Getting Smart Card credentials on the client side

I am a developer on a webapplication sitting on a server using/having/implementing SSL and is behind a reverse proxy.  I am attempting to make it recognize smart card certificates to verifies a user instead of a username/password.  The little tidbit that it is behind a reverse proxy is temporary but presents the problem for now.  The certificates cannot communicate across the reverse proxy to the server.  I don't know why and there's nothing I can do about it,  it's not our server.  That being said, is there any way to pick up the credentials on the client side?  I know very little about this.  I'm imagining not as this would probably present a security problem.  I'm thinking as I write this that the web app must sit on a server that is either getting information from or is the server administering the activeclient setup.
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Verifying credentials on the client side doesn't help, as the authentication has to be with the server, I presume. You *can* perhaps code your application so that the smart card credentials authentication becomes part of the application rather than the web server infrastructure (depending on what programming api you have with the smart cards). But that is less than ideal.
Can the (reverse) proxy understand and pass on certificates? Perhaps it is just not configured to accept anything but username/password as authentication.
HyperBPPAuthor Commented:
No it cannot understand and pass certificates.  I've been this an issue that they've yet to find a solution for.  Was primarily curious about what could be picked up on the client side.

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