The only surviving remnant that confirms the military’s presence in the Mercedes are these buttons, amalgamated with other metallic materials and textiles. Their state makes it difficult to determine which part of the uniform or accessories they belong to.
Salto de línea Until the middle of the 18th century, buttons on uniforms were no different from those of civilian clothing.Salto de línea In 1793, the General Ordinances of the Navy stipulated that service uniforms were to use round, convex, gilt or silver-plated metal buttons with an anchor design.
Salto de línea In 1795, for the first time, a flat gilded copper button with a royal crown over the inscription “REAL MARINA” or “RL MARINA” became standard issue for all branches of the Navy.
Salto de línea The Ordinance of 1802 incorporated the design of a new gilded button, with a crowned anchor and a pointed border along the edge. This is thought to be the one used by the military personnel in the Mercedes in 1804.
Salto de línea Two pre-1802 types are clearly identified in this fragment, allowing several interpretations to be made.Salto de línea The overlap of buttons and fragments of adhered fabrics would suggest that they could be identified as the remains of a disused set of buttons that the owner carried in a cloth bag.
Salto de línea They could also be remnants of the uniform overcoat and jacket of one of the officers on board with part of the set of buttons, comprising rows of buttons of different sizes. The cord fragments are similar to the silk-thread trimming, covered with metal thread, which was used in the embroidery that adorned the buttonholes. The short period of time between the regulations of the two types of buttons makes it very likely that they would be combined in different garments.
Salto de línea The failure to comply with the ordinance of 1802 is justified by the fact that the military equipment on board vessels with long voyages could not keep up with the continuous changes in uniform. In this regard, they could count on the flexibility of the commanders.
Salto de línea Consuelo Portolés