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INDIAN WARS MODIFIED PISTOL CARTRIDGE POUCH – VERY RARE ARSENAL MODIFICATION PRODUCED WITH A WIDER BELT LOOP FOR THE MODEL 1876 1ST PATTERN PRAIRIE BELT:  The modification of Civil War Cap Pouches to carry metallic pistol cartridges during the Indian War period is well documented, and while a number of the different methods and patterns of modifying the cap pouches are well known, this particular pouch which was modified specifically to be worn on the 1ST Pattern Model 1876 Prairie Belt is quite possibly the rarest of all the modified Indian War Pistol Cartridge Pouches.   

The belt loops on the accoutrements worn on the leather sabre belts were sized to fit the standard 2” wide leather belt.  With the introduction of the wider and thicker Prairie belts, if the soldier was to carry his holster and pistol cartridge pouch on the cartridge belt, the belt loops on the accoutrements had to be enlarged.   

As detailed on page 7 of Dorsey’s Indian War Cartridge Pouches, Boxes and Carbine Boots, in addition to the standard removal of the cap pouch’s interior flap to carry the metallic cartridges, both of the belt loops were removed from the back of this pouch and a single wide belt loop was neatly sewn on the center of the back panel of the pouch.  The replacement belt loop was not only wider, but also considerably longer to allow enough room for the pouch to pass over the wider cartridge belt and the cartridge loops.   

At the time this book was published, only one of these pouches was known and it was justifiably assumed to be a field modification.  Since that time, two others have been found – one in my collection and the one offered here - both identical to the one shown in the book, down to the manner in which the original belt loops were removed, the size and quality of finish on the replacement belt loop, and the neat stitching used to attach the new loop.  The detailed similarity of the three pieces suggests this was an approved modification as opposed to those undertaken by individual soldiers, and the quality of the work argues for these pouches to have been made at one of the arsenals or ordnance depots.     

The pouch is in full form with the original integral tab intact, all of the seams are intact, and the replacement belt loop is very strong.  The leather is still very supple and pliable, and retains a smooth shiny surface overall.  The front of the pouch still retains a light, but legible stamp that was applied by the Civil War inspector who accepted this pouch during the war

That this particular pattern of Pistol Cartridge Pouch has been found in such a limited number is not surprising – like the 1ST Pattern Prairie Belts, these pouches were issued early in the Indian War period, they were likely produced in very limited numbers, and they were issued specifically for use in the field on campaigns where they would have been used to destruction with very few survivors.   The range of accoutrements which feature the various modifications are a fascinating field of collecting in their own right, and this pouch, unique in its application with the 1ST Pattern Prairie Belt, will be a significant addition to your early Indian Wars display.  (0061c) $550



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