Research 105: How To, Pt 2
In Part 1, we looked at doing a simple and basic research project.
Here in Part 2 “Proving or Disproving the Hypothesis” and “Applying the Research Results.” we will finish it up.
Before going to Gettysburg to review the relics (a surviving item or article with unknown, or unproven” historical and archaeological provenance and context) and artifacts (a surviving item or article with known, or documented historical and archaeological provenance and context) pool, a few “caveats” are in order:
1. Any museum may have relics and artifacts. Public and private collections at a particular battlefield or historical site may contain relics NOT from that location and time. Over the years, people donate(d) items from all over the country that are “Civil War.” Curators may add “non site” and “non period” relics, as well as reproductions (done with or with standards, or done to the contemporary “state of the art” at that moment in time) to further the “story” or “enhance” the visual or interpretive presentation.
2. Battlefields often are more “relic” based. Meaning, local citizens on the battlefield immediately after the battle start randomly “picking up souvenirs and mementoes” that are not documented to troop locations. Descendents often add “family lore” and “history” to what their great grandfather told them about how and where he found an item when they were kids 70 years ago.
3. Relics and artifacts tend to be found by locals and “amateurs,” and their provenance is later added by “experts” who know that such-and-such a unit was at such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time….
4. Relics in reference books rarely have known historical or archeological provenance (some do, most don’t). They have been sold and traded for 140-some years from all over the country and back again.
The relics and artifacts collected at Gettysburg in the past nearly 141 years offer a unique “snapshot” of the items in use by the Army of the Potomac for July, 1863.
The “random” nature of the finds, from different portions of the battlefield, help to establish a certain measure of research “R & V” (reliability and validity) and help to insure/ensure that the items did not come from just ONE AOTP unit that might be an aberration or unusual with rare and unusual items.
Part 5: "Gathering the Data"
The method for gathering data is the simple viewing of numerous “Relic Boards” and “Relic Frames” at Gettysburg, and the finding of cartridge box and waistbelt plates. These are examined as to the type (as researched in Part 1).
The raw data showed:
12 “large flat U.S. ovals”
4 “medium convex U.S. ovals,” (one, with puppy paws, assigned to a Wisconsin regiment and found on a fence on July 4, 1863)
1 “small U.S. oval”
0 “medium convex U.S. ovals with arrowhead studs”
Part 6: "Interpreting the Data"
Based upon the data:
1. the common federal plate at Gettysburg was the PreWar/Early War
“large flat U.S. oval.”
2. The post 1862ish “medium convex U.S. oval with puppy paw studs” is present in 1/3 of the relic/artifact pool.
3. The “medium convex U.S. oval with arrowhead studs” was not found in the relic/artifact pool for the Army of the Potomac for Gettysburg in July 1863. (Which supports the Fall or late 1863 believed introduction.)
Part 7: "Applying the Data"
While I was not able to uncover any research or documentation on what plates Company “B,” 116th PA Volunteers had at Gettysburg in July of 1863, I can infer from the data, with a strong factor for Reliability and Validity, that:
1. They did not use the “medium convex U.S. oval with arrowhead studs” being used
by the vast majority of reenactors.
2. They did not use the Pakistani reproduction “medium convex U.S. oval with arrowhead studs” or Pakistani “medium convex U.S. oval with puppy paw studs”
3. They likely did not use the “medium convex U.S. oval with puppy paw studs,” although may have (further research and documentation being required)
4. Based upon PEC concepts, they likely used the PreWar/Early War
“large flat U.S. oval.”
Based upon my research, for my impression and persona, I will seek out a vendor who makes a historically correct PreWar/Early War “large flat U.S. oval” as they were in common usage at Gettysburg in July of 1863.
And, I will continue to research to gain more knowledge of what I should be using, and will update and upgrade as further research comes to light.
Once again, this has been a classroom exercise in really basic research, that anyone can do.
Any similarity or findings in fact between this exercise and actual Civil War research and item/article usage is strictly coincidental. Or is it?
Last edited by Curt Schmidt; 04-09-2004 at 08:14 PM.
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt
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