EXCELLENT CONFEDERATE CARTRIDGE BOX FROM THE FIRST DAY’S FIELD AT GETTYSBURG, SHIELDS MUSEUM

$4,250.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 490-2449

This a classic Confederate infantry cartridge box picked up on the first day’s field of fighting at Gettysburg and once on display at the Shields Museum. This comes to us from the collection of Tom Bohon, a longtime regular customer and friend, who was able to purchase one display case of first day’s relics from the museum in 1974 when they decided they needed the floor space. The box lacks the magazine tins, but is in otherwise excellent condition, typically Confederate and with a tight provenance to Gettysburg and the first day’s field on the west side of town.

The box is set up like a U.S. Pattern 1857 box for .58 caliber rifles and rifle muskets, and is well made, but with some very non-U.S. elements. The outer flap has a gently scalloped edge and impressed border line. The latch tab is in place and sewn with a straight line of stitching like the U.S. 1857 and 1861 boxes. The reverse is set up for both a shoulder sling and a waist belt. The vertical waist belt loops are simply sewn at the bottom, with no rivet (like the 1857 boxes,) but are completely squared off at the ends.  The sling buckles on the bottom of the box are sewn and not riveted in place (again like the 1857,) but the buckles themselves are very simple flat iron stock fitted with rollers, nothing like the better quality japanned buckles used on Northern boxes, and the fastening stud for the latch tab is not a brass rounded or conoidal stud, but a flat button-headed stud of the sort used at the time for securing awnings, tarred canvas or oilcloth shades, wagon covers, and the like.

The maker did, however, got to extra lengths to secure the contents of the box. There is an implement pouch sewn to the front of the box with an integral latch tab on its flap that is secured by a short horizontal retaining loop across the face of the implement pouch. The inner flap of the box, however, is long, has angled corners, and has its own separate long sewn latch tab that extends over the entire implement pouch to fasten over the bottom stud along with the tab of the outer flap. This is a very practical and secure, but rather unorthodox arrangement.

The surface finish of the box is very good, with good color, just showing some dirt, dust and crazing, and a very minor scuff or two. The leather has flattened somewhat because the tins are missing, something commented upon during the war by officers inspecting soldiers’ cartridge boxes after active campaigning, when it was easier to toss aside an empty magazine tin in combat than try to fit it back in a cartridge box. The leather is nevertheless solid and in excellent condition. The side ears of the inner flap are in place and we see just a few popped threads on one side at the bottom edge. The latch tabs are all intact and full length. The tab for the outer flap has an edge tear on one side of the fastening hole, but no missing leather.

This is a super Confederate infantry cartridge box with a tight provenance to the most famous battle of the war. Please check out our other offerings from this collection as well. As Tom realized when offered a one-time, all or nothing chance at the display, this is an opportunity not often presented.  [sr]

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