Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria
Home Page About Us Ordering Information Links



CAVALRY MILLS SINGLE LOOP .30 CALIBER CARTRIDGE BELT w/ MODEL 1886 “WHITTEMORE” PLATE – VERY SCARCE ARSENAL MODIFIED BELT – VERY GOOD SPECIMEN OF AN UNUSUAL BELT TO DISPLAY WITH YOUR KRAG CARBINE:  This interesting variant of the Mills .30 Caliber Cavalry Looped Cartridge Belt is well documented on pages 290-291 of Dorsey’s American Military and Naval Belts 1812-1902.  Described there as an arsenal modification, the addition of two sets of 12 .38 caliber revolver cartridge loops, a feature that identifies this as a cavalry belt.  Cavalry belts were produced in far fewer numbers than the standard infantry belts, making these cavalry belts one of the scarcer of the series of Mills belts of the Spanish American War period.   

The sets of revolver cartridge loops were manufactured by Mills and supplied to the army’s arsenals where they were affixed to the belts.  The revolver cartridge loops were generally applied to one or both ends of the belts, abutted up against the first cartridge loop woven integral to the belt, and attached with stitching or rivets.  The reason for these variations – especially in light of the fact the work is believed to have been done at the arsenals – is unknown.   

The majority of the Mills belts so modified for the cavalry were of the double loop pattern.  This belt, like the one described in the above cited reference and one other that I am aware of, are of the single loop variety, and further, instead of the standard 45 or 50 loop configurations which were the most common woven by Mills, all three of these belts have 40 loops.  This pattern of belt was originally woven with the forty loops and the count is not the result of some later modification.   

The final feature which sets this pattern of belt apart from others of the same period are the eight grommets arranged on the top edge of the belt.  The grommets are not spaced for any of the known Mills belt brass wire hangers.  However they do seem to be spaced - two which are 5" apart on the center of the back; and three on each side of the front of the belt - spaced 3" apart and positioned forward of where the belt would pass over the hip - so that if the belt was worn with these grommets at the top edge, rather than the bottom edge, they would be appropriately positioned as anchor points for a set of suspenders.

While there is no record of suspenders being included with any of the contracts let to Mills by the army, it is recognized that the Mills Company was a creative environment, and they were constantly adding features and developing new woven products and metal fittings to appeal to their customer base – whether the customers yet knew they needed these improvements or not.  Perhaps the addition of these grommets was just such an improvement, with a thought to suggest the suspenders to the army at some point in the future, but the short duration of the Spanish American War eclipsed the need for any changes.   

The belt is in overall very good condition, showing none of the normal wear found to the edges of the cartridge loops.  All forty of the .30 caliber cartridge loops are present, the same number on the belt shown in the above noted reference.  Both sets of the revolver cartridge loops are complete and show no wear to the edges.  The blue webbing retains a strong, even dark blue color, and the body of the belt shows no wear and no damage, save for the one suspender mounting grommet which pulled out on the left side of the belt.    Both captive brass ends are present and firmly attached, and both are stamped with the patent information “PAT. MILLS & ORNDORFF; AUG 26:67; JULY 31:77; DEC. 28:80; MAR. 19:89; OCT 31:93” and “SEPT 11:94”.  The right side captive end is also stamped “G.T.” on one side and “57” on the other, probably a unit or soldier identification.  Completing the belt is a very nice Model 1886 “Whittemore” Belt Plate which is full form with a very pleasing patina.    

This is a very nice specimen of one of the scarcer, and more desirable, of the Mills cavalry cartridge belts and it is one that would be difficult to upgrade.  This belt would be a key addition to a Spanish American War collection, and one that would display well with your Krag Carbine.  (0221) $850 



Ordering Instructions

Identified Items  


Edged Weapons

Saddles and Horse Equipment


Collectors Ammunition

Uniforms, Insignia, Hats

Canteens and Mess Gear

Gun tools, Bullet molds and Parts

Field Equipment and Artillery

Original Ordnance Manuals, and Photos 

US Army Medical

Reference Books and Reprints