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10th Vermont Infantry

Body Armor

"Old Ironsides"

body armor

Bullet-proof vest and Ladle/Cup
Corporal Christopher 'Kit' Rice
Co. C 10th Vermont Infantry


My great-uncle, Enoch Rice, passed these on to a cousin with instructions to "keep them in the family." Enoch typed the story of the vest and it is basically the same as that told me by my Grandpa Rice 40+ years ago.

Enoch's account was that it was taken off a dead Confederate soldier and that Christopher Rice wore it all through the war. Kit was hit once while wearing the vest and it saved his life. Thereafter his messmates called him "Old Ironsides." Enoch didn't know after which engagement it was obtained or in what fight "Kit" Rice was hit it.

The story I heard was the same, with the exception of the part about it being taken from a dead soldier.

The vest fits me and I am 6' and weigh about 210 lbs. It is heavy in weight and has a seam down the middle. The edges are finished in a sort of roll. The point of impact of the projectile is deeply depressed. The slug is lead and flattened.

Not much is known about Kit's military history as he was illiterate, but could compose poetry. I know that he was listed as wounded at the battle of Locust Grove. Also, in the records of the 10th Vermont at Middlesex they list him as being on extended detached service as a pioneer.

Photograph and family memoirs contributed by Bob Kaekel, Bradenton, Florida, Christopher 'Kit' Rice's 2nd-great-grandson.