Confederate Belt Plate
A brass belt plate found on the site of the Battle of the Wilderness bears witness to the Virginia soldier who fought, and perhaps died, there. The plate features the state seal that was devised by a 1776 committee that included George Mason. The seal was officially described as follows: "VIRTUS, the genius of the commonwealth, dressed like an Amazon, resting on a spear with one hand, and holding a sword in the other, and treading on TYRANNY, represented by a man prostrate, a crown fallen from his head, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right." The motto for the seal reads Sic Semper Tyrannis (Latin for "Thus Always to Tyrants").
During the Civil War one Virginia poet used the state's motto as the title for a poem that reads in part: