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Rare Early War Cavalry Carbine Box
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A number of new pattern or special boxes were made for the various carbines in the hands of Federal cavalry during the war. Most are long boxes that are not very tall and contain a wood block drilled out to hold anywhere from 18 to 24 cartridges. They differ mainly in the width and depth of the bored holes.
Here is a very scarce early war pattern that is shaped somewhat like the rifle and rifle musket box, but is fitted with ten tin tubes soldered in the upper trays of the two interior magazine tins. One of these boxes is pictured in Todd, Volume 1, page 196, plate 51, lower right, and is discussed on page 193. The tin tubes measure .57 inch in diameter and are 1.5 inches deep, making the box able to hold cartridges for the .52 Sharps, .54 Starr, .56 Merrill, etc. Needless to say, the use of the tin tubes and the size of the box would have made them more expensive and they seem to have been replaced by the simpler "special boxes."
The body of the box is about 6 3/8 inches wide, 4 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches back to front, though internal dimensions will be smaller. Two vertical belt loops are fixed on the back along with single horizontal loop at top to retain a shoulder sling that could fasten to the two buckles on the bottom of the box. A standard implement pouch with flap and tab is on the face of the box. The upper edge of the body of the box has a half-moon crescent removed from it to permit the soldier to better draw the tin and reach his reserve ammunition in the lower compartment. I have not tried to pull these tins and see no reason to do so. A vent pick is stuck in behind one of the tins. There is an inner and outer flap. The outer flap is pierced for a plate, but none seems to have been mounted. All buckles, belt loops and tabs are present and secure. The is some scuffing here and there, but better than 90 percent of its original black finish with no leather dressing or preservative applied.
This is an exceedingly rare box worthy of any cavalry or accoutrement collection.
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