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1840’s – 1850’s DRAGOON OR CAVALRY CARTRIDGE BOX – UNIQUE STYLE WITH YELLOW ENAMELED TRIM AND ORIGINAL TIN LINER INTACT – VERY GOOD CONDITION:  This mid-19TH Century Cartridge Box is an excellent example of the various, non-regulation accoutrements employed by the various state militias that made up the majority of the armed forces of our growing nation.  While the regular army units were issued a standard pattern of accoutrements, the state militias were governed by their own uniform and equipment regulations.  They could either avail themselves of the standard regular army equipment from the government arsenals and depots as provided by the various Militia Acts passed by Congress, or they could contract with other sources to outfit their units.  In some cases, this decision was driven by the personal preferences and egos of the state commanders who wanted to establish a unique style or appearance.   

While this cartridge box does not strictly adhere to any of the patterns used by the regular army, it does follow the style and character of the regular army cartridge boxes of the period.  Measuring 6 ¼” long, 4” high and 1 ¾” wide, and fitted with two belt loops, it presents in the size a mounted cavalryman or dragoon would carry on his sabre belt.  The surface of the leather is coated with a black lacquer-like finish, probably intended to provide  waterproofing to protect the contents, and the outer flap has a ¼” enameled yellow applied trim around the edge – again, another feature which strongly suggests it was carried by a mounted soldier.  The ends of the box have the rounded “tombstone” shape and there is no implement pouch on the front of the body, just as the regulation boxes were made.   

The flap is secured with a two piece iron clasp closure – a hooked piece riveted to the flap and a slotted piece riveted to the bottom of the box body.  There is enough flex or “spring” in the leather of the flap, that when the hook is engaged in the slot, holding the flap shut, that a minimal push down on the flap will release the hook from the slot and allow the flap to be raised to access the cartridges within.   

The interior of the leather body holds a sectioned tin liner, divided into four compartments, each of which of a size to accommodate five cartridges in the .64 - .69 caliber range.  The depth of the liner compartments will hold two layers of pistol and carbine length paper cartridges, or a single layer of the musketoon or musket length cartridges.   

This early Cartridge Box is in very good condition, showing only minimal evidence of aging.  The black lacquer coating is overall intact and the yellow enameled trim is mostly intact, showing only minor loss as is expected on these early pieces.  The leather surface throughout has a bright, smooth, shiny surface with only minor crazing on the upper fold of the flap and on the surface of the belt loops, but no weakening of the leather.  The box body is in full form, there are no weak spots, and all of the seams are intact.  The belt loops and the closing catch are present, intact and full form, and the catch functions properly.  The original tin liner is present, intact and unmodified.  Both of the end panels are stamped with the same maker’s stamp, and although the stamp on one end is more legible than on the other, the name is difficult to read.    

This rare cartridge box is an excellent example of the early Pistol and Carbine Cartridge Boxes carried by the early mounted units in America, and it will make for a significant addition to even the more advanced accoutrement and Dragoon collections.  (0206)   $475    






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