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MODEL 1874 DYER CARBINE CARTRIDGE POUCH – ROCK ISLAND  ARSENAL – UNIQUE EXAMPLE SHOWING THE ARSENAL’S EFFORTS TO CONSERVE FUNDS BY RECYCLING CIVIL WAR CARTRIDGE BOXES – EXCELLENT AND VERY SCARCE EXAMPLE:  This Model 1874 Dyer Carbine Cartridge Pouch was manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal, and is an excellent specimen of the early issues of the Model 1874 Cavalry Equipments and those specimens probably carried by the troopers at the Little Big Horn.   

Making this example particularly notable is a second “US” in the oval that is faintly visible below the standard bold embossed “US” on the face of the pouch.  The leather was soaked in the area of this stamp and then it was pressed to eliminate the raised characters and oval border, and in fact when viewed at an angle, the impression of the metal block that was used to depress the leather and flatten the raised leather can be seen.  This second “US” in the oval is evidence that the arsenals were recycling the leather salvaged from the rifle musket cartridge boxes that remained in inventory in large numbers, and the effort to reuse this leather represented a considerable savings to the army.  Such cost saving measures were necessary and encouraged due to the recession then plaguing the country during the early Indian War period.  The practice of recycling the Civil War (and pre-Civil War) leather is well documented and has been noted in such applications as the leather safes on Model 1872 and 1874 Girths and Model 1874 Stirrup hoods.      

Another notable feature of this pouch is an inventory number, “NO. 6” stenciled in ink or paint in large characters on the interior of the flap.  While unit applied inventory markings are not unusual, they were normally applied with a small font leather stamp to the exterior of the accoutrement or piece of equipment so that it could be readily seen.  In contrast, a number of the experimental cartridge boxes issued for the Trials of 1870 were identified by the application of a large font number or letter – some stamped into the leather and others painted or inked into the interior leather.  The “rising sun” style of the Rock Island Arsenal stamp on this pouch indicates it was an early production piece, and it is possible this pouch was marked with the “NO. 6” stencil because it was part of an early issue and trial of these Model 1874 Pouches, and the authority which marked the pouch wanted some means of keeping track of them.   

This specimen has all of the characteristics of the 1874 era Rock Island pouches, to include the four rivet escutcheon plate and the outline of the “rising sun” style ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL stamp on the reverse between the two belt loops.  See Indian War Cartridge Pouches, Boxes and Carbine Boots, by Dorsey, page 35.   

The overall condition of the leather is very supple and there is no damage to the pouch.  The embossed “US” still very strong and legible on the smooth, shiny front cover.  The top fold of the front cover is very smooth without the flexing or crazing normally seen in this area.  The gusset is complete without any tears or open seams and the surface shows only minor flexing with no crazing or loss of finish.  The surfaces of the interior face of the body of the pouch and the back of the pouch are smooth with bright finishes.  All of the seams and the belt loops are strong and intact.   

This is an excellent example of the Model 1874 Dyer Carbine Cartridge Pouch with the significant added historical value of being representative of the type of cost saving work being done at the arsenals during this period.    (0663)  $550



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