U.S. 1855 PATTERN RIFLEMAN’S BELT

$1,850.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 172-5583

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Call 717-334-0347,
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This scarce 1855 rifleman’s belt rig is in excellent condition and complete with its two-piece frame buckle, brass belt loops, bayonet frog and support straps, and a scabbard for the 1855 sword bayonet all in place. The leather is black bridle leather, as per regulations, and the waist belt is fitted with two narrow billets sewn to the inside that actually retain the two pieces of the open frame buckle by hooking over small studs, while the ends of the wide belt simply loop back through them.

This was an adaptation of the French army waist belt for “chasseurs a pied,” or light infantry, and met the U.S. requirements for a belt wide enough to carry the weight not only of the newly adopted sword bayonet for the 1855 rifle, but also a full cartridge box, since light troops dispensed with shoulder belts. This had not been as much of a problem for troops armed with the 1841 rifle, which had not been designed to take a bayonet, but the large, brass-hilted sword bayonet adopted for use on the short 1855 rifle was a beast. Not only was the belt wider than the standard infantry belt, it was fitted with two narrow brass belt slides that had small holes at the top to engage the J-hooks on the ends of the knapsack straps to transfer the weight to the shoulders and better distribute the load. (Ever wonder what those brass hooks were on the knapsack straps were meant to do?) These belts were first issued to 9th and 10th U.S. infantry, who were to be a “foot rifle corps,” but were adopted by various state units and are sometimes seen worn by Civil War soldiers.

These belts are usually found, if found at all, with missing or broken pieces: parts of the buckle, the interior waist belt straps, or bayonet frog. This one is complete and the stitching holding all elements is intact. This also comes with its original black leather and brass-mounted 1855 sword bayonet scabbard. This has the characteristic slight crook at the end and the upper throat has the correct brass staple, rather than button, which passes through a slot in the frog and is secured by a tab sewn to the top of the pocket and secured below the slot by a horse-shoe shaped brass buckle. Like the belt, the scabbard has good surface finish. The brass mounts have an aged patina and show just one ding on the drag. We see just a little wear at the upper and lower edges of the belt from folds when the belt is laid flat. Otherwise, the condition is exceptional. We show a drawing by Woodbridge from Todd, American Military Equipage showing a soldier of the 9th U.S. circa 1857/58 wearing one of these.   [sr] [ph:L]

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