General Order No. 31, for June 1851 specified "... a raised bright rim; a silver wreath of laurel encircling the 'Arms of the united States' eagle, shiled, scroll, edige of cloud and rays brights. The Motto, "E PLURIBUS UNUM' in silver letters upon teh scroll, stars also of silver, according to pattern."
It was "for all Commissioned Officers and Soldiers of the Army." and all officers and enlisted men wold wear the same basic pattern.
Problems with the durability of the three piece German Silver wreath and eagle's wing tips, issues of cost, and pattern design changes such as teh eagle facing left or right... led to some variation. Ames submitted an officers and enlisted pattern in November of 1851. After some wrangling samples were aproved in 1852, and put into production in March 1853- basically making the eagle yellow brass. Craig wanted enlisted men's to "combine strength, neatness, and cheapness."
But even Allegheny Arsenal made three or four styles between 1853 and 1861.
Private firms went on to provide their plates as required by the explosion of demand afer 1861. This include a "standardized" officer's version of solid cast. Being private purchase, they could be had gold plated and silver plating applied.
Some time in 1861 the Ordnnce Department prescribed integral eagle motifs on all enlisted sword belt plates created problems with the wreaths extending above the eagle's wing tips. Some companies managed okay, others came out with a version in the Fall of 1861 that had the wreath ends below the eagle wing tips.
NUG, in brief and to over-generalize... officer's plates usually had an integral wreath and had gold and/or silver plating versus the enlistedmen's applied German Silver three part wreath and integral tongue.
But again, there were many variations on a theme, Regulation and non-and many options depending upon the price an officer wanted to pay- including some rougher sand cast ones and even gilded sand cast ones..
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt
Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.