U.S. 1855 PATTERN RIFLEMAN’S BELT

$1,350.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1142-49

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This scarce 1855 rifleman’s belt rig is in very good condition and complete with its two-piece frame buckle, brass belt loops, and bayonet frog and support straps. Constructed of black waxed-leather (rough side out,) the belt is fitted at either end with two narrow billets 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. The bayonet frog is attached by two support straps so that the saber bayonet hangs vertically. The pocket is pierced for a simple round stud on a scabbard throat rather than a flat staple, indicating the bayonet may have been for one of the many alterations of the M1841 Mississippi Rifle to take a saber bayonet.

These belts were modelled on those of the French “chasseurs a pied,” or light infantry, and were wide enough to carry the weight of the newly adopted sword bayonet and a full cartridge box, since light troops dispensed with shoulder belts. As an additional support, the belt carries two narrow brass slides with holes at the top to engage hooks on the knapsack straps. This helped transfer the weight to the shoulders and better distribute the load. These belts were first issued to 9th and 10th U.S. infantry, who were to be a “foot rifle corps,” and were soon adopted by various state units in the 1850s and show up in Civil War photographs with some frequency.

These belts are not common and usually have missing or broken elements. This one is complete and the stitching is intact. It would make a great addition to an accoutrement display or set alongside an 1855 or Mississippi rifle set up for a saber bayonet, whether carried by a northern or southern unit. [sr] [ph:L]

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