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Thread: Identification of a non-regulation cartridge box

  1. #1
    Jim Leinicke 7368V is offline
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    Identification of a non-regulation cartridge box

    Somewhere out there I presume there is someone who knows something about old cartridge boxes. I have attached some images of what I presume to be a militia box for mounted troops, collected in northern Illinois 30 years ago. The box is somewhat crudely made, although the side pieces are well sewn, and it has only a single leather flap. There is no sign that it ever had loops for either a waistbelt or a shoulder strap, but instead is simply slit in the back for a waistbelt. In fact, the imprint of a belt measuring about 2 1/4" wide is clearly evident on the back of the box. The actual box measures about 4.5" by 6.25", with the flap being somewhat larger (About 5.0" by 8.25"). Inside the box is a unit composed of 16 tinned iron tubes, soldered together, and below the tubes a two compartment tinned iron box measuring 1.5" deep, 1.5" wide, and 5.875" long.

    Originally, a leather strap was sewn to the inside of the flap for the purpose of closing and securing the flap, and a buckle or button seems to have once been sewed to the lower front of the box, beneath the flap.

    For years I presumed this to be a mounted militia soldiers' box for a .54 caliber rifle, and I presumed it dated from around 1840. However, after softening up the leather a bit with Pecards, I recently was able to open the flap and remove the tin tubes, which I found to each measure 2.43" long by 0.70" (more or less) in diameter. When I started trying various patterns of cartridges in the tubes, I was surprised that what worked best were original .58 rifle-musket cartridges, which were a prefect fit, leaving only the tails exposed for easy removal.

    So now all at once the possibility exists that this thing is Civil War era. Can anyone give me any good opinions on this? My library is not helping me at all.

    Thanks-
    Jim Leinicke
    7368V
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  2. #2
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    I looked in Lords Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia and Tally Hall Presses Arms and Equipment of the Union/Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy. Couldn't find it in any of them.
    Gary Van Kauwenbergh
    Co G, 114th ILL Vol Inf
    # 10143

    "Alle Kunst ist umsonst Wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst."
    (In vain the skill and arts of man, When an angel pisses the priming pan.)
    Field Marshal Gebhard L. von Blücher

  3. #3
    Jim Leinicke 7368V is offline
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    Odd Box

    If I could find anything like it in any of the standard references, I wouldn't be asking! Like I said, I always called it a mounted rifleman box, but now having made up cartridges and tried them for fit, I am become doubtful. By the way, the flap is a seperate piece sewed to the box body, which is unusual and indicates to me that this was really made on the cheap. Whowever made it didn't want to waste any leather.

    I appreciate your efforts there, Gary.
    Jim

  4. #4
    Jim Leinicke 7368V is offline
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    Box is Western Confederacy Type I cartridge Box

    Thanks to Charlie Foster (37th GA) and Butch Myers (34th VA), I have a positive identification for this unusual box with 16 tinned tubes and a separate 2-compartment storage tin below. It is a Western Confederacy Type I box from the 1860-1862 period. The type was carried by both infantry and mounted troops armed with .58 caliber rifles, and it was likely made in a small shop in Tennessee, Alabama, or Mississippi. For the type, this one is in very good condidtion and was probably sent home to Illinois as a souvenir from some early action such as Ft. Donelson or Shiloh. Anyway, N-SSA is where you find the guys with the "know" and i am grateful for the assistance in identifying this relic. It certainly never ocurred to me until this week that it might be Confederate!

    Jim Leinicke

  5. #5
    Dave Fox is offline
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    A really GREAT piece! Paul Johnson published an excellent, illustrated article on these in "Military Collector & Historian " magazine some years ago. By inquiring of the Company of Military Historians, Box 910, Rutland, Mass. 01543-0910, you might obtain a copy.

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