RARE MEXICAN WAR 1847 DATED WASHINGTON ARSENAL AMMUNITION CRATE

$1,295.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 766-1815

Civil War ammunition crates are tough to find and a Mexican War dated example is pretty much in a category of its own. This is a nicely marked example that would look great in a Mexican War or artillery display, featuring a clear, black paint stencil on the underside of the lid reading, “WASHINGTON / ARSENAL / 1847.” The arsenal was at what is now Fort McNair, located near water, road, and rail transportation, and was mostly involved in ammunition production for field artillery and small arms.

The crate is constructed of dovetailed boards, likely white pine, and measures about 28 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. Brackets on either end are pierced with two holes for rope handles. Given the dimensions, it was likely for artillery ammunition, and most likely for the 6-pound gun, which would give it a capacity of 16 rounds if closely packed. The exterior retains about fifteen percent of its original paint, now a bluish gray, perhaps originally olive, which during the Civil War indicated solid shot as the contents. Stencils on the ends of the crate indicating the contents and weight are worn off.

The crate owes its survival to re-use as a trunk or camp chest, likely by one of the officers receiving it in the field.  Remains of a leather strap indicate it may have been given simple leather hinges and latch at first, but at some point, metal hinges were added and a small key lock. The lock is missing, but the upper portion is present on the underside of the front edge of the lid. The only other modification made was the addition of two wood slats nailed into place on the underside of the lid to reinforce it, but fortunately spaced so that the center stencil is fully visible.

The upper edges of the crate and the ends of the dovetails show the most paint. The lid and lower portions of the side show mostly bare wood. The bottom would not have been painted. A few nails were added over the years, but are not obtrusive. We would leave it exactly as it is. It displays very nicely with the lid held open to display the date. It would look great with appropriate artillery ammunition and implements of the Mexican War or with an officer’s grouping illustrating its second life in camp.  [sr] [ph:L]

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