Identification Discs of Union Soldiers at Gettysburg Topic at York CWRT on May 18
Author Joseph Stahl will be the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of the York Civil War Round Table at 7 p.m. on Wednesday May 18. The meeting will be held at the York County Heritage Trust at 250 E. Market St. in downtown York.
Did Civil War soldiers have dog tags? Surprisingly, yes they did, and they are referred to today as “identification discs.” In their book Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War: A Complete Classification Guide and Illustrated History, authors Joseph Stahl and Larry Maier set out to define what an identification disc is. These private ID medals were the forerunner of military-issued ID tags. As an iconic symbol of the American GI, the dog tag has gained considerable recognition.
Identification discs appeared not long after the Battle of First Bull Run in response to the unprecedented casualty figures. Men wanted their families to know what had happened to them should they fall in battle with the field held by the enemy. Over the course of the war, many varieties of these identification discs appeared.
Joseph Stahl will present 12 identification discs that were bought by soldiers who fought at Gettysburg. It is probable that several of these discs were worn during the battle. These discs will include several different styles. The soldiers units and locations will be shown along with information about each soldier that was extracted from his service records, pension files and regimental histories.
Joseph Stahl retired from the Institute for Defense Analysis in 2008 where he authored or co-authored more than 50 reports on defense issues. He grew up in St.Louis, where he earned an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a member of the Company of Military Historians, Hagerstown Civil War Round Table and other civil war groups. Joseph is co-author of the first book on ID discs”Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War.” He has also authored more than two dozen articles about items in his collections for the Gettysburg Magazine, the Washington Times, Manuscripts, America’s Civil War, Military Collector & Historian, the Civil War Historian and the Skirmish Line of the North-South Skirmish Association. Displays of items from his collection have won awards at Civil War shows.
The talk is free and the public is welcome ! Bring a friend !