Fort McCoy News Nov. 24, 2017

Fort McCoy ArtiFACT: Rock Island Arsenal military spur

Archaeology work has been ongoing at Fort McCoy for more than 30 years.

One artifact found is a military spur that can be traced back to the installation's origins.

An "R.I.A." military spur engraved with "R.I.A. 1903" and "48" was found on a past dig. The initials "R.I.A." stand for Rock Island Arsenal, and the "1903" represents Model 1903 (M1903).

Pictured is a military spur that originated at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., and was later found at Fort McCoy.
Pictured is a military spur that originated at Rock
Island Arsenal, Ill., and was later found at Fort
McCoy.
Photo by Colorado State University Center for
Environmental Management of Military Lands

The M1903 spur was produced by Rock Island Arsenal from 1903 to 1911. This particular spur is an enlisted model due to the R.I.A. stamp location on the outside of the spur.

The number "48" would have been added to the spur at a later date by the specific unit or depot, potentially for inventory purposes. The Ordnance Price List in 1903 for one pair of enlisted spurs was 74 cents, according to the U.S. Army Sustainment Command History Office.

Rock Island Arsenal encompasses 946 acres located on Arsenal Island (formerly known as Rock Island) in Illinois on the Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill. It was established by an act of Congress in 1862.

The arsenal served as a prison camp during the Civil War; produced infantry, cavalry, and artillery equipment during the Spanish-American War; produced arms, ammunition, and personal equipment during World War I; and manufactured machine guns and disintegrating belt links for machine guns during World War II.

Visitors and employees are reminded they should not collect artifacts on Fort McCoy or other government lands and leave the digging to the professionals.

Any individual who excavates, removes, damages, or otherwise alters or defaces any historic or prehistoric site, artifact, or object of antiquity on Fort McCoy is in violation of federal law.

The discovery of any archaeological artifact should be reported to the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resource Branch at 608-388-4793.

   (Article prepared by Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands and Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch.)