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.71 CALIBER MINIE BALL PAPER CARTRIDGE FOR THE FRENCH MODEL 1842 RIFLE MUSKETS IMPORTED DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR VERY NICE SPECIMEN:  The numbers of European muskets and other armaments and equipment, imported by both the North and the South during the Civil War is well documented.  As the Federal government wrestled with finding serviceable arms for the growing numbers of volunteers, the Confederacy was moving to establish its credentials in the European capitals, secure financing, and arrange for the purchase of arms and equipment in the same market place.  Both government arsenals and private dealers in London, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Vienna, and Liege saw the two American governments as ready customers to absorb the obsolete or surplus European arms. 

The French Model 1842 Musket was originally manufactured with a smooth .69 caliber bore.  The French later rebored many of these muskets to .70 and .71 caliber and rifled them to use the Minie ball.  Approximately 25,000 of these rifled muskets were imported by Herman Boker & Company of New York, a large supplier of foreign arms, who in turn sold them to the federal government.    

Issued with the French Model 1842 Rifle Muskets, this cartridge is far less common than the .54 and .58 caliber cartridges that were issued during the war.  These larger cartridges were of little use after the war and they often fell victim to recycling efforts where the cartridges were disassembled and the components were used to manufacture other cartridges, hence a lower survival rate today. 

This is excellent, complete .71 caliber Musket Paper Cartridge, loaded with a hollow base Minie bullet.  Measuring 2 long, the cartridge is formed around a brown paper tube.  The Minie bullet was set at the bottom of the tube with the powder charge filled in over the nose of the bullet.  The paper wrapping at the end below the bullet was folded into the hollow base of the bullet.  The powder column was closed with the folded tail.  Once the soldier tore off the tail and poured the powder charge down the bore, the tube presumably facilitated loading the ball into the muzzle, serving a guide for the ramrod.  

The paper wrapper is solid with no breaks or tears, however this cartridge was mounted on a cartridge display board at one time, and when removed a single layer of the paper wrapping on one side of the cartridge was lost.  The only notable difference in this area is that the outer darkened paper contrasts with the lighter colored paper underneath that was not exposed to the oxidation resulting in the passage of time.  The folded tail is still intact and is in full form. 

The cartridge is still very solid with no weak points and it displays very nicely, especially given how rare these larger cartridges are.  This is a very nice, clean solid specimen to display with your imported musket.  (0794)  $350



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