Among the artifacts recovered from the site of Benedict Arnold’s log hospital on the Great Carrying Place in Maine is a pewter military button in surprisingly good condition for having spent 236 years underground.
Military artist, author and collector Don Troiani has identified it as one of the thousands of buttons issued in 1775 by the Massachusetts Colonial government. While these were cast with numbers for use by separate regiments of the Grand Army of Massachusetts, the outbreak of warfare forced the colony to issue the coats that bore them hurriedly, without regard to which units got which numbers.
The coats became known as “Bounty Coats” as they served as an incentive or bounty to induce men to enlist. The third Massachusetts did not take part in Arnold’s March to Quebec in 1775, but several men from Massachusetts did individually.
To learn more about the Massachusetts bounty coats of 1775, read this 1999 article by Henry M Cooke, click here.