Tuesday, May 8, 2012

American Cartridge Box and Bayonet Crossbelt

American Cartridge Box and Bayonet Carriage
      "It is once more repeated, that every Soldier is to be completed with Ammunition to 24 Rounds a Man; and it is the duty of Officers to see that they have it — Some of the troops who went out on the covering party this morning, had not their Complement, nor had their Officers examined their Arms and Ammunition, before they marched them on the Grand Parade — This Conduct if not amended will be fatal to the Army and the Country— Where the Cartridge-Boxes will not hold the full Complement, application is to be made for Pouches, which may be had at the Commissary's Store." [1]

      An attempt at cordwainery...These are some accoutrements I constructed based off extant examples depicted in Neumann's Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution.  I suspect that this may be an early war design since it lacks the features or later British (Rawle) or Congressional Model boxes (i.e. accessory pouch, spark arresting flap, leather belts).  The box [2], like the original is 8 3/8" x 2 5/8" deep by 4 1/2" in height.  The box includes 1" iron strap buckles,  and a vent pick I forged myself in a couple minutes.  The whisk I also made from brown horsehair and brass wire.  The belts on both are 2 1/2" wide hemp straps.  The crossbelt and frog[3] hold a bayonet that is fitted to a .75 cal Long Land Pattern firelock. 

Hand-forged iron buckles and hemp woven shoulderbelt.

       In the interior I have an accessories box of poplar (what I had on hand in scraps) although most originals appear to be pine or tin.  The block, unlike the original (25 holes) has only 18 holes, 3/4" diameter to receive the .70 cal cartridges.  I just couldn't seem to fit 25 on the block without it splitting.  The block sits upon the accessories box.  I plan on nailing a leather spark arresting flap to the block.  There was not one on the original (like later British Rawle pattern boxes) but for safety's sake, I believe I will add one.

Interior box has only 18, vice 25 holes.  I'll keep working on that to ensure
I am in compliance with the orders of Congress and Genl. Washington.

       In my accessories boxes I always keep a container of sweet oil (non-petroleum), spare flints wrapped in leather, a rag, worm, tow, patches, turn screw, cartridge form, and mainspring vise.  Not all soldiers were expected to carry all of these things, but a Corporal or Serjeant would (vise, turnscrew).  I always attach a bit of hemp string to my worms, in the event that they get wedged in the breach, I find it is easier to dislodge them if stuck and the tow/patch.  I always save my used tow and patches, as once they are dried they make excellent tinder with which to catch sparks.

Box contents.  Just about everything except a few spare springs or screws.

   "Praise be to the LORD, my Rock, who teacheth my hands to war, and maketh my fingers to fight."

                                                                                    -Psalm 144:1

[1] General Orders, Harlem Heights, October 2, 1776.  The Writings of George Washington, http://www.archive.org/stream/writingsofgeorge006wash/writingsofgeorge006wash_djvu.txt, accessed 8 May 12.
[2] 39. American Shoulder Box, Neumann and Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Reovlution, Castle Books, Seacuacus, NJ, 1975, 1977 ed., (76).
[3] 1, 4. American Crossbelt and Frog, Neumann and Kravic, (36).

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