WONDERFUL UNTOUCHED MEXICAN WAR INFANTRY RIG: CARTRIDGE BOX, SLING, WAISTBELT AND PLATE, BAYONET AND SCABBARD, ALL PLATES, AND MAGAZINE TINS!

$2,200.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 766-1529

Sets like this don’t come on the market much anymore and when they do, they have often been fooled around with. This is a great untouched set, just as you’d like to find on wandering into a poorly attended tag sale. The cartridge box is the 1839 Pattern, set up for wear on a shoulder sling only, and holding two magazine tins for .69 caliber round ball, or buck-and-ball, cartridges: packs of ten to be stored in the lower compartments and ten rounds ready for use in each of the upper trays fitted with dividers to keep the cartridges grouped six and four. The inner flap with side ears is in place, as is the tool pocket with separate cover and tab. The outer flap is secured by a latch tab, full length, held with a single line of stitching. An oval US box plate is mounted above. The inside of the flap shows where narrow thongs or wedges passed through its loops. These are gone, but the plate is on there pretty securely. The leather has a very good surface, with minor abrasions, but no flaking to the finish. We see one narrow scratch on the back. The color is a nice deep brown from oxidation of the black dye, matching the bayonet scabbard. No one has tried to polish or treat the leather.

The sling is the regulation white buff leather, 2-inches wide, with the billets secured on the bottom of the box by small roller buckles, still in place. The 1826-pattern shoulder belt plate is secured by a brown cloth lace running through both loops and tied. First produced with hooks to mount on the bayonet shoulder belt, with the transfer of the bayonet to the waist belt about 1842 they were re-purposed as cartridge box belt plates and produced with iron wire loops, as here. We see a letter “W” lightly carved in the reverse of the sling, near the bottom on one side, and what an ink stencil reading “C[o.] D” and, “No. 62.” This would be the company letter and the soldier’s individual “rack” number within the company. The “W” was likely the soldier’s initial.

The waist belt is the correct white buff as well and is the narrow 1.5-inch infantry style, secured with the correct small size 1839 pattern US oval belt plate, die-struck rolled brass with lead-solder filled back, having a single brass arrowhead stud and belt hook. (This fastener was introduced in 1844 to replace iron wires that were found to bend or snap off too easily.) The belt shows some dirt and staining, and a couple of extra holes added, but, like the box sling, it is solid and flexible. We see a small “J” lightly carved in the lead back, along with what might be a second, partially completed “J” next to it.

Along with this is its original M1816 bayonet and scabbard with white buff belt loop and brass tip in place. As is correct, it is sewn only, with no rivet reinforcements (a later innovation) and the buff belt loop is held by a brown bridle leather collar also sewn to the scabbard body. The scabbard body shows some rubs and abrasions along the edges, but is has no bends or breaks. There is a little weakness on the collar along the vertical joint between the belt loop and scabbard body. This is from flexing and the weight of the bayonet against the belt loop if laid down. No one has yet tried to reinforce it with a drop or two of glue. Like the rest of this set, it is completely untouched.

The bayonet is a standard Model 1816 with T-slot and marked at the base of the blade flat “US/TA” (one of several sets of initials combined with the US on these) and is in good shape with a silver-gray color and a few darker spots, but with good edge and point. Although the percussion Model 1842 musket was coming into use, the vast majority of U.S. troops in the Mexican War were armed with flintlock muskets, which the army regarded as a known quantity, with only few units like the Voltiguers and Davis’s Mississippians receiving the percussion M1841 rifle. This is the quintessential U.S. Mexican War infantry accoutrement set.

It is tough to praise this set enough. It shows some dust and dirt, but nothing objectionable or inappropriate to its age. It is exceptional in having escaped mishandling or misguided attempts to polish it up and would make a great addition to a Mexican War or U.S. accoutrement collection.  [sr] [ph:L]

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