SPENCER CARTRIDGE BOX ON A BUFF INFANTRY BOX SLING WITH PLATE

$1,695.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 490-2559

This is an interesting cartridge box rig in excellent condition consisting of a “J. Davy / Newark” marked carbine cartridge box fitted with an infantry buff leather cartridge box shoulder belt with its 1826 pattern round eagle breast plate. The belt is black buff, now largely oxidized to brown, about 62 inches long and 2 1/16 inches wide, which fits the circa 1861 shoulder belt that in theory was 2.25 inches wide, like the 1850 pattern, but as Paul Johnson notes in his book on cartridge boxes tends to show up closer to 2.1 inches. The breastplate is original and has a nice mellow patina, just a few small edge dings, and is attached by two short leather thongs that are modern replacements. The box is black leather with very good color, minor crazing to the finish and a few scuffs. It is the standard cavalry carbine box with a wood block bored for twenty cartridges and bears the small Davy maker stamp on the lower central point of the scalloped outer flap. Joseph Davy had several contracts. This most likely came from of four he received from September 1863 onward, totaling 60,000 sets of cavalry accouterments.

The latch tab is secured by a semicircle of stitching and a rivet. The reverse is set up with loops for a waistbelt and with a retaining strap and buckles on the bottom of the box for a shoulder sling. The buckles are attached by stitching only. The face of the box has the implement pouch in place with its own flap and tab. The inner flap has a simple asterisk stake mark. The buff sling is buckled in place. The very tips of the billets were narrowed to fit the smaller buckles on the box. The holes in block measure about .59 inch in diameter and 1.35 inches deep, which fits Johnson’s specifications for a Spencer ammunition block in a carbine box. We tried out a Civil War Spencer cartridge, which fit perfectly.

Until very late in the war cavalry carbine boxes were usually set up for carriage on a shoulder sling as well as waist belt, so it is not surprising if a trooper should choose to use one. One of the few photos we can recall seeing, however, shows a trooper using a narrow strap of some sort, whereas we have seen several photos and handled some examples, where the trooper simply mounted the box on his carbine sling. Since a number of infantry units were issued not only Spencer rifles, but even some carbines, and both took the same ammunition in any case, it makes just as much sense, or even more, that this would be fitting for a Spencer-armed infantryman. Judging from how rare they are, the infantry style boxes for Spencers were not widely issued, and Spencer rimfire cartridges, though waterproof and self-contained, could be damaged or even dangerous if carried loosed in the standard infantry cartridge box. This rig would then be a practical stop-gap solution and display nicely with a Spencer infantry rifle.    [sr] [ph:L]

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