This is one of only 200 made in 50/70 for Sharps and Spencer carbines issued to packers, teamsters, and scouts on campaign.
This 1876 pattern prairie belt of 46 loops, is made in .50 caliber for use with the various carbines in use by the army in the mid 1870s (Sharps and Spencer). It is accepted that about 200 of these belt were produced at Watervliet Arsenal for use by teamers, packers, and scouts and other civilians that accompanied the army on their campaigns.
The configuration of the belt is identical as the type II belt other than the caliber. Refer to R. Stephen Dorsey’s book, American Military and Naval Belts, 1812- 1902, pages 254-55.
The canvas used on these belts was treated with a varnish that intended to keep moisture from affecting the cartridge (eliminating the build up of verdigris). Over time the varnish has made the canvas loops dry and brittle, and the result can be seen with this example offered.
The leather is fine, and overall appearance is very good. Marked on the tongue, ” WATERVLIET ARSENAL” in two lines, and a faint stamp of inspector A.R. SMITH. Another sub inspectors initials are on the back side, “WOB.” Someone, for whatever reason as placed the number or date 1864 beneath the arsenal stamp (if the stamping is original it have no idea of the significance. I can’t imagine someone putting the date on this thinking of convincing anyone that it was Civil War period.
A rare belt, and in great condition for display.