On that occasion, the saber worn by the Washington Artillery would be the 1840 Light Artillery Saber.

For either belt, it is advisable to try to obtain them in harness leather. Harness leather is a heavy leather, durable and not as prone to stretch as other leather weights used for belts. The problem with the belt stretching affects the saber belt far more than the waist belt, since there is rarely any weight suspended from the waist belt (technically, large bellies may cause the top of the belt to roll, of course, but most of the time that extra baggage isn't applying weight so much as it is covering the belt).