GREAT CONFEDERATE CARTRIDGE BOX AND SLING FROM GETTYSBURG, PICKED UP BY G.W. MOWERS OF FAYETTEVILLE, PA.

$6,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: M26509

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To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
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This classic Confederate cartridge box just came out of the family of George W. Mowers of Fayetteville, PA. Mowers lived near Gettysburg his entire life. Not only was his farm and wagon-shop near the battlefield, they were located precisely where Confederates massed for the advance on Gettysburg and also along one of Lee’s main retreat routes. The box is complete with original sling and shows classic signs of field use. The corners of the outer flap are turned up from exposure to the elements and the soldier repeatedly opening it to draw cartridges. The box itself is a pattern known to have been manufactured in North Carolina, similar to an 1857 pattern with sewn waist belt loops, but showing slightly smaller dimensions, cruder stitching and cruder globular finial. The sling is also of classic Confederate manufacture, showing no evidence of a crossbelt plate and every concern to conserve leather. Its full length is at least 48 inches long plus the billets, but only 1 ½ inches wide.

George W. Mowers (1844-1895) did two stints in the Union army: six months in the 21st PA Cavalry from July 15, 1863, through February 1864, and four months from late February to late June 1865 in the 87th PA Infantry. But, it was the fact that he was born in Fayetteville, took over his father’s wagon-shop there, and lived there until his death in 1895 that allowed him to assemble a significant collection from Gettysburg. Fayetteville is located along the Chambersburg Pike just west of Gettysburg. By July 1, 1863, seven of Lee’s nine divisions had moved through or even camped there in the days before the battle and, on July 4, Lee’s hospital train, with its cavalry and artillery escorts headed there before turning south. Even more significantly, Mowers was living near the first day’s battlefield and the town of Gettysburg for more than thirty years after the battle, giving him ample opportunity to acquire relics of the battle. Photos of the dedication of the 21st PA Cavalry monument there even show him with two of his children among his old comrades. We were recently fortunate enough to purchase the entire collection directly from his descendants, who had preserved it since his death in 1895.

The box is an early pick-up from the field. The belt loops, sling, buckles, latch tab, implement pouch with flap and latchtab, and inner flap are all in place and secure, though the sling does have weak spot at the top that should be handled with care. One magazine tin remains in place, slightly split along the vertical seams. The leather is completely untouched, but shows good finish with just expected rubs from field use, as a rig should that was carried on the march north from Virginia in 1863, and likely saw service in the two years before that. We would not do any restoration to the box. It is just as Mowers had it and displayed it. (We know that he had some relics on display for visitors. One CS cap pouch had a bit of floral decoration added-  a very typical Victorian addition for something visitors might see in the parlor.)

This Confederate cartridge box rig has a great provenance and would be a powerful addition to a Confederate or Gettysburg collection. They don’t get much better.  [SR]

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GREAT CONFEDERATE CARTRIDGE BOX AND SLING FROM GETTYSBURG, PICKED UP BY G.W. MOWERS OF FAYETTEVILLE, PA.

This classic Confederate cartridge box just came out of the family of George W. Mowers of Fayetteville, PA. Mowers lived near Gettysburg his entire life. Not only was his farm and wagon-shop near the battlefield, they were located precisely where… (M26509). Learn More »

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