Light Infantry and Volunteer Unit Buckles
Spanish Light Infantrymen, called "Cazadores" or Hunters in English, wore brass rectangular belt plates that bore an hunting horn insignia with the Battalion number or royal cypher in the center of the turns.
Little is known about Volunteer buckles at this time. Several 1890's era images show Volunteers with simple leather belts with harness buckles. As many of the Volunteer Infantry were considered "Light Infantry" it is possible that some wore the hunting horn buckle. A buckle of the 1st. Light Battalion "Voluntarios Ligeros" of Havana, embossed with a "1" in a horn and scroll inscribed "BATn DE LIGES", is known but not available to be photographed at this time. As with other Spanish buckles, many minor construction variations exist.
Light Infantry - Cazadores
9th Light Infantry Battalion "Cazadores de Arapiles" - Sancti Spíritus Division, Cuba.
1886 regulation pattern belt plate.
Volunteer buckle. Simple iron harness roller buckle attached to a 1 3/8" wide enameled leather belt that is part of a volunteer accoutrement set brought home by an Ohio soldier. The complete set, locally made in Cuba, including this belt, two cartridge pouches and bayonet frog, will soon be shown in the equipment section.
Commercial buckle. Scalloped frame buckles like this example were popular in Cuba during the entire period under study. Several photos of Volunteer officers show them wearing this type of buckle. They are even more commonly seen worn by Cuban insurrectionist officers and some common Mambi soldiers. During the American occupation of Havana, photos show this pattern of belt and buckle to have been popular with U. S. soldiers also. This particular buckle is attached to a tooled brown leather belt with an embossed Havana maker's mark. The belt was used as a soldier's souvenir or 'Hate' belt and is covered in 64 pieces of Spanish buttons, collar, cap and rank insignia.
All material is Copyright 2006 by William K. Combs. No portion may be used without permission.