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Object Record

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Object Name Breastplate, Armor
Catalog Number 0985.11.00052a
Description Four piece sheet iron breastplate with hinged sheet iron tassets. The four pieces are the left chest with shoulder strap, right chest with shoulder strap, left stomach panel, and right abdomen panel. Two pieces of tasset missing. Hinges broken. Right shoulder strap stamped, "Atwater Armor Co. New Haven Conn". Left shoulder strap stamped, "Patent applied for". Each piece stamped "1AA", except left lower hinged section stamped "3CC".
Dimensions H-10 inches
Owned unidentified Union soldier
Made Atwater Armour Company, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Provenance Breastplate worn by a Federal soldier.

Steel vests were not standard issue during the Civil War, but were sold by private sutlers that followed the armies on their campaigns. However, the armor was heavy, hot, ineffective at close range, and likely to elicit ridicule or charges of cowardice from fellow soldiers.
People unidentified Union soldier (owner)