A scarce M1839 cartridge box & sling with all the original plates in untouched condition, only 400 sets made.
Prior to the early-mid 1850’s, it is my understanding that U.S. arsenals produced cartridges boxes for use of its troops. The pattern 1839 was a much needed change after the several faults noted with the prior pattern of 1828. The 1839 box allowed the soldier to carry more ammunition and in a more efficient method.
In the early 1850’s the U.S. Army was developing more weaponry (like the 1855 .58 caliber rifled musket), yet still maintained a large number of .69 caliber muskets in inventory, for U.S. and State troops. The cartridge boxes were requiring more change as well.
Several contractors were allowed to produce 1839 pattern boxes, but while in production, some already made, the Ordnance Department required the addition of belt loops to be added, and it was discovered that the new elongated ball cartridge did not fit the old 1939 pattern tins, thus production of these old pattern boxes was stopped.
One such contractor was J.I. Pittman of New York City. His small contract for these ’39 boxes was for 400 boxes with slings only.
This box has all of those 1839 features. There are no markings on the box, only the white buff sling has Pittman’s stamped contract label. It is complete with the tins, the original box and breast plates. The rig shows good usage, and wear, and most likely was issued to state troops in the 1850’s and saw a good deal of service in the Civil War.
The buff sling shows age darkening on the outer surfaces, cleaning underneath. There are unit markings stamped on the buff, and it appears to be period changes to the unit designation, making it hard to determine what they are. It looks to be “Co. I (over a 3) 2 (then a crude 6).
Photos show the wear overall. stitching is tight, and leather is supple. A scarce box in numbers produced and a great example of the patterns adopted by the Government from 1839 to 1861.