Framed set of American military buttons (61)
Pewter, brass, bronze, wood
largest: 1 in. ( 2.5 cm )
stamped: (1-12), on front: "USA" (Continental Army) stamped: (20), on front: "MASSA/2/REG" (2nd Massachusetts Regiment; coat button) stamped: (21), on front: "MAS/II/REG" (coat button) stamped: (23), on front: "MASSA/IV/REG" (4th Massachusetts Regiment
Pewter, brass, or bronze military buttons; buttons have the emblem, number, or symbol of their regiment on front; one button has a wood back, covered by a thin pewter face with a regiment number in center flanked on the left by two dolphins forming a C; two buttons have a thin brass face with a cannon, and a flying flag with a Union Jack in the upper left corner; two other buttons have a thin brass face with a mortar; another button has a thin brass face with two cannons back-to-back surmounted by several flags; one button is of solid bronze and has an engraved deer on front; all other buttons are of solid pewter: one has a skull and crossbones and two have crossed swords below their regiment numbers; one has its number in the center, flanked on the left by two dolphins forming a C; one has a foliate inscription; one button has a mortar and another has a cannon, and a flying flag with a Union Jack in the upper left corner; two others have an eagle with a shield on its breast in the center, and an inscribed scroll at top.
These buttons were excavated by the Field Exploration Committee at West Point and at Revolutionary War camps in the Hudson Highlands of New York. The two pewter buttons with the eagle and scroll were worn on the uniforms of Federal troops stationed at West Point after the Revolution; all other solid pewter buttons were worn by Continental Army privates. The button engraved with a deer was worn by an officer in the Bucks of America, an African-American corps recruited from New England.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.